Undergraduate Computer Science at the University of Maryland program that’s considered one of the best in the country by many, as evidenced by its high rankings by both US News and World Report and Computer Science Professional (formerly Computing Research Association). However, you have several factors to consider when evaluating how good the University of Maryland’s Computer Science program is – from how competitive admission standards are to how difficult it is to get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Introduction to the Undergraduate Computer Science at the University of Maryland
Undergraduates looking to start a computer science degree should consider many factors before selecting a program. Aside from GPA and test scores, there are considerations such as campus environment, class sizes, opportunities for research, and extracurriculars that can be important in helping undergrads find their best fit.
This piece is an introduction to computer science studies in Maryland. It will discuss these factors, plus others that may not be as obvious when first beginning your search. In addition, it will offer specific information about the University of Maryland’s program so you may decide whether it’s right for you.
The Best Universities in America (US News & World Report) ranked Maryland #36 overall among National Universities and #2 among public schools. That’s pretty impressive! Why was UMD so highly ranked?
According to US News, The University has a strong record of producing Fulbright scholars and Ph.D. recipients with National Science Foundation fellowships. Not only does UMD have one of the highest rates of Fulbright scholars in all of higher education, but the student-to-faculty ratio is just 10:1.
Students get plenty of personal attention from their professors. So, if you want to pursue advanced degrees after graduating with your bachelor’s degree, UMD might be an excellent place.
What Makes a Great Computer Science Education at the University of Maryland?
Several aspects go into creating a top-notch computer science education. While there’s no single way to define top-notch, there are some common threads. For instance, all professors have PhDs (or other terminal degrees) in their field.
Many also have industry experience, meaning they’re more likely to be able to bring real-world experiences into class and present real-world problems. These instructors can assess your skill level on any subject and challenge you with coursework appropriate for your ability level.
Additionally, many faculty members lead research groups or advise undergraduates working in lab environments, so they know how to use these platforms as learning tools.
Lastly, the University has small classes and plenty of opportunities for one-on-one time with instructors. All these elements add up to creating an excellent undergraduate computer science program.
The Benefits of Studying Computer Science at the University of Maryland
A degree in computer science opens doors. The US BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) estimates that jobs related to computers will grow twice as fast as jobs overall by 2024, making careers in computing increasingly attractive options.
The Requirements for Joining the Maryland University of Computer Science as an UnderGraduate
When applying to any university, general requirements need to be met for you to be accepted into their institution. The same holds when applying to a university that has a strong computer science program.
These requirements include having good grades and standardized test scores in many cases. Suppose you graduate from high school and continue your education by getting a degree in computer science; you will most likely have to take an entrance exam such as the GRE or SAT.
In addition, some universities may require that students complete specific courses during high school before they can enroll in them once they get to college. For example, if a student wants to major in computer science but didn’t take any math classes while still in high school, they might not be able to enroll directly in one of those classes once they start attending college full-time.
Instead, they would first have to complete some introductory math courses before moving on and taking more advanced ones later on down the road.
Admission into the University of Maryland CS Program
The CS department admits, on average, 24 new majors each fall semester. The minimum GPA accepted is 3.0 (out of 4.0) and 25 ACT or 1170 SAT (out of 1600). However, those are just guidelines, and acceptance into UM’s CS program relies on your application, including your personal statement.
These factors matter because they demonstrate your interest in computer science and an aptitude for logic and problem-solving. It would be suitable if you were prepared to write a powerful letter about why you want to study computer science and what you hope to gain from being a part of such a program.
The same goes for letters of recommendation. Make sure that whomever you ask has specific experience with university admissions, rather than just high school guidance counselors who have never been involved with something like that before.
Finally, don’t forget to check out scholarships available to incoming first-year students. There are quite a few scholarships offered by UM and other institutions targeted explicitly toward students studying computer science.
If there isn’t one that fits your needs exactly, do some research on how to find other scholarships specific to your field of study so that you can apply during the first year instead of waiting until later when classes will already be underway.
The Classroom Experience at the University of Maryland
The University of Maryland’s computer science department allows students to participate in several unique programs that set UM apart from most schools.
The Cybersecurity Club provides UM’s computer science majors with an opportunity to network with industry professionals, giving students practical experience. Also, several conferences hosted by professors—such as CloudCom 2012, which focused on cloud computing—allow UM students to collaborate with their peers from globally and participate in cutting-edge discussions.
Lastly, opportunities like UROP give both undergraduate and graduate students hands-on experience writing code for real clients across all industries.
Majors Offered at the University of Maryland Undergraduate Program
Although computer science isn’t a traditional undergraduate major, students can earn a BS in Information Technology or Computer and Computational Sciences, which means they’ll graduate with a CS background. To get accepted into these majors, you must complete all prerequisites beforehand (namely linear algebra, probability, and statistics). The CS program requires all undergraduates to complete a minor in math, either applied mathematics or statistics.
The information technology program requires chemistry, while those studying computer and computational sciences are only required to take one natural science course. After that, you’ll need to choose your concentration.
All concentrations require two courses each semester for four years and an internship experience (either paid or unpaid) during summer break. If you decide on the latter option, you’ll get an additional year before graduating.
You’ll also need to pass a capstone project that demonstrates your skills in both design and coding by creating an application that solves a real-world problem within six months of graduation. Once finished, your project will be judged by peers who will determine whether or not it’s worthy of receiving your degree.
The Undergrad curriculum at the University of Maryland
While most computer science students will study for a BS in Computer Science, there are also several opportunities to minor in areas such as mathematics or another field.
Minoring in Mathematics or another discipline can be beneficial because it provides you with the valuable foundational knowledge you’ll use throughout your career. Focusing on computer science gives you a core set of skills that’s more directly transferable to programming.
Another benefit to staying focused on CS is that some schools’ MS programs have prerequisites that require minors—and even if they don’t, rounding out your education helps you become a well-rounded programmer. If you’re thinking about going straight into an MS program after graduating high school or transferring in, keep an eye out for those admissions requirements and plan accordingly.
The Career Landscape of Graduates in Computer Science at the University of Maryland
First and foremost, if you’re looking to become a software engineer, there’s no better place in Maryland than UMUC. The University ranks as one of the best universities for computer science, and UMUC graduates are highly sought after by employers nationwide.
According to their job placement statistics, 93% of students who graduated with an information system major were employed within six months from graduation; 85% were still working in their field of study six months later, and 95% were still employed two years after graduation.
Does the University of Maryland Assist with Job and Internship Placement?
One great thing about attending UMCP (for CS majors) is that they have an extensive internship program. Each year, roughly 50% of computer science majors get internships.
While there are limited job opportunities right after graduation, UMCP’s Career Center has excellent resources and connects students with career fairs, on-campus interviews, and recruiting events.
So, while you may not walk out with a job lined up from day one, as an undergrad majoring in CS at UMCP, you’ll be set up well for success in your career after college. As one alumnus put it, [UMCP] does a good job laying a solid foundation for your undergraduate education and does everything possible to prepare you for life post-graduation.
Could the University of Maryland CS Work for You?
The answer relies on your goals and priorities. If you want to dive deep into a particular field and have a genuine research interest, UMUC may not be for you. However, suppose you’re willing to do some self-directed study beyond what’s required by your program. In that case, UMUC could offer an excellent introduction to computer science while also helping prepare you for grad school.
After all, researchers need an excellent grasp of software engineering concepts and experience working with other programmers. While UMUC doesn’t specifically target people, who plan to pursue graduate studies, their department does give students exposure to both approaches through its breadth requirement and undergraduate research programs.
Should I Study CS at UMUC as an Undergraduate?
If you’re looking to study computer science, you’ve probably considered UMUC (the University of Maryland, College Park) – after all, they have one of the country’s best programs. On top of that, UMUC has a ton to offer.
One-on-one mentoring with instructors, small classes emphasizing collaboration and teamwork, and extensive career resources are tailor-made for your success. However, these features are also available at hundreds of other colleges and universities around America.
So, what makes UMUC any different? The answer lies in their curriculum. UMUC offers a specialty track for computer science majors – designed in part by Microsoft and Cisco – covering everything from hardware to programming languages to mobile devices.