This page answers some of our frequently asked questions by prospective and incoming students.
What is the computer requirement for CS?
We have no specific computer requirements for our department, as long as it isn’t an iPad or other tablet or Chromebook. Tablets and Chromebooks are limited in a way that prevent you from installing the software needed for many of our courses. Computers should be relatively new when you come to college so that they last all four years and can run the most recent versions of operating systems. Laptops are best for college students, so you can carry it with you and do your work outside of your room, but we also have multiple computer labs available to CS majors 24/7. The main consideration is to try to get upgraded amounts of RAM and hard disk space if you can afford it. This will help the laptop last all 4 years. 16GB of RAM is best, but 8GB is fine. We recommend at least 512GB of hard disk space, preferably an SSD, if possible. However, new laptops with lower specs will also work fine for everything we do in our courses.
Do you need a CS/programming course before majoring in CS?
No! We expect zero prior experience with computer science and programming before you take the first course in the computer science major. Our first course is designed to be a good learning experience for both students with no experience and students with some experience in computer science. This course is taught in a programming language called Python, which is a great first programming language. Since the first course CS151 is also a core course and required for most science majors, there's also no risk to trying it out; it should still fulfill a graduation requirement even if you decide CS is not the major or minor for you.
Can you test out of or get credit for the first CS course (CS151)?
Yes, it is possible to skip the first course CS151 if you have enough computer science and programming experience. An AP CS A score of 4 or 5 will give you credit for CS151, allowing you to start in CS212 in your first semester. If you instead do not have AP credit but have taken programming courses another way (high school courses, dual enrollment, etc), get in touch with the computer science department chair the summer before your first semester to discuss testing out of CS151. If you have taken a course at another college or university, you should submit that as a transfer credit through AASC for determination of whether the course awards credit for CS151. You do not need to have a course in the python programming language to get credit for CS151 as a CS major, we award credit for many programming languages.
Does AP CS Principles award any credit?
A high score on the AP CS Principles AP test will award credit for CS105. Although that course is not required for the CS major, it will count as a core course for other majors or as a free elective for CS majors. Taking AP CS Principles will also prepare you well for the concepts in computer science.
Do students get internships? Are they paid?
Many students have paid internships in the summer, particularly the summer after their junior year, either in the Baltimore area or back home. Students can start applying for internships as early as their first year. See our Jobs and Internships Page for more information.
Will I get a job with a CS degree?
Most of our seniors have jobs lined up before they graduate. Many students get full-time offers from companies they've had internships with during their four years at Loyola, and everyone usually has a job within a few months of graduation as long as they've taken the time to apply and interview. Loyola's Career Center has excellent support for job seekers, including resume help and career fairs, and the CS department shares job opportunities on our department Discord server with all CS students as well. Students are invited to join the Discord server after they've started taking CS courses at Loyola.
Are there CS scholarships?
Most scholarships at Loyola are not tied to majors, in particular because students are encouraged to take time to explore majors during their first year, and thus declare their major in their second year. You can find a full listing of scholarships and their requirements on the Financial Aid website, as well as information about the process of receiving financial aid. However, one option for CS majors is to consider applying to the CPaMS Scholars program. You must apply to this program when you apply to Loyola; if you list a CPaMS major on your application you will be given access to the CPaMS application after submitting your Loyola application. This program has many benefits, one of which is a scholarship that is awarded based on financial need. See the CPaMS website for details.
Do you have a degree in game design / virtual reality / cybersecurity / etc?
We have three degrees in computer science: a B.A. in CS, a B.S. in CS, and an interdisciplinary degree designed to pair with another major on campus. Students with specialized interests work with their computer science faculty advisor to choose electives that align with their career aspirations. For example, cybersecurity is worked into many of our upper-level courses, where you learn security as it relates to the topic of the course (web security in web programming, operating system and general security in operating systems, network security in networking, etc), and we occasionally offer a cybersecurity elective as well. Game design would focus on both programming skills and design skills, which can be learned through courses in the communication department and fine arts. So even though we do not call a particular degree by a specialized name, you can choose the courses that align with your specialization. You are therefore also not locked into a specific specialization, but have the flexibility to explore computer science as your interests change over your four years. The goal of an undergraduate computer science degree is to learn enough about many different topics that you can start a career in many computing areas and continue to grow in your knowledge in that career. You will never know everything about computing by the time you graduate from any college or university, but we will ensure you have the skills to start on your career path and be able to continue learning on the job for many years to come!
What is the difference between the B.A. and B.S. in Computer Science at Loyola?
You can find a discussion of the differences between our degrees on the Major and Minor Requirements page, and details on the BA Degree and BS Degree pages.