The Department of Computer Science at UNC-Chapel Hill was one of the first in the United States to be established as an independent computer science department. It was founded in 1964 by Dr. Frederick P. Brooks Jr. Many of his founding philosophies still guide us. He strongly believed in creating an atmosphere of cooperation, in which students are seen as colleagues to faculty members.
The department’s primary missions are research and graduate and undergraduate teaching. It offers B.S., B.A., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science. The B.S. curriculum is a traditional liberal arts-based computer science degree that prepares students for work in industry or graduate study in computer science. The B.A. curriculum is intended for students who wish to combine the study of computer science with study in another discipline. The M.S. and Ph.D. curricula are oriented toward the design and application of real computer systems and toward that portion of theory that guides and supports practice. The M.S. program prepares highly competent and broadly skilled practitioners. A majority of the master’s graduates work in industry, in companies ranging from small start-up operations to government labs and large research and development corporations. The Ph.D. program prepares teachers and researchers for positions with universities, government research laboratories, and industry (list of Ph.D. dissertations). Academic employment ranges from four-year colleges, where teaching is the primary focus, to positions at major research universities.
Currently, our faculty includes 32 tenured and tenure-track faculty, 24 adjuncts, five research faculty, and two lecturers, as well as postdoctoral researchers and visiting scholars. We also have a large research, technical and administrative support staff (approximately 30 people). We have more than 500 undergraduate majors and approximately 175 graduate students. Students contribute to nearly every aspect of the department’s operation. In addition to taking a wide variety of courses, they have the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking research, to teach, to attend research group meetings, and to serve on committees that affect all aspects of life in the department. The Computer Science Students Association sponsors both professional and social events and represents graduate students in departmental matters. Its president is a voting member at faculty meetings.
The department supports the University’s core values encouraging diversity and equal educational and employment opportunities throughout the University community. These values are articulated in the University’s non-discrimination policy and by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.
If you are interested in more information about the founding and history of the Department of Computer Science at UNC-Chapel Hill, please refer to our Department History, written by Professor Emeritus Peter Calingaert.