Computer Science

Why Study Computer Science

Computer science is the blend of creative problem solving and engineering principles. Computer scientists are involved in all aspects of computers and their uses from designing hardware and software to organizing and maintaining computer systems in an organization. Computers and computer scientists affect virtually all aspects of today’s world.

You will begin by studying the basic concepts underlying computer science, such as algorithms, programming languages, software development, and hardware design. Advanced course work includes specialized topics, such as networks, graphics, and artificial intelligence.

Graduates of Shippensburg University's computer science program are contributing to every branch in the field. Our graduates are employed at well-known corporations and have even started their own multi-million-dollar businesses.

Our students have full access to a wide variety of computing equipment. The Mathematics and Computer Technologies Center is home to the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the university's Information and Computing Technologies Center (ICTC). These departments work together to provide state-of-the-art computing facilities for our students. All campus computing facilities have access to the Internet, and students are provided with e-mail accounts and space for web pages. Access to computer labs is available 24-7.

There are many computing resources available, including:

  • Classrooms with up-to-date PC or Mac machines with Linux and possibly Mac OS-X at each seat
  • High-end Apple workstations with a Gigabit network for tasks that require high performance computing
  • An 802.11 wireless network covers all of our classrooms, labs, and study areas
  • Student accounts on the dedicated department servers allow students to store their files in a central location
  • Academic partnerships with Microsoft, IBM, Sun, and Oracle
  • Software used in the classrooms is also installed in the labs or available for student's personal computers
  • Resources to support specific parts of our program, including robot toolkits and hand held computers

Careers are as varied as the organizations using computers. A hospital computer programmer has quite a different career from a programmer at a missile installation. Our graduates are prepared to enter the field as computer programmers and systems analysts. Systems analysts organize and define information and processes for computerizing tasks in various organizations. They combine their knowledge of both the organization and computer information systems to provide an automated operation. Computer programmers work closely with the requirements of an organization to actually develop the computer instructions to produce the desired results. Often the two positions overlap.

The need for personnel to maintain existing software and to produce new products is quite high. National projections indicate computer science is one of the fastest growing occupations. Students who successfully complete our program have multiple job opportunities.

The average salary for computer science jobs in PA is $50,000.

Typically, students who plan to study computer science in college take 4 years of math in high school. 2 courses in algebra, a course in geometry, and a course in trigonometry form a solid basis to major in computer science. Many students also take calculus in their senior year, but this is not necessary. Advanced placement credit is available for those who were successful in calculus in high school. Communication skills, oral and written, are also critical for students entering the program.

The computer science curriculum consists of a core of 32 credits of computer science and 15 credits mathematics courses taken the first two years.

Each student must also complete 20 credits of advanced computer science courses plus courses from related or applied areas.

The required senior capstone research project involves working with a faculty advisor to solve a particular problem and culminates in a formal presentation of results.

You must complete 20 credits of computer science courses to earn a minor. See the Undergraduate Catalog for specific course requirements.

Students who choose to specialize in a particular area must complete approximately 20 credits within that concentration. There are currently three concentrations in computer science:


The computer science degree program and its concentrations are accredited by ABET, Inc. placing Shippensburg University among 30 Pennsylvania colleges and universities that have accredited ABET programs and one of 10 that include computer science programs. For more information on ABET, visit ABET Information.

The department has a student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). It is active in bringing speakers from firms involved in computing to campus, assisting with department and university activities, and holding annual game-a-thons.

The Programming Team competes with teams from other colleges and universities on the basis of their ability to effectively write programs within given time limits. The team consistently places well in the regional ACM contest.

Women in Computer Science (WiCS) promotes an inclusive community within the department and provides a place for our female students to meet and share experiences. Through podcasts showcasing the achievements of our female students, WiCS actively promotes an increase in the percentage of women in the discipline.

Department of Computer Science
MCT 156
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA
(717) 477-1178
Department Web Site