The computer science major at Penn State provides students with the experience and knowledge that will prepare them for a productive lifelong career in industry, government, or further study at the graduate level. Students begin by developing a solid background in math, science, and programming. This is followed by a computer science core consisting of operating systems, programming languages, data structures and algorithms, and computational theory. Through electives that build on this core, students can develop expertise in application development, networks, security, computer graphics, databases, compilers, machine learning, computer vision, numerical analysis, concurrent computing, and software engineering.
The computer science curriculum is organized with two goals in mind. First, upon graduation, a student must be prepared to meet immediate demands in solving computational problems. Second, a student must have sufficient understanding of basic principles and concepts in computer science to avoid technological obsolescence in the rapidly changing computer environment. This program is intended to produce computer science professionals and not merely technicians with some training in computer programming. Success requires a strong aptitude in mathematics.
Computer science is a rapidly evolving discipline. Graduates are employed by all sectors of industry, government, and academic institutions. Their work may involve the design and implementation of software for computer systems, the analysis and design of algorithms, or the use of computers for various applications. They also may work on research and development of new computer systems, study their reliability and fault tolerance, evaluate their performance, investigate computer communication requirements, or work on artificial intelligence and robotics.