Computer Science B.A.

The Computer Science B.A. degree is designed for students who would like to study foundations of computation while also experiencing the intellectual exploration of a liberal arts education.

Offered in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Computer Science B.A. focuses on learning and then applying specific programming languages and programming theory to build models, find patterns and solve computational puzzles. 

In the age of digital information, the Computer Science B.A. enables you to develop programming and digital network management skills desired by employers, while also allowing you to explore other interests in areas such as the natural and mathematical sciences, business, the arts and humanities or the social sciences.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is offered through the School of Informatics and Computing. Computer Science minor is also offered, for more information contact advisor.

Coursework

Getting started

Typically, students interested in Computer Science B.A. will explore the major by taking one of the required introductory courses, CSCI-C211 Introduction to Computer Science or CSCI-C200 Introduction to Computers and Programming. Alternatively, they may consider INFO-I 101 Introduction to Informatics, which is not a major requirement, but will introduce main subjects related to technology and informatics, including basic programming. To find out which option is for you, contact the advisor.

Tracks and concentrations

The Computer Science B.A. does not have formal tracks or concentrations, allowing you to explore and build foundational and practical skills in many potential areas of interest, including:

  • Coding in multiple computer languages
  • Programming for business
  • Intelligence network systems
  • Cyber security
  • Searching and organizing data
  • Game design
  • Robotics
  • Mobile app development
  • Web design and development

If you are majoring in another liberal arts field, you can also develop programming skills that will enhance your career prospects. For example, students majoring in a foreign language and computer science may aim for a career as a foreign language software developer.

Upper level coursework

After completing the introductory computer science coursework, students may choose   300 and 400 level electives in the major, with the help of their academic advisor.

Commonly pursued majors, minors and certificates

The Computer Science B.A. is designed for students who might want to pursue additional majors, as well as minors or certificates in a variety of disciplines. Here are examples of some common degree combinations with computer science:

  • Cognitive Science
  • Economics
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Kelley School of Business
  • Media School

Check your bulletin for more options suitable for you. Contact the Computer Science B.A. academic advisor for help in developing an academic plan that combines your areas of interest effectively.

Enhance your major

Working with faculty

When pursuing a Computer Science B.A. degree, you have the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise and experience in many fields. Take advantage of office hours to talk with your instructors about your performance in class, the content of readings and assignments, and how the course helps you work toward your goals.

Advanced students who wish to continue studying computer science on a graduate level are encouraged to engage in collaborative study projects with the faculty. After an assessment of your options and eligibility with an instructor, you may opt to take one of the following individual research courses:

  • CSCI-Y 390 Undergraduate Independent Study
  • CSCI-Y 399 Undergraduate Independent System Development

Computer Science B.A. students who are fluent in widely-used coding languages (such as Java and Python) are in demand to assist with many research projects on campus. You may want to talk to faculty in another department or program about arranging an individual research project outside of computer science, particularly if you are pursuing a major or minor in those fields.

Honors

If you have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher and a Computer Science B.A. GPA of 3.3 or higher you may wish to take honors versions of courses, independent study, and research, leading you to earn a Computer Science B.A. with Honors.

You should start this in the second semester of your sophomore year or the first semester of your junior year. Students who choose the honors degree option must satisfy the requirements for the B.A. in Computer Science and complete at least 11 credit hours of honors (CSCI-H) courses or CSCI-Y 499 Honors Research (leading to an honors thesis). The undergraduate academic advisor will assist with additional detailed information and a completion plan.

High-achieving students may be recognized for Academic Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences, or be eligible for admission to the Hutton Honors College.

Undergraduate scholarships and awards

Computer Science B.A. students can apply for all scholarships and awards and financial aid offered to the eligible candidates through Indiana University Bloomington and the College of Arts and Sciences. These resources include:

Internships

Internships offer you a chance to develop both technical and transferable skills while making vital professional contacts with others in the field. Many students begin exploring internship opportunities, including overseas study programs with internships, as early as their freshman year. Learn more about internships, including the possibility of receiving credit, through The Walter Center for Career Achievement, where you’ll find many resources for both domestic and international internships. Computer Science B.A. students should meet with their Computer Science B.A. career coach regularly.

Computer Science B.A. majors are also welcome to visit the School of Informatics and Computing Career Services for information about internship opportunities in the technology industry. 

Advanced Computer Science B.A. majors may seek permission to take the internship course CSCI-Y 399 Project in Professional Practice. Ask your academic advisor about eligibility.

Previous Computer Science students have found internship opportunities with organizations such as these:

Learn more about which companies often hire computer science interns.

Foreign language study

Among the goals of a liberal arts education at IU Bloomington are the study of the international community and the development of basic communication skills in a foreign language. Computer Science B.A. majors study a foreign language through at least the second semester of the second year.

Computer Science graduates working in business and industry usually work in complex teams, often with people from various nations and cultures. Foreign language study provides insight into other cultures and other patterns of thought and expression. Proficiency in a foreign language can enhance your career opportunities, particularly with certain types of employers.

As one of the premier institutions in the U.S. for the study of languages, IU Bloomington offers courses and resources in over 60 languages

Here is a sampling of language study resources available to students at IU Bloomington:

Overseas study

Study abroad is an important part of undergraduate education in an increasingly globalized world. As a computer science major, you are eligible to apply for many study abroad programs. 

Computer science students are encouraged to participate in one of many mainstreamed programs in English or other languages offered through the Office of the Overseas Studies. Among them are:

You may also be interested in overseas internship opportunities. Overseas internships for computer science majors are likely to be conducted in English-speaking technical settings. If you are interested in an internship in a non-English speaking location, you need to have substantial knowledge of and proficiency in the host language.

Learn more about study abroad opportunities through conversation with your academic advisor.

Student groups

Joining a student club enhances your teamwork and communication skills, as well as providing opportunities for extended participation in activities related to your academic field with peers. The Computer Science Club provides those opportunities for majors, minors and all other students interested in computers. Please contact your academic advisor for information how to join the club.

Women in Informatics and Computing at IU is an organization for undergraduate women in technology. It provides a strong support community, and hosts special professional activities and events on campus and beyond.

The Women in STEM Living-Learning Center is home to a group of undergraduate women of all levels who are driven to achieve in the fields of science, technology, informatics, and mathematics (STEM).

Explore beINvolved to connect with any of the 750+ student organizations that already exist, or to start a new one.

Volunteer opportunities

As a computer science major, you are encouraged to volunteer. Volunteering allows you to give back to the local community while developing useful job skills.

On campus, computer science students can seek a variety of volunteering opportunities. IU Corps offers guidance how to join many volunteering projects. You may learn more by visiting the Division of Student Affairs website. Eligible students might learn about volunteering opportunities at the Serve IT information technology clinic.

Sign up to receive weekly emails from the Bloomington Volunteer Network to learn about local opportunities and organizations. Here is a list of some relevant local organizations:

Professional organizations

You might be interested in investigating or joining relevant information technology groups, either as an undergraduate or an alumni of IUB. Examples include:

Use the Indiana University Library system to search for Associations Unlimited, an online directory of associations, professional societies, non-profit organizations, and much more.

Build your skills

Through the major

The typical Computer Science B.A. major combines programming skills and computing theory with creativity, writing and critical thinking expertise. A Computer Science major will learn how to work independently or with a team to search, program, and analyze technological concepts and projects. By completing the major, you will demonstrate the following skills:

  • Perform coding tasks
  • Design, build and apply software for a variety of venues
  • Identify relationships between problems and solutions
  • Understand electronic information systems and connectivity
  • Effectively communicate with team members and end users
  • Give expert presentations and product demonstrations
  • Organize your work logically and creatively
  • Plan and manage IT projects
  • Work effectively and coordinate tasks individually and with interdisciplinary teams
  • Manage databases

Through a College of Arts and Sciences degree

Together with your other coursework, your degree provides many opportunities to develop the following abilities, as identified by the 11 Goals of the College of Arts and Sciences:

  • Achieve the genuine literacy required to read, listen, speak and write clearly and persuasively
  • Learn to think critically and creatively
  • Develop intellectual flexibility and breadth of mind
  • Discover ethical perspectives
  • Cultivate a critically informed appreciation of literature and the arts
  • Practice and apply scientific methods
  • Learn to reason quantitatively
  • Develop historical consciousness
  • Investigate and study the international community
  • Develop and practice communication skills in public settings and in the study of at least one foreign language
  • Pursue in-depth knowledge of at least one subject

Skills desired by employers

Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asks employers what skills and qualities they are looking for in recent college graduates.

The following abilities are sought in the job market across many employment sectors:

  • Communicate effectively with persons both inside and outside the organization
  • Work in a team structure
  • Make decisions and solve problems
  • Plan, organize, and prioritize work
  • Obtain and process relevant information
  • Analyze quantitative data
  • Create and/or edit written reports
  • Obtain technical knowledge related to the job
  • Proficiency with computer software programs
  • Create and edit written reports
  • Ability to persuade or influence others

As you explore various career fields, pay attention to specific job descriptions and requirements. If there are areas where your skills or knowledge are lacking, talk with your academic and career advisors about how you can develop in those areas while you are at IUB.

Your academic advisor and career coach can also help you find ways to strengthen and deepen the knowledge you already have, becoming more prepared for whatever path you select after your college career.

Launch your career

Plan your search

A good career exploration starting point is an appointment with the career coach for Computer Science majors.

The Walter Center for Career Achievement offers job search resources, career courses, job fairs, information about internships and full-time jobs, and help with social media networking through professional organizations. Get advice about how to write your resume, ask for letters of recommendation from faculty and workplace supervisors, and prepare for job interviews, too.

Explore and enroll in Career Communities to learn more about industries relevant to your interests. These offer unique information about each field, including alumni spotlights, opportunities and resources, and in-person events. Use IU Career Guides to learn about more career opportunities through the College of Arts and Sciences.

The job market

As the information science and technology industry has grown over the past few decades, so too has the availability of computer science-related jobs and careers. The need for specialized technology and information processing skills and experience is likely to increase.  

Students with the Computer Science B.A. degree take their education in many directions. They are well prepared to work in the information science and technology industry in a variety of sectors, including government, nonprofit, private corporations, education and research.

Graduates with the Computer Science B.A. tend to seek jobs in areas such as information processing, software and hardware development, computer programming, human-computer interaction, information policy, data and information management, telecommunications, education, and computing research.

Talk with Computer Science faculty, the academic advisor and other students to gain insights into the career paths taken by graduates of the Computer Science Program.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers career information about hundreds of occupations.

Post-graduate short-term experiences

After graduation, a short-term experience or internship can help you make connections, gain life skills, and assess your interest in future careers. Talk with your career coach and use these and other resources to find opportunities that are a good fit with your educational experience and career goals:

Fellowships for post-graduate study

Fellowships are temporary post-graduate opportunities to conduct research, work in a field, or fund graduate school. Most opportunities can be found through universities, non-profit, and government organizations.

Resources for finding fellowship opportunities include:

Graduate and professional study

A Computer Science B.A. degree will prepare you for entry into graduate programs in a wide variety of fields, such as such as informatics, computer science, business, consulting, or public policy.

With careful planning, and in consultation with the Health Professions and Prelaw Center, you could also prepare to enter law school, medical school, or other programs in the health professions.

Students who pursue graduate studies in Computer Science have gone into careers with top academic and research institutions, government and intelligence positions, media, business and entrepreneurship.

You might consider these Indiana University graduate opportunities:

Alumni connections

The IU College of Arts and Sciences organizes Alumni events. Check out the College Luminaries program, which connects students with the College's most influential, successful, and inspiring alumni.

Join and use the IU Alumni Association to remain in touch, network directly, follow careers, and let others know where your path takes you.


Is it for you?

The Computer Science B.A. attracts students who are interested in acquiring programming skills, but they also might be interested in other areas of study. The typical Computer Science B.A. major:

  • Is fascinated by concepts of artificial intelligence and computing technology
  • Has strong analytical skills
  • Is open to try new ideas
  • Is curious how programmers turn logical statements into computer codes
  • Has other academic interests
  • Likes solving problems
  • Would like to explore a variety of career options based on programming skills

Learn more

Contact the Computer Science B.A. academic advisor and schedule an appointment to discuss the degree requirements and opportunities. More information can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.

Department website
Advisor email address
imziolko@indiana.edu