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K-State Today

January 28, 2021

New College of Arts and Sciences major: Integrated computer science

Submitted by Malorie Sougey

The College of Arts and Sciences has partnered with the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science to create a degree in integrated computer science.

The degree combines real-world programming skills with an individualized concentration in each students's area of interest. It includes computational core courses focused on programming skills, electives expanding those skills and providing additional cultural and ethical knowledge, and a capstone project applying those skills to the concentration area.

"Integrated computer science is a degree for people who want to combine a practical computer science background, oriented toward application rather than research, with an integration concentration of their choice in any other area, from any college at K-State," said Graham Leach-Krouse, program director of the integrated computer science program. "The concentration can be a major, minor or certificate, so for example your concentration could be a major in biology if you want to use computational methods in the natural sciences. You could do integrated computer science with a minor in the visual arts if you want to go into game development or web design. Or you could pick up a certificate in professional strategic sales from the College of Business Administration if you've got an entrepreneurial vision and you want to have both the software skills to make it happen and the sales skills to get people excited about it."

Students interested in integrated computer science can contact the lead advisor for the program, Elli Hager.

"This might appeal to you if you're a programmer who wants to know more about the real world of natural and social science, business or human experience, or if you're a student in another area who wants to learn how to apply computer science methods to your own interests," Leach-Krouse said. "The degree is offered in person and online, so it's also a good fit for distance and transfer students, and for alumni who want to add some technological background to their already completed major in another area."

Scott DeLoach, head of the computer science department in the College of Engineering, shared what makes integrated computer science different from computer science:

"Integrated computer science is algebra-based as opposed to the calculus-based version offered in engineering," DeLoach said. "It also provides less in terms of computer science theory. This reduction in the theory of computer science, however, is balanced by the flexibility to study a second focus area, which can be almost any area of study at the university.

The courses are built using an online computer science educational platform called Codio, which integrates a textbook, videos, a programming environment and a built-in automatic grader to provide immediate feedback on programming exercises and projects. All this material was created by K-State faculty and copyrighted by K-State.

The integrated computer science program is part of the overall Computational Core Initiative. Learn more about the initiative on the Computer Science for All webpage.

Integrated computer science equips students to apply computational thinking and methods in a wide variety of possible careers and to become academic, cultural and industrial leaders who integrate the breadth and depth of an arts and sciences education with technical expertise in computer science.

Students interested in learning more about integrated computer science can visit the integrated computer science website and contact Leach-Krouse at gleachkr@k-state.edu or Hager at ellihager@k-state.edu

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