Computer Science

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a major in Computer Science?

Computer science is a great foundational education to prepare you for many possibilities after graduation, including fields that have nothing to do with computing. The analytical, problem solving, and team building skills you gain will serve you well in many arenas. You can view some of the options about careers in Computer Science at the XPD – Experience & Professional Development website.

How big are the classes?

We’re small enough that you won’t get lost in the crowd. By the time you graduate, most of your computer science faculty and classmates will know you. Courses tend to have 20 to 25 students. The lab sections are in the 10 to 15 range, with a maximum lab size of 16. We graduate about 20 majors per year.

Do students have many choices in what to take to complete the major?

We are a small program, but we’re also large enough that you won’t be stifled by a lack of variety. We regularly offer a selection of advanced elective courses, (3 or 4 per year), that smaller programs can’t offer. Over the past two years we offered 8 distinct upper-division electives:

  • Bioinformatics
  • Computer Graphics
  • Software Engineering
  • Database Systems
  • Parallel Programming
  • Data Intelligence
  • Data Communications and Networks
  • Operating Systems

Students choose at least three to graduate in computer science. Thus, students get a real choice of how to complete the major.

Can I study abroad and still complete my degree in computer science in four years?

Yes and CSB/SJU has many international programs to choose from. Here is a sample 4-year schedule that includes a semester abroad.

What’s special about computer science at CSB/SJU?

We feel that our program is among the best undergraduate computing programs in the nation. But you will naturally be skeptical: How are we comparing? What makes us so special?

Our focus is on problem solving with a hands-on approach.

Unlike many schools, our curriculum emphasizes laboratories heavily. The first three courses in the major include a laboratory component, a scheduled block of eighty minutes in the computer lab, twice a week, when students can practice concepts with the help of a faculty lab instructor and experienced computer science students who act as teaching assistants in the labs, (TAs.) The TAs are also available 5 evenings per week to assist students in mastering computer science concepts.

Dedicated Faculty

We have assembled an outstanding faculty, devoted to teaching computer science to undergraduates. All of our full-time professors have a PhD in computer science or a closely related field and have come to CSB/SJU because they want to devote themselves to educating undergraduates.

In contrast to many large universities, we don’t have classes taught by graduate students. And in contrast to many smaller colleges, professors for other subjects rarely teach computer science classes.


CSB/SJU is committed to providing outstanding technology to its students, with high-bandwidth Internet connectivity to all classrooms and dorm rooms, and with many computers distributed throughout the campuses that are available for student use. In addition to the technology available campus-wide, our department maintains its own facilities, which include multiple labs for student use.

We are at CSB and SJU

Don’t choose any school based solely on its computer science program, no matter how serious you are about its study. You should also check out the school’s overall academic and social environments, and the CSB/SJU Admission office can tell you about that.

We are a well established program

CSB/SJU’s academic program is established and well-known. We have been teaching computer science for over thirty years, and we currently graduate about 20 students each year. Employers in the region are well acquainted with our program and many come to campus to recruit our graduates.

Contact the Computer Science Department
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Imad Rahal
Chair, Computer Science Department
CSB Main 262