Computer science is the study of the theory and application of computational algorithms and information processing in computer systems. The computer science major provides a foundation in computer architecture, systems programming, data structures and networks. Upper level courses include computer algorithms, software engineering and programming languages. Elective courses in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics and computer graphics complete the major. The computer science program at the Naval Academy supports advanced study in computer graphics and visualization, cryptography, artificial intelligence and robotics.
Midshipmen participate in hands-on projects beginning with third class year and the program culminates in a capstone design experience. This provides a relevant, practical opportunity to incorporate the knowledge gained into a culminating project. The capstone project can be interdisciplinary, with teams made up of computer science and information technology majors. Recent projects have included developing the USNA Honor website, developing apps for the iPod and iPhone and designing a system to allow the Naval Academy radio station to broadcast on the internet.
The Computer Science Department is equipped with Windows and Unix computers, networking, and computer forensics labs. Midshipmen utilize these resources to apply theory learned in the classroom and to complete projects throughout the curriculum.
Upper class computer science majors may engage in independent study, or participate in summer internships with the National Security Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency, or the Naval Research Labs. Annually, a select group of computer science majors participate in the Service Academy Cyber Defense Exercise. Several midshipmen acquire majors in both computer science and information each year.
Computer science graduates can be selected into the highly competitive Information Professional (IP) or Information Warfare (IW) career field options. IP officers harness technology, information and knowledge to ensure battlespace dominance and IW officers conduct offensive cyber warfare operations. Software engineering and other computer science related fields are one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. A degree in computer science can lead to a highly successful career in the Navy and Marine Corps, or in the government and private sectors.
Midshipmen considering the computer science major should have a strong interest in computer technology, and a desire to learn about its design and application. Students will spend a significant amount of time in labs working with computers, servers, routers, switches, and other computer equipment. Students who enjoy working with computers, who have a yearning to understand how computers work, who want to understand how programming languages are structured, or who have a systematic way of thinking, have the greatest success in the major. No prior computer programming experience is required to be successful in this major.