Degrees in Computer Science
Get information on what you'll study in undergraduate and graduate degree programs in computer science. See if online study is an option, and learn about career opportunities in the computer science field.
What Will I Study In Undergraduate Computer Science Degree Programs?
In an associate's degree program in computer science, you'll explore computer programming and database management. Your classes may pertain to installing, maintaining and troubleshooting computer networks. You may learn to manage different operating systems, including Linux and Windows. Courses may also cover computer-pertinent mathematics, problem solving and data structure organization.
Bachelor's degree programs in computer science go more in-depth in many of the same topics. In some bachelor's degree-level classes, you may learn to protect computers against security threats and manage security systems for computer networks. Other courses may cover computer programming and programming languages, such as HTML and Java. You could also study:
- Database structures
- Software development and operation
- Algorithms for computer databases
- Computer organization
- Information assurance techniques
|Undergraduate Courses||Programming languages, computer organization, software development, database structure, information assurance|
|Graduate Courses||Software systems, network security, computer architecture, data mining systems, artificial intelligence|
|Online Availability||Available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels|
|Possible Careers||Computer scientist, software engineer, database administrator, computer programmer, computer security specialist|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||11% growth (for database administrators)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$90,070 (for database administrators)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Is Involved in Graduate Study?
Master's degree programs in computer science are very competitive, and you must have a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer engineering as a prerequisite. Courses include analyzing databases and network architecture to make them run better. Other courses could train you to study networks to find and fix security issues. Some courses deal with creating data mining systems and optimizing computers to make them run better. Research in computer sciences is a major program component, and you may have to write a thesis, which can focus your studies.
If you're pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Computer Science, you must have a bachelor's or a master's degree in computer science or computer engineering. If you only have a bachelor's degree, you may need to complete more credits than someone with a master's degree in the field. The Ph.D. is research intensive and incorporates many research projects, including a unique dissertation, which you must research, write and defend before a board of faculty members. Your courses and research projects could focus on topics like these:
- Theories in computer science
- Computer operating systems
- Artificial intelligence
- Software systems
- Optimizing computer architecture
- Networks and networking
- Real-world algorithms
Are Online Programs Available?
Online computer science degree programs are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Depending on the school and your individual courses and professors, online lessons can be delivered through live streaming video, downloadable video clips or PowerPoint. You may be able to watch recorded lectures from guest speakers and professionals in the field. You can complete computer science activities and assignments and submit them to your professor for evaluation and review. Participation in online discussions about your studies provides the chance to interact with your classmates and earn class participation points.
How Can I Use My Degree?
Your associate's degree in computer science could be the first step to a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, such as information technology or computer engineering. You might be able to find an entry-level job as a systems administrator or a computer programmer, but most of these positions require a bachelor's degree, reports the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Your bachelor's degree could also lead to a career as a software engineer or a database administrator, reports the BLS.
A master's degree can lead to careers as a computer applications software engineer or a computer security specialist. With a Ph.D. in Computer Science, you can become a computer scientist, conducting research in computer hardware and robotics. You could also teach computer science at the university level, according to the BLS.