About the Major
The Computer Science major focuses on software design and development. Students learn several computer languages, such as Java and C++. These languages are then used by the student to design and program software systems to perform specific tasks. The Department of Computer Sciences offers both a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts. Individual and group programming assignments are found in the courses required for this major. The programs include programming languages, algorithms and data structures, software methodology and tools, and computer hardware. This foundation supports further hands-on study where students develop interactive graphics packages; build their own microcomputer from integrated circuit chips; learn about computational processes in artificial intelligence that model human knowledge and reasoning; and design and maintain large software projects.
The Bachelor of Science degree program in Computer Science is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Computer Sciences Accreditation Board, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Students who complete this program will obtain a significant degree of technical competence and breadth of exposure to segments of the discipline and will supplement their program with courses from mathematics and science. This degree requires 43 semester hours of computer science courses.
The Bachelor of Arts degree program is appropriate for students who have an interest in Computer Science, but wish to pursue another major (or minor) course of study as well. This program is especially attractive to students who wish to study both mathematics and computer science, or for students who want to focus on computer applications in business, education, the arts, or other areas. This degree requires 27 hours of computer science courses.
About the Minor
Requirements for a minor in Computer Sciences are eight hours of Computer Science courses and nine hours of Computer Science electives.
Departmental Honors in Computer Science may be earned by students who fulfill these requirements:
- Achieve a 3.5 GPA in Computer Science courses that apply to the major
- Prepare a proposal for work on a research project that goes beyond normal coursework two semesters prior to graduation and have it approved by two members of the department
- Complete the research project under the direction of these two faculty members and enroll in three semester hours of Undergraduate Research (CSC 499)
- Prepare a written report of publishable quality using the format of the "Association for Computing Machinery" and present the results of the project to faculty and students at an announced time
- Receive final approval of the work by the departmental faculty
Outreach and Engaged Learning
All programs offer collaborative projects and provide additional coursework in conjunction with Mercer's Schools of Engineering and Business.
Students also enhance their experience in computer science by participating in the Computer Science Cooperative Program. This program allows students to gain computer-related experience through local businesses and industries.
The Mercer University Binary Bears are the university's premier computer programming team. The group meets weekly and practices for various competitions around the country. The team made the 2007 World Finals and ranked top 8 percent in the world that year after tying for first place in the Southeast and beating Georgia Tech. They have also had five straight years among the best 10 teams in the ACM Southeastern Regionals and winners of the 2010, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, and 1995 CCSC Titles.
There is also the Cyber Defense Team, made up of teams of students who set up secure networks and then experts try to break into the students' networks. Students from numerous universities participate in the competition.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Students who major in computer science are required to take the Major Field Achievement Test in computer science during their senior year. Students are encouraged to participate in the Department's Undergraduate Research Program where they work closely with a faculty member on a research problem in computer science. Results of students' work are presented at the local, regional, national, or international level.
In the Classroom
The Computer Science faculty members are well-versed in a vast array of technological mediums. The faculty enjoys the one-on-one interaction the programs provide and take pride in being approachable and eager to find time to meet with students whenever they need assistance on homework or projects. They remain academic and professional mentors to students participating in the program.
Computers have become an essential tool in everyday life. From teaching programming to explaining computational problems, Mercer's Department of Computer Science prepares students to become the leaders in the field of technology. Any one of these majors prepares one to enter the technical job market or to continue studies at the graduate level. Graduates quickly find jobs as:
- Programmer analysts
- Network administrators
- Graphics and game developers
- Graduate studies