Sep 29, 2022  
2021-2022 General Catalog 
2021-2022 General Catalog ARCHIVED CATALOG: To search archives, use search box above. See current catalog at

Computer Science

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Department Head: Xiaojun Qi

Location: Main 414
Phone: (435) 797-2451
FAX: (435) 797-3265

Undergraduate Advisor:
Myra Brown, Old Main 423, (435) 797-0527,

Undergraduate Advisor and Graduate Program Coordinator:
Caitlin Thaxton, Old Main 421, (435) 797-0778,

Undergraduate Degrees and Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science (BS), Five-year BS/MS program

Graduate Degrees Offered: Master of Science (MS), Master of Science (MS) in Data Science, and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Computer Science; Master of Computer Science (MCS)

Graduate Specializations: MS—Artificial Intelligence, Information Systems, Parallel Systems, Software Engineering

Full Details of the learning objectives, assessment plan, student outcomes, and evidence of continuous improvement for these programs of study can be found at for undergraduate programs and for graduate programs.

Accreditation: The Computer Science undergraduate program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET,, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012; telephone (410) 347-7700.

Program Educational Objectives

As defined by ABET, program educational objectives are broad statements that describe what graduates are expected to attain within a few years of graduation. The Computer Science Department at Utah State University has the following program educational objectives. The computer science program of study is designed to provide undergraduates with the knowledge, skills, and tools to reach these educational objectives.

Program Educational Objective I: Our graduates will be successfully employed in the computing profession and/or obtain advanced degrees in computing or a related discipline.

Program Educational Objective II: Our graduates will adapt and innovate in a rapidly changing field, engage in lifelong learning and engagement through continued professional development, contribute to professional societies and organizations, promote growth and prosperity of the regional economy at the state and national level, and foster personal and organizational growth.

Program Educational Objective III: Our graduates will participate in professional societies, engage in service to the community, and contribute to efforts to comply with software licensing, privacy protection, and quality and safety assurance.

Student Outcomes

The Computer Science Department’s Bachelor of Science degree program is designed in accordance with the ABET accreditation criteria for computer science degrees. The program is ABET-accredited.

The student outcomes of the Computer Science Department are governed by ABET which has established the following student outcomes:

  • Analyze a complex computing problem and apply principles of computing and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions.
  • Design, implement, and evaluate a computing-based solution to meet a given set of computing requirements in the context of the program’s discipline.
  • Communicate effectively in a variety of professional contexts.
  • Recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgments in computing practice based on legal and ethical principles.
  • Function effectively as a member or leader of a team engaged in activities appropriate to the program’s discipline.
  • Apply computer science theory and software development fundamentals to produce computing-based solutions.


The Computer Science Department has an ongoing assessment process. Faculty members devote time and resources to frequent assessment of the level or degree to which stated objectives are being met, the objectives themselves, and the departmental mission statement. The department then uses these results to establish priorities and guide the program. For further information, go to, and click on assessment.

Computer Science

Computer science is one of the fastest growing fields of study in our society. Excellent employment opportunities are available to computer science graduates. Graduates in Computer Science work for numerous Utah-based corporations, as well as companies such as Google,, Microsoft, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard.

The Computer Science bachelor’s degree is a four-year degree. By working with a departmental advisor, students may develop a plan of study tailored to their own unique career objectives. 

Undergraduate Research

The Computer Science Department provides opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research projects. A student may register for CS 4950  to receive credit for their research. Students may work on a project of their own under faculty supervision, or they may do research as part of a faculty member’s research team. To learn about research opportunities students should contact a Computer Science faculty member.

General Requirements

Minimum Utah State University Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements for the computer science major, all students graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer science must meet the minimum Utah State University requirements.  

General Education/University Studies Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements for the computer science major, all students graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer science must meet all Utah State University general education and university studies requirements.  These requirements can be found in the General Catalog at the following links:

General Education Requirements  

University Studies Depth Requirements  

Additionally, students are strongly urged to work with their advisor in selecting courses that fill general education requirements. In several cases, there are courses that can simultaneously fill a general education/university studies requirement and a major requirement.  Additionally, in this document, all courses that meet a general education/university studies requirement are noted as such with an abbreviation.

Changes in Graduation/Catalog Requirements

Students who complete a baccalaureate degree within seven years of enrollment at USU qualify for graduation by meeting (1) the General Education/University Studies requirements in effect when they initially enrolled and (2) the major requirements in effect when they officially declared their major (meaning they have achieved advanced standing in the computer science program), even though there may have been changes in General Education/University Studies and major requirements since that time.

Students who have not completed the baccalaureate requirements within seven years of their initial enrollment at USU must have their General Education/University Studies and major requirements evaluated and approved by their department head and dean.

Course Expiration Policy

Coursework (including transfer credit) that is more than 10 years old and is required by the major may be disallowed by the student’s department. Students will have an opportunity to revalidate coursework that is disallowed. 

Summary of Departmental Admission and Retention Requirements

Admission requirements of the Department of Computer Science for freshmen and transfer students must satisfy the admission policies and entrance requirements of the University (General Education Requirements), the College of Science, and the Department. Transfer students with a 2.5 GPA and who are “calculus ready”(1. achieve a score of 27 or higher on the math ACT test; 2. Complete MATH 1050 and MATH 1060; or 3.Achieve an AP score of at least 3 on the AB Calculus or BC Calculus test) may apply for admission to the department.

Before a student can register for a Computer Science course, s/he must earn a grade of C- or better in all prerequisite courses. Students must earn a grade of C- or better in all classes that fill a computer science major, regardless of the subject, and regardless of whether the class is also used to fill a general education/university studies requirement. For example, PHYS 2220  may be used to fill part of the science-plus-breadth requirement described below.  It also fills the breadth physical science (BPS) requirement.  Because it fills a major requirement, students must earn at least a C- in the course.  Computer Science majors must be in the professional program or have authorization to register for Computer Science courses at the 3000-level or above.

In addition to completing the required courses listed below, students must comply with the following regulations, in order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.

  • Once students are admitted to the professional program, they must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5. The overall GPA will be computed using all USU credits, as well as transfer credits (if those transfer credits are applied to any USU requirements, including major requirements).
  • Students must attain a minimum grade of C- in all courses fulfilling Computer Science major requirements.
  • At most, students may have three repeats among the preprofessional classes.

Professional Program

In order to enter the professional program, students must achieve a minimum institution GPA of 2.5. They must also achieve a minimum GPA of 2.5, as well as a grade of C- or better, among courses in the following core sequence. Further, students are allowed a total of three repeats in the required courses in the preprofessional program.  Note that these requirements are built into the Major Requirements.

Core Sequence: CS 1400 , CS 1410 CS 1440 , CS 2410 , CS 2420 , and CS 2610 MATH 1210  and MATH 3310 

Suggested Four-year Plans

A suggested semester-by-semester four-year plan for students working towards a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is available in the Department of Computer Science and the College of Science Advising Center. Students should consult with their advisor to develop a plan of study tailored to their individual needs and interests.

University Honors Program

The University Honors Program offers students in all colleges and majors the unique opportunity to deepen their educational experience with hands-on practical applications of their academic knowledge. The Honors Program admits incoming, transfer, and existing USU students based on application. High achieving students with at least one year remaining are encouraged to apply.  See the University Honors Program catalog entry and website ( for more information.


Additional Information

For more information about requirements for the Computer Science major and minor, contact the Computer Science Department.

Graduate Program

The Computer Science department offers MS, PhD and MCS degrees.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the graduate program should have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or extensive experience in computing. Normally, a score of at least the 80th percentile on the quantitative test of the general GRE is required for admission to the MS, PhD, and MCS. For scores lower than the threshold, applicants must show other strengths in their backgrounds to be admitted. The GRE computer science subject exam is not required for admission. Those who do take the GRE computer science subject exam and receive a good score will have preference in consideration for the award of financial aid. Decisions on financial aid are made on or near February 1st for the following fall semester.  These are in addition to the graduate school’s requirements.

Course Requirements

In addition to the specific departmental admission and degree requirements described in the Computer Science-MS, Computer Science-MCS, and the Computer Science PhD section of the catalog, students are advised that they must also meet all Graduate School requirements as described in the Graduate School section of the catalog. Please note that departmental requirements change from time to time, so students should work closely with their advisor in designing their graduate program. 

Graduate students in the master’s degree programs who have not taken or passed at the 50th percentile the computer science GRE subject exam are required to meet departmental placement requirements before completion of their first year or they may be terminated from the CS program. In order to be eligible for departmental funded employment, they must meet this requirement by the end of their first semester. Distance Ed students must pass the algorithms placement exam before they can submit a Program of Study.

The department placement requirement is met in one or a combination of the following three ways:

 A student can meet the algorithms placement requirement by:

-Passing CS 2420  or CS 5050  with a B- or better

-Show completion of course work from another ABET accredited college or university equivalent to the department algorithms placement courses with a grade of  B- or better

-Pass the algorithms placement exam on the first try

Students are allowed to take the algorithms placement exam a maximum of two times before the beginning of their first semester.  If they pass the test on the first try they can take CS 5050  if they desire.  If they pass it on the second try, they must take CS 5050  or CS 2420 .  If they do not pass the test on the second try, they must take CS 2420 . CS 2420  will not be counted on the Program of Study.

Financial Assistance

Applicants for admission will automatically be considered for financial aid, with no need for additional application procedures.  Acceptance into the program does not guarantee financial assistance.  

FACULTY - College of Science  

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