This program presents an innovative approach to the integration of computer science with other disciplines that require expertise in computing techniques. These disciplines do not merely use computing but create new and interesting problems for computer scientists.

Policies

Advanced Placement, Credit by Exam

A score of 4 on the Advanced Placement (AP) computer science exam qualifies students for credit in CS 112 Introduction to Computer Programming (Mason Core).  A score of 4 on the International Baccalaureate (IB) computer science exam qualifies students for credits in CS 112 Introduction to Computer Programming (Mason Core), and a score of 5 or more qualifies students for credit in CS 211 Object-Oriented Programming.

Change of Major

Students requesting a change of major to Applied Computer Science must meet with the Volgenau School of Engineering Coordinator of Undergraduate Advising, 2500 Nguyen Engineering Building. Students requesting a change of major to Applied Computer Science must have a GPA of at least 2.75 in computer science and math courses and successfully completed one of CS 112 or CS 211, and one of MATH 113MATH 114, or MATH 125, with a grade of B or better at Mason.  See Change of Major for more information. 

Grades

Students must earn a C or better in any course intended to satisfy a prerequisite for a computer science course. Applied Computer Science majors may not use more than one course with a grade of C- or D toward department requirements.

Program Requirements

For the BS ACS degree, students must complete 120 credits, including the Mason Core requirements. The program requires foundation, core, and concentration courses. These course requirements provide expertise in programming, computer systems, software requirements and modeling, formal methods, and analysis of algorithms.

Repeating Courses

Students may attempt an undergraduate course taught by the Volgenau School of Engineering twice. A third attempt requires approval of the department offering the course. This policy does not apply to STAT 250 Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core), which follows the normal university policy for repeating undergraduate courses.

The CS Department may not allow students to retake certain high-demand CS courses in which they have already earned a grade of C or better simply to improve their GPA.

Termination from the Major

No math, science, or Volgenau School of Engineering course that is required for the major may be attempted more than three times. Those students who do not successfully complete such a course within three attempts will be terminated from the major. Undeclared students in the Volgenau School who do not successfully complete a course required for a Volgenau School major within three attempts will also be terminated. For more information, see AP.5.2.4 Termination from the Major.

Once a student has attempted one of these courses twice unsuccessfully, the third attempt must be no later than the next semester of enrollment, excluding summers. Failure to take the course at that time will result in termination from the major. If the student is unable to take the course when required, the student may request an extension to a future semester; extensions require approval of the student's advisor, their department, and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs. The deadline for extension requests is the add deadline for the semester in which the course is required.

Students who have been terminated from a Volgenau School of Engineering major may not register for a Volgenau School course without permission of the department offering the course. This applies to all undergraduate courses offered by the Volgenau School except IT 104 Introduction to Computing (Mason Core) and STAT 250 Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core).

A student may not declare any major in the Volgenau School of Engineering if the student has previously met the termination criteria for that major at any time, regardless of what the student's major was at the time the courses were taken.

Writing-Intensive Requirement

Computer science majors complete the writing-intensive requirement through a sequence of projects and reports in CS 306 Synthesis of Ethics and Law for the Computing Professional (Mason Core) and CS 321 Software Engineering. Faculty members provide feedback on students' expository writing.

Banner Code: VS-BS-ACS

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 120

Students must complete all foundation, core, elective, and communication requirements, and the requirements from one selected concentration.

Foundation

CS 110Essentials of Computer Science 13
CS 112Introduction to Computer Programming (Mason Core)4
CS 211Object-Oriented Programming3
MATH 113Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)4
MATH 114Analytic Geometry and Calculus II4
MATH 125Discrete Mathematics I (Mason Core)3
MATH 203Linear Algebra3
Total Credits24
1

Must be taken within a student's first year at the university.

Note:

MATH 104 Trigonometry and Transcendental Functions, MATH 105 Precalculus Mathematics, MATH 108 Introductory Calculus with Business Applications (Mason Core), and courses with an IT designation (and any associated cross-listed courses) cannot be counted toward this degree.

Core

CS 262Introduction to Low-Level Programming3
CS 310Data Structures3
CS 321Software Engineering3
CS 330Formal Methods and Models3
CS 367Computer Systems and Programming4
CS 471Operating Systems3
CS 483Analysis of Algorithms3
Total Credits22

Elective

Select one CS course numbered above 400, except CS 4983
Total Credits3

Communication

COMM 100Public Speaking (Mason Core)3
Total Credits3

Concentration in Bioinformatics (BNF) 

Foundation

PHYS 160University Physics I (Mason Core)3
PHYS 161University Physics I Laboratory (Mason Core)1
CHEM 201Introductory Chemistry I (Mason Core)3
BIOL 213Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)4
CS 306Synthesis of Ethics and Law for the Computing Professional (Mason Core) 13
STAT 344Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists I3
Total Credits17
1

Requires a grade of C or better to satisfy the Mason Core synthesis requirement.

Core 

BINF 450Bioinformatics for Life Sciences4
BIOL 482Introduction to Molecular Genetics3
BIOL 580Computer Applications for the Life Sciences3
CS 450Database Concepts3
BINF 401Bioinformatics and Computational Biology I3
or CS 444 Introduction to Computational Biology
BINF 402Bioinformatics and Computational Biology II3
or CS 445 Computational Methods for Genomics
Total Credits19

Two Approved Electives Related to Bioinformatics

Select two approved electives (6 credits) related to bioinformatics with the student's advisor and approved by the CS department6
Total Credits6

Additional Mason Core

Written Communication 16
Literature3
Arts3
Western Civilization/World History3
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Global Understanding3
Total Credits21
1

Applied Computer Science majors must take the Natural Sciences section of ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (Mason Core).

Electives

Select 5 credits of electives5
Total Credits5

Concentration in Computer Game Design (CGDS)

Foundation

GAME 230History of Computer Game Design3
CS 306Synthesis of Ethics and Law for the Computing Professional (Mason Core) 13
CS 325Introduction to Game Design3
CS 351Visual Computing3
AVT 104Two-Dimensional Design and Color (Mason Core)4
STAT 344Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists I3
Total Credits19
1

Requires a grade of C or better to satisfy the Mason Core synthesis requirement.

Core 

CS 425Game Programming I3
CS 426Game Programming II3
CS 451Computer Graphics3
AVT 3822D Experimental Animation3
AVT 3833D Experimental Animation3
Total Credits15

Approved Elective Related to Game Design 

Select one course from the following:3
Object-Oriented Software Design and Implementation
Computer Communications and Networking
Concurrent and Distributed Systems
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
Autonomous Robotics
Design and Implementation of Software for the Web
RS: Story Design for Computer Games
Entrepreneurship in the Arts
Sound Art I
Advanced Topics: New Media Art
Total Credits3

Natural Science

PHYS 160University Physics I (Mason Core)3
PHYS 161University Physics I Laboratory (Mason Core)1
Select one additional lab science4
Total Credits8

Additional Mason Core

Written Communication 16
Literature3
Western Civilization/World History3
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Global Understanding3
Total Credits18
1

Applied Computer Science majors must take the Natural Sciences section of ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (Mason Core).

Electives

Select 5 credits of electives5
Total Credits5

Concentration in Geography (GEOG)

Foundation

CS 306Synthesis of Ethics and Law for the Computing Professional (Mason Core) 13
GGS 101Major World Regions (Mason Core)3
GGS 102Physical Geography (Mason Core)3
GGS 103Human Geography (Mason Core)3
GGS 110Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies3
GGS 300Quantitative Methods for Geographical Analysis3
STAT 344Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists I3
Total Credits21
1

Requires a grade of C or better to satisfy the Mason Core synthesis requirement.

Core 

GGS 310Introduction to Digital Cartography4
GGS 311Introduction to Geographic Information Systems3
GGS 411Advanced Digital Cartography3
GGS 412Air Photography Interpretation3
GGS 416Satellite Image Analysis3
GGS 463Applied Geographic Information Systems3
One GGS course numbered above 3003
Total Credits22

Additional Mason Core

Written Communication 16
Literature3
Arts3
Western Civilization/World History3
Lab Science4
Total Credits19
1

Applied Computer Science majors must take the Natural Sciences section of ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (Mason Core).

Electives

Select 6 credits of electives6
Total Credits6

Concentration in Software Engineering (SWE)

Foundation

STAT 344Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists I3
CS 306Synthesis of Ethics and Law for the Computing Professional (Mason Core) 13
Total Credits6
1

Requires a grade of C or better to satisfy the Mason Core synthesis requirement.

Core

SWE 205Software Usability Analysis and Design3
SWE 301Internship Preparation0
SWE 401Internship Reflection1
CS 332Object-Oriented Software Design and Implementation3
SWE 437Software Testing and Maintenance3
Total Credits10

SWE Related 

Select 15 credits from the following:15
Database Concepts
Computer Communications and Networking
Comparative Programming Languages
Computer Systems Architecture
Secure Programming and Systems
Concurrent and Distributed Systems
Industry-Sponsored Senior Design Project
Design and Implementation of Software for the Web
Software Architectures
Total Credits15

Cross-Disciplinary

ENGH 388Professional and Technical Writing3
Select one from the following:3
Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Business and Professional Communication
Organizational Communication
Total Credits6

Additional Mason Core

Written Communication 16
Literature3
Arts3
Western Civilization/World History3
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Global Understanding3
Natural Science7
Total Credits28
1

Applied Computer Science majors must take the Natural Sciences section of ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (Mason Core).

Electives

Select 3 credits of electives3
Total Credits3

CS Honors Program

The Department of Computer Science offers a CS Honors Program for students with strong computational foundations and the drive to delve deeper into computing. The program is based on the bachelor of science in computer science and applied computer science curriculum and is distinct from the University Honors College curriculum.

Entry Requirements

Students must be seeking a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science or a Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Science and must apply for entry into the CS Honors Program after completing 12 credits of CS courses. Applicants must meet the GPA requirements outlined below to enter into the CS Honors Program.

Honors Requirements

CS Honors Program students must fulfill all standard courses required by the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science or Applied Computer Science degree as well as the following additional requirements:

  • GPA Requirement: Students must maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.50 and a GPA of at least 3.50 for courses which count towards the BS/CS or BS/ACS major including math, natural sciences, and all CS/SWE courses.
  • Research Project Requirement: Students must complete a significant research project prior to graduation. Students should seek out a CS faculty member willing to serve as their research advisor for the project. The project should comprise original work by the student and be demonstrated via two channels:
    1. a written project report that is approved by the student's research advisor and submitted to the department;
    2. a presentation of the project to an audience of students and/or faculty.
  • Advanced Course Requirement: At least two Advanced Courses must be completed.  A complete list of acceptable advanced courses is maintained by the CS department and is available on the department web site.

Applied Computer Science, BS/Computer Science, Accelerated MS

Overview

Highly-qualified students in the Applied Computer Science, BS have the option of obtaining an accelerated Computer Science, MS.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Applied Computer Science, BS program may apply to this option if they have earned 90 undergraduate credits with an overall GPA of at least 3.30. Students must have successfully completed:

CS 310Data Structures3
CS 330Formal Methods and Models3
CS 367Computer Systems and Programming4
Total Credits10

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students must complete all requirements for the BS and MS programs, with 6 credits overlap.

Students register for 6 credits of CS 500-level basic courses in place of the corresponding CS 400-level courses required for the undergraduate degree requirements. Specifically, students must register for CS 583 Analysis of Algorithms and one of the following courses in place of the corresponding 400-level course:

CS 540Language Processors3
CS 550Database Systems3
CS 551Computer Graphics3
CS 555Computer Communications and Networking3
CS 571Operating Systems3
CS 580Introduction to Artificial Intelligence3
CS 584Theory and Applications of Data Mining3

Note:

Students are permitted to take additional graduate basic courses in their undergraduate programs. In such cases, those classes cannot be counted toward requirements for the MS.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and the VSE Graduate Admissions Office. At the completion of MS requirements, a master's degree is conferred.

Applied Computer Science, BS/Data Analytics Engineering, Accelerated MS

Overview

Highly-qualified students in the Applied Computer Science, BS have the option of obtaining an accelerated Data Analytics Engineering, MS.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Applied Computer Science, BS program may apply to this option if they have earned 90 undergraduate credits with an overall GPA of at least 3.30. Students must have successfully completed:

CS 310Data Structures3
CS 330Formal Methods and Models3
CS 367Computer Systems and Programming4
Total Credits10

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students must complete all requirements for the BS and MS programs, with 6 credits overlap.

Students must register for 6 credits of CS 500-level basic courses in place of the corresponding CS 400-level courses required for the undergraduate degree requirements. Specifically, students in all concentrations of the Applied Computer Science, BS program must register for:

CS 584Theory and Applications of Data Mining3
Total Credits3

Students in the Software Engineering and Bioinformatics concentrations of the Applied Computer Science, BS program must also register for:

CS 550Database Systems3
Total Credits3

Students in the Computer Game Design and Geography concentrations of the Applied Computer Science, BS program must also register for one of the following courses:

CS 550Database Systems3
CS 580Introduction to Artificial Intelligence3

Note:

For students in the Computer Game Design and Geography concentrations of the Applied Computer Science, BS program, one of the 500 level courses will count as an elective towards their undergraduate degree.

Students are permitted to take additional graduate basic courses in their undergraduate programs. In such cases, those classes cannot be counted toward requirements for the MS.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and the VSE Graduate Admissions Office. At the completion of MS requirements, a master's degree is conferred.

Applied Computer Science, BS/Information Security and Assurance, Accelerated MS

Overview

Highly-qualified students in the Applied Computer Science, BS program have the option of obtaining an accelerated Information Security and Assurance, MS program.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Applied Computer Science, BS program can apply for this option if they have earned 90 undergraduate credits with an overall GPA of at least 3.30.  Students must have successfully completed:

CS 310Data Structures3
CS 330Formal Methods and Models3
CS 367Computer Systems and Programming4
Total Credits10

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students must complete all requirements for the BS and MS programs, with 6 credits overlapping.

Students register for two 500-level computer science core courses (6 credits) in place of the corresponding 400-level computer science courses, as part of the undergraduate degree requirements. Specifically, students must take

CS 583Analysis of Algorithms3
Select one of the following:3
Language Processors
Database Systems
Computer Graphics
Computer Communications and Networking
Operating Systems
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
Theory and Applications of Data Mining
Total Credits6

Note:

Students complete all MS in Information Security and Assurance core courses and apply the two courses from the above list toward the degree requirements.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and the VSE Graduate Admissions Office. At the completion of MS requirements, a master's degree is conferred.

Applied Computer Science, BS/Information Systems, Accelerated MS

Overview

Highly-qualified students in the Applied Computer Science, BS program have the option of obtaining an accelerated Information Systems, MS. See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Applied Computer Science, BS program can apply to this option if they have earned 90 undergraduate credits with an overall GPA of at least 3.30. Students must have successfully completed:

CS 310Data Structures3
CS 330Formal Methods and Models3
CS 367Computer Systems and Programming4
Total Credits10

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students must complete all credits that satisfy requirements for the BS and MS programs, with 6 credits overlap.

Students register for two 500-level computer science core courses (6 credits) in place of the corresponding 400-level computer science courses, as part of the undergraduate degree requirements. Specifically, students must take

CS 583Analysis of Algorithms3
Select one of the following:3
Language Processors
Database Systems
Computer Graphics
Computer Communications and Networking
Operating Systems
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
Theory and Applications of Data Mining
Total Credits6

Note:

Students complete all MS in Information Systems core courses and apply the two courses from above toward the elective requirements.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and the VSE Graduate Admissions Office. At the completion of MS requirements, a master's degree is conferred.

Applied Computer Science, BS/Software Engineering, Accelerated MS

Overview

Highly-qualified students in the Applied Computer Science, BS have the option of obtaining an accelerated Software Engineering, MS. See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Applied Computer Science, BS program may apply to this option if they have earned 90 undergraduate credits with an overall GPA of at least 3.30.  Students must have successfully completed:

CS 310Data Structures3
CS 330Formal Methods and Models3
CS 367Computer Systems and Programming4
Total Credits10

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students must complete all credits that satisfy requirements for the BS and MS programs, with 6 credits overlap.

Students register for two 500-level computer science core courses (6 credits) in place of the corresponding 400-level computer science courses, as part of the undergraduate degree requirements. Specifically, students must take:

CS 583Analysis of Algorithms3
Select one of the following:3
Language Processors
Database Systems
Computer Graphics
Computer Communications and Networking
Operating Systems
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
Theory and Applications of Data Mining
Total Credits6

Note:

Students complete all Software Engineering, MS core courses and apply the two courses from the above list toward the elective requirements.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and the VSE Graduate Admissions Office. At the completion of MS requirements, a master's degree is conferred.