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GWU Computer Science Major
The computer science program is part of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. In this program, you learn software design, algorithms, and problem solving using computers, programming languages, and architecture of computer systems and networks. You can earn either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science and prepare for careers that span the spectrum from information technology, health sciences and homeland security to business, law and entertainment.
GW’s Department of Computer Science offers a Ph.D. and M.S. in computer science, as well as two professional degrees (applied scientist and engineer) and a graduate certificate in computer security and information assurance. Our graduate students choose from among numerous focus areas, including: Algorithms and Theory; Computer Architecture, Networks, Parallel and Distributed Computing; Computer Security and Information Assurance; Database and Information Retrieval Systems; Machine Intelligence and Cognition; Multimedia, Animation, Graphics and User Interface; and Software Engineering and Systems.
Our doctoral students conduct cutting-edge research with world-class faculty, have access to collaborative opportunities unique to the Washington, D.C., area and benefit from the superb cultural and intellectual experience that the campus and program provide.
Our master’s students learn excellent skills at the forefront of computing, get individualized attention from world-class faculty and benefit from evening classes that accommodate the schedules of those who are working professionals. Students may choose a thesis or non-thesis option.
Those who would like to pursue a graduate certificate will acquire up-to-date knowledge and skills in cyber security—a field of ever-increasing importance to national security, the economy, and individual users—and can transfer all their certificate courses to the M.S. program if they decide to get a master’s degree. All certificate courses are offered after 6 p.m. to accommodate the schedules of working students. To learn more, go to graduate certificate in computer security and information assurance.
The undergraduate program of study is designed to prepare graduates to earn an advanced degree in computer science or related disciplines; for a professional degree such as law, business, or medicine; or for employment in the computer or IT industry, where they apply the skills and knowledge learned in the program. Graduates conduct themselves professionally and ethically, work effectively in teams, and communicate effectively with both technical and non-technical audiences.
A graduate in computer science has the ability to do the following:
- Apply knowledge of computing and mathematics appropriate to the discipline;
- Analyze a problem and identify and define the computing requirements appropriate to its solution;
- Design, implement, and evaluate a computer-based system, process, component, or program to meet desired needs;
- Function effectively on teams to accomplish a common goal;
- Understand professional, ethical, legal, security, and social issues and responsibilities;
- Communicate effectively with a range of audiences;
- Analyze the local and global impact of computing on individuals, organizations, and society;
- Recognize the need to engage in continuing professional development;
- Use current techniques, skills, and tools necessary for computing practice;
- 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; and
- Apply design and development principles in the construction of software systems of varying complexity.
Bachelor of Science With a Second Major in Computer Science
Students enrolled in a BS program outside of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) who wish to declare a second major in computer science must apply and be admitted to the second major program in computer science. Students in this program must follow the same degree requirements as those receiving a BS in computer science as their primary major.
Criteria for admission:
To be considered for admission to the second major in computer science, a student must satisfy the following criteria:
- Prior completion of CSCI 1011, CSCI 1012, CSCI 1111, CSCI 1121, or CSCI 1112 with a minimum grade of B.
- Prior completion of MATH 1220 and MATH 1221, or MATH 1231, with a minimum grade of B-.
- A minimum overall grade-point average of 3.0 at the time of application to the major.
The application is due no later than the start of the 5th semester of study at GW or completion of the 60th credit, whichever comes first. Contact the School of Engineering and Applied Science Undergraduate Advising Office for specific application deadlines.
Credits in residence requirement:
- For a second major, at least 24 credits in computer science courses must be completed in SEAS.
Graduation grade-point average criteria:
- To satisfactorily complete a second major in computer science, a student must have a minimum grade-point average of 2.2 in all courses taken that count towards the degree.
Related Majors, Minors, and Concentrations
GW’s computer science program offers options in computer security and information assurance, digital media, bioinformatics, biomedical computing and medical preparation.
What can I expect to learn in the Computer Science program at GW?
You will study the fundamentals necessary to design and implement software for Internet operations, software systems, computer graphics and animation, games, and secure systems. You will learn applications in industry, medicine and national defense. You will also be ready for graduate study.
What can I do in the Computer Science field?
Our students’ past projects give a sample of the possibilities: defending against cyber attacks, starting a software company, designing vaccines and improving surgical outcomes, making virtual creatures come alive in video games and building large software systems.
What is the Computer Science learning community like at GW?
The computer science community at GW is a close-knit, vibrant group of students and faculty. They know each other by name and conduct projects together. Many students participate in internships and study abroad programs, and join clubs and professional societies.
Master of Science in Computer Science
The Master of Science in Computer Science helps students acquire advanced programming and coding skills that going beyond basic concepts to cover topics such as artificial intelligence, graphic and user interface and cloud computing.
Taught by faculty from top-tier institutions and within the growing tech industry of the mid-Atlantic region, students can expect a rigorous curriculum that builds on the foundations of computer science while offering course options that address modern technological issues in the following areas:
- Algorithms and theory
- Computer architecture, networks, parallel and distributed computing
- Computer security and information assurance
- Database and information retrieval systems
- Machine intelligence and cognition
- Multimedia, animation, graphics and user interface
- Software engineering and systems
- Credit hours: 30
- Thesis options: Thesis and non-thesis options are available. If student pursues a thesis, coursework will be replaced by research credit courses; if student does not pursue a thesis, additional coursework will fill the remaining credit hours.
- Duration: Two years (full-time) or three years (part-time)
- Bachelor’s degree in any field with coursework in the following areas:
- Mathematics: Two courses beyond calculus level
- Lab science: One year’s worth of coursework
- Computer science: Prior coursework in a structured language, discrete structures, data structures or computer architecture
- Minimum of 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) or equivalent achieved on the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate work.
- Successful submission of online application form, exam scores and other documents as outlined in the admissions requirements.