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Computer Science: Your Open Door

Spelman College Students With LaptopsSome Spelman College first-year students may be timid entering, but they graduate as women who have discovered their key interests, pursued them and are ready to compete in any arena.

Growing up in Michigan, Shelby Thomas, C'2012, found her calling early. In middle school, she took a community college Web design course and “fell in love with it.” Then her mom, who worked in information technology, suggested she study computer science. Thomas, who majored in computer and information sciences, credits Spelman’s “Geek Week” for introducing CIS students to opportunities at companies including Google, Electronic Arts and Microsoft. Thomas, who served as a computer science peer educator, has interned twice at NASA’s Marshall Space Center working on software development and conducting tests on C++ code written for the Ares rocket's flight computer.

"The great thing about computer science is its vast opportunities in areas including Web design, gaming, robotics, and artificial intelligence. The list is endless," Thomas said. She  currenlty holds the role of  manager, UX Design, at Bose. Prior to her role there, Thomas held several roles at General Motors including product design lead, Direct to Consumer Vehicle eCommerce.

Major Requirements

Required Courses

Forty-five to 48 semester hours are required for the bachelor of science in computer science, including 36 required core course hours and at least three additional elective courses chosen from any computer and information science courses at the 300 level or above. In addition to the credit-bearing courses, participation in first-year and senior seminars is required. Computer science majors are required to take CIS 113 Discovering Computer Science: Python as a prerequisite to CIS 123 Computer Science 1: Python. Each of the courses presented for the major must be completed with a grade of C or better. The numbers following the course names indicate the credit hours, lecture hours, and laboratory hours, respectively.

Core Courses

(36 Hours)
  • CIS 113 Discovering Computer Science: Python (4-3-2)
  • CIS 123 Computer Science I: Python (4-3-2)
  • CIS 181, 182 First-Year Seminar (0-1-0)
  • CIS 215 Data Structures and Theoretical Foundations of Computer Science (4-3-2)
  • CIS 216 Computer Organization and Design (4-3-2)
  • CIS 313 Data Structures and Algorithm Analysis (4-3-0)
  • CIS 328 Introduction to Database Management Systems Design (4-3-0)
  • CIS 343 Operating Systems and Computer Architecture (4-3-1)
  • CIS 346 Theory of Programming Languages (4-3-0)
  • CIS 481 Senior Seminar I (0-1-0)
  • CIS 482 Senior Seminar II (1-1-0)
  • One of the following two courses: 
  • CIS 472 Software Engineering (4-3-0)
  • CIS 485 Senior Design Project (4-0-3)
Note: Independent study/research hours may not be counted as required hours in computer science.

Cognate Courses

  • MATH 231 Calculus I
  • MATH 232 Calculus II
  • MATH 233 Foundations of Mathematics OR MATH 205 General Statistics OR MATH 214 Linear Algebra and Application
  • MATH 234 Discrete Mathematics
Two semesters of calculus-based Physics:
  • PHY 151 and PHY 241 (or a student may substitute PHY241 for an alternative science course with approval of the department chair.)

Computer Science Minor Requirements

The computer science minor is designed primarily for students with a science background. It consists of six courses.

The three required courses for this option are:

  • CIS 111
  • CIS 121 and either
  • CIS 215
  • CIS 216

One elective may be chosen from CIS courses numbered 210 or above. The final two electives must be chosen from courses numbered 300 or above with consultation from the department.

For example, students may choose courses from the set CIS 313, CIS 346, CIS 346, and CIS 465, or from the set CIS 302, CIS 328, CIS 413, CIS 401, and CIS 465.

The suggested mathematical cognates for this option are MATH 214 and MATH 234.

Information Sciences Minor Requirements

The Information Science minor is designed for non-science majors and is oriented toward business and information science. MATH 107 is the required mathematics course, but MATH 115 or higher is acceptable.

The minor consists of six courses, which must include:

  • CIS 121
  • CIS 215
  • CIS 213 or CIS 216 and
  • CIS 313 or CIS 328 or CIS 343

Two electives may be chosen from CIS courses listed as electives in the option above, or MGT 300, Principles of Management.

Other substitutions may be made with approval by the Department.

What Can I Do With This Major?

Computer Science 
  • Software Developer: Design, code, test, and maintain software applications and systems.
  • Systems Analyst: Evaluate and improve existing computer systems, ensuring they meet organizational needs.
  • Data Scientist: Analyze and interpret complex data to help organizations make informed decisions.
  • Cybersecurity Analyst: Protect an organization’s computer systems and networks from cyber threats.
  • AI/Machine Learning Engineer: Develop algorithms and models that enable machines to perform tasks intelligently.
  • Database Administrator: Design, implement, and maintain database systems to ensure data integrity and accessibility.
Information Sciences 
  • Business Analyst: Analyze business needs and develop information systems solutions to improve business processes.
  • Information Systems Manager: Oversee an organization’s IT infrastructure, ensuring systems are running smoothly and efficiently.
  • Data Analyst: Collect, process, and perform statistical analyses on large datasets to help organizations make data-driven decisions.
  • User Experience (UX) Designer: Design and improve the usability and accessibility of digital products and services.
  • Systems Analyst: Analyze and design information systems that help organizations operate more efficiently and effectively.

Computer Science Alumna Shelby Thomas, C'2012

Passionate and versatile design leader with a keen interest in design thinking education, team empowerment, and process improvement. My journey in Information Technology has given me a unique perspective, from meticulously troubleshooting code issues to leading teams of software developers and bridging the gap between design and business objectives.

"As a user experience manager, I bring a wealth of experience, strategic thinking, and a commitment to excellence. I eagerly contribute to meaningful projects and set new standards in product design management."

Thomas was the recipient of the General Motors Critical Technical Talent Award in 2022.

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