Faculty Senate looks at B.A. in computer science

By SARAH SNEBOLD/Montana State News

A proposal for a new bachelor of arts program in computer science was presented to the Montana State University Faculty Senate Wednesday.

This program would consist of 40 computer science credits, a minor concentration in any bachelor of arts area and an additional year of modern languages and additional humanities classes.

This differs from the current computer science option of a major in a bachelor of arts and a minor in computer science, because the minor would only require 27 credits and would not include a capstone. With this program, it was argued that the students would be more marketable.

This new program has a variety of benefits, advocates for the programs said, especially for students interested in graphic design, music, sociology and political science. A senator from the music department said computer science is the first or second most popular double major or minor option for the students in this college, therefor this program would provide, “a great overlap.”

Currently, in the computer science department, there are 50 undergrad and 25 masters students, with their enrollment rapidly expanding due to the reality of technology and software pervading all aspects of life. This trend is seen nationwide with top universities such as University of California Berkeley and John Hopkins University.

Dr. John Paxton supported his argument by citing an article published in The Economist on Jan. 17, reporting that the top paying jobs require knowledge of computer science. So, this new program is hoped to best serve the MSU students, especially those who have already realized this trend and hope to graduate by spring 2018 under this new program.

The discussion within the Senate regarding the new program was supportive of the idea, but some senators, primarily those from the arts, would like to see this aspect better incorporated.

– edited by Chelsea Anderson

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