Choosing a Major
The Computer Science Department offers majors and minors in computer science (CS), computer security (Sec), and information technology (IT), and additional minors in bioinformatics, robotics, and Web design and programming.
Computer Science Fields
Computer science explores programming and theoretical foundations of computing with emphasis on algorithms and mathematical principles. Computer scientists work on developing new designs for hardware and software. CS majors prepare for careers in software development or for graduate studies in any area of computing. If you dream about designing space missions at NASA, this can be your starting point!
Computer security deals with major challenges experienced whenever computers are used, in all sectors of life: small businesses, large corporations, organizations, law enforcement, the military, and the government. Computer security professionals analyze and counteract threats to networks and computer systems, detect intrusions and assure privacy. This work is highly valued, and demand for professionals with such an expertise is expected only to grow. To work in computer security one needs a very rigorous preparation including fundamentals of hardware and software.
Information technology is concerned with forming and maintaining computing environments for businesses and organizations. Information technicians chose and configure hardware and software, monitor performance and security of databases, Web servers and computer networks. If you dream about providing computing support at the 21st century level, IT is for you! IT technicians are sought in health care, financial or educational services, commerce and manufacturing. As our IT major requires only a small number of credits, it can be easily taken as a second major.
According to recent job market analysis, computing jobs form one of the fastest growing segments and will remain in that position for a number of years. Because of security concerns, most current and future computing jobs will not be subject to outsourcing — they will remain in the country. Altogether, CS, Sec and IT are excellent career choices for life!
Which Major is Best for You?
If you like programming, problem solving and math, choose the CS major. And, if you want to make it even stronger, add the Sec or IT Minor.
If you like problem solving and math, choose the Sec major. And, if you want to make it even stronger, add the CS or IT Minor.
If you like problem solving or are not sure what major to choose, start with the IT major — it requires a smaller number of credits and gives you flexible options:
- You can later switch to CS or Sec Major;
- If you decide to build more strength in IT, you can add Sec or CS Minor;
- You can add a second major. The 40 credits devoted to IT-B.A. should still be quite easy to complete. But if you wish, you can replace the IT major with a minor. Your knowledge and skills in IT will nicely complement those of another area and will be highly marketable when you start looking for a job.
- Because of an overlap in requirements for CS, Sec and IT majors, it is easy to switch after one semester from one major to another.
- In the case of computing disciplines, a B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degree is more respected than a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts); a B.A. version of a computing major is typically used only as a second major.
- Double majors are encouraged, but you cannot choose two of the CS, Sec and IT majors, because they share many courses.
- To strengthen a computing major, add a minor in another area of computing. In the case of minors in IT, CS or Sec, 6–7 credits can be counted towards both the major and the minor, so instead of taking 18–22 credits for the minor, you need only 12–15.
Credits Required for Majors and Minors
All require 33 general education credits in addition to credits toward the major.
- CS major (B.S. — 58 cr., and B.A. — 49 cr.)
- Sec major (B.S. — 56 cr.)
- IT major (B.S. — 52 cr., and B.A. — 40 cr.)
- CS minor (add 12 cr. to the major)
- Sec minor (add 15 cr. to the major)
- IT minor (add 12 cr. to the major)
Interdisciplinary minors related to computing:
- Bioinformatics Minor for Computer Science Students (add 18–21 cr. to the major)
- Robotics Minor — Physics Emphasis (add 12–19 cr. to the major)
- Web Design and Programming Minor (add 12–18 cr. to the major)
Our courses, whether in IT, CS or Sec, have the same prefix, CSC. View computer science course descriptions.
Some of our students choose a double major, or a major and a minor, or even a major and two minors; they enroll in the honors program or write a thesis for an advanced honors project. They also register as teaching assistants at our department or work as tutors in the Learning Center. We encourage you to consider right from the start how you can distinguish yourself.
Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
For more information about computer science and information technology programs at SUNY Plattsburgh please contact
Dr. Jan Plaza, Chair
Office: Au Sable Hall, Room 307
Phone: (518) 564-2788
Fax: (518) 564-2768