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Explore Computer Science at Carleton University

Programs / Computer Science

Program Summary

Computers and computer systems play a central role in business, communication, science, entertainment and medicine. As the range of computer applications continues to expand, so does the demand for computer scientists. Computer Science is an ever-changing discipline that studies the theory, design and implementation of computer applications and systems. You will learn to use computing and information technology to help solve the problems that we face in business, science and society today and those that we will face tomorrow.

The Honours Computer Science program at Carleton is organized into diverse streams so that you can develop a particular expertise.

For those students who might be interested in postgraduate studies in Computer Science, please note that an Honours degree is usually required for admission. We also offer a Combined Honours program with Mathematics. Students in other programs can opt to take a minor in Computer Science.

Carleton’s School of Computer Science has earned national recognition for its innovative undergraduate programs. Building on a strong core program in computer science and software engineering, our Bachelor of Computer Science Honours degree adds opportunities to learn about important application areas such as computer games, the life sciences and business. The core program gives all BCS graduates strong preparation for work in the IT industry or for advanced studies in computer science. Students who choose to also gain expertise in an application area will have a considerable advantage if they are interested in a job in that area after graduating.

Co-op opportunities

Our co-operative education program will provide you with industry experience and introduce you to a world of global technology. Ottawa offers the opportunity to work with many prominent high-tech companies, as well as with federal government departments and agencies.

Here are some of the places that have recently hired Carleton Computer Science students for co-operative education work terms:

  • Nokia
  • IBM
  • Mitel
  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • CSIS
  • Espial
  • Entrust

Expert faculty

Our professors bring knowledge and experience from a variety of backgrounds and maintain strong links with international high-tech leaders. The School is internationally recognized for its research, particularly in the areas of security, high-performance computing, networks, human-computer interaction and algorithms.

Ottawa is often referred to as Silicon Valley North because of the large number of high-tech companies that are situated here. These high-tech companies, as well as the federal government, often turn to Carleton students to fill co-op positions and to Carleton graduates to fill full-time employment positions. Over 150 high-technology companies in the Ottawa area trace their roots to the research work of Carleton alumni, faculty and students.

The Honours Computer Science program can be taken as is, or you can add a stream, or our Internship option. In all cases, you will take our common core of computer science courses, including courses in programming, algorithms, software engineering, databases and web applications. Our specialty streams give you the opportunity to concentrate on a particular important area of computer science.

Our multidisciplinary streams give you the chance to examine application areas of increasing opportunity for computer scientists. You may also choose to take the Honours degree without a stream, or to start without a stream and add one later.

Our Honours degree has been approved by the Canadian Computer Science Accreditation Council (CSAC). The Software Engineering stream has been approved by CSAC as a Software Engineering program. The degree is generally completed in four years, or five years if the co-op option is chosen.

Specialty streams:

  • Algorithms
  • Computer and Internet Security
  • Computer Game Development
  • Mobile Computing
  • Network Computing
  • Software Engineering

Multidisciplinary streams:

  • Management and Business Systems

More information on the streams can be found below.

Industrial Applications Internship Option

The Internship Option gives exceptionally qualified students an opportunity to get work experience that is tightly integrated with their BCS studies. Students in the internship option are both full-time Computer Science students and paid employees of the industrial partner. Carleton’s initial industrial partner is Shopify, an Ottawa-based company that has created one of the world’s leading eCommerce platforms. In addition to providing students with a salary, Shopify covers the students’ tuition and educational expenses. Students are taught all the Computer Science fundamentals of Computer Science degree while working with professional developers at Shopify learning how the fundamentals apply to solve real problems for customers. Graduates of this program will be exceptionally well-placed for a career in Canada’s top software development companies.

Combined programs

Computer Science can be combined with Mathematics.

Professional designation

Students graduating with a BCS (Honours) degree from Carleton‘s School of Computer Science can also earn an Information Systems Professional (ISP) designation. Carleton is the first university in Canada to make the ISP designation an integral part of their BCS (Honours) program.

This designation is given by the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS), the national association of IT professionals, which is also in charge of the evaluation and accreditation of the Bachelor of Computer Science programs in Canada as well as the code of ethics for IT professionals in Canada. The designation is awarded to Carleton graduates following two years of professional employment. No additional exams are required.

Major degree program

For those desiring a somewhat less rigorous program and opportunities for greater breadth, the school also offers a four-year Major degree program. Please note that an Honours degree is usually required for admission to postgraduate studies.


Computer Science students can add another area of study, called a minor, to their program. Having this other area of specialization can often turn into a distinct advantage when applying for jobs. Visit the Carleton University Undergraduate Calendar at to see all the programs that offer a minor option. As well, students in other programs can opt to take the four-credit minor in Computer Science.

Find out more about what it’s like to be a Computer Science student at Carleton.

Carleton Computer Science graduates go on to prosperous careers in such fields as:

  • software design and development;
  • web services and infrastructure;
  • software and systems security analysis; and
  • biotechnology, artificial intelligence, computer gaming and business applications.

For Honours students interested in postgraduate studies, Carleton offers graduate programs in Computer Science, at both the master’s and doctoral levels.

Explore Computer Science at Carleton University

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