Rowan offers new Master's degree, graduate options in Computer Science

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Graduate offerings include MS, an accelerated BS/MS program and several certificate tracks.

Rowan University's Department of Computer Science has an all-new graduate program beginning this spring featuring a Master of Science, an accelerated BS/MS track, and certificates of graduate study in web development, software engineering and networks.

Dr. Nancy Tinkham, chair of Rowan's Department of Computer Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said the new graduate offerings are designed for students with a wide range of academic and professional interests.

The traditional MS, a two-year full-time program, is designed for students who want a research-based Master's degree and who may pursue a doctorate but it is also geared toward professionals seeking a new position or a promotion.

The accelerated BS/MS program is for high-performing undergraduates who, in their junior year, commit to pursuing an undergraduate and graduate degree concurrently. It is an intense, five-year program.

The certificates of graduate study, which require just 12 credit hours, enable working professionals to bolster their resume with specific graduate-level skill sets.

"We've been working on this for more than 10 years," said Professor Tinkham, who celebrates her 20th anniversary with the University this spring.

In developing the program faculty consulted with students and colleagues as well as industry professionals who hire Rowan computer science graduates about what they seek in new applicants with graduate degrees, Dr. Tinkham said.

For example, she said, the Federal Aviation Administration uses computer modeling to create collision avoidance software so they seek applicants who can work with graphics and visualization programs.

Andrew Crowell, who graduates in May with a BS in computer science but who has begun taking some graduate level comp sci courses, said the work he did as a Rowan undergrad enabled him to land a part-time position with the FAA and the agency is hiring him full time. (While Crowell has taken some graduate courses through Computer Science he is working on a Master of Science through Rowan's College of Engineering.)

"I'm working for the FAA as a computer scientist and analyst," said Crowell, 22, of Glassboro. "We do a lot of analysis of flight plans and predicted trajectories."

Dr. Tinkham said the traditional masters degree track is a 30-credit program that may be completed on either a full-time or part-time basis. The program features an optional thesis track but students who opt out of the thesis must take additional course work.

"We see this program as serving two populations, traditional research-oriented graduate students and working people who want enhanced skills for promotion or personal development," she said.

Computer science professor Joel Crichlow, who consulted with various area employers while working to develop the graduate program, said they seek a core set of skills including programming for mobile computing, networking and systems management - all of which are covered in depth by the graduate course work.

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