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Computer Science

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Undergrad Degree: BS

Computer Science majors take courses in programming languages, logic, systems, data structures, algorithms, theory, and scientific computing. Electives in artificial intelligence, multimedia, computer vision, databases, networks, and computer graphics are also available.

The Field Program in Computer Science is broad and rigorous but structured in a way that supports in-depth study in other disciplines. Intelligent course selection can set the stage for graduate study, technical employment, or many other professional pursuits such as business, law, or medicine. With the assistance of a faculty advisor, each student in computer science devises a coherent program of study that supports career objectives and is true to the aims of a liberal education.

Candidates for the major should have strong grades in math, the sciences, and computer programming. Students typically enter the major in the third or fourth semester and must have attained programming proficiency by that time. Successful completion of discrete mathematics (a logic course) is also a prerequisite for admission to the major.

By the end of the fourth semester, most CS majors have also completed the third programming course (CS 312) and machine organization (CS 314). Courses in operating systems, theory, and scientific computing can be taken as soon as prerequisites are met. Outside electives, including a minor in another field, allow students to explore upper-level course offerings in other disciplines.

Some of the more popular outside concentrations are: electrical and computer engineering, operations research, mechanical engineering, mathematics, physics, linguistics, cognitive studies, and economics. Serious study in almost any field is possible.

A number of CS majors also participate in cooperative, on-site work assignments in industry. These working semesters, which occur in various locations throughout the United States, give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in real-world settings.

The Department of Computer Science at Cornell University is a world leader in research and undergraduates are encouraged to participate. Undergraduate research may involve self-directed independent study, supervised by a faculty member, or hands-on participation in one of the department's ongoing research initiatives. In any case, all CS majors are required to complete at least one project course.

Advanced courses in CS and other fields fall into place as students work toward more well-defined interests and career aspirations. Given the wide selection of advanced course offerings, many students opt to stay on for a fifth year in order to complete a Master of Engineering degree.