Applied Computer Science, Bachelor of Science

School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems

College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

This program offers students the opportunity to explore such topics as: data mining (through the Center for Data Insight), parallel algorithms, distributed systems, artificial intelligence, fuzzy logic, neural networks, evolutionary programming, and modeling reactive systems as well as foundation work in programming languages, software engineering, virtual collaborative environments, and user interfaces.

This plan will not be available to new students after Summer 2023

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 22 units of preprofessional requirements (some of which also count towards liberal studies requirements)
  • At least 59 units of major courses

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 226
Additional Fees/Program Fees Required
University Honors Program Optional
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan
Student Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

Computer science and software engineering are terms used to describe a diverse discipline of computing professionals who apply mathematics, computer science, and engineering principles to the design, analysis, implementation, and maintenance of software systems. Computer scientists and software engineers pursue careers designing and building software, developing effective ways to solve computing problems, and devising new and better methods of using computers to address problems in the arts, the sciences, industry, and society. Computer scientists and software engineers must be master problem solvers who understand how to analyze a problem, discern the fundamental requirements for implementing a solution, design and analyze potential solutions, implement solutions using appropriate technologies, manage and work in multidisciplinary teams, design appropriate software tests, and maintain software after it has been deployed.

In a world where communication, commerce, manufacturing, education, government, and entertainment depend on software systems it's easy to understand how computer scientists and software engineers make a difference.
While both the Bachelors of Science in Computer Science (BSCS) and the Bachelors of Science in Applied Computer Science (BSACS) share some of the same core curriculum and many final career outcomes they are differentiated by their focus.
BSCS students will have gained greater exposure to higher mathematics and the theory of computing. Exposure to rigorous algorithmic analysis, theories of computation, and the connection between language and computation give these students the skills and background to be successful developing high performance systems, complex algorithms, and developing software that pushes the boundaries of what is possible with computation.
BSACS students will have gained greater exposure to the practice and craft of software development and software engineering. BSACS students will be exposed to systematic approaches to software development, which give these students the skills and background to be successful developing large complex software systems, systems with evolving constraints, and systems which require predictability, precision, mitigated risk, or process compliance.
Student Learning Outcomes

By the time students graduate with an Applied Computer Science degree from Northern Arizona University, they will be able to:

  • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.
  • An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
  • An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
  • An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.
  • An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
  • An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
  • An ability to communicate effectively.
  • The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  • A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning.
  • A knowledge of contemporary issues. 
  • An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

Major Requirements
  • Take the following 81 units with a Grade of "C" or better in each CS Core course and CS 486C:

    Preprofessional Requirements (22 units)

    • MAT 136, MAT 226 (7 units)
    • STA 270 or STA 275 (3 units)
    • Technical electives at the 200-level or above, select from: EE, MAT, PHY, CHM, GSP, BIO, and CS general elective courses. (You may use technical/science courses with other prefixes, with the department chair's approval.) (9 units)
    • ENG 302W (3 units)
    Major Courses (59 units)

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • No more than one "D" is allowed in CS electives and technical electives.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.

  • Program fees are established by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). A program fee of $500 per year in students' Junior and Senior years has been approved for this program.