Computer Science

Computer Science


Computer science is an exciting, growing, challenging field that is critical to many aspects of everyday life. You can make an impact on the advancement of medicine, clean energy, entertainment, communication for the disabled, climate research, and automotive technologies to name a few. For some, the most motivational aspect of being a computer scientist is being involved in creating the next great technology that will help people the world over.

Western's program provides the problem-solving and analytical background that ensures programmers and systems analysts can produce creative programming solutions. The program is composed of core classes organized around the study of design and analysis techniques used to write software in various application domains along with details about the internal workings of computers and networks. Elective classes in areas such as artificial intelligence, mobile device programming, robotics, graphics, web programming, bioinformatics, computer security, and video game programming allow students to explore areas of individual interest. 

“Computer Science majors at Western get a first rate education with lots of one-on-one time with the faculty, but they also enjoy facing challenges together. The best thing about computer science, though, is you can get excited about a new idea and pursue it until it’s a real product.” 

Geoffrey Matthews, Faculty

Beyond the Classroom

As part of a hands-on approach, the Computer Science Department encourages students to get involved outside the classroom. 

Recent student internships: 

  • BDS Intern for Boeing 
  • IT Program Manager Intern at Microsoft
  • Software Engineering Intern at US Nexus 
  • Software Development Engineering Intern for the Files Systems Validation team at Isilon
  • ResTek Intern for Western Washington University

Other students get involved with many of the Computer Science clubs

  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) 
  • Association for Women in Computing (AWC) 
  • WWU Game Design Club
  • Collegiate Cyber Defense Club

Students in the program participate and compete in local, regional, and national events:

  • Microsoft Imagine Cup 
  • National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (WWU recently won the Northwest Regional Competition and went on to Nationals)
  • ACM Intercollegiate Programming Competition
  • WWU Hackathon
  • Bellingham Startup Challenge

“While at Western, I interned as a developer for Vitech Business Group, a supply chain management consulting firm in Bellingham, and as a program manager at Microsoft. The internship at Microsoft turned into a full-time job and now I work as a program manager in the Windows Live team at Microsoft. Being a program manager is great because I get to help plan what the team builds from the ground up and follow my product through each stage of development until it's shipped.” 

Amanda Font, Student


Careers and Graduate Studies

Advances in areas such as the World Wide Web, robotics, video games, multicore computing, artificial intelligence, and cyber security are obviously central to the discipline of computer science, and other fields such as genetics, atomic physics, renewable energy, and health care depend upon computers for advancement as well.

Careers in Computer Science

Computer scientists are highly sought after and can attain lucrative jobs directly out of college. Graduates often begin their careers doing computer programming, which is a creative process that spans a wide range of areas of expertise and is heavily influenced by the application for which the programs or software is being developed. With the Bachelor of Science degree, students are prepared for graduate study or careers in industry as systems analysts and/or designers. 

Graduates of Western's program find work at companies such as Boeing, Microsoft, Vitech, and Amazon with job titles such as: Software Development Engineers, Systems & Data Analysts, Technology Technicians, Implementation Consultants, and Sustainability Analysts.

86.8% of Computer Science graduates are either employed or continuing their education within six months of graduation, of those who responded to Western's 2015-2016 Employment Survey


Sample Jobs

  • Computational Scientist
  • Computer Engineer
  • Data Scientist
  • Database Administrator
  • Educator
  • Game Programmer
  • IT Consultant
  • Network Engineer
  • Project Manager
  • Research Analyst
  • Robotics Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Systems Administrator
  • Systems Analyst
  • Systems Engineer
  • Technical Writer
  • User Experience Designer
  • Web Developer

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.