Software Developers is one of the top 10 fastest growing careers in America (and also the best paid), and there is a huge demand for our graduates. Nearly all of our students have had at least one internship, and our students are highly sought after by industry and are well prepared for both CS MS and PhD programs.

Our Alumni careers include

  • Research Scientist at NASA Langley Research Center
  • Distinguished Engineer at Capital One
  • Software and Site Reliability Engineer at Google
  • Junior Java Developer at SWIFT
  • Software Engineer at Facebook
  • CTO WillowTree
  • Cyber Security Technologist at Booz Allen Hamilton 

- Dr. Sharon Simmons, CS Department Head

In addition to the University Career Fair, our college hosts its own career and internship fair each semester where the majority of the employers are seeking computer science students. They also host events to meet and network with our students. Additionally, we have JMU career resources like Handshake that allow employers to directly forward employment and internship opportunities to our students. The University Career Center also has specialized liaisons. Ours is Breydon Horton, and he's available for meetings about resumes or interviews.

- Paige Normand, CS Advisor


You will learn many languages throughout your education at CS@JMU, including Java, Python and C.  You will learn the foundation of different programming paradigms (object-oriented, procedural, functional, etc.) so that you can learn any language quickly. There are many programming languages and new ones are invented all the time, so learning the different paradigms will enable you to switch among languages.

- Dr. Sharon Simmons, CS Department Head

All of our CS courses have 30 or less students - our small class sizes ensure that students ask questions and to get to know their classmates and professors and facilitate project-based learning and interactive teaching. Our CS courses are taught by CS faculty and our professors’ number one priority is excellent teaching. 

As a freshman, you will likely take MATH 155 (College Algebra) or CS149 (Introduction to Programming) your first semester. You’ll meet with your CS First Year Advisor to discuss the right starting point for you! If you take CS149 your first semester, you then take CS159 and CS227 your second semester. All these courses are taught by CS faculty and have 30 or less students.  In addition to faculty office hours, all these courses have TAs (undergraduate teaching assistants) that help with course material during evenings and weekends.

-Dr. Sharon Simmons, CS Department Head

While the department doesn't have an official concentrations, students have opportunities to pursue more focused interests through our elective CS courses. Students can take upper-level courses in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Cryptography, Interaction Design, Cyber Defence, and Web-based Information Systems, among others. 

- Paige Normand, CS Advisor

There are plenty of opportunities to give back to the department while boosting your resume as a TA, an Ambassador, or even doing research with a professor during the summer. I felt the TA position was very rewarding because I was helping students learn material that I learned and by doing so, I was getting a review of the core content as well. Also being a TA provided me the opportunity to build friendships with underclassmen in the lab that I wouldn’t have otherwise met. Being an Ambassador is a great opportunity to work with a diverse team of different class levels. As an Ambassador, I get to provide insight to future Dukes about the CS program that I would have found very useful.

- Mandy, CS Student

Most of our students have laptops: they're useful for your college career and being able to transport your CS work around with you. However, laptops are not required. The CS labs provide the necessary resources for students to complete work for any of their CS classes. 

Our recommended specs for a laptop: i7/r7 processor, 16gb of ram, 256gb SSD.

A tablet or chrome book will not be adequate for the work you'll do as a CS student - but don't feel like you'll need to get something expensive or high-powered!

- Dr. Mayfield, CS Professor


I have a Macbook Pro M1 Chip with 8GB of RAM because when I ordered this laptop it would have taken almost 6 months for me to get the 16GB version, and even without the extra 8GB this laptop has treated me super well! I do mainly use this laptop for school so I try not to overcrowd the storage (I have a 256 GB of storage). I am now in the upper level courses and have not had any major issues with this laptop (the most annoying thing that's happened is maybe an over usage warning when I'm going crazy on a Virtual Machine).

My recommendation is get a Windows or Mac (with an M1 Chip) with AT LEAST 8GB of RAM and I recommend 256 GB of storage but if 128 GB is all that you can get your hands, I would also recommend separate storage devices like USB or separate hard drive, but if you are able to get 16GB RAM that would be top tier.

- Emily, CS Student


I think besides the recommended specs of the laptop, one should also think about size and weight. While a nice, big screen is nice, that just means extra pounds to lug around. If you’re going to be moving a lot across campus, maybe a smaller computer is a better fit for you! I personally have the Dell XPS 13 inch series. Lightweight, compact, and pretty affordable. 

- Abdullah, CS student

Absolutely! The CS Curriculum is around 52 credits. Your GenEd requirements include 41 credits, so that gives you 24-27 credits to put toward a second major, a minor, or your own exploration through the Liberal Arts. There probably won't be another time in your life when you'll have such access to explore a wide variety of disciplines: this is the advantage of a Liberal Arts degree! 

Computer Scientists are in such demand in the job market, there isn't the pressure from the work force to have a particular second major or minor, so I encourage you to think about what could round out your ability to apply CS to your future career. The students I've spoken to in the past week have had minors in Finance, Music, and Spanish Translation. 

You can see some sample Curriculum Check Sheets to get a sense of how you can space out the courses. 

- CS Advisor, Paige Normand

Help outside of class comes in two forms: Teaching Assistant (TA) hours and professors' office hours. We have TA hours from Sunday-Thursday for all of our intro classes (CS 149, 159, 227) and intermediate classes (CS 240, 261). Our professors typically have at least 5 hours of office hours each week for their classes.

However, a nice thing to note is our open door culture in the department, where professors have their doors typically open to interact and help students outside of official posted hours! It’s not uncommon to see a professor helping a student that isn’t in their class. 

- Abdullah, CS Student

The honors college has its own curriculum, and students will earn the Honors minor. It has 19 credits. The first course is Introduction to Honors Course (1 Credit), which is usually taken during your first year in the program with other first-year students. Next are the Honors GenEds and Electives (12 Credits). The Honors GenEds are only with other Honors students, which can be extremely nice because not only does everyone want to be there, but it allows for smaller class sizes in otherwise large general education courses. The last six credits are achieved through a Diversity or Global Engagement Course (3 credits) and a Research or Experimental Learning Course (3 credits). These allow for students to take unique honors seminar courses or a seminar abroad.

From here, students have the option to graduate from the Honors College with either just the Honors Interdisciplinary Minor or with the minor as an Honors Scholar. The Honors Scholar track involves the student completing an Honors Senior ePortfolio Project (3 hours) and an approved Honors-approved course (3 hours). Finally, students have the option to graduate from the Honors College with distinction. This requires the student to complete a 6-credit capstone research project undertaken in the junior and senior years with a faculty advisor in a specific capstone field.

- Ozi, CS Student

I am the treasurer of Madison Dance Club and am also minoring in Dance! Throughout college I like to go on hikes with my friends, go to coffee shops, and work out at UREC. The CS curriculum at JMU gives me plenty of time to be involved with other clubs I am passionate about!

- Blair, CS Student


Outside of classes, I am a part of Greek life as well as a member of the executive board for Women In Technology! I enjoy going to club events and hanging out with my friends. I find that I have plenty of time to do the things I enjoy while also being successful in school.

- Annabelle, CS Student

The program is designed so that any level of experience (including none!) is accepted. It is not necessary to make any specific preparations, but going online and learning some Python basics on a website like Codecademy might help with the transition into coding for the first time. Picking a few videos from the Crash Course computer science playlist will also help you to get a feel for some of the topics covered throughout every level of the program.

But again this is not required! Our first programming course (CS 149) doesn't expect any prior experience with programming. My recommendation: enjoy your summer!

- Luke, CS Student

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