Computer Science Major (BA)

The BA in Computer Science program supports the mission of the University by providing a flexible curriculum focusing on the advanced practices of computer science grounded in a strong liberal arts core curriculum. Students have the flexibility to choose a wider range of elective courses, which can also allow them to pursue a variety of minors or even double majors. Students may obtain a concentration in Computer Engineering or Software Engineering.

The Program Educational Objectives (PEOs) are broad statements that describe what alumni do within a few years following graduation. The BA in Computer Science program is committed to our alumni who, within a few years of their graduation, are expected to:

  1. Be employed in a field that makes use of computer science background.
  2. Continue the process of life-long learning through formal and informal education.
  3. Communicate effectively.
  4. Practice professional ethics with social responsibility.

The program emphasizes the complete development of computing-based solutions. Students learn how to gather requirements, design, develop, test, deploy, and maintain software using rigorous computing practices. They are taught how to leverage technology to create flexible and scalable applications and to address the challenges that arise during the development process. Also, the program exposes students to a range of other disciplines, such as the physical sciences, social sciences, languages and literature, and the arts, so they gain a broad understanding of the computer science environment.

Fairfield’s computer science curriculum encompasses a truly unique combination of experiences:

  • Experiential Hands-On Learning: A unique curriculum provides opportunities for computer science students to obtain the equivalent of 20 months of real-world experience through a sophomore year service-learning initiative, a junior year entrepreneurial experience, and an industry-based senior capstone project. 
  • Cross-Disciplinary Engineering Exposure: As part of the School of Engineering, computer science students have access to other engineering disciplines and engineering-heavy industries, which expands career opportunities exponentially.
  • Student Mentoring: By volunteering as high school mentors, students learn valuable management skills, they become comfortable explaining highly technical concepts simply and clearly, and they experience the satisfaction of sharing their knowledge to help others.
  • Liberal Arts Core: A strong foundation in the liberal arts encourages engineers to think critically, design imaginatively, communicate clearly and collaborate productively. 
  • Academic/Research Activities and Internship: Companies from a variety of domains, such as The Weather Company (visualization), Servo-Robot (artificial intelligence and user interface design), Federal Aviation Administration (software engineering and data mining), Saugatuck Energy (artificial intelligence) have an on-campus presence and provide computer science students opportunities to interact with industry leaders.

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science

122 credits

For a major in computer science, students complete the following:

Foundation Courses
CPSC 1101Introduction to Computing3
or ENGR 1031 Fundamentals of Engineering
CPSC 1131Fundamentals of Programming3
CPSC 2231Programming Workshop3
CPSC 2231LProgramming Workshop Lab1
CPSC 2232Data Structures3
CPSC 2232LData Structures Lab1
Computing and Software Depth
CPSC 2250LComputer Science Sophomore Clinic1
CPSC 2304Web Development3
CPSC 3351LComputer Science Junior Clinic I1
CPSC 3352LComputer Science Junior Clinic II1
CPSC 3354Theory of Programming Languages3
SWEG 3301Software Engineering Methods3
SWEG 3302Software Design Methods3
Select four major elective courses 112
Total Credits41

Optional Concentrations

Concentrations in Software Engineering and Computer Engineering are available to students majoring in Computer Science. These concentrations build on required courses in the program and require students to complete additional credits.

Computer Engineering Concentration

CPEG 2245
Digital Design I
and Digital Design I Lab
CPEG 3346Computer Systems Architecture3
Select two courses from the following:6-7
Digital Electronics Design II
Biomedical Signal Processing
Computer Networks
Network Security
Biomedical Imaging
Embedded Microcontrollers
and Embedded Microcontrollers Lab
Total Credits13-14

Software Engineering Concentration

SWEG 3301
CPSC 3351L
Software Engineering Methods
and Computer Science Junior Clinic I
SWEG 3302
CPSC 3352L
Software Design Methods
and Computer Science Junior Clinic II
SWEG 4320Software Testing and Maintenance3
SWEG 4321Software Project Management3
or SWEG 4312 Agile Software Engineering
Total Credits14

Magis Core Relationship to the Computer Science Major

The Computer Science BA degree requires the completion of the Magis Core requirements shown below, 41 major elective course credits, and 36 general elective course credits.

Tier I: Orientation

ENGL 1001Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition3
Select one HIST 1000-level course3
MATH 1121Applied Calculus I3
Modern or Classical Language
Select one language course based on placement 13
PHIL 1101Introduction to Philosophy3
Religious Studies
Select one RLST 1000-level course3
Modern/Classical Language or Mathematics
MATH 1122Applied Calculus II3
Total Credits21

Tier II: Exploration

Behavioral and Social Sciences
Select two courses from the following fields:6
Psychology (except PSYC 1610)
Sociology and Anthropology (except ANTH 1200 and ANTH 1210)
History, Philosophy, Religious Studies
Select two 2000- or 3000-level courses from two different disciplines6
Select one course from the following fields:3
Modern Languages and Literatures
Natural Sciences
Select two courses from the following fields:6
Biological Anthropology
Biomedical Anthropology
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Behavioral Neuroscience
Visual and Performing Arts
Select one 1000-level course from the following fields in Visual and Performing Arts:3
Art History and Visual Culture
Film, Television, and Media Arts
Studio Art
Total Credits24

A typical, full-time, four-year plan of study appears below. Some variation may be possible. Students should always discuss their individual plan of study with their advisor prior to registering for courses. 

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
CPSC 1101
Introduction to Computing (placement based)
or Fundamentals of Engineering
ENGL 1001 Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition 3
MATH 1121 Applied Calculus I 3
PHIL 1101 Introduction to Philosophy 3
Modern/Classical Language Orientation Tier 5 3
CPSC 1131 Fundamentals of Programming 3
MATH 1122 Applied Calculus II 3
Literature Exploration Tier 7 3
Religious Studies Orientation Tier 1 3
General Elective 8 3
Second Year
CPSC 2250L Computer Science Sophomore Clinic 1
CPSC 2231 Programming Workshop 3
CPSC 2231L Programming Workshop Lab 1
CPSC 2304 Web Development 3
Behavioral and Social Sciences Exploration Tier 3 3
History Orientation Tier 1 3
Natural Science Exploration Tier 9 3
CPSC 2232 Data Structures 3
CPSC 2232L Data Structures Lab 1
Behavioral and Social Sciences Exploration Tier 3 3
History or Philosophy or Religious Studies Exploration Tier 2 3
History or Philosophy or Religious Studies Exploration Tier 2 3
General Elective 8 3
Third Year
CPSC 3351L Computer Science Junior Clinic I 1
SWEG 3301 Software Engineering Methods 3
Natural Sciences Exploration Tier 9 3
General Elective 8 3
General Elective 8 3
General Elective 8 3
SWEG 3302 Software Design Methods 3
CPSC 3352L Computer Science Junior Clinic II 1
Major Elective 4 3
Visual and Performing Arts Exploration Tier 6 3
General Elective 8 3
General Elective 8 3
Fourth Year
CPSC 3354 Theory of Programming Languages 3
Major Elective 4 3
General Elective 8 3
General Elective 8 3
General Elective 8 3
Major Elective 4 3
Major Elective 4 3
General Elective 8 3
General Elective 8 3
 Total Credits122