Computer Science

Major

Minor

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Additional Program Information

By 2024, there will be more than three million computer science jobs in the U.S. Over the next eight years, 800,000 jobs will become available across the country. The typical entry-level education for these positions is a bachelor’s degree. Despite these projections, women comprise a lower percentage of the workforce employed in the computer science field. Only 26 percent of the professional computing workforce in the U.S. are women, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT).

Sweet Briar’s computer science program builds a solid foundation in the widely used programming languages Python, Java and C/ C++. Electives include the popular languages Swift and R. Combined with Sweet Briar’s strong liberal arts tradition, coursework will foster the ability to write and communicate effectively, understand ethical considerations and make connections across disciplines.

What is distinctive about studying computer science at Sweet Briar?

  • Our program is practical rather than theoretical. Sweet Briar has a strong tradition in STEM education and is one of only two women’s colleges in the country to offer an ABET-accredited engineering degree. Sweet Briar is now building on its STEM successes by establishing a computer science major.
  • In collaboration with Silicon Valley experts at companies like Google, Sweet Briar College has built a curriculum that is immediately relevant to industry needs — with upper-level electives including cybersecurity, computer vision and data science. Rigorous computer science coursework is balanced with a well-rounded education that spans the liberal arts and sciences.

Our classes include:

  • Computer Science ClassIntroduction to Engineering Design — Students gain an appreciation for the broad range of problems addressed by engineers and computer scientists, using team-based hands-on projects; includes some Arduino programming
  • Introduction to Computer Science, Data Science, and Data Structures — Students learn to program in Python for two semesters, from the basics to more advanced ideas such as data abstraction and algorithmic efficiency
  • Software Development — Students learn to program in Java, with an emphasis on the role of the individual programmer in large software development projects
  • Computer Systems — Students investigate systems programs and structures using a Unix-based operating system and the languages C and C++
  • Computer Security — Students learn the fundamentals of cyber security: applied cryptography, robust software, networking and wireless security, and methods to secure networks, prevent attacks, ensure privacy and protect electronic assets.
  • Data Science — Students use the R statistical language to extract information from large amounts of data. Topics include data mining and processing, data visualization and presentation, and techniques for scaling information retrieval to big data sets.
  • Computer Vision — Students learn how to use digital images and video to determine information and make decisions about the environment. Topics include feature detection, 3-D shape reconstruction, object recognition, visual search and motion estimation.

What can you do with a degree in computer science?

Employment prospects in programming, computer security, robotics, data science and related fields are among the best in the nation. And since computing is part of nearly everything we do in the 21st century, a graduate who wishes to pursue a career in the sciences, medicine, business or the arts will find that her computer science skills help her succeed throughout our technology-driven economy.