Perspective Students

Welcome to the UMW computer science perspective student page! We have two major programs, computer science and cybersecurity.


Computer Science

Want to write cutting-edge software? Code the next killer app? Computer scientists find innovative solutions to complex problems. Our bachelor’s program combines theory, application, technique, and design. Explore coding, computer architecture, operating systems, and software engineering, and choose from electives in networks, artificial intelligence, 3D graphics, cybersecurity, and more.


Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to mitigate the ever-growing number of cyber threats that we all face in a more and more connected world. Whether defending systems from intrusion, developing more secure software, analyzing new forms of malicious software, or implementing new cryptographic methods, there is a wealth of areas in cybersecurity that need talented professionals who can not only handle the tasks of today, but also innovate and tackle the security challenges of tomorrow.


Which Major Should I Pick?

Generally students who enjoy coding more and want to work as a software developer should consider major in computer science. Students who prefer the cybersecurity topics and want to work as a cyber analyst should consider the cybersecurity major. However the coursework for the first one or two years is actually the same between computer science and cybersecurity. So students do not need to pick between the two majors right away. By the time you are at the point where the majors diverge, you will have a good sense which of the two is right for you.


Why Study CS at UMW?

  • Small class sizes – Unlike larger schools, we do not have huge classes with hundreds of people in them. Our classes are limited to around 25 students. That means that you will get to know your instructors well and be able to get help when you need it. At UMW, you are never “just a number” but instead part of our community of teachers and learners.
  • Our faculty – We have ten full-time faculty members with a broad range of interests, including cybersecurity, machine learning, human-computer interaction, game programming, networks and more. We also have several part-time adjunct instructors who are employed full-time in the field, and share their experience by teaching with us. At UMW our classes are taught by experts who love teaching, not graduate students. Also, because we do not have graduate students in computer science, you will have the chance to work on research projects with a faculty member.
  • Location – UMW is in Fredericksburg VA, which is about 45 miles south of Washington D.C. That means there are great internship and job openings at a number of government agencies, such as the FBI, and private companies such as MITRE and General Dynamics. About 25 miles to the east is the Dahlgren Naval base which hires a large number of students into technology roles. About 30 miles to the north is Culpeper VA, which is the home to technology companies such as SWIFT, one of the world’s largest telebanking companies. So while Fredericksburg offers a small-town feel, there are incredible job opportunities just outside of town. Virtually all of our students are gainfully employed soon after completing their degree.

Where to start?

Students who have little or no prior programming experience should select CPSC 110 as their first CPSC course. This course is taught using the Python programming language. Students with programming experience should select CPSC 220 as their first CPSC course.

Students who have completed an AP course in computer science and earned a 5 on the exam can be given credit for CPSC 220 and enroll in CPSC 240 and CPSC 284. These students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Java programming language before beginning CPSC 240.


Have questions?

If you have any questions about Computer Science at UMW, please email the department chair, Ian Finlayson.