University of Alberta Computing Science: Overview

Written by Lyza Tibunsay and Matthew Tran

Founded in 1964, the University of Alberta Computer Sciences Department is the oldest and one of the largest computing science departments in Canada. Their research partners come from various industries and other academic disciplines.

By studying Computing Science at the University of Alberta, you will acquire technical knowledge and problem-solving skills to create innovative solutions for a wide range of challenges.

The University of Alberta’s Computing Science programs encompass many disciplines, and you may specialize in your areas of interest.

You will learn about various topics, such as:

  • Computing theory – whether and how efficiently a computer can solve a particular problem
  • Programming – acts as a tool to solve problems by writing algorithms in a programming language
  • Algorithms – a set of defined instructions used for computation
  • Data structures and databases – the organization and storage of data
  • Artificial intelligence – uses games or robotics to study intelligent behaviour and learning in machines or systems
  • Bioinformatics (medical informatics) – uses computing science to solve biological problems such as genome sequencing
  • Computer graphics, vision and multimedia – generates visual images synthetically and integrates visual information from the real world
  • Games – uses games to explore programming and artificial intelligence
  • Mobile computing – designing solutions for mobile devices
  • Networking – reliably communicates data across long distances
  • Robotics – controls the behaviour of robots through algorithms
  • Software engineering – creates and maintains software programs

You will also participate in the program’s areas of research:

  • Advanced Man-Machine Interfaces
  • Algorithmics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Bioinformatics
  • Communication Networks
  • Computer Graphics
  • Computer Vision and Multimedia Communications
  • Database Systems
  • Machine Learning
  • Reinforcement Learning
  • Robotics
  • Software Engineering
  • Software Systems

University of Alberta Computer Sciences Program Options

The University of Alberta Computing Science programs highlight the interdisciplinary nature of computing and offer you the flexibility to combine your studies in computing science with your other interests.

They offer the following main computing science programs:

  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) General The Bachelor of Science General degree offers a wide variety of majors and minors, allowing you to create a diversified degree based on your interests. Majors must be in Science, but minors can also be from courses offered by Arts, Business, or Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences. You can also take a double major in Science.
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) Specialization The Bachelor of Science Specialization degree provides a focused education in one program. You will take most of your courses in your main subject area and are expected to maintain a higher standard of academic achievement. A specialization degree can provide the background to help you proceed to a higher degree, but its primary function is to provide a comprehensive education at the undergraduate level.
    • Software Practice: This specialization is for students who are interested in all aspects of building software. The program has a broad range of courses to develop depth in programming, algorithms, hardware, software design, user interfaces, project management, and business issues.
    • Business Minor: Pursuing a Business Minor within the BSc (General) degree is an excellent way for you to specialize in a scientific field while also gaining experience in business and management. Courses in Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and other business subjects will complement your science courses, give you a more well-rounded education, and prepare you for a variety of roles and careers. The Business minor can only be taken as part of a BSc General degree. The Business Minor is also available in the BSc Specialization in Computing Science.
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honors The Honors Computing Science program is an excellent choice for highly motivated students looking for in-depth study. The program is loosely structured to take advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of computing, and the department works closely with you to assist with developing your program. UofA’s CS department has expertise in several exciting areas, including Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Multimedia and Computer Games, Software and Database Systems, and Machine Learning and Bioinformatics. Computing Science can also be taken as part of a BSc General or a BSc with Specialization.

Once you have a general idea of what you want to do, you must see an advisor. The advisor will help you build your program so that you take the courses you need in the correct order. They can also help you plan your course load and create alternatives if you change your interests.

Science Internship Program (SIP)

Bachelor of Science students in their third year can apply for the Science Internship Program, which will allow you to earn a salary while gaining valuable work experience in computing science! UofA’s computing students have worked with IBMBioWareElectronic ArtsSMART TechnologiesIntuitRed Hat and Research in Motion—just to name a few!

Possible Careers

There are many possible career paths for those who will graduate with a degree in Computing Science. Some of these are the following:

  • Air Traffic Management
  • Animator
  • Application Analyst / Developer
  • Artificial Intelligence Specialist
  • Communications Control Technician
  • Computer Programmer
  • Corporate Security Specialist
  • Database Design and Management
  • Help Desk Analyst
  • Robotics Engineer
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Software Engineer
  • Strategic Analyst
  • Systems Analyst
  • Video Game Designer
  • Webmaster

University of Alberta Computer Sciences Tuition & Fees

The estimate is around $6000/year. You may also use this online Cost Calculator to calculate and see the breakdown of your fees.

University of Alberta Computer Sciences Books & Supplies

Books and other school supplies must be acquired separately and are available at the University Bookstore in the Students’ Union Building.

How To Apply to University of Alberta Computer Sciences

You may check the How To Get Into The University Of Alberta | Ultimate University Guide blog to know how to get admitted to UofA. However, please note that admission to the Faculty of Science is competitive, and averages may vary by year. Admission averages will be calculated using the five required senior high school subjects.

March 1st is the deadline to apply for most direct entry programs, but be sure to double-check! For a complete listing of application and document deadlines, please refer to the University Calendar.

  • Required Courses
    • One of the following courses
      • English Language Arts 30-1
    • One of the following subjects (click to see courses)
    • One of the following courses
      • Mathematics 30-1
    • Two of the following courses
      • Computing Science ADV(CTS-5Cr)
      • Chemistry 30
      • Biology 30
      • Physics 30
      • Mathematics 31

Computing Science – Business Minor

This program does not allow admission directly from high school. Admission of BSc General program students to the minor in Business is by application at the end of Year 1. Please check this page for more details.

Please note that admission to this specialization is competitive; it is based on your AGPA (40%) and your average in required preprofessional courses (60%). For consideration, you need a minimum AGPA of 2.3 and an average of at least 2.3 in the required courses. Preference is given to applicants who apply at the end of their first year of study.

For the other prerequisites for the Computing Science programs, please check this page.

Your Next Steps

Interested in applying to the University of Alberta’s Computing Science program but don’t know how to begin and fund your education? Well, you’re in the right place! Take this FREE GrantMe quiz to gain support in your scholarship and bursary applications, admission processes, and more. This is the best time to start planning and achieving a debt-free future!

Join The GrantMe Program

Get Started