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Computer Science

The undergraduate programs prepare students for careers in diverse areas of application of Computer Science and Computer Information Systems. The MS program provides a strong graduate-level core foundation in Computer Science while also allowing exploration into other areas of interest in the discipline.

The department offers students the opportunity to earn the distinction of Honors in Computer Science or Honors in Computer Information Systems. This recognition appears on the permanent transcript and diploma. The Honors award confers a distinction that enhances opportunities for graduate school and employment.

Faculty and Facilities

The breadth of faculty expertise is evident from the many courses offered in operating systems and networks, programming languages, security, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, computer architecture, database systems, computer theory,  software engineering, and web programming, and from the variety of professional consulting and research projects in which the faculty are involved.

The College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management (ECC) is housed in the O'Connell Technology Center. ECC maintains a large site to support its computing and technology needs. Currently, the College manages 19 labs with a combined total of more than 300 machines (not including machines in faculty and department offices), several physical and virtual servers and multiple operating systems, supporting approximately 20,000 users. ECC buildings have full coverage Wi-Fi access.

Computing facilities available to computer science majors include five general-purpose labs containing high-end PCs, running Windows variants and having access to UNIX/Linux servers. One of the labs is designated as a computer networks laboratory where students get hands-on experience in computer security and network management by designing, configuring, and reconfiguring various types of networks, and through the analysis of data obtained from network analyzers. The department houses the Institute for Research in Intelligent Systems (IRIS) and the Intelligent Systems Lab (ISL), providing robotics resources for curriculum, collaborative research, and outreach. The department is also a member of the Microsoft MSDN Academic Alliance, giving all students free access to Microsoft software including operating systems and various development tools.

Student Organizations

Student chapters of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) international honor society are active on campus. Additionally, the Chico State Linux User's Group (CSLUG), Network for Women in Technology (NeWT), American Institute of Mechatronic Engineers (AIME), and the Computer Graphics Consortium (CGC), and many other student organizations and clubs provide opportunities for various student activities.

Cooperative Educational Experience

The computer industry holds the department in high regard, in part due to its active participation in the Cooperative Educational  Experience Program. Students are placed with firms such as IBM, Chevron Corporation, Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, and various government laboratories. Selected students take a planned educational leave for a term and a summer (six to eight months) to work in their discipline and receive normal employee salary and academic credit for their valuable experience.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Career Guide to Industries, "the computer systems design and related services industry is expected to experience rapid growth, adding 489,000 jobs between 2006 and 2016. Professional and related workers will enjoy the best job prospects, reflecting continuing demand for higher level skills needed to keep up with changes in technology."

Occupations that are expected to grow rapidly include network systems and data communications analysts, software engineers, computer systems analysts, and network and computer systems administrators. Information on particular occupations may be found in the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Graduates of the BS or MS programs can look forward to a stimulating variety of career opportunities, as employment prospects for trained computer scientists are expected to remain very high. The Minor in Computer Science or the Minor in Information Technology will benefit students of all disciplines, given the current trend toward hiring graduates who have strong technology skills.


Both the BS in Computer Science and the BS in Computer Information Systems degree programs are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012, telephone: (410) 347-7700.

Catalog Cycle:11