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Computer Science

Computer science is the study of algorithms and problem solving. These problems apply to every scientific, engineering, and mathematical field, making computer scientists relevant in every professional field today. A computer science degree at Oregon State can give you the skills to program a custom low level sensor board all the way up to coordinating cloud datacenters full of servers.

Students can choose from the accredited Computer Systems option, one of the applied options including building their own custom curriculum, or minor in computer science.

Additional Oregon State CS Programs:

Note: All engineering programs require admittance to pro-school program, to review requirements for pro-school visit the COE advising page.

CS Options

Martin Erwig and Margaret Burnett

One of the benefits of the Systems option is its accreditation. The Computer Systems Option is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. The Computer Systems option gives students the necessary training and preparation that many large companies (such as Google, Apple, and Intel). Computer Systems also gives the student the necessary preparation to continue and pursue computer science or other engineering fields in graduate level programs. The extra preparation required in the Systems option is more math, physics, and required CS courses; however, as a Systems option, a student can still take a minimum of 2-5 CS elective courses.

View an example plan to get an idea of a student's course schedule. For more details about completing an academic plan, make an appointment with an advisor.

More information about ABET accreditation.

The Applied option allows students to develop a degree program that focuses on their area of interest. Students can shape a program that includes fields outside computer science such as music, chemistry, mathematics and medical fields, or specialize in an area of computer science such as artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, game and simulation development, human-computer interaction, and computer security. Students pick 32 credits of electives to develop a cohesive focus area and shape their degree to their particular interest or needs.

Important Notes

  • All Applied Option students must complete and submit an Approval Form for Applied Options (through the online form below) by the end of their first term in the Professional Program.
  • Any changes to the Applied Plan must be approved and documented by the CS Curriculum Committee.
  • PLAN AHEAD! Not all courses are offered every term and can be limited even to certain years.

To submit a proposed plan of study, use the Applied CS Program webform.

View an example plan to get an idea of a particular student's course schedule. For more details about completing an academic plan, make an appointment with an advisor.

To submit a proposed plan of study, use the Applied CS Program webform.

Photo of a college student holding a plant

At first glance, you might not think biology is even remotely related to computer science. But in recent years, computer science has helped other scientists make enormous advances by giving them access to huge amounts of data.

Today, computer scientists develop ways to model and analyze biological data that can help scientists speed up their research or discover new insights into the secrets of life. And the Human Genome Project, for example, would not have been possible without having computers to analyze huge amounts of genetic data. Combining biology with computer science is called bioinformatics or computational biology.

Potential Job Opportunities

Bioinformatics scientist: develop algorithms, integration & analysis of biological data across multiple databases. Companies: Ceres Inc. Somalogic Inc. Ocean Ridge Biosciences, ACGT

Bioinformatician: design, develop, maintain data processing of biological data. Companies: UC Davis, University of Chicago, DNAnexus, Qiagen





  • BI 445 (Evolution)
  • BI 370 (Ecology)
  • BOT 331 (Plant Physiology)
  • BOT 341 (Plant Ecology)
  • BOT 425 (Flora of the Pacific Northwest)
  • CS 446 (Biological Networks)
  • ENT 420 (Insect Ecology)
  • HSTS 415 (Theory of Evolution and Foundation of Modern Biology)
  • MB 448 (Microbial Ecology)
  • Z 345 (Introduction to Evolution)
  • Z 351 (Marine Ecology)
  • Z 361 (Invertebrate Biology)
  • Z 365 (Biology of Insects)
  • Z 371 (Vertebrate Biology)
  • Z 423 (Environmental Physiology)
  • Z 425 (Embryology and Development)
  • Z 430 (Principles of Physiology)
  • Z 431 (Physiology)
  • Z 432 (Vertebrate Physiology)

To submit a proposed plan of study, use the Applied CS Program webform.

Simulation and Game Programming (SPG) requires a solid multidisciplinary background. In this CS applied option, you will take courses in computer graphics programming, math, physics, and new media. The combination of these experiences will let you do amazing things in SGP and in many other innovative areas as well.

Potential Job Opportunities

Engine programmer: design, develop, maintain the software that handles the physics, graphics, sound, and performance of modern games. Companies: Bungie, Epic, Dice, Blizzard, Pipeworks, Zynga, Gearbox, Bethesda.

Game server programmer: design, develop, maintain the backend of games that handles online multiplayer matchmaking, gameplay data, and user behavior. Statistics and data mining heavy. Companies: Bungie, Epic, Dice, Blizzard, Pipeworks, Zynga, Gearbox, Bethesda.





To submit a proposed plan of study, use the Applied CS Program webform.

Computer science and business are both highly desired, especially when mixed together. Many CS companies start small and these companies need employees that have the basics to help make a company grow successfully. Business is also desirable with CS because it can add management and communication skills to a technological degree. Students that choose this option are setting themselves up for a number of opportunities:

  • Students gain the experience to create their own start-up or business.
  • Students have the background necessary to work with other smaller companies.
  • Students can work with a business advisor to be prepared for an MBA program

Students must apply for and receive a minor in Business & Entrepreneurship. They should contact the College of Business for the latest requirements. In addition to completing the minor, students will take CS 440 Database Management Systems to reach 32 credits for their Applied Program.

To submit a proposed plan of study, use the Applied CS Program webform.

Claudia Mini Claudia Mini is pursuing the HCI applied option degree which combines her interest in psychology and computer science with her creative side. Read her story.

As we integrate technology in more facets of our lives, the interface between humans and computers grows both larger and smaller: Larger in the sense that we interact with more applications and devices; Smaller in that our uses become more personalized and intimate.

The human-computer interaction (HCI) applied option helps you to understand both sides of this interface: the computer through programming, information visualization, and core computer science courses; and the human through cognition and psychology courses. Only by understanding both sides can we maximize the potential of computing in human lives.

Potential job opportunities

User experience (UX) or interaction design: design and develop graphical user interfaces, interaction methods, workflows, and other front ends. Companies: Apple, Microsoft, Google, and any company that produces user-facing software.

Web designer: analyze, design, and develop interfaces for web sites and web applications, integrate and present information from multiple sources. Companies: Amazon, Expedia, Google, and any company that produces software for the web.




  • CS 419 (HCI Research Methods)
  • CS 419 (Selected Topics in Computer Science: Information Visualization or Scientific Visualization)
  • CS 419 (Selected Topics in Computer Science: Open Source Development)
    or CS 496 (Mobile & Cloud Software Development)
  • PSY 340 (Cognition)

Possible Electives

  • 300-400 level CS
  • PSY 350 (Human Lifespan Development)
  • PSY 360 (Social Psychology)
  • PSY 370 (Personality)
  • PSY 426 (Psychology of Gender)
  • PSY 434 (Brain and Behavior Methods)
  • PSY 440 (Cognition Research)
  • PSY 442 (Perception)
  • PSY 444 (Learning and Memory)
  • PSY 454 (Cognitive Development)
  • PSY 456 (Social Development)
  • PSY 464 (Social Cognition)
  • PSY 494 (Engineering Psychology)

To submit a proposed plan of study, use the Applied CS Program webform.

Security is the study of controlling access to information in the presence of adversarial behavior. Any system connected to the internet must deal with the potential of attacks. With a concentration in security, you will develop a proactive, defensive mindset and learn how to design systems that are resistant to compromise.

Potential Job Opportunities

Security operations center (SOC) analyst: monitor and detect security incidents, analyze and coordinate responses across groups

Security/information assurance engineer: identify security requirements for a system and design architectures, policies, and monitoring strategies that achieve them

System security administrator: monitor systems for security-related incidents, maintain system updates, enforce security policies

Penetration tester: perform mock attacks (with authorization) in an effort to identify and responsibly disclose possible security vulnerabilities




  • CS 321 (Intro to Theory of Computation)
  • CS 370 (Intro to Security)
  • CS 373 (Defense Against the Dark Arts)
  • CS 427 (Cryptography)
  • CS 478 (Network Security)


  • CS 312 (Linux System Administration)
  • CS 434 (Machine Learning and Data Mining)
  • CS 440 (Database Management Systems)
  • CS 472 (Computer Architecture)
  • CS 476 (Advanced Computer Networking)
  • CS 496 (Mobile & Cloud Software Development)
  • MTH 440 (Computational Number Theory)
  • MTH 451 (Numerical Linear Algebra)
  • MTH 452 (Numerical Solutions of Ordinary Differential Equations)
  • MTH 453 (Numerical Solutions of Partial Differential Equations)

Computing has become pervasive, touching nearly every aspect of our lives. A minor in computer science can open up opportunities for employment in the software development industry, but also in many areas including healthcare, business, science, medicine, graphics, utilities and education. Courses will teach theory, problem-solving skills, and programming.

Students majoring in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) should select the ECE majors tab.

Computer Science Minor Requirements (36 credits total)

To earn the minor upon graduation, students must meet all of the following:

  1. Earn a C in each of their minor courses (all courses must be taken using the A-F grading scale)
  2. Have a minimum 2.25 GPA in all required minor coursework (36 credits)

Lower-Division Computer Science Minor Requirements (20 credits)

  • CS 161 Introduction to Computer Science I (4)
  • CS 162 Introduction to Computer Science II (4)
  • CS 261 Data Structures (4)
  • CS 271 Computer Architecture and Assembly Language (4)
  • MTH 231 Elements of Discrete Mathematics (4)
    or CS 225 Elements of Discrete Mathematics (4)

Students may declare a computer science minor after completing the lower-division required courses with a GPA of 2.25 or higher and after becoming eligible to take 300-level courses in their major. Please speak with an EECS advisor to declare the minor.

Upper-Division Computer Science Minor Requirements (16 credits)

  • CS 362 Software Engineering II (4) REQUIRED

Recommended elective courses might include (but not limited to) (12 credits):

  • CS 344 Operating Systems (4)
  • CS 352 Introduction to Usability Engineering (4)
  • CS 361 ^Software Engineering I (4)
  • CS 440 Database Management Systems (4)
  • CS 475 Introduction to Parallel Programming (4)
  • CS 496 Mobile and Cloud Software Development (4)

Other upper-division courses are acceptable; please speak with an advisor about which courses might create the best path for your goals.

Courses that CANNOT be used for minor requirements:

  • CS 391 *Social and Ethical Issues in Computer Science (3)
  • CS 395 Interactive Multimedia (4)
  • CS 401 Research (1–16)
  • CS 405 Reading and Conference (1–16)
  • CS 407 Seminar (1–16)
  • CS 410 Occupational Internship (1–16)
  • CS 461 Senior Software Engineering Project (3)
  • CS 462 Senior Software Engineering Project (3)
  • CS 463 Senior Software Engineering Project (2)
  • CS 494 Web Development (4)
  • CS 495 Interactive Multimedia Projects (4)


* Baccalaureate Core Course (BCC)

^ Writing Intensive Course (WIC)

The minor in computer science can be easily added to an ECE major. If planned correctly, ECE students can obtain their CS minor with one extra CS course that does not go toward their ECE major.

Courses that all ECE students complete (28 credits)

  • CS 161 Introduction to Computer Science I (4)
  • CS 162 Introduction to Computer Science II (4)
  • CS 261 Data Structures (4)
  • ECE 271 AND ECE 272 Digital Logic Design (4)
  • MTH 231 Elements of Discrete Mathematics (4)
  • ECE 372 OR CS 372 Introduction to Computer Networks (4)
  • ECE 375 Computer Organization and Assembly Language Programming (4)

Upper-division CS courses that count as ECE Restricted Electives (4 credits)

Required and does not count for the ECE Major (1 course)

  • CS 362 Software Engineering II (4)