Computer science students will soon have the option of receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree instead of the current Bachelor of Science.

Less rigid than the B.S., the new B.A. program will offer students more freedom and flexibility in class selection. B.A. students will be allowed to explore more electives outside of the computer science department and have fewer technical requirements than B.S. students.

“Comparing the B.S. and the B.A. would be like comparing apples and oranges,” said Bala Kalyanasundaram, chair of the computer science department.

He said the purpose of the B.A. is to give students more variety in their course selection and allow them to pursue their individual interests, so students deciding between the two should think about their niches.

“If there is a student who dreams of being a great hacker, the B.A. might be better,” he said.

In the B.A. program, students can pair computer science classes with other areas if they are interested in careers in government or security, he said.

Currently, B.S. requirements for computer science majors consist of a total of 18 classes, including Computer Science I and II, Advanced Programming and Data Structures. B.A. students will continue to take these core classes, but the total number of required courses is reduced to 12.

Students in the B.A. program may opt to take only three of the five math courses obligatory under the B.S. program. The number of mandatory computer science classes was reduced from 10 to six.

These courses were reduced due to the fact that many facets of computer science have become less math-based in recent years, although students are still expected to be familiar with fundamental mathematical concepts such as those in calculus.

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