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College of Idaho launches computer science major

Starting in fall 2013, The College of Idaho will offer a new major in mathematics-computer science that capitalizes on its strong liberal arts curriculum and its proximity to the vibrant high-tech business center of Boise.

John Ottenhoff, vice president for academic affairs, said the C of I offers an ideal environment for studying computer science.

“If you talk to the people who make decisions at places like Micron and Hewlett-Packard, they'll tell you that ‘high-tech’ really depends on ‘high thinking’ – and on workers who can think critically, communicate and solve difficult, complex problems,” Ottenhoff said. “Those are the kinds of skills the C of I computer science program – and our entire PEAK Curriculum – focuses on. We believe our new computer science program will be especially successful in producing those thoughtful and innovative leaders of tomorrow's high-tech fields, whatever they may be.”

Frank Jones, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, said computer science is cross-disciplinary by nature, yet is often studied largely independent of other fields such as the social sciences or fine arts.

“Our objective is to provide majors with a strong foundation in the theory and practice of computer science while encouraging them to investigate and integrate these concepts within the context of other areas of knowledge,” Jones said.  “Qualified computer science graduates are in high demand in virtually every field. The kind of well-rounded graduates that a liberal arts education can produce are especially sought-after.”

Courses will cover core topics including programming languages, computer architecture and algorithms as well as more advanced classes in numerical computation, operating systems and software engineering. Jones noted that the C of I’s courses will focus on learning and reinforcing theory through application and investigation as early and often as possible.

“In this way, students can immediately see and experiment with meaningful applications of the knowledge they are gaining,” Jones said.

All senior mathematics-computer science majors will take a capstone course in which they will be required to apply fundamental practices of software engineering in a project that aids a business or charitable organization. In addition, majors will be encouraged to work on self-defined independent projects such as mobile computing or to collaborate with faculty on research activities.

C of I students already have formed a chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, offering additional opportunities for computer science and other majors to learn outside the classroom.

For more information about studying mathematics-computer science at The College of Idaho, contact the Office of Admission at [email protected] or 208-459-5305.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 11 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit