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Computer Science

Computer Science is the study of principles, applications, and technologies of computing and computers. It involves the study of data and data structures and the algorithms to process these structures; of principles of computer architecture-both hardware and software; of problem-solving and design methodologies; of computer-related topics such as numerical analysis, operations research, and artificial intelligence; and of language design, structure, and translation technique. Computer Science provides a foundation of knowledge for students with career objectives in a wide range of computing and computer-related professions.

Computer Science graduates begin careers as computer programmers, system analysts, programmer/analysts, software engineers, system programmers, computer system engineers, and in a number of other computer-related jobs. The Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, Several double-major programs are also available. A minor in computer science is available to students with major programs of study in other fields at the University. The department also offers study leading to the Master of Science degree and Doctor of Philosophy Degree.

The Department of Computer Science is dedicated to maintaining quality programs in undergraduate teaching, graduate teaching, and research and to the fruitful interaction between teaching and research. In research, we wish to maintain our emphasis on applications (often pursued with colleagues from other disciplines), and upon the synergistic relationships between theory and applications in which the most meaningful advances often result. The department has identified five specific areas in which we shall seek national prominence: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Security and Forensics, High Performance Computing, Software Engineering, and Visualization and Computer Graphics.

Program Educational Objectives

The program’s educational objectives for the Bachelor’s degree in computer science are that within a few years after graduation, graduates are expected to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of computer science principles and an ability to solve unstructured computer science problems through the successful entrance into and advancement in the computer science profession.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation for lifelong learning and for the value of continuing professional development through participation in graduate education, professional education or continuing education opportunities, attainment of professional license, or membership in professional societies.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities to the profession, society and the environment incumbent on a computer science professional.
  • Successfully interact with others of different backgrounds, educations, and cultures.
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills in their profession.

Student Outcomes

The Computer Science program enables students to attain, by the time of graduation:

  • An ability to apply knowledge of computing and mathematics appropriate to the program’s student outcomes and to the discipline
  • An ability to analyze a problem, and identify and define the computing requirements appropriate to its solution
  • An ability to design, implement, and evaluate a computer-based system, process, component, or program to meet desired needs
  • An ability to function effectively on teams to accomplish a common goal
  • An understanding of professional, ethical, legal, security and social issues and responsibilities
  • An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  • An ability to analyze the local and global impact of computing on individual s, organizations, and society
  • Recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in continuing professional development
  • An ability to use current techniques, skills, and tools necessary for computing practice
  • An ability to apply mathematical foundations, algorithmic principles, and computer science theory in the modeling and design of computer-based systems in a way that demonstrates comprehension of the trade offs involved in design choices.
  • An ability to apply design and development principles in the construction of software systems of varying complexity.

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Degree Requirements


2015-2016 Degree Requirements and Illustrative Program of Study

International/Intercultural Approved Electives

For further information, view the University’s Degrees,Core Requirements,and Credits section of the most recent Bulletin.

The requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree are specified in the annual Bulletin of Mississippi State University (the catalog). Each year the requirements change slightly, and every few years there are substantial changes in requirements. These changes are, of course, to assure that computer science graduates from Mississippi State University are well-prepared and competitive with graduates from any program in the country.

Students beginning their studies at MSU or at a community college who remain in near continuous enrollment can satisfy the requirements for the B.S. degree by completing the requirements specified in the Bulletin for their freshman year OR they can opt for the requirements specified in any more recent Bulletin. However, students must satisfy ALL requirements of one Bulletin, with any course substitution approved in writing by the student’s advisor and the Coordinator of Undergraduate Programs.

The degree requirements are presented in the Bulletin in the form of an illustrative program of study showing on order of course enrollments that satisfy the requirements. There are, of course, many others. The requirements from recent Bulletins and a corresponding illustrative program are given above.