5 Popular Electives for Computer Science Majors

Computer Science electives often include math, science and information technology choices. A Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is the preferred degree for technical careers in networking, e-commerce, information systems, software development and computational analysis. Graduates of these degree programs are well-suited for professional employment in diverse fields like communications, financial services and operations management. A Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science is the preferred degree for students who want to deal with multiple disciplines and cross career boundaries.

IT Security

Electives in IT security are quite popular because this topic is so important to consumers and organizations. A class in secure operating system design will cover concepts like virtual machines, secure coding, systems implementation and kernel programming. Classes in public privacy and ethical issues will cover contemporary topics involving legal issues, security threats, public relations and professional standards. Students will learn about computing privacy, security, surveillance and accountability. An elective in building secure computer systems will study how to reduce threats and vulnerabilities through host, network and application security management.

Related resource: 30 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science 2017

Video Games

Most people enjoy video games, especially computer science majors who may enjoy creating new applications that entertain and educate users. These classes will most likely require students to form interdisciplinary teams who design, build and demonstrate interactive simulation environments. Students must learn about the basic principles of interactive computer graphics. This may include vector display, hardware techniques, driver considerations and three-dimensional rendering. Video game electives may teach students about visual analytics and associated visualization topics. These may include medical, scientific, geospatial, information and social media visualization. Students will learn about human factors, dynamic data, decision uncertainty and storyboard flow.


Networking will always be an important area of consideration for organizations. These classes will increase the students’ job competitiveness and resume strength. Introductory classes to networking may cover protocols, algorithms, data links, transport layers, emerging models and TCP/IP standards. Studying how to design and implement network protocols will teach students about routing, multicast, security, name servers, fault tolerance, congestion control and system performance. Computer science students may elect to take a class in networked operating systems programming, which may cover design concepts, coding tools, fault tolerance, distributed systems, system multi-processes, inter-process communication and distributed programming semantics.


Programming classes are another excellent way to enhance a computer science candidate’s job application. There may be classes in object-oriented design, languages and environments that teach students about dynamic binding, data abstraction and polymorphism methods. Basic classes in programming language design may cover variable bindings, control structures, semantic descriptions, code generation and exception handling. When students take a natural language processing elective, they may learn about dialogue processing, symbolic parsers, semantic interpretation, discourse generation and part-of speech tagging. Linear programming electives may explore convexity, degeneracy, sensitivity analysis and unconstrained minima.

Software Engineering

These electives will teach class participants about the software life-cycle model, implementation issues, debugging techniques, software maintenance and testing requirements. Advanced software development concepts may involve risk analysis, cost estimation, design patterns, extreme programming and requirements engineering. An advanced computer architecture elective may cover pipelining topics, such as processors and function units, instruction topics, such as caches, modules and memory. Learning about computer systems design will help the student understand verification tools, CAD simulation, digital system modeling and hardware description languages.

Computer Science electives will help the student apply for a variety of jobs. For example, software developers design new systems, customize current software and modify programs to optimize operational efficiency. Computer systems analysts evaluate and resolve data processing problems and enhance system compatibility to share more information. Computer engineers provide technical guidance for troubleshooting system stability, security architecture and applications problems.