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Computer Science and Engineering

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Engineering

Computer science and engineering (CSE) focuses on the development of software and the uses of software to solve practical problems and to support and improve productivity, health, happiness and safety in today's society. Topics studied include algorithms and data structures, programming languages, computer architecture, computer graphics, operating systems, software engineering systems analysis, database systems, artificial intelligence, information security, and networking.

A computing professional analyzes a situation in an application domain, such as biology and medicine, business, engineering, law and public policy, science, sociology, and so on; carefully specifies the problems to be addressed; and then designs, evaluates, implements and tests computer-based solutions to those problems.

CSE combines the technical study of both software and hardware. Other majors suited for students interested in computing careers include:

  • Computer and information science in the College of Arts and Sciences: virtually identical to the CSE major in its computing courses and technical background but involves more general education requirements rather than engineering
  • Electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering: shares several computing courses with the CSE major but has a more hardware-oriented bent in its other courses

Upon admission to the university, students may directly enroll as pre-engineering students; however, direct enrollment is selective. Factors used to determine eligibility to directly enroll include ACT/SAT scores (emphasis on math), strong college prep curriculum (emphasis on math, science and rigorous courses), and class rank or GPA. The middle 50 percent of directly enrolled pre-majors (autumn 2016) had ACT score ranges of 29–33, and 98 percent were in the top 25 percent of their high school classes. 

Students not eligible to directly enroll in engineering may enroll in Science, Technology and Environment Exploration (see exploration.osu.edu). 

All engineering students have a similar first-year plan of study, the college core, that provides fundamental courses in math, science and engineering. View a sample first-year plan of study.

In addition to the college core, engineering students also take select core courses, major courses and general education courses.

Computer science students can select a focus area in artificial intelligence, computer graphics and game design, database systems and data analytics, information and computation assurance, computer networking, computer systems, and software engineering.

Engineering students have several opportunities for global education, including service learningsemester abroad, international internships, engineering-specific study abroad programs or the Global Option in Engineering program

Whether it be installing solar panels on Haitian schools, researching biomedical optics in China, devising solutions for sustainable food production in Honduras, or setting speed records on the Isle of Man, Ohio State engineering students venture beyond classrooms and labs to find success in every corner of the globe. 

Students work with Engineering Career Services (ECS) to find both paid internships and co-op jobs across the United States and around the world. Nearly 90 percent of career-employed graduates complete at least one semester of engineering-related experience before they graduate. 

Honors and scholars offer students an opportunity to pursue academic rigor (Honors) or foster passion through community (scholars). Engineering students can enhance their experience by getting involved with one of the following engineering-based programs.

Engineering Honors

The Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program is an optional course sequence that is offered to University Honors-designated engineering students. This accelerated program is designed to challenge students and provide them with a foundation in engineering principles that are necessary for success throughout their academic careers.

Engineering Scholars

Engineering Scholars presents students with a new lens through which to view engineering through two available tracks:

  • Green Engineering Scholars have a community theme of green engineering, innovation and social responsibility. Students examine areas such as alternative energy development, sustainable products and systems, and green manufacturing and building. 
  • Humanitarian Engineering Scholars learn about and engage in engineering activities that impact underserved areas by addressing pressing problems. 

At Ohio State, engineering students conduct research alongside top faculty from across the university—doctors, physicists, designers, artists and experts in many other fields—to advance our knowledge and improve the world around us. Students enjoy multiple outlets to share their work, including Ohio State's annual Denman Undergraduate Research Forum each spring. Learn more about engineering research.

Computer science and engineering research topics:

  • artificial intelligence
  • applied machine learning
  • animation
  • network security
  • wireless networking
  • computer architecture
  • software systems
  • computational learning theory
  • computational biology and bioinformatics

Computer science and engineering students choose from more than 50 engineering student organizations, including Association of Computing Machinery Committee on Women, Buckeye Aerial Robotics Team, Underwater Robotics Team, Upsilon Pi Epsilon, Buckeye Hackers, Electronics Club and Game Creation Club.

Because computing is essential in all areas of society, the demand for people skilled in the computing field continues to grow. Contrary to popular misconception, offshoring of (lower-level) IT jobs is a secondary factor in job growth for the computing profession. Recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for U.S. job growth in the next decade show computing jobs, of the sort computer science and engineering (CSE) graduates might take, comprising the top two—and half of the top 10—positions in the rankings for jobs requiring an undergraduate degree. This is after accounting for the impact of offshoring. 

Computer software and hardware vendors hire CSE graduates in areas such as software and hardware product development, quality assurance, customer support, sales and marketing, documentation, and training. But even more often, organizations that use these products (such as hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, banks, insurance companies and manufacturing firms) hire CSE graduates as software engineers building system foundations as well as end-user applications, and as systems analysts, database administrators and network administrators, as well as for other types of positions. Most large companies have internal computing departments that develop custom products for use by other departments within the same company. Considerable growth is also occurring in companies focusing on social media and information security. 

Some employers of computer science and engineering graduates include Amazon, Apple, Bosch, Cisco Systems, Epic, General Motors, IBM Corp., JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Nationwide Insurance, Rosetta and Verizon.