The Computing and Information Studies program has the dual mission of preparing students to take a leadership role in information technology, independent of the career or graduate education paths they pursue and of contributing to the interdisciplinary uses of information technology across the Washington & Jefferson Curriculum.
The C.I.S. curriculum combines aspects of history, sociology, psychology, communication, art, design, science, and mathematics. The program stresses problem-solving and effective communication skills while addressing issues in computational thinking, visual culture, interaction design, information management and analysis, systems development, and security. Students select from a range of electives while continuing a course of study that provides a solid grounding in effective coding and production, as well as user-focused design and interaction, and formal modeling and analysis.
The major and minor in C.I.S. have been designed to give students a strong background in a breadth of approaches to computing. Students with an interest in a particular subfield of computing are encouraged to consider an emphasis to the C.I.S. major. The Big Data emphasis is an analog to the Computational Science concentration for C.I.S. majors and focuses on the use of computer modeling, visualization, and analysis over large data sets to solve complex problem-solving tasks. The Computer Science emphasis is designed for students intending to pursue graduate work focused on the foundational and theoretical underpinnings of the computing sciences. The Digital Media emphasis stresses visual literacy and creative problem solving and focuses on how people communicate meaning through innovative contexts capitalizing on various digital media. The Interaction Design emphasis highlights the issues involved in designing computing systems in a human-centric manner and focuses on the theories and techniques involved in developing effective interfaces for information systems. The Web and Mobile Technologies emphasis is designed for students with an intended career path in web and mobile application development and focuses on both design issues and production and implementation issues central to delivering content through these media.
Students majoring in other fields wishing to develop technical skills to complement their studies are encouraged to consider a concentration associated with the program, such as Environmental Studies; Graphic Design; Computational Science; or Professional Writing.
The C.I.S. major and minor are associated with the Department of Computing and Information Studies. A major requires 11 courses and a minor requires six.
Advice on Choosing C.I.S. Courses
In Computing and Information Studies there are many possible starting courses - it is more important that students start with a course they are interested in than look at the course number. C.I.S. also has a number of offerings that are excellent complements to the other majors on campus. We hope all students will think about how learning about computing could help them academically and professionally and consider taking a course during their four years at the college.