Department of Computer Science

Computer Science department at St. Mary'sComputer programming instructorComputer Science classroom

About Computer Science at St. Mary’s

Computer Science is the study of applying the use of computers to solve problems. One of the most innovative and essential fields of study, computer science has been, is, and will continue to be responsible for most of our technological world.

Computer scientists are the ones who write the software that runs on the computers found everywhere in modern life, from military to medical, communications to transportation, and manufacturing to entertainment.Professors and students working together

The Computer Science major at St. Mary’s studies programming languages, operating systems, algorithms, files and databases, computer architecture, data communications, computer security, and software engineering.

Students learn to develop not only strong software development skills, but also problem-solving and oral and written communication skills.

Degree Options

The Department of Computer Science offers several degree programs, both undergraduate and graduate:

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is ideal for those interested in programming as a career – operating systems, graphics, games, computer security, artificial intelligence, and general applications development.

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Information Systems is recommended for those interested in the application of computers in business as a career—systems analysis, database administration, and business applications.

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science/Application Systems is suggested for students who are unsure about which path to take or are less inclined to specialize in the mathematical aspects of computer science. It is also excellent for those who wish to minor in an unrelated field.

Master of Science in Computer Science/Master of Science in Computer Information Systems can be pursued independently or as a combined Bachelor’s and Master’s.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity is a unique St. Mary’s program that combines technical rigor with sound ethics and implications to the law.

Computer Science Minor – 18 Hours

CS 1310 Programming I
CS 1311 Programming II
CS 2313 Object Oriented Programming I
CS 2315 Algorithms
CS 3340 software Engineering
Plus 3 advanced hours CS 3XXX and/or 4XXX

Student Activities and Engagement

The Department hosts Computer Science Seminars which help students learn how to be great students, as well as providing them with opportunities to learn how to interview and meet potential employers. Additionally, students can participate in the St. Mary’s student chapter of the IEEE Computer Society, a professional organization that allows students to network with professionals worldwide.

Internship and Research Opportunities

To be successful in computer science, students must be able to perform in the real world. As a result, many Computer Science students work as interns in local industry such as USAA, Southwest Research Institute, Rackspace, Labatt Food Services and Valero.

Image of Professor Fink and student working togetherThese students often work full-time in the summer and part-time in the fall and spring. Students have also done co-ops at IBM and Microsoft. Many students complete their senior project as part of their internship or as a community service project helping local non-profit organizations become technologically up-to-date.

Student research opportunities are essential components of the Computer Science program at St. Mary’s. Students may assist in faculty research involving the National Science Foundation and other grants, as well as tutor mathematics and computer science in the Learning Assistance Center.

Living and Learning, Together

Many of our students live in the Science Living Community, a residence hall dedicated to students who are majoring in the sciences. In this community students live down the hall from their classmates studying similar subjects. This community partners with the school of Science, Engineering and Technology to host programs throughout the academic year and invites faculty to visit the halls and share their passion and experiences.

Computer Science Symposium

Image of students at IT SymposiumThe Computer Science Department hosts its semi-annual Computer Science Symposium on the Friday evening of Study Week. The Symposium is a forum for and an expression of the accomplishments of St. Mary’s upper-level Computer Science majors and graduate students.

The students and groups compete for the best in their class research or product area. Their posters and presentations are judged by IT professionals from the San Antonio community. The top student or top group of each class/software division is awarded an honor cord that they may wear when they graduate.

Choosing the Right Computer Science Major

I’m interested in computer science but not sure which path to pursue.

All students in the Department of Computer Science at St. Mary’s take the same core of computer science courses regardless of the degree. As a rule of thumb, we recommend a particular degree on the following criteria.

If you are good at math:

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (with Mathematics minor)

If you are ok at math but really interested in the business side of computers:

The Bachelor of Arts in Computer Information systems (with Business minor)

You want to study computers but are also interested in other fields:

The Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science/Application Systems (with any minor)

You are interested in computer game development:

Any of the degrees, but you will take certain courses in physics, art, music, English, and Computer Science electives that will earn you the certification.

You want to pursue a master’s degree:

The combined master’s program in Computer Science or Computer Information Systems will allow you to obtain both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in about five years.

Some Frequently Asked Questions About Computer Science

Below are questions students commonly ask that can help to decide on the specific degree you want to earn in the Department of Computer Science.

Will I be able to get a job?

American universities do not graduate enough computer scientists to fill the need. In 2012, internships for computer science majors had the second highest pay – an average of $19/hour, regardless of class year (NACE 2012 Guide to Compensation for Interns and Co-ops).

Our students land internships at major companies such as Rackspace, Valero and USAA as programmers. After graduation, many students aspire to eventually move from a programmer position into a project manager, database administrator or network administrator position in these companies. These are not the only jobs that are out there.

Where do alumni work?

We have alumni at every major company in San Antonio: USAA, Rackspace, Valero, HEB, CPS Energy, Southwest Research Institute, CapGroup. Our alumni also work at national companies such as Microsoft, Symantec, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the U.S. Army, Navy and NSA.

I like computer games. Do you have anything for me?

For those interested in learning how to create computer games, we have a modeling and simulation track. It consists of four courses that support areas needed to design and implement computer games.

Next Steps

Do you still have questions about Computer Science at St. Mary’s? Contact:

Pamela K. Fink, Ph.D.
Chair, Computer Science Department

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