For students that have a passion for challenging course work, practical applications and problem solving, a Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science or computer information systems may be the way to go.

“Computer science is the study of what we can automate and do with a machine,” Dr. John Zelle, professor of computer science and chair of mathematics, computer science, and physics said. “It’s all about deciding what problems are solvable with a computer and how we would go about designing those solutions.”

Wartburg College offers majors in both computer science and computer information systems. Computer science focuses more on the theory and mathematical foundations that serve as a basis for programming languages.

Computer information systems focuses more on solving practical problems or improving processes with computing technology, according to the College of Saint Scholastica. Between the two majors, there are 53 students majoring in computer science or computer information systems.

“If you want to go into computer science, you’ve got to first be a problem solver,” Zelle said. “If you don’t enjoy running into problems, trying to solve puzzles, and keeping track of lots of pieces of information at the same time, you’ll have a very difficult time being successful in computer science.”

The department merges course work with laboratory activities, practical internships and opportunities for teaching and leadership. Courses emphasize in-depth group activities, which enable students to tackle challenging projects while developing soft skills needed for the workplace.

“Before taking CS 120 [Introduction to Computers and Programming], I never considered computer science as a possible career or interest for myself as I had never been exposed to the subject or encouraged to pursue it,”Ally Limke, fourth-year computer science major said. “However, after taking the course, I was excited about the creative outlet that computer science offered me, so I eagerly signed up to take the next course in the program.”

For more information about computer science and computer information systems, go to







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