What is Computer Science?
There are many definitions of Computer Science. However, there is a consensus in Computer Science that the central concept is of an algorithm. An algorithm is a set of step-by-step instructions that can be performed by a computer to solve some problem. Computer Science can then be defined as the science of:
- the design of algorithms,
- the study of their properties and
- the study of their mechanical and linguistic realisation.
Thus, Computer Science involves carefully analysing the problems that organisations or individuals face in order to arrive at an algorithmic solution to the problem. This solution then has to be linguistically realised, i.e., turned into a program, which can then be executed on a computer system. Clearly, this also means that the design of computer systems to execute programs is an important sub-area of Computer Science.
Finally, many problems allow for more than one algorithmic solution and the final important aspect of Computer Science concern techniques for comparing different algorithms. These techniques include both theoretical tools, and require a good understanding of some Mathematics, as well as empirical comparisons between different algorithms for the same task.
Aims and Objectives
The Computer Science undergraduate programme aims to:
- Provide students with the educational experiences that will enable them to cope with the rapidly changing subject of Computer Science.
- Provide students with up-to-date training in the discipline so as to prepare them to take on entry level positions in the local Information Technology sector, (with the exception of hardware engineer and technician) and to grow into other positions with one or two years working experience.
- Provide students with a sufficiently broad range of courses to enable them to be successful in postgraduate programmes anywhere in the world.
- Employ a range of assessment methods and techniques and to enable students to demonstrate the depth of their understanding and their capacity for independent thought.
- Give students support and guidance in what, for most students, is a new discipline.
The intended learning outcomes can be divided into two classes, namely intended learning of any undergraduate programme in a science subject , and intended learning outcomes specific to Computer Science. The general intended learning outcomes are that students will:
- Understand the nature of scientific enquiry and research.
- Be able to analyse a problem, construct alternate approaches to its solution and evaluate the merits and demerits of each.
- Be able to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
- Recognise the need for life-long learning and development.
- Be able to work in teams.
Specific learning outcomes are that students will:
- Be aware of the history of the discipline of Computer Science and understand the conceptual underpinnings of the subject.
- Understand the nature of the software development process, including the need to provide appropriate documentation.
- Be able to program fluently in one or two programming languages.
- Understand the major programming paradigms and be able to learn a new programming language in a fairly short time (2 to 4 weeks).
- Understand standard techniques for solving a problem on a computer, including programming techniques and techniques for the representation of information.
- Be able to recommend a technique for a specific problem to meet a particular objective.
- Understand the basic theory of computer architectures, including computer hardware and networking.
- Understand the importance and the nature of operating systems and compilers.
- Understand how information technology affects society, business and the individual, both from a technical and from an ethical and legal point of view.
- Be able to effectively communicate with persons who are not technically versed in the subject.
In order to do the Computer Science Degree, candidates must satisfy the requirements for entrance to the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science.
Students must either:
- Satisfy the University requirements for Normal Matriculation.
- Have obtained passes at CXC Secondary Education General Proficiency level (or equivalent) in Mathematics and two subjects at CAPE (both comprising Units 1 & 2) or at GCE A-level (or equivalent) one of which must be an approved science subject.
- Satisfy the University requirements for Lower level Matriculation.
- Have obtained passes at CXC Secondary Education General Proficiency level with grades I, II, or since 1998 grade III (or equivalent) in Mathematics and two approved science subjects.
Computer Science Requirements
- Applicants should possess 5 CXC subjects (grades 1-3, including English language and Mathematics) or their equivalent, two (2) of which should be at the advanced level CAPE (2 units each grades 1-5), to qualify for full time 3 year degree programme. One of these advanced level courses should be in a science subject. A teachers' college diploma, an associate's degree in mathematics, information technology or science or a pass in EC14C will be considered equivalent qualification for persons without CAPE passes.
Faculty B.Sc. Programme Structure
The undergraduate programme in the Faculty of Science and Technology is divided into two parts each having 2 levels of courses. These are shown in the table below along with the Computer Science course codes for each level.
||CS Course Codes
||Computing has no preliminary courses
Students will not be allowed to proceed to Part II of the programme unless they have passed COMP1126, COMP1127, COMP1161, COMP1210, and COMP1220.
Computer Science Programme Structure
The B.Sc. in Computer Science is a full-time programme which normally takes three (3) years. There are no part-time programmes in the department. Most classes are being offered during the regular hours of 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. However, first year courses are being offered in the evenings between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Some labs may also be offered on Saturdays.
For students who began the programme on or after Semester I 2011, a major in Computer Science requires thirty-six (36) credits from Part II Computer Science courses. These must include:
For students who began the Computer Science programme between 2008 and 2010, please click here for degree requirements.
A minor in Computer Science requires sixteen (16) credits from Part II Computer Science courses. These must include the following four (4) core courses:
Tracks in Computing
The Department of Computing offers the following tracks for the B.Sc. in Computer Science degree:
- Hardware interfacing and Embedded Systems
- Network and System Security Specialist
- Software Development
- Web, Multimedia, and User Interface Designer
Hardware Interfacing and Embedded Systems
A Computing graduate from the Hardware Interfacing and Embedded Systems track can be expected to:
- Make a computer detect and respond to physical changes in its environment.
- Work in robotics
- Work on automated process control (e.g., in greenhouses and factories)
- Work on automated energy management
- Write a compiler or a device driver
Students in this track will be expected to take COMP2201, COMP2211, COMP2140, COMP2230, COMP3101, COMP3651, COMP3800, and COMP3901 in addition to any other courses required by the department.
Network and System Security Specialist
A Computing graduate from the Network and System Security Specialist track can be expected to:
- Implement computer networks.
- Safeguard data and infrastructure from malicious attacks
- Explore current and proposed information security standards and protocols.
- Troubleshoot and maintain networked systems.
- Configure network management devices
Students in this track will be expected to take COMP2201, COMP2211, COMP2140, COMP3101, COMP3150, COMP3155, COMP3161, and COMP3901 in addition to any other courses required by the department.
Software developer, IS/DB Manager, System Support Rep
A Computing graduate from the Software developer, IS/DB Manager, System Support Rep track can be expected to:
- Analyse system problems and design solutions
- Work on the procurement, selection, and maintenance of appropriate system components
- Do data mining and reporting
- Implement and maintain designed solutions.
Students in this track will be recommended to take COMP2201, COMP2211, COMP2140, COMP2170, COMP2180, COMP2340, COMP3110, COMP3161, and COMP3901 in addition to any other courses required by the department.
Web, Multimedia, and User Interface
A Computing graduate from the Web, Multimedia, and User Interface track can be expected to:
- Manage interactive user interfaces
- Develop and maintain web-based programs
- Do game development
- Develop simulations
Students in this track will be recommended to take COMP2201, COMP2211, COMP2140, COMP2180, COMP3161, COMP3180, and COMP3901 in addition to any other courses required by the department.