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The study of computer technology is of growing appeal, both for the intellectual challenge and the career opportunities which it can facilitate within our increasingly technology-driven society. In response, Santa Clara University offers three undergraduate major programs in this broad and rich area: Computer Science (CS), Computer Engineering (CE), and Management and Information Systems (MIS). While these programs naturally cover some common ground, they differ in their areas of emphasis.
The OMIS program specifically emphasizes the application of computing technology in business settings. As such, in addition to obtaining a solid grounding in technical fundamentals (e.g. Programming Languages, Database Management, Systems Analysis and Design, Systems Programming), an student will engage in a course of study that provides the necessary contextual knowledge, which includes basic business competencies such as Accounting, Finance, Economics, Marketing, and Production. Elective units are awarded for additional technical specialization within the department (e.g. Object-Oriented Programming, Telecommunications, Artificial Intelligence) as well as exploration of school-wide offerings that can enhance the appreciation for managerial and behavioral concerns that are essential to the successful use of technology in business. In fact, there is hardly an activity studied in the business school whose practice within modern companies is not profoundly impacted by computer technology.
In contrast, the programs in Computer Engineering or Computer Science place greater emphasis on the technical aspects of hardware and software design or the mathematical analysis of algorithms and theoretical foundations. For example, a CE or CS major may create an operating system or develop a new algorithm, while an MIS major is primarily interested in how the properties impact the deployment of business software applications. A CE or CS major may design computer systems which can efficiently store and retrieve data, while an MIS major will define what data to store and how it should be organized, and then create a database program that will enable a business user to extract meaningful information. The skill sets required for CE or CS activities are reflected in their curricula's greater attention to mathematics, natural science, and engineering courses, while the MIS major's curriculum focuses on the use of computers in business applications.