New Bachelor of Science Computer Science Degree Offered at Yeshiva College
Yeshiva College’s (YC) Computer Science department is offering its students a four-year track to receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) as an alternative to the three-year track for a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). The new B.S. track is effective immediately and was officially announced to Wilf computer science students via email on April 7.
Wilf students enrolled in the 4-year tracks of either data science or distributed systems will receive a B.S. while the unspecialized 3-year track will earn a B.A. According to Chair of the YC Computer Science Department Judah Diament, the New York State Education Department enabled YU to offer the B.S. track this past fall, but the YC faculty officially approved the program in the spring. Diament explained that some employers, like Google, “assume that ambitious C.S. [computer science] students are in a B.S. program,” and while students with a B.A. can still compete for those same jobs, a B.S. “is assumed in top C.S. industry contexts.” Additionally, students pursuing a B.S. degree have a smaller set of required “general education courses” than a B.A., such as a writing intensive course, and can instead focus on taking more major-related courses.
“I hope all parts of Yeshiva will continue to put in the effort and resources, and be given the indispensable siyata Dishmaya [help of heaven], to continuously expand and improve our C.S. offerings and services to our students,” said Diament. He added that the administration and various YC departments are working to “make sure that we provide the best C.S. opportunities to every student in the YU community who is interested and ready to work assiduously to take advantage of what we can offer.”
YC computer science majors have expressed great enthusiasm for the new opportunity. “This is greatly beneficial for the C.S. students so they can take less classes unrelated to the major, enabling them to direct all their attention solely to the major,” remarked Nathaniel Silverman (YC ‘23). “This change also gives the C.S. students greater opportunities down the road, as a B.S. goes a lot farther than a B.A.”
While the 79 YC students majoring in computer science can choose to pursue a B.A. or the specialized B.S, the 32 Stern College for Women (SCW) computer science majors can only complete a B.A. degree, as Stern will not be offering a B.S. in the near future. Commenting on this discrepancy, Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences Karen Bacon said, “It is my understanding that we do not have the critical number of CS majors to support the BS at SCW at this time.”
Professor Alan Broder, chair of Stern College's Computer Science department, told The Commentator that “SCW does not currently have plans to offer a BS option in CS,” as the department’s efforts will instead be working to expand course availability for SCW students. In 2017, after a “few years” suspension, SCW’s Computer Science Department was reimplemented, Broder explained. Since that time, two full-time computer science instructors and an adjunct professor were added, and the number of SCW computer science majors climbed; Broder expects the number of declared majors to continue growing.
Some Beren students felt disappointed about the difference in academic opportunities between YC’s and SCW’s departments. “I am very proud to be a CS major at Stern, the faculty and people in the major are incredibly caring and supportive,” said Adina Bruce (SCW ‘22), a computer science major. Commenting on the new B.S. degree offered to YC students, Bruce added, “I think in general there is a discrepancy between the opportunities offered on the Wilf Campus versus the Beren Campus in regards to the two CS departments,” citing YC’s two specialized computer science tracks and SCW’s fewer choices for electives.
Co-President of the Stern Computer Science Club Mori Schick (SCW ‘20) did not see SCW’s lack of a B.S. degree-track to be limiting. “Stern’s Computer Science graduates have consistently landed competitive internships, work at impressive companies, and have been admitted to graduate school,” Schick said, adding that while “the program only began a couple of years ago,” it is expanding its course offerings, hiring new professors, and building a new lab. The construction of Beren’s new computer science lab — located on the 9th floor of Stanton Hall — was delayed due to COVID-19, according to Broder.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of YC and SCW students majoring in Computer Science. We regret the error and have updated the article to reflect the latest statistics from YU's Office of Institutional Research.
Photo Caption: Wilf students enrolled in the 4-year tracks of either data science or distributed systems will receive a B.S. while the unspecialized 3-year track will earn a B.A.
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University