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Computer Science

Computer Science

Bachelor of Science

Degree Type

Major, Minor

Department

Math & Computer Science Department

The demand for computer scientists is at an all-time high as AI, machine learning, big data, and cybersecurity dominate nearly every modern industry. Since 2001, Western has offered a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with several emphases to choose from. WCU boasts small, 100% in-person classes and faculty that bring both significant industry and research experience into the classroom. Students at WCU can optionally focus their learning experience on several subfields of computer science, including Information Security, Software Engineering, or Scientific Computing.

Program Overview

Computer Science

Become a leader in digital discovery and analysis.

At Western Colorado University, the Computer Science program focuses on software development, information security and data science. You’ll have the opportunity to learn fundamental concepts, languages, tools and techniques in the new, state-of-the-art Paul M. Rady School of Computer Science & Engineering. This experience will prepare you with the skills and expertise you’ll need to thrive in a career in software development, systems engineering or information technology. Each track within the Computer Science program is built on a core of programming in current languages such as Python, C++ and Java, while focusing on skills such as database management, GUI design, web development and software engineering.

To put your knowledge to practice, you’ll execute difficult projects in software development, learn state-of-the-art security methods and become proficient with leading industry hardware and software systems. You can get hands-on experience in competitive internships with Fortune 500 companies and work on original research projects developing facial recognition software, machine learning and more.

An in-demand career path

The growing demand for high-tech professionals is driven by a broad and expanding need for computer specializations in software engineering, artificial intelligence, big data applications and the “internet of things.”

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

All standard majors require a minor in a second discipline or a second major.

A minimum of 45 credits is required, including the 33-credit Computer Science Core:

Course List
Code Title Credits
Computer Science Core
CS 190Computer Science I3
CS 191Computer Science II3
CS 195Database Management Systems3
CS 250Web Applications Development I3
CS 280Data Structures3
CS 330Operating Systems and Architecture3
CS 370Systems Programming in C3
CS 412Software Engineering3
CS 470Algorithms3
CS 495Senior Project3
MATH 200Discrete Mathematics3
Total Credits33

And the following:

Course List
Code Title Credits
MATH 140College Algebra (GT-MA1)3
or MATH 141 Precalculus (GT-MA1)
or MATH 151 Calculus I (GT-MA1)
AND9
At least 3 upper division CS courses (including CS 220, CS 235 or ENG 302 and excluding any core courses included in the standard program)
OR
At least 2 upper division CS courses (including CS 220, CS 235 or ENG 302 and excluding any core courses included in the standard program) and one math course from MATH 252, MATH 275, MATH 300, MATH 313, MATH 358, MATH 360 and MATH 380
Total Credits12

Capstone Course Requirement

The following course fulfills the capstone course requirement in the Computer Science Major: CS 495 SENIOR PROJECT.

Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 semester credits for graduation.  Of those 120 credits, 40 credits must be in upper-division courses (those marked 300 and above).  Fifteen of these 40 upper-division credits must be earned in courses that are part of the standard or comprehensive major program being pursued. 

Students are expected to review all graduation requirements, which can be found in the Western Undergraduate Catalog: Graduation Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
CS 190 Computer Science I 3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
ENG 102 Writing and Rhetoric I (GT-CO1) 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
MATH 140
or MATH 141
or MATH 151
College Algebra (GT-MA1)
or Precalculus (GT-MA1)
or Calculus I (GT-MA1)
3
 Credits16
Spring
CS 191 Computer Science II 3
CS 195 Database Management Systems 3
ENG 103 Writing and Rhetoric II (GT-CO2) 3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
CS 280 Data Structures 3
CS 330
or CS 250
Operating Systems and Architecture
or Web Applications Development I
3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
Gen Ed Natural Sciences w/lab 4
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
 Credits16
Spring
CS 412 Software Engineering 3
MATH 200 Discrete Mathematics 3
Elective Elective or minor course 6
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities
Gen Ed Natural Sciences w/lab 4
 Credits16
Year Three
Fall
CS 250
or CS 330
Web Applications Development I
or Operating Systems and Architecture
3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
Elective Upper division elective or minor course 6
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
 Credits15
Spring
CS 370 Systems Programming in C 3
CS Upper division CS elective 3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
Elective Upper division elective or minor course 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities 3
 Credits15
Year Four
Fall
CS 470 Algorithms 3
CS Upper division CS elective 3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
Elective Upper division elective or minor course 6
 Credits15
Spring
CS 495 Senior Project 3
CS Upper division CS elective 3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
Elective Upper division elective or minor course 6
 Credits15
 Total Credits123

Spotlight

Computer Science

Zenda Olson

Student

“At Western I’m learning what I truly want to study, how to manage my money and how to manage myself."

Computer Science

Ryan Ivis

Alumni

“Western did a fantastic job of preparing me for my career."

Computer Science

Lindsey Possehl

Alumni

"A 2015 graduate, Lindsey Possehl double majored in Mathematics and Computer Science, which led to her current role as a data scientist for Ruffalo Noel Levitz."

Computer Science

Kendric Evans

Alumni

"At Western, you really have the opportunity to work closely with the faculty, which helped me gain a very real depth and breadth of knowledge in my field."

Computer Science

Kate Robinson

Alumni

“A liberal arts degree is so valuable....but really the most important thing Western did for me was give me an environment where I was able to succeed.”

Careers


Top Skills

  • Algorithmic Thinking
  • Attention to Detail
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Programming Language Proficiency



Career Pathways

  • Cloud Architect/Cloud Engineer
  • Cybersecurity Specialist
  • Data Scientist
  • Database Architect
  • Machine Learning Engineer
  • Software Engineer

Take the first steps toward your academic and personal growth.

Fostering your intellectual development is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling and enriched life after graduation. Wondering how you can apply your program of choice to your intellectual and personal journey? Check out our “What Can I Do With This Major?” tool to explore the diverse opportunities and pathways within any degree program.

Scholarships

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 30 for 2024. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Computer Science

Make your education a life changing experience.

A college education is so much more than just taking classes. Expand your community and network, while gaining hands-on experience in your field.

  • Independent Projects: Students have worked on projects such as facial recognition software, a gesture-controlled quadcopter, machine learning, Android apps, an online guided tour, commercial websites, and self-guiding vehicles.
  • Information Technology Services: Many computer science students work for the Western IT Department, keeping student and university computers and networks running smoothly.
  • Internships: Students have gotten internships with Lockheed Martin, Amazon, Raytheon, Dell, Northrop Grumman and other companies large and small. Computer science internships pay well and very often lead directly to a permanent job.
  • Lambda Learning Center (LLC): The LLC exists to provide academic support for math, computer science, and engineering, as well as to facilitate student learning beyond the classroom. Students, tutors, and professors get together and create a culture centered not only around understanding and mastering STEM-related coursework, but also exploring new ideas in STEM and building community.
  • Tutoring Jobs: Available to students interested in teaching others and mastering basic principles.
  • Seminars: Faculty at Western provide a variety of different seminars series: industry experts in the Gunnison/Crested Butte valley come to discuss their companies and experience with the students, faculty present what they have been working on, students present their research projects, and faculty provide professionalism topics to help students update and increase their professional brand.

Understanding the “internet of things”

Computer Science plays an increasingly critical role as technology becomes integral to everyone and everything. As a Computer Scientist, you can be an architect of the foundation upon which we build our future.

News & Research

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Paul M. Rady School of Computer Science and Engineering

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Western’s Supplemental Instruction Program

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Department Information

Math & Computer Science Department

Department Chairperson

Jeremy Muskat, Ph.D.

Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science, Professor of Mathematics

Rady Building Administrative Assistant

Kelley Jones

Administrative Assistant III

Campus Location

Rady Building 272

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We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.

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Want to discover more about Western? Request information today to get in touch with the admissions team.