Computer Science Major and Minor | Computer Science Degree | Pepperdine University | Seaver College

Computer Science Major and Minor

Computer science majors look at an online program together - Computer Science Degree

The computer science degree program at Seaver College provides a diverse curriculum that exposes students to the theory and application of computer science.

Computer Science Degrees

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science/Mathematics

Our computer science/mathematics curriculum is based on themes of abstraction, integration, and languages and paradigms. A combination of in-class instruction, internships, and a capstone course in software design prepares computer science majors for careers in computing or for graduate school.

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science/Philosophy

Our computer science/philosophy curriculum provides students with a working knowledge of logic with applications to philosophical argumentation and to program analysis. Students learn multiple programming paradigms and their languages and experience a senior capstone course in philosophy.

Computer Science Minor

The minor in computer science is a popular option for students in business, economics, and science because it teaches computational skills important in these and other disciplines.

Computer Science at Pepperdine

Philosophy of our Computer Science Curriculum

The computer science degree curriculum is based on three themes: abstraction, integration, and languages and paradigms.


Abstraction is based on the concept of layers in which the details of one layer of abstraction are hidden from layers at a higher level. A computer scientist uses abstraction as a thinking tool to understand a system, model a problem, and master complexity. The ability to abstract cannot be acquired in a single course, but must be developed over several years. Consequently, all courses in the computer science major curriculum emphasize the abstraction process, not only as a framework to understand the discipline but also as a tool to solve problems.


The curriculum focuses on how well the courses are integrated as opposed to how many courses are offer. There are two important aspects of integration in the curriculum—integration between courses and the integration of theory and practice. Without integration between courses the curriculum becomes simply a collection of unrelated facts with no unity based on fundamental principles. The integration of theory and practice not only serves to reinforce the students' understanding of abstract concepts but also provides them with insight and appreciation of the practical solutions at hand.

Languages and Paradigms

Because of the continued evolution of programming languages and paradigms, we emphasize multiple programming languages and paradigms throughout the curriculum.

Our curriculum seeks to strike the proper balance between breadth and depth. Too much breadth will not equip students with the detailed skills necessary to solve realistic problems. Too much depth in one language or paradigm will give students a narrow vision that makes it difficult to consider multiple approaches to a problem.

The curriculum emphasizes in-depth proficiency the first two years and more breadth the last two years. The balance is achieved by choosing one programming language for the first three semesters and another closely related language for the second semester of the second year. Courses in the third and fourth years introduce other programming paradigms based on different languages.

The language choice for the first two years is driven by both pedagogical and practical industry concerns. Pedagogical concerns are important during the first two years, because this is when students begin to form algorithmic thinking patterns and develop problem-solving skills. The criteria are that the programming environment should be simple to learn yet powerful enough to illustrate fundamental concepts of computing.

Skill in a practical language is necessary for students to be well equipped for their postgraduate careers. The languages for the third and fourth years are chosen for the variety of programming paradigms on which they are based.

Computer Science Curriculum Guide

This document describes the curriculum for the major in Computer Science/Mathematics.

Read the curriculum guide

Student Testimonials

Beyond Classes

Research with Faculty

Each faculty member partners with students in discovery research ranging from chemical analysis, organic chemistry synthesis, atmospheric/environmental chemistry, natural products discovery, medicinal chemistry, and making biodegradable plastics. Experiments are conducted year-round with extra emphasis in the summer. Research students often present their research at regional or national American Chemical Society meetings. Outstanding students who have completed a body of novel work write and defend an Honors Thesis earning the distinction on their transcript of "Honors in Chemistry." In the past five years, over 10 students have successfully defended their Honors Theses.

Opportunities Beyond the Classroom

A wide range of extra-curricular activities are available to students from serving as a teaching assistant, contributing to the General Chemistry tutoring staff, research assistant, and participating in our Chemistry Club, just to name a few. Students who have demonstrated excellence in their laboratory and classroom work are often selected as teaching assistants who work closely with the faculty and students together guiding students through teaching laboratory experiments. Other excellent students are often selected to be members of the elite General Chemistry Tutor staff, directly contributing to the education of the students enrolled in General Chemistry courses.

Chem Club (Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society, SAACS)

We host an award-winning Student Affiliates Chapter of the American Chemical Society (Chem Club) where students can be leaders in the Pepperdine community and the community at large, bringing fun and educational science to the young and not-so-young. The Chem Club's activities span department and campus-wide events and include social activities, campus and community outreach, and science experiments beyond the curriculum. Whether it's hosting a chemistry outreach event at a local elementary school or making gallons of Oobleck to run across, the Chem Club members are community leaders sharing chemistry with others. National Chemistry Week in October each year has included a number of activities from Kitchen Chemistry to sharing a Periodic Table of Cupcakes to synthesizing fluorescent Quantum Dot nanoparticles. Making Dippin' Dots ice cream with liquid nitrogen has been a longstanding activity in partnerships with Colleges against Cancer, Earth Day, and other community projects. The Chem Club has received multiple awards from the American Chemical Society for its accomplishments on and off campus.

Stauffer Challenge Grant

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Next Steps for Graduates

Over the past five years, Pepperdine chemistry majors have been highly successful in securing employment or in completing advanced degrees in graduate and medical schools. For those directly entering the job market, just under 20 percent are employed in the chemical, biochemical, or engineering industries, and an additional 15 percent have taken their problem solving and data management skills into other fields.

The critical thinking and technical skills acquired during completion of a chemistry degree are desirable to a wide range of fields including:

agro-chemical synthesis hazardous waste management and disposal
chemical engineering laboratory support and management
chemical analysis oceanography
chemical safety petrochemical and polymer industries
computer and information technology pharmaceutical research
environmental monitoring radiology/MRI
geochemistry surface science and semiconductors

Visit the American Chemical Society for additional career options afforded by a chemistry degree.

Preparation for Medical School and Graduate School

Over 35 percent of our graduates have been admitted to health professional schools (MD and DO medical schools, dental and pharmacy school) while approximately 25 percent have been admitted to graduate school in chemistry, engineering, law, and education. Our graduates are accepted in to some of the finest institutions for advanced studies after graduation. Many of our former students have been awarded nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships in graduate school.

Recommended International Study

The experiences of a summer study program and overseas travel provide another dimension of a unique liberal arts education. For students in the Natural Science Division, we often recommend summer study abroad experiences for scheduling reasons.

Our international programs are designed to provide all students—regardless of major—the opportunity to study, live, and travel overseas without interrupting other studies or postponing a career. This offers students a unique opportunity to gain both an academic and a personal understanding of other cultures, institutions, and languages. Learn more and check out the Summer Special Interest Programs.

Visit International Programs

Secondary Teaching Credential

Students who plan to teach science in secondary schools should complete their chemistry degree and a California Teaching Credential.

Learn more about our teaching credential program