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AU Launches Three Computer Science Grad Programs New programs will prepare students for careers in rapidly expanding industry.

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According to USA Today, computer science graduates have their pick of career opportunities as recruiters struggle to fill positions in the rapidly expanding industry. In fact, according to Computer Science Zone, there will be one million more computing jobs than employees to fill them in the next 10 years.

To give students the skills necessary to meet this workforce demand, American University is launching three new Computer Science Tracks for graduate students:

  • Data Science
  • Games and Computational Media
  • Applied Computer Science

Classes begin next fall, and students can register now.

“The tracks were developed to fit the demands of today’s society and job market. There is a great need for well-trained computer scientists with MS degrees, says Nathalie Japkowicz, American University professor of computer science. “Our department is expanding fast, and we are excited to jump to the next level with these new tracks. They will give our students rigorous training by highly qualified faculty who are experts in their subfields.”

The pre-requisite for the new tracks is only three undergraduate courses. “We structured the program this way so that students from other fields can come and do their MS with us to complement their undergraduate studies,” Japkowicz says. “Computer Sciences crosses many disciplines and can be utilized across many fields. The faculty will develop projects tailored to the skills of each student, to create an environment where computer science undergraduates as well as undergraduates from other departments and colleges will thrive.”

The first track is Applied Computer Science, and it provides students with general computer science skills. The other tracks are more specialized. “The Data Science Track,” says Japkowicz, “should especially appeal to students in the sciences or social sciences interested in quantitative approaches. This track will allow them to explore newer, untraditional methods to add to their arsenal of analytical tools. Lastly, the Games and Computational Media track should be of special interest to students interested in computational methods combined with artistic expression.”

Applied Computer Science Track

The Applied Computer Science Track is perfect for students interested in developing strong practical computer science skills. They will receive a generalized education that will prepare them well for a career in computer science research or industry. With courses ranging from theoretical computer science to advanced programming, software engineering, database and artificial intelligence, this track will give the students a deep understanding of the major sub-disciplines of the field. It culminates in a final project or thesis on a topic of their choice, which they will develop under the guidance of a faculty member. The students may also pursue internships in private industry or government agencies.

Data Science Track

The Data Science Track will give students the strong computing foundation necessary for successful careers in data science. They will explore data science from a formal statistical or softer and more applied standpoint. In addition, they will have the opportunity to apply their data mining skill to any domain of their choice, be it in the science, social science or humanity realm. Their studies will culminate with a capstone project or thesis, which could include an internship in private industry or government agencies. This track will prepare the student well for either an industrial or a research career in data science.

Games and Computational Media Track

The Games and Computational Media Track will allow students to develop a strong computing foundation while exploring artistic expressions of computer science through games and visual design. The students will complement their core computer science education with courses in Game Development, Game Design and Art Production, Computer Vision, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and User Interface Design. In addition to courses, they will prepare a capstone project or thesis, or alternatively conduct an internship in a company, museum or other appropriate setting. Collaboration between our students and those in the MA in Game Design is strongly encouraged to help our graduates develop the skills needed to start their own companies in games for change and purposeful play, providing fertile potential for American University to become an incubator for such start-ups.