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CIS: Computer Information Systems

Ideal preparation for information technology careers

The demand for professionals with knowledge and skills in computer technology continues to grow. Elon’s computer information systems (CIS) curriculum is designed to give students the knowledge they need to step into any computing environment and thrive. Whether your career path takes you to a Fortune 500 company, government service or graduate school, Elon CIS majors are prepared for the future of the information technology field. 

"Technology is developing at an exponential rate. The CIS department moves with and thrives on that change. I came to Elon thinking I would major in the social sciences, but the move to CIS, where there's a tight-knit community that supports students with innovative ideas, could not be a better fit."

Katherine Vogt ’11    

Foundational curriculum

The CIS curriculum at Elon focuses on the foundations of computing rather than specific technologies or software applications. This enables students to adapt to the rapid changes they will face in the computer field. Graduates of the CIS program are well suited for jobs in any business where computing and information management are critical to operations.

The CIS program offers students a choice of two majors or a minor. The Bachelor of Science degree is designed for students who seek to blend their technical capabilities with skills specific to business administration. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree may choose to combine their CIS coursework with skills specific to other disciplines. Elon also offers B.S. and A.B. degrees in computer science, and minors in multimedia authoring and geographical information systems (GIS).

The guidelines for Elon’s CIS curriculum are based on accreditation guidelines established by ABET, the recognized accreditor for college and university programs in computing, engineering and technology. Students balance the study of computing principles and technology with a focus on responsibly managing information systems for businesses and organizations. 

Outstanding facilities and equipment

The Department of Computing Sciences offers students the latest in computer hardware and software to enhance their learning. Because computing sciences classes at Elon are small — averaging 15 students per class — hands-on learning begins on day one. The department prides itself on having a balanced teaching approach between theory and practical application. 

Computer labs are easily accessible and located throughout campus. To ensure students use the latest in hardware and software, Elon replaces about a quarter of its computers each year with the latest models. This ensures that every computer used by a student is less than four years old. Also, software on each computer is updated twice annually with the latest releases from vendors. All computers are connected to the campus network and can access department servers and Elon servers. 

The Department of Computing Sciences has two labs exclusively reserved for its majors. One lab has 12 MacPro desktops with dual monitors, dual operating systems of Apple Leopard and Microsoft Vista, and is available 24 hours a day. The other lab is a specialized network lab with 16 computers for building prototype networks. Both labs are close to faculty offices to facilitate collaboration and learning. 

The department has a server room housing a grid computing cluster of eight machines and four multiprocessor server machines. Each machine in the cluster has dual processors and more than a gigabyte of memory. The servers include a Linux server, an Oracle 11 server for database and enterprise application development, and two Web application servers that run both IIS and Apache for Web development classes.

Current software programs include:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional: Visual Basic 2008, Visual C# 2008 and Visual C++ 2008
  • Java interactive development environments: Eclipse, NetBuilder and Rational Application Developer
  • Programming scripting languages: Perl, Python, PHP and Tcl
  • Database software: Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL and Derby
  • Statistical packages: Matlab, Mathematica and SPSS
  • Programming languages: Java, C++, C, Prolog and Scheme
  • Case tools: Visible Analyst, Rational Rose and Visio
  • Web browsers: IE, Firefox, Safari and Opera
  • Other standard software tools: Cold Fusion, Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, SharePoint, InDesign, Microsoft Office Professional, CVS, Subversion, Tomcat, Cygwin, WebSphere and IBM Rational Rose.

Active faculty scholars

Students regularly cite close collaboration with talented, dedicated faculty as one of their most meaningful experiences at Elon. As a CIS major, you will work closely with faculty mentors such as Lynn Heinrichs, an expert on computer networking; Megan Squire, an experienced Web-based systems and data mining professional; Duke Hutchings, an expert in human computer interaction; and Alexander Yap, an expert in e-business and e-commerce models. Faculty members are active scholars conducting research with students related to Internet communities, disaster recovery planning, network broadcasting and data mining.

“Classes are fun and full of hands-on, cooperative and experiential learning opportunities. The faculty couldn’t be better with their knowledge of modern technology, resourcefulness, and accessibility in and out of the classroom.”

Maggie Presley ’08

Learning outside the classroom

CIS majors are encouraged to participate in the many opportunities for hands-on learning at Elon, including study abroad, internships and research. Approximately 73 percent of Elon’s graduates have spent an academic term abroad while at Elon, ranking the university first in the nation among master’s level institutions for the percentage of students who study abroad. Additionally, about 80 percent of Elon students participate in internships and more than 15 percent of students conduct research each year.

Attractive career options

Careers in the computing and information technology fields have been in demand for decades, and the trend shows no signs of slowing. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer information systems to be one of the fastest-growing occupations over the next decade, and it is expected to grow 37 percent by 2016. With a degree in CIS from Elon, recent students have gone on to graduate study and to work in a variety of positions, such as systems analyst, database developer, program manager, Web developer and more, with companies including Travelers Insurance, Verizon, Credit Suisse and more.


Visit the Department of Computing Sciences Website. 

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