May 22, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Computer Science, B.S.

Program Description

The Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science prepares graduates to excel in the field of computing. All students complete required coursework in programming, mathematics, data structures, algorithms, software engineering, computer systems, and programming languages. Students also choose elective courses from a variety of computing subfields including robotics, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, cyber defense, database systems, and web applications. Throughout the curriculum, students apply their knowledge by completing many software development projects both individually and on a team, using a variety of languages and systems.

Admission Requirements

Admission to JMU does not guarantee admission to the Computer Science major. Admission is limited, but the department will strive to accommodate all interested students who have demonstrated the potential to succeed in CS. Students may enroll in CS courses beyond CS 149 CS 159  and CS 227 /MATH 227  only if they are fully admitted to the CS major or minor.


Students interested in the major must complete the application process described below to request full admission. 

Students who wish to apply for full admission to the CS major must:

  • Be enrolled at JMU
  • Have declared the CS major

  • Have completed a minimum of 15 credit hours

  • Have completed or be currently enrolled in CS 159  and CS 227 /MATH 227 /MATH 245 

  • Achieve grades of “B-” or better in CS 159  and CS 227 /MATH 227 /MATH 245 

  • Submit an official application that includes an essay of no more than 250 words to address a prompt that demonstrates students’ commitment to the values of the Department of Computer Science.


Additional application and acceptance information:

  • Students will be granted full admission to the CS major as space permits based on their grades in CS 159  and CS 227 /MATH 227 /MATH 245  and faculty evaluation of their potential to succeed in the CS major. 

  • There are two application cycles, once in the fall for spring admission, and once in the spring for fall admission.

  • Students will be notified of their CS major admission status no later than January 1st for admission for the spring semester, and no later than May 31st for admission for the fall semester.

  • Students may apply to the CS major twice, in total. 

  • Students who have attempted CS 149 CS 159  or CS 227 /MATH 227 /MATH 245  at JMU may not attempt them elsewhere (i.e. they must make any second attempt(s) at JMU). 

  • Non-transfer students must take CS 159  and CS 227 /MATH 227 /MATH 245  at JMU. 

  •  MATH 245  may be substituted for CS 227 

  •  An applicant’s CS and calculus grades will be considered during the admission process, with a strong emphasis on CS grades. Final admission decisions will be made by a committee of CS faculty members.


Incoming transfer students will be placed into appropriate CS courses for their first semester after consultation with a transfer advisor based on placement test performance and other considerations. Students who are placed into CS 149  will be subject to the same eligibility requirements and application process as non-transfer students. Transfer students who are placed into courses other than CS 149  must apply for full admission at the end of their first semester. They will be evaluated by a committee of CS faculty members based on their performance in the first semester as well as the other elements of the admissions application. Transfer students must have credit for or be taking CS 159  and CS 227 /MATH 227 /MATH 245  the semester they apply for full admission to the major. 

Progressing in the Major

Students may enroll in each of CS 149 CS 159 CS 240  and CS 261  at most twice. Most CS courses require a minimum grade of “C-” (minimum of “B-” in CS 149  and CS 227 ) in prerequisite courses, including those taken in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics . Students must achieve a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 in all courses used to satisfy CS major degree requirements.

Degree and Major Requirements

Degree Requirements Credit Hours
General Education  1 41
Quantitative requirement (in addition to General Education ) 3
Major requirements (listed below) 49-52
University electives





1 The General Education  program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. Some credits may be fulfilled by courses required within the major.

Major Requirements

Choose one introductory discrete math course: 3 Credit Hours

Choose one calculus sequence: 4-6 Credit Hours

Choose one algorithms course: 3 Credit Hours

Choose one systems elective: 3 Credit Hours

Major Requirements Total: 49-52 Credit Hours

Additional Information

The credit/no-credit option may not be applied to any courses specifically listed above, nor may that option be applied to computer science electives


Periodically, the department may offer a collection of two or more advanced courses in a particular area of study.

Students successfully completing those courses will obtain a certificate in that area of study. Examples of possible certificate programs include networking, software engineering and information security.

U.S. Government Requirements for Computer Scientists

The U.S. government standard for occupational category GS- 1550: Computer Science Series includes a requirement of 15 hours in statistics and mathematics including differential and integral calculus. This means that students considering a career as a computer scientist with the U.S. government (including DoD, NASA, etc.) must complete more math courses than the minimum requirement for a B.S. degree. Recommended calculus sequences for these students are MATH 235 -MATH 236  or MATH 231 - MATH 232 -MATH 236 . However, only the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can give final approval of individual qualifications.

Sample Plan of Study for Majors

This is just an illustration of a path through our curriculum.

First Year

First Year - Fall Semester

First Year - Fall Semester Total: 15 Credit Hours

First Year - Spring Semester

First Year - Spring Semester Total: 15 Credit Hours

First Year Total: 30 Credit Hours

Second Year

Second Year - Fall Semester

Second Year - Fall Semester Total: 15 Credit Hours

Second Year - Spring Semester

Second Year - Spring Semester Total: 15 Credit Hours

Second Year Total: 30 Credit Hours

Third Year

Third Year - Fall Semester

Third Year - Fall Semester Total: 15 Credit Hours

Third Year - Spring Semester

Third Year - Spring Semester Total: 15 Credit Hours

Third Year Total: 30 Credit Hours

Fourth Year

Fourth Year - Fall Semester

  • CS Algorithm Elective Credits: 3.00
  • CS Elective Credits: 3.00
  • Electives Credits: 9.00
Fourth Year - Fall Semester Total: 15 Credit Hours

Fourth Year - Spring Semester

  • CS Electives Credits: 6.00
  • Electives Credits: 9.00
Fourth Year - Spring Semester Total: 15 Credit Hours

Fourth Year Total: 30 Credit Hours


1 Many students opt to take the two-course calculus sequence (MATH 231  and MATH 232 ), but if you have the appropriate ALEKS score, you could take MATH 235  to fulfill your calculus requirement.
2 Many students opt to take Elementary Statistics (MATH 220 ) to fulfill our statistics requirement, but we have two other course options: MATH 229  or MATH 318 .

Program Total: 120 Credit Hours