Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of computer is recommended for incoming first-year students?

We do not require you to bring a desktop computer or laptop. However, any type of mobile PC would be the best so you can take your device to class (or anywhere else you want to take it). A PC is suggested because most of the computers in the department are PCs, and CS and IS registered students can get most MS software systems for free through the CS and IS Microsoft Imagine initiative.

  • If you will carry the laptop around all the time, then we recommend something smaller and lighter.
  • If you will mainly keep it in the room and watch movies on it, then we recommend something with a larger screen.
  • If you are interested in computer gaming, then we recommend a more powerful "desktop replacement" specialized gaming laptop (for example, Alienware), which will be more costly.

Recommended specifications

  • We recommend Dell computers. The brand is quite reliable and Bradley University has a relationship with Dell.
  • An Intel CPU with an i5 processor or greater
  • 8 GB or more of RAM
  • 512 GB or more HDD space
  • Screen size depends on how you will primarily use the laptop. A 15-inch or 17-inch screen should be fine.
  • Standard configuration has a 6-cell battery. If you customize it, Dell offers a 9-cell battery. This will increase battery life, but it weighs and costs more.
  • Most MS programming development environments and software tools are available through Microsoft Imagine initiative, however MS Office is not available. Students can get OpenOffice or purchase MS Office at a discounted rate at Bradley Computing Services.
  • Students also can take advantage of the Employee Purchase Program (EPP) at Bradley University with the same savings as employees.

What is the difference between the CS and the CIS major?

Computer Science (CS) and Computer Information Systems (CIS) degrees are both offered within the Department. A CS degree delves more into theory and integrates more programming courses throughout the curriculum. A CIS degree focuses on applications and information technology infrastructure. CS and CIS course requirements do overlap; however, and several courses are required for both. 

Are classes taught in a traditional classroom or within a lab?

Location of classes are based on the material being taught. With our new labs, many of the programming courses are taught within the labs, or split between a lab and a classroom. Courses that cover more theory are taught primarily in traditional classrooms. 

What resources are available to international students?

International students are welcome to apply for the graduate or undergraduate program. The department has had great success in educating many international students. Bradley University also supports international students through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The Center plans several activities throughout the year, including an international Food Festival where groups of international students prepare their traditional dishes for other students. 

Under the current curriculum, is it possible for students to have time to pursue a minor in another area?

Since computing and informatics are now integrated into almost every other discipline at some level, minors are strongly encouraged. For example, a minor in biology would give you more leverage seeking employment as a computer scientist in research labs and related medical positions. A minor in music or multimedia would give you more leverage seeking employment in a music related field or in integrating multimedia into computer science projects. A minor in game design would provide you more in-depth knowledge and leverage seeking employment as a computer game designer and software developer.

How has your curriculum been developed?

CS and IS curriculum follows the joint curriculum guidelines of two major professional associations in computing – ACM and IEEE. The distinctive feature of CS and IS curriculum is that it provides undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to concentrate on one or two special areas in computing as an integral part of program of study. A combination of a B.S. or M.S. degree in CS or CIS with one or two concentrations significantly increases employment opportunities for our graduates.

Do full-time or part-time faculty teach the classes?

The majority of courses, particularly CS courses, are taught by full-time faculty who hold weekly office hours. Part-time instructors are typically specialists in their fields as well, and include a corporate attorney teaching computer law and an IT manager teaching computing management. 

What are your placement rates? (How many students receive employment offers upon graduation?)

The Department works with the Smith Career Center in providing support for interviews and resume development. The placement rate for CS graduates is very high, given the current need for computer scientists in the labor market. Contact the Smith Career Center for actual figures and average salary offers of recent graduates.

What course(s) should a non-major take who wants to learn about computing?

If you intend to take only one course in the department, you should enroll in CS 100, CS 101 or CIS 102 if you desire a detailed treatment of a programming language. You should take CIS 300 if you desire a general discussion of computers and the impact on society.