Comparison of Orlando, FL Computer Programs
There are a few schools in the Orlando area that offer degree programs in computer-related studies. This article profiles three schools situated about 30 miles from downtown Orlando and looks at the computer science and related degree programs. There's also a table of information, such as school type, enrollment, tuition and graduation rates, that prospective students can use to see how the schools compare. At the end of the article is a brief paragraph listing a few more Orlando-area schools with relevant programs.
- Located 11 miles from downtown is the University of Central Florida. It is the largest school of the three and the only public school profiled here. UCF offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in computer science.
- Around four miles from downtown Orlando in the suburb of Winter Park, is Rollins College, a liberal arts school that consistently ranks as a top regional college. It offers a bachelor's degree in computer science. Rollins offers small class sizes and the opportunity for students to work with faculty on research projects.
- Stetson University is about 33 miles from Orlando. It offers bachelor's degrees in computer science and computer information systems. Stetson was the first private university in Florida.
Comparison of Schools
This table of pertinent information makes it easy to compare these schools in important areas.
|University of Central Florida||Rollins College||Stetson University|
|School Type||4-year; public||4-year; private-not-for-profit||4-year; private not-for-profit|
|Total Enrollment (2017)||66,059*||3,278*||4,252*|
|Campus Setting||Large suburb||Large suburb||Midsize suburb|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)||$6,368 in-state; $22,467 out-of-state*||$48,335*||$44,490*|
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017)||87%*||91%*||100%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2017)||50%*||64%*||68%*|
|Full-time Student Retention Rate (2017)||90%*||83%*||78%*|
|Graduation Rate (began studies in 2011)||70%*||75%*||62%*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator
University of Central Florida
Computer science programs at UCF are offered through the College of Engineering and Computer Science. At the graduate level, UCF conferred its first master's degree in computer science in 1968 and its first doctoral degree in 1980. Programs at both levels are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
To earn a bachelor's degree at UCF, students must complete a total of 120 credits with at least a 2.0 GPA. In the computer science program, major coursework is divided into basic and advanced courses. In the lower division, students take 30 hours of basic core classes, such as systems software and computer logic, and 39 hours of general education classes, such as calculus, statistics, and physics. Once these courses are completed, students must pass the computer science foundation exam to continue on with upper division classes and electives. These courses cover areas like systems, AI and machine learning and software engineering. Academically talented students can pursue a 5-year accelerated BS/MS program in computer science, applying after they complete 60 hours of credit with a 3.5/4.0 GPA and pass the foundation exam.
Master of Science in Computer Science (MS)
MS candidates have the choice of a thesis or non-thesis track in the computer science major. All incoming students should have either an undergraduate degree in computer science or to demonstrate competence in areas such as programming languages, operating systems, and computer architecture. Over the course of the degree program, students take 24 required and elective credit hours covering both general and specialized topics such as computer architecture, algorithms, operating systems, and software engineering, as well as 6 hours of either thesis credits or additional electives. Thesis-track candidates are required to prepare and defend their thesis to graduate.
PhD in Computer Science
In the PhD program at UCF, students take 72 hours of post-baccalaureate coursework in areas such as computer architecture, algorithm analysis and design, and computer science theory, as well as conducting original research and preparing a dissertation. Up to 30 hours of master's coursework may count toward the 72 hours; applicants without a bachelor's degree in computer science may need to take prerequisite courses before beginning the program. All coursework must be completed with a 3.0 or better GPA, and students must pass milestones including a qualifying review, candidacy examination, and dissertation proposal examination prior to being allowed to prepare, produce, and defend their doctoral dissertation.
Rollins is a liberal arts school that requires students to take a broad range of coursework. All Rollins students complete a general education core that includes classes in the arts, other cultures, literature, science, math, and written and oral communication.
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
To earn a degree in computer science at Rollins, students need to take 13 core computer science and math courses, covering topics such as programming languages, database design and management, calculus, and discrete mathematics. In addition, computer students complete electives and minor requirements that may include a lab or capstone project.
Stetson's computer science program places an emphasis on software engineering and development. Courses are project-oriented and students are required to work on a research project their senior year.
Bachelor Degrees in Computer Science
The computer science program at Stetson has 2 degree options: computer science (BS) or computer information systems (BA). The computer information systems (CIS) degree focuses on the application of technologies to business problems. Students in the CIS program take courses in areas such as web-based application development and networks, and also earn a minor in business. The computer science degree focuses on topics specifically within computer science, although students have the option of specializing in an interdisciplinary area such as digital media, cognitive science, or biotechnology. Coursework required for the major includes computer organization, software development, and discrete structures. Calculus and natural sciences also are required for the major, as are 2 senior research courses.
Other School Options
In the Orlando area, there are also several community colleges offering certificates and 2-year programs. Valencia College is located right in Orlando, and Seminole State College of Florida is located about 16 miles from downtown.