Undergraduate Science Programs

Undergraduate Science Programs

The Science departments—Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematical Sciences, and Physics & Engineering Physics— provide exciting, top-quality programs for undergraduates at Stevens. The quality of our programs derives from the quality of our world-class faculty. Undergraduate students are a welcomed part of our community. They are afforded ready access to faculty and to ongoing research activities on campus and off campus, and, as they pursue their studies, undergraduates are encouraged to participate in research and Technogenesis activities.

The science curricula at Stevens emphasize project-based learning, encourage and reward independent study and scientific initiative, offer expanded research opportunities for undergraduates, and promote the undergraduate thesis as a capstone for a student’s course of study. These elements of the curriculum are intended to enhance the undergraduate experience of the student with a serious interest in studying the natural sciences or computer science.

The undergraduate programs are separated into two categories of curricula. The programs in Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Mathematical Sciences, and Physics follow a unified curriculum, the Bachelor of Science in the natural sciences. The Department of Computer Science has developed distinct curricula for each of three undergraduate programs: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, and Bachelor of Science in Information Systems.

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Bachelor of Science (Natural Sciences)

The science program at Stevens offers a remarkable opportunity for a career in today's scientific world. It prepares you to work at the frontiers of knowledge making significant contributions to science and the well-being of mankind. Careers in biology, chemistry, medicine, physics, nanotechnology, mathematics, and statistics, are accessible through the science program.

The concepts, techniques and attitudes that are common to all sciences form the core courses of the Science program. You develop an awareness of the interactions among the various scientific disciplines and their individual contributions to the advancement of knowledge - the total picture of science. Additional courses in a chosen concentration prepare you exceptionally well with both the tools and knowledge to enter a profession immediately upon graduation, or to embark on advanced study leading to a graduate degree.

Studies during your freshman year include courses in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and physics, and a sequence of courses in humanities. Studies in the humanities continue throughout the four-year program. In the next three years you may choose a concentration in the area of chemistry, chemical biology, mathematics, computational science, applied physics, or engineering physics. Upon successful completion of your studies, you are awarded the Bachelor of Science degree.

The minimal formal requirements for the science program are listed in the semester-by-semester schedule, including the Notes. Courses may be taken in a different order than listed. Consult the individual department schedule for more specific details.

Bachelor of Science (Computer Science)

The computer science major is fundamentally focused on the hardware-software interface. In any computer science major, operating systems is the most important course for that major. It teaches fundamental concepts such as interrupt-driven execution, virtual memory management, I/O devices and protection in multiprogramming. The computer science major covers additional topics including:

  • Concurrent programming
  • Database management systems
  • Computer architecture
  • Cybersecurity fundamentals 

In addition, the computer science major is distinguished by its flexibility. In senior year, a student in Computer Science can choose from a large number of elective courses. Concentration areas are suggested groups of Computer Science courses for those that want to “drill down” on specific topics. Some example concentration areas are graphics, design of games, software engineering, networks, cybersecurity and enterprise computing. Application areas are groups of courses that include courses outside Computer Science. Approved application areas include computer engineering and embedded systems, wireless networks, financial systems, mathematics and scientific computing.

Bachelor of Science (Cybersecurity)

As the need for data security increases in all industries, including medicine, banking, and homeland security, the demand for professionals with knowledge in the areas of information assurance and computer security continues to grow. In 2003, as part of the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, the White House identified as a top priority the necessity of maintaining a pool of well-trained and certified IT security specialists through providing comprehensive training and education.

The cybersecurity major builds on a basic computer science education to also develop the deep technical skills required of a modern security professional. These skills include a deep knowledge and understanding of crytography, as well as the ability to diagnose threats and defences for software systems. Therefore the pivot course for this major is a course in secure systems that includes a cybersecurity lab as a co-requisite. The cybersecurity major includes courses in:

  • Operating systems
  • Concurrent programming
  • Database management systems
  • Cybersecurity fundamentals
  • Privacy
  • Cryptography
  • Secure systems 

This program is structured to provide students with security expertise within the context of a broad education. The curriculum not only has a strong focus in science and computer science but also incorporates aspects of engineering and technology management. Cybersecurity students in the senior design project do a project involving secure systems, under the guidance and supervision of security faculty.

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Bachelor of Science (Information Systems)

Information Systems (IS) is designed for those seeking the background needed to apply information technology to support the major functions of a business or public institution. Information systems manage the collection, manipulation, storage, distribution and utilization of an organization's information. The Stevens IS major distinguishes itself by its technical rigor, and by providing high-level skills in software development and systems analysis. A solid background in business skills is combined with an information technology background whose technical core is shared with other majors in the computer science department. Both strong technical ability and a firm grounding in business skills are essential for the modern high-end IS professional.

Both the two-year skills “spine” and the senior-year capstone project course are shared between Information Systems and Computer Science majors. This ensures that IS majors obtain the rigorous grounding in IS skills that the high-end IS professional is expected to have. While the Computer Science program is designed to allow majors to “drill down” to specific technical areas, the Information Systems program offers a focus on business and management functions, including basic business skills such as accounting, marketing and organizational behavior. The IS program also provides a specific focus on systems analysis and information management: how an organization (be it business, government or any other kind of organization) can structure its IS function, and how the IS manager relates to the rest of the managerial structure.

In recognition of the modern IS environment, the IS program has an additional emphasis on networked information. Courses in systems programming, Web programming and databases demonstrate how to realize the opportunities offered by IS in managing information. Courses in cybersecurity and privacy address the technical, managerial and legal hazards that must be addressed in the modern networked world. Indeed, much of the IS core is shared with the other majors in the computer science department. While these majors drill down to technical aspects of computer systems, IS focuses on organizational aspects of information management. The IS major includes courses in:

  • database management systems
  • cybersecurity fundamentals
  • privacy
  • business skills: 
    - economics
    - accounting
    - marketing
    - planning
  • requirements acquisition and human computer interaction 
    web programming and service oriented architecture (SOA) 

A typical career path for a student majoring in IS is an entry-level software developer/systems analyst position, rising eventually to Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Technical Officer (CTO) in an organization. The IS major’s emphases on information management and project management are essential preparation for either of these career paths.

Bachelor of Science (Service Oriented Computing)

Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web has revolutionized the way businesses and individuals access and organize knowledge and information. Its impact on aspects of daily life, from purchasing books, to accessing personal data, to political discussion, are profound and far-reaching. The Web showed how relatively uniform, but simple, standard interfaces and protocols (HTML and HTTP) could unleash a potential for information sharing and seeking on a truly global and historic scale. Today, a similar revolution is going on in the world of business-to-business, and more generally, organization-to-organization, interaction. The popular term for this is service oriented architecture (SOA), and the current enabling technology is Web Services. Other more light-weight technologies, such as REST and AJAX, may supplement or indeed supplant Web Services, but the trend towards SOA will proceed regardless, since it addresses problems with earlier approaches to enterprise architecture and software provisioning. Companies such as IBM, Google, and Microsoft are investing heavily in the move to SOA.

Technologies such as Web services are facilitating a view of software as services, more fine-grain than the normal view of software libraries, that may be used for heavyweight inter-enterprise application integration, but may also be used for very flexible lightweight rapid development of new applications. We are seeing the emergence of frameworks that domain experts in that sector can use, not just to compose together services, but also to synthesize new applications. This synthesis may be done using scripting languages or domain-specific programming languages and protocols. All of this represents a growing demand for front-end applications that leverage the provision of existing software services, but where the emphasis of the software development is providing client front-ends. This is related to the emerging discipline of informatics, which emphasizes applications of computer science and domain expertise.

The kinds of tasks that such a developer pursues range all the way from designing and implementing Web pages, to developing distributed collaborative applications with sophisticated database back-ends. They will need to go beyond existing technology in application development, to overcome the poor support in Web Services for building highly available applications, for example. They may need to develop application-specific scripting languages of their own, since the interfaces of some applications are sophisticated enough to be considered languages in their own right, while using an existing scripting language might be too general and difficult for the client to master.

The Bachelor of Science in Service Oriented Computing (BS/SOC) is a response to this trend in the marketplace for IT skills. At a first approximation, it may be viewed as occupying an intermediate point along the continuum between computer science and information systems. The traditional emphasis of computer science is on the hardware/software interface, while that of information systems is on information management and systems analysis and design; at its worst, an IS program only trains students to integrate COTS components. The BS/SOC provides only minimal coverage of the hardware/software interface (as much as is covered by the systems programming course) and focuses instead on front-end and distributed application development skills. At the same time, the BS/SOC does not skimp on the basic mathematical and problem-solving skills required of the modern software developer. Indeed, software development skills that are considered optional in many computer science curricula, such as concurrent programming, building reliabile distributed systems, and operational semantics for interpreters, are core components of the BS/SOC program. The BS/SOC provides courses in:

  • Concurrent programming
  • Databases
  • Cybersecurity fundamentals
  • Requirements acquisition and human computer interaction
  • Web programming and service oriented architecture (SOA)
  • Distributed systems 

The BS/SOC is intended to graduate domain experts with deep technical skills. Therefore, each student majoring in the BS/SOC must choose an application area that is defined by the major. The first application domain defined for the major is that of health informatics. This area represents a huge area for the application of IT for many reasons. In the Western world, the United States faces the impending retirement of the Baby Boomers, placing huge demands on the health sector. IT support for consumer education and delivery of health services is playing an important role in achieving efficiencies in this area, including educating patients about alternatives ("health tourism" in the UK, for example). In sub-Saharan Africa, countries devastated by civil wars and HIV/AIDS are considering efficient IT-based delivery of government services as key to re-establishing health services and private economic sectors. Health informatics requires several specific skills, including data mining, mobile computing, and awareness of privacy issues. Clearly, this skills set is not restricted to the health informatics domain. Another application area is software engineering, providing a deep background in software architecture and design, software metrics, and testing. Other application areas will be developed in due course.

Minor in Entrepreneurship

The undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship provides the educational prerequisites needed to foster the successful birth and development of technology-driven new ventures.

The minor will provide the knowledge and the infrastructure needed to sustain and support the efforts of Stevens’ undergraduate students in engineering and science to create economic value through Technogenesis.

After completing the minor, students will be able to develop and write an effective business plan by systematically developing the following skills:

  • Able to identify and recognize viable technical business opportunities
  • Can critically evaluate these business opportunities
  • Can assess and manage the intellectual property embodied in technological opportunities
  • Can develop an effective business model addressing market, operating and financial requirements
  • Knows how to launch a technologically-based business

Courses and Sequence

By Semester 5:
BT 244 Microeconomics

In Semester 5:
E 355 Engineering Economy or E 356 Engineering Economy

In Semester 6:
MGT 372 Discovery and Commercialization of Technical Business Opportunities

In Semester 7:
TG 401 Entrepreneurship and Business for Engineers and Scientists (Marketing and Operations of Technical Business Opportunities)
MGT 472 Assessment and Financing of Technical Business Opportunities

In Semester 8:
MGT 414 Entrepreneurial Business Practicum

Graduation Requirements

The following are requirements for graduation of all Engineering and Science students and are not included for academic credit. They will appear on the student record as pass/fail.

Physical Education
(Class of 2012 and later)

The following are requirements for graduation of all engineering and science students and are not included for academic credit. They will appear on the student record as pass/fail.

(Class of 2012 and later)

All engineering and science students must complete a minimum of four semester credits of Physical Education (P.E.) one of which is P.E. 100 Introduction to Wellness and Physical Education.  A large number of activities are offered in lifetime, team, and wellness areas.  Students must complete PE 100 in their first or second semester at Stevens; the other three courses must be completed by the end of the sixth semester.  Students can enroll in more than the minimum required P.E. for graduation and are encouraged to do so.

  • Participation in varsity sports can be used to satisfy up to three credits of the P.E. requirement, but not P.E. 100.
  • Participation in supervised, competitive club sports can be used to satisfy up to two credits of the P.E. requirement, but not the P.E. 100 requirement, with approval from the P.E. Coordinator.

English Language Proficiency

All students must satisfy an English Language proficiency requirement.

PLEASE NOTE: A comprehensive Communications Program has been implemented for the Class of 2009 and later. This may influence how the English Language Proficiency requirement is met. Details will be added when available.

Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science

Michael Bruno, Dean

Keith Sheppard, Associate Dean

Matthew Libera, Associate Dean