What are Computer Science and Software Engineering?

Computer Science is a broad field covering all aspects of computation and information. It has aspects of mathematical theory in that we can prove that certain things are true about computations as well as aspects of engineering in that we design and implement software and hardware systems. Writing software is a core skill. Computer Science includes a range of sub-disciplines which have contributed important ideas to the discipline. These include artificial intelligence & machine learning, graphics & visualziation, image processing, network communication, operating systems, robotics and web development.

Software Engineering is the sub-discipline which studies the principles, tools and practice associated with designing, implementing and verifying large software systems. It applies ideas from computer science to the practicee of developing software itself. We consider our undergraduate program to be strongly focused on software engineering.

Employment Opportunities

Computer Scientists work under many job titles including software engineers, software developers, programmers, database administrators, systems analysts and network engineers but behind all of these names you find software and the intercommunicating systems it creates. Since software has become an integral part of our society, you will find computer scientists working everywhere imaginable.

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, in its most recent report, projects 17% employment growth for software developers which is much faster than average. It estimates the national median pay for 2016 to be $102,000. Consistent with this projection, UWL is seeing very strong demand for its graduates.

Past UWL CS graduates play significant roles in software development, working for companies that range from the aerospace industry to private computer consulting, from banking software to the medical/health field and graphical information systems.

Why study Computer Science at UWL?

  • second oldest program in the UW-System, approaching our 50th anniversary
  • small class sizes
  • excellent opportunities for local internships
  • all tenure track faculty with active research programs
  • broad array of upper level elective courses
  • long history of talented students

Undergraduate Research

Many Computer Science students actively engage in research. These projects involve one-on-one work with a member of the faculty in the project that is of joint interest. Students usually receive course credit for their experience. The best way to begin a research project is to contact a member of the faculty and discuss the possibilities.


A large fraction of our upper-level students are employed part-time by local companies that do software development. Internship opportunities are coordinated through the UWL Career Services Office. Students majoring in computer science who wish to enroll in CEI 450 or CEI 475, University Internships, must have completed 15 credits of computer science course work, including Cs 340, and must have a minimum GPA of 2.50 in computer science courses to be eligible for departmental approval and supervision. Credits earned in internships do not apply to major or minor requirements but do count towards the 120 credit graduation requirement.

Student Organizations

Computer Science Club

The UW-L student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) hosts nationally recognized speakers, arranges field trips, sponsors programming contest teams, and organizes social events/LAN parties.


CODERS is a student group dedicated to community outreach, diversity, and facilitating an inclusive community within the CS department. We welcome students who wish to share their passion for computing with peers and the greater community through social, professional development, and community events with organizations like the public library, Girl Scouts, and local FIRST robotics teams.


This club gives students access to tools and training for working on electronics, 3D printing, and other coding projects. You might get excited about projects in classes, but nothing beats the drive for completing your own creative project. The club is a social atmosphere that embraces the spirit of creation. More importantly, the club gives you the training and access to equipment to make your creative ideas possible. Additionally, this club provides an opportunity for any non-CS major to learn and tinker with subjects outside their major. This club gives students the opportunity to C.R.E.A.T.E.

Come Visit!

This Computer Science Department is always eager to have good students. We think that there is no place better to grow as a software engineer than here. You've taken the first step by visiting our website. However, if you really expect to get to know the place, please arrange for a campus visit and include time for a face-to-face conversation with one of the CS faculty. You'll learn much more with such a visit than can ever be accomplished on the web. If you are already on campus, the UW-L Career Services Office and Academic Advising Center, both in Centennial Hall, would also be happy to help you find out more about our program. For arrangements contact the UW-L Admissions Office or the Computer Science Department at (608)785-6805.