Georgetown University Computer Science

Last Updated on December 28, 2022

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Welcome to the Department of Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science at Georgetown University, in the heart of Washington, DC, is home to higher education and advanced research on the cutting edge of computing and technology. BS, BA, MS, and Ph.D. programs connect students with the ideas, skills, and opportunities to shape the digital world we live in. The department is rapidly growing, with current core research areas of algorithms and theory; security, privacy, and cryptography; and data-centric computing. Faculty members in the department have been honored with a Gödel Prize, Test-of-Time awards, membership in the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, NSF CAREER awards, and Best Paper awards, among other accolades. Students and faculty engage beyond the department through interdisciplinary courses and research, campus initiatives like guWeCode, public and private sector internships, local computing groups, and regional events.

Computer Science

The Computer Science Department offers three degree options: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (B.S.)Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science (A.B.), and Minor in Computer Science. The B.S. degree is the most technical undergraduate degree. The A.B. degree has fewer requirements than the B.S. degree, and so it can be ideal for combining computer science with another course of study. Like most universities, Georgetown designs its undergraduate programs in computer science to conform with the ACM-IEEE guidelines on undergraduate computer science education.

Majors in Computer Science

The B.S. program has nineteen required courses, and the A.B., thirteen courses. The difference in requirements between the B.S. and A.B. comes from reducing the number of required mathematics courses from five to three and reducing the number of required computer science courses from fourteen to ten.

Both the A.B. and B.S. programs share the core sequence of Computer Science I and II, Mathematical Methods for Computer Science, Data Structures, and Advanced Programming. This sequence prepares students to take any upper-level computer science elective.  Students in both programs must take Introduction to Algorithms, but at this point the two programs diverge. The B.S. student must take Computational Structures, Programming Languages, and Operating Systems, which provides B.S. students with the required breadth of understanding of the field. Students intending to pursue postgraduate studies or seeking employment in most traditional areas of computer science are encouraged to pursue the B.S. option. In addition, B.S. students are encouraged to do a senior thesis.

Both the A.B. and the B.S. programs require elective courses in computer science. B.S. students must take five, whereas A.B. students must take four. The elective courses for both programs are the same, although A.B. students can take the additional required courses for the B.S. program as electives. Students in both programs can take graduate-level courses as electives with the permission of the instructor. Students in both programs can also, with the approval of the department’s undergraduate curriculum committee, satisfy one elective requirement by taking one course with significant computational content from another department or program. There is also the option of pursuing independent study through research or reading tutorials under the direction of a member of the faculty as elective courses. Students enrolled in the A.B. program also have the option of writing a senior thesis.

Requirements for the A.B. in Computer Science

First Year

  • Computer Science I and II (COSC-051, 052)
  • Mathematical Methods for Computer Science (COSC-030)
    • Students pursuing a minor or major in mathematics who take Introduction to Proofs and Problem Solving (MATH-200) and Analysis I (MATH-310) may substitute one COSC elective for COSC-030.
  • Calculus I (MATH-035)

Second Year

  • Data Structures (COSC-160)
  • Advanced Programming (COSC-150)
  • Two additional math electives from: Calculus II (MATH-036), Multivariable Calculus (MATH-137), Introduction to Mathematical Statistics (MATH-140), Linear Algebra (MATH-150), Abstract Algebra (MATH-215), Graph Theory (MATH-220), Combinatorics (MATH-221), Applied Statistical Methods (MATH-240), Applied Statistical Methods II (MATH-340), and Symbolic Logic (PHIL-350). Additionally, alternatives to MATH-140 are allowable; these include Economic Statistics (ECON-121), Analysis of Political Data I (GOVT-201), Business Statistics (OPIM-173), or Quantitative Methods for International Politics (IPOL-320).

Third and Fourth Years

  • Introduction to Algorithms (COSC-240)
  • Four electives, which must be COSC courses numbered 100 or higher, or an approved external elective.
  • Optional: Senior Thesis (described below)

Requirements for the B.S. in Computer Science

First Year

  • Computer Science I and II (COSC-051, 052)
  • Mathematical Methods for Computer Science (COSC-030).
    • Students pursuing a minor or major in mathematics who take Introduction to Proofs and Problem Solving (MATH-200) and Analysis I (MATH-310) may substitute one COSC elective for COSC-030.
  • Calculus I and II (MATH-035, 036)

Second Year

  • Data Structures (COSC-160)
  • Advanced Programming (COSC-150)
  • Three additional math electives from: Multivariable Calculus (MATH-137), Introduction to Mathematical Statistics (MATH-140), Linear Algebra (MATH-150), Abstract Algebra (MATH-215), Graph Theory (MATH-220), Combinatorics (MATH-221), Applied Statistical Methods (MATH-240), Applied Statistical Methods II (MATH-340), and Symbolic Logic (PHIL-350). Additionally, alternatives to MATH-140 are allowable; these include Economic Statistics (ECON-121), Analysis of Political Data I (GOVT-201), Business Statistics (OPIM-173), or Quantitative Methods for International Politics (IPOL-320).

Third and Fourth Years

  • Computational Structures (COSC-125)
  • Introduction to Algorithms (COSC-240)
  • Programming Languages (COSC-252)
  • Operating Systems (COSC-255)
  • Five electives, which must be COSC courses numbered 100 or higher, or an approved external elective.
  • Optional: Senior Thesis (described below)

What Can I Do with My Computer Science Major?

Overview

There is no question that a computer science graduate has a bright future in today’s job market. As technology continues to advance, information technology experts are needed to develop, test, and maintain computer systems. Computer science students become expert problem solvers, mapping the best and most practical solutions to the problems of processing, storing, and accessing information.

A computer science degree offers more than just technical knowledge—many theoretical and mathematical concepts are used in developing software and hardware solutions to diverse problems. Additionally, there are computer science courses in which a computer is never used, such as investigating the theoretical nature of artificial intelligence. Many graduates enter the job market after graduation, while some choose to continue their education in law, medicine, or other graduate programs.

Skills

The study of computer science facilitates the development of a core set of skills sought after by employers in a wide range of occupational settings. A sampling of representative skills and abilities follows.

Critical Thinking

  • Understanding patterns and algorithms
  • Assessing needs
  • Defining problems
  • Integrating theory and practice
  • Considering alternatives
  • Generating solutions
  • Making projections

Technical Skills

  • Computer architecture
  • High-level programming and algorithm design
  • Database design and data mining
  • Software engineering
  • Networking
  • Information assurance
  • Internet computing

Communication

  • Work in groups on projects
  • Present projects and information logically
  • Train others
  • Explain technical and theoretical concepts to others

Computer Science Degrees Available at Georgetown

  • Bachelor’s Degree in CompSci
  • Master’s Degree in CompSci

Georgetown CompSci Rankings

The bachelor’s program at Georgetown was ranked #75 on College Factual’s Best Schools for compsci list. It is also ranked #1 in District of Columbia.

Ranking TypeRank
Highest Paid Computer Science Graduates37
Best Colleges for Computer Science75
Best Computer Science Colleges for Non-Traditional Students93
Best Computer Science Colleges for Veterans108
Most Popular Colleges for Computer Science180
Best Value Colleges for Computer Science187
Most Focused Colleges for Computer Science342

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