School and Ranking Information
There are only four not-for-profit schools within a 50-mile radius of Sioux Falls that offer programs in computer science; two schools are located in Sioux Falls and two are in nearby Iowa. The following schools are considered the top three according to school rankings, graduation rates and location:
- Winner: Augustana College in Sioux Falls gets first place due to rankings from U.S. News & World Report and for the percentage of faculty who have the highest degree in their field.
- Runner Up #1: The University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls is the first runner up due to its location right in Sioux Falls. It also offers the lowest tuition among these three schools.
- Runner Up #2: Northwestern College, located in Orange City, is in third place for being ranked at the regional level by U.S. News & World Report in 2014 and for the computer science program's outstanding job placement rate.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Augustana College||University of Sioux Falls||Northwestern College|
|Rankings (2014)|| 3rd for Regional Colleges (Midwest)
2nd for Best Value Schools among Regional Colleges (Midwest)*
|35th for Regional Colleges (Midwest)*||6th for Regional Colleges (Midwest)**|
|Location||Sioux Falls, SD||Sioux Falls, SD||Orange City, IA (48.4 miles from downtown Sioux Falls, SD)|
|School Type||4-year, private not-for-profit||4-year, private not-for-profit||4-year, private not-for-profit|
|Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$27,780 (undergraduate)**||$23,740 (undergraduate)**||$25,740 (undergraduate)**|
|Computer Science Degree Levels Offered||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Computer Science Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||1**||1**||4**|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2006 Entering Class||66%**||48% (35% transfer-out rate)**||63%**|
|Noteworthy||Parallel Processing Laboratory allows computer science majors to study and research parallel processing||Physics and Computer Science Tutoring Center available||Computer science graduates have 100% career placement rates***|
Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator, ***Northwestern College
Winner: Augustana College
- Computer science students may intern at area businesses, perform research with staff, and conduct research projects in conjunction with NASA or EROS Data Center
- Of the 134 full-time and tenure-track faculty members, approximately 81% hold the highest degree in their field, according to the school website
Augustana College is a private liberal arts and professional college that offers more than 50 majors and pre-professional specializations. The Department of Computer Science offers majors and minors in both computer science and computer information systems. Students pursuing the computer science bachelor's degree receive a strong background in math and science. The minor in computer science is beneficial to students who wish to choose an affiliated area of study.
In addition to completing various computer-related courses, students also complete an independent study course and an internship. Course topics include computer architecture and assembly language, computation theory, software engineering, artificial intelligence and robotics, discrete structures and computer organization.
Runner-Up #1: University of Sioux Falls
- Internship course provides students with hands-on training at local firms
University of Sioux Falls (USF) is a Christian university with a student population of about 1,500 students. A student interested in computer science can earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer information systems from USF. The computer science program concentrates on computer language, while the computer information systems program focuses more on the business aspect of computer applications. Students can also choose to minor in either program; the minor requires 18 semester hours of courses.
The computer science program provides students with a solid background in many aspects of computer hardware. Students also learn about problem solving while using computer applications. Courses cover introductory computer science, programming language organization and computer systems architecture, and students are required to take eight semester hours of chemistry or physics. A capstone course allows students to display their computer knowledge to faculty members. Those who graduate from the program can seek careers in information technology.
Runner-Up #2: Northwestern College
- The Association for Computing Machinery has a student chapter at the school
- The school boasts that there are fewer than 20 students in 70% of the classes
Located in Iowa, Northwestern College is a Christian liberal arts college that offers more than 80 academic programs. Northwestern has a computer science major and minor, a computer information systems major and a computer science career concentration. Students within the computer science major complete courses in operating systems, data structures, programming languages, logic and networking. The computer labs provide students with the opportunity to work with various operating systems, including MAC OS X, Linux and Windows.
Hands-on training is obtained through internships that are offered at various locations throughout the United States. Northwestern also offers a career concentration in computer science and an analytics certificate; the certificate is an online program. Computer science students design and implement a computer application as part of a senior project.