Mixed Disciplinary Majors

Because computing is such an important and dynamic field, many interdisciplinary majors, some very recent developments, exist at some schools. Here are are just a few examples of these opportunities. Some of these programs are offered at a number of U.S. schools as of Spring 2006; some only at a handful of U.S. schools.

  • Bioinformatics combines elements from at least biology, biochemistry, and computer science, and prepares students for careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, or for graduate school in informatics. Some programs may also include elements from information systems, chemistry, mathematics, and statistics.
  • Computational science means science done computationally, and serves as a bridge between computing technology and basic sciences. It blends several fields including computer science, applied mathematics, and one or more application sciences (such as physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, earth sciences, business and others). Some programs also include information systems.
  • Computer Science and Mathematics combines computer science with mathematics of course. Some of these programs are found at schools that do not have a full major in computer science; some are found at universities with very large computer science departments.
  • Gaming and Animation. Majors for students interested in creating computer games and computer animations are being developed at a number of schools. These majors have various flavors and may combine either or both of computer science and information technology work with either or both of art and (digital) media studies.
  • Medical (or health) informatics programs are for students interested in students who want to work in a medical environment. Some students will work as technology experts for hospitals; some in public health; some students may be premed or pre-dental. Coursework may be drawn from any or all of computer science, information systems, or information technology in combination with biology, chemistry, and courses unique to this interdisciplinary field.

Be aware that especially in the newer interdisciplinary areas, different schools use different names for the same subject. For example, one school’s “bioinformatics” may be another school’s “computational biology.”