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Computer science is responsible for the incredible amount of Internet growth over the past decade. Computer scientists contribute to new technologies, including interactive multimedia and virtual reality systems.

As a graduate student you will focus on building a broad theoretical framework exercised through lab work. Doctoral programs are focused on research and generally require a thesis for completion. Graduate students work on developing strong theory-based knowledge along with practical orientation, allowing them to fully understand all aspects of computer science. Time is divided between class and lab work to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary skills in software development, systems development and new computer systems creation.

Some programs, especially in the case of doctoral degrees, are centered around a concentration. Common concentrations include software engineering, human-computer integration, computer and information science, computer engineering, computer systems analysis and data processing.

When researching programs, look for a school that not only gives students a broad theoretical framework but also produces and contributes to the ongoing research in computer science. This is essential, as computer science is an ever-changing field, requiring constant development and evolution.

Degree Information

Students pursuing graduate degrees in Computer Science typically work toward a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) degree. Ph.D. programs in Computer Science or a closely related field are also offered by many schools. Some schools offer the M.S. or Ph.D. in an interdepartmental field such as Computational Biology for students whose interests are more specialized.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program

  • How are the computer laboratories? Are they modern and up-to-date?
  • Is the department well-funded?
  • What kinds of research are faculty and graduate students doing? Does it interest you?
  • How successful are graduates at finding jobs after graduation?
  • How helpful is the program in helping students with job placement?
  • Will you have the opportunity to participate in research projects, on your own or with faculty?
  • Will you be required to choose a concentration? If so, does the program offer a concentration that interests you?

Career Overview

Graduates of Computer Science programs have a huge variety of career options available. Computer scientists take jobs in business, medicine, consulting, engineering, programming, and data processing. They develop software, research and develop new computer systems, and investigate the computer needs of business and industry. They have job titles like Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, Computer Engineering Lab Technician, Data Administrator, and Technical Analyst. They take jobs in all kinds of businesses or become independent consultants. The need for knowledgeable computer scientists is growing steadily—everyone needs computers, as well as people who know about them. Career possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Career/Licensing Requirements

There are no particular licensing requirements for a career in Computer Science. However, if graduates wish to work as technicians with a particular kind of software program or a specific operating system, there are often certifications available.

Salary Information

Starting salaries for Computer Scientists are generally quite high, and depend mostly on the kind of job, the location, your previous work experience, and the extent of your studies. Salaries generally can range anywhere from $60,000-$80,000.

Related Links

Computer History Museum
The Computer History Museum website has interesting information about their holdings and several current exhibitions.

Association for Computing Machinery
The Association for Computing Machinery began in 1947 and today has over 75,000 members.


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