Department Info

Technology is pervasive and will continue to impact our lives on a daily basis. Computers, networks, and information systems play in important role in supporting commerce, banking, telecommunications, healthcare, recreation, high-tech research and development, and many more industries and areas, including public safety and national security.

Every field or profession relies on computer science, information systems, and cyber security for the problem-solving skills and production experience required in the efficient and secure processing of information.

Our department is uniquely positioned to prepare you for gainful employment or research work in today's fast-moving technology-driven society and workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions

Computer Science (CS), in the words of Aho & Ullman, is "[fundamentally] a science of abstraction—creating the right model for thinking about a problem and devising the appropriate mechanizable techniques to solve it." CS is not primarily about programming, although computer scientists express solutions to problems via "programs" that can be executed by computing machines. Ultimately the science of computing seeks to address the question of what can be automated and how to do so.

Students studying CS at George Fox University are introduced to the fundamental principles and mechanisms of modeling, abstraction, and problem-solving using computers. The knowledge of these principles, rooted in mathematics, logic and language, prepares students to understand the essence of the science of computing and to continue to adapt to this evolving field. Along the way students will be introduced to a wide range of state-of-the-art programming languages and techniques, software systems, computing devices, and computing technologies.

Information Systems (IS) studies the integration of information technology solutions and business processes to meet the needs of an organization, enabling them to effectively achieve their objectives. IS requires an understanding of both the technical and organizational factors that affect the creation and deployment of information technology solutions.

The curriculum begins with a sequence of courses that introduce students to programming and problem-solving in modern programming languages using structured and object-oriented techniques—no prior programming experience is assumed or required. Students typically begin the sequence in the fall of their freshman year.

After the introductory sequence, the curriculum includes a wide variety of courses that cover the core elements of a traditional CS or IS topics including software engineering, system and network administration, algorithms, human–computer interactions, artificial intelligence, networking, computer architecture, operating systems, etc. The curriculum culminates in a two-semester senior design capstone in which students complete a non-trivial software or hardware engineering project in conjunction with a project sponsor.

Our department at George Fox is a small, diverse, close-knit group of faculty, staff, and students who develop close relationships during their time together. The setting is ideal for students seeking a smaller, more intimate department where they can receive more personal attention and instruction, in alignment with the university's Be Known promise. Classes have small enrollments (typically 15 or less for upper-division courses) and are taught exclusively by department faculty who have broad experience in industrial and academic settings and remain active and current via consulting relationships with industry and through academic research.

Our curriculum covers the core elements of a CS and IS education as put forth in Computing Curricula 2005, a set of recommendations published jointly by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Association for Information Systems (AIS), and the Computer Society of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE-CS). We do not aspire to simply train students in the implementation and use of technology, but to broadly educate students in the disciplines of Computer Science and Information Systems.

Despite our small size, our department has dedicated facilities in the form of two laboratories located in the Edwards-Holman Science Building. Our labs are routinely upgraded with modern computing equipment for exclusive use by students majoring and minoring in CS or IS and other disciplines within the College of Engineering.

In addition, our students benefit from our being a part of the College of Engineering, enabling them to include elective courses in relevant Computer and Electrical Engineering subjects such as digital logic, robotics, and microprocessors.

Prospective students are invited to contact any of the faculty with questions about CS or IS at George Fox—we'd love to hear from you and would be happy to answer any questions you have about pursuing a degree in CS or IS here at the university.

Yes; see our dedicated page for transfer students. We will work with you individually to determine how to best handle your specific situation.

In general, students with some introductory CS or IS courses already completed typically still start in our introductory courses, or repeat a second-year course in our program (e.g., data structures or algorithms) to ensure a solid foundation; students with significant coursework already completed at a four-year institution typically start in our upper-division courses.

Yes! See our dedicated page for scholarships offered by the department each year.

Technically speaking, you don't need to bring any hardware, as our department has computing resources available in our labs on campus. Our department uses a wide variety of hardware and operating systems (e.g., Windows, macOS, Linux), and course projects are often implemented using open-source software available across platforms. We are also a member of the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), providing free access to all Microsoft development tools for our students.

Most students do choose to have their own resources, specifically a laptop for working on assignments and projects at various locations on campus, including student housing. 2-in-1 devices (e.g., Microsoft Surface, ThinkPad Yoga) with a stylus are popular among students across campus for their innate digital note-taking capabilities. The choice of hardware and operating system is entirely up to you—we'll expand your horizons regardless of what you choose!

For students choosing our cyber security concentration, a laptop with sufficient resources to run virtual machines (such as a quad-core CPU and at least 16 GB of RAM) is preferable. Note that students always have access to sufficiently-configured machines in our labs on campus—you are not required in any way to purchase a top-spec laptop (sorry, those of you who are hoping parents or grandparents will spring for a fully loaded gaming rig).

Despite what many prospective students and parents have heard, jobs in CS and IS are plentiful, and opportunities for further study at the graduate level abound. As the U.S. Department of Labor notes, the outlook for job growth in our industry is excellent.

Many of our alumni immediately enter the workforce, while others continue on to graduate study in CS. Our proximity to the high-tech sector surrounding the Portland metropolitan area offers many opportunities for employment. Some students obtain internships with local high-tech employers that become full-time positions upon graduation.