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Computer Science

Problem solving for the Information Age

Few advances in technology have had the large-scale impact of computers. Computers have changed the way we live, work, play and learn. With information technology now an integral part of our global community, specialists in computer science and related fields will continue to be in high demand. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer science to be one of the fastest-growing occupations over the next decade, with an expected growth of 37 percent by 2016. Because the study of computing emphasizes problem-solving techniques that apply to many disciplines, computer science majors will be prepared for virtually any career. 

In Elon’s Department of Computing Sciences, you will receive an excellent foundation in mathematics and computation, along with a sound liberal arts background. Elon provides the necessary resources for you to graduate with the knowledge and expertise required to step into any computing environment — corporate, government or academic. The department offers Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees, as well as a minor in computer science. Elon also offers a major and minors in computer information systems (CIS) and multimedia authoring. Offering computer science and information systems degrees within one department provides a unique opportunity for students to experience both fields and choose courses from each that extend the depth and breadth of their knowledge.  

“Computer science is a field that is ever-changing, and Elon's Department of Computing Sciences helps you prepare for the constant evolution of technology from day one. Each aspect of the department and the education you receive is exemplary.”

Edwin Thompson ’08

Premier 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 dedicated server room containing four multiprocessor server machines and an eight machine grid computing node. The servers are configured to use the latest in Ubuntu Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems along with the latest in server software for Web and database development. Elon students also have access to the latest software, including:

  • Android SDK
  • Google Web Toolkit
  • Google App Engine
  • 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 and WebSphere. 

“Elon’s computer science program provides students with an excellent, cutting-edge experience that is fully engaging. By staying current with the latest technology, this program ensures that students will excel and lead their peers in the industry.”

Bradford Nock ’09

Active learning opportunities 

Computer science majors are encouraged to participate in the many opportunities for hands-on learning at Elon, including study abroad and internships. One student combined both programs by studying at the University of Sydney in Australia, where she worked with a research group to design and develop algorithms.

Students have completed internships at companies such as Big Huge Games, IBM, JP Morgan, Merk, LabCorp, Gilbarco and Red Hat. Students can enhance their learning by joining the student chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery. In addition to local activities, students and faculty advisers regularly attend regional conferences where students present research findings.

Research with faculty

As a computer science major, you will work side-by-side with a talented and experienced faculty. Faculty support student research projects in areas such as mobile computing, machine learning, game programming, data mining and decision analysis. Computer science students and faculty participate in Elon’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program and present their research on campus at the annual Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF).

Challenging fellows program 

Exceptional students planning to major in computer science may qualify for Elon College Fellows, a challenging and exciting program in the College of Arts and Sciences, or the Honors Fellows program. Fifty students are selected for the program each year. View the Elon Fellows programs Web site for more information.

Career options

With a degree in computer science, or a minor or concentration in a related field, there are a variety of career options available to you including applications programming, software engineering, systems analysis, Web development and more. Elon computer science alumni may be found working at a number of well-known companies, including Bayer, Clarkston Consulting, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Logik, the National Security Agency, Red Hat, Slick Edit and Symantec. Elon also offers students excellent preparation for graduate school. Recent graduates have pursued advanced study at the following institutions:

  • Clemson University
  • DePaul University
  • Florida State University
  • Georgia Tech
  • North Carolina State University
  • The University of Notre Dame
  • The College of William & Mary
  • Wake Forest University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Virginia Tech.     


Visit the Department of Computing Sciences Website.

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