The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will offer an online master’s degree in computer science beginning in the Spring 2019 semester.
The online delivery complements the master’s degree in computer science UL Lafayette already offers in a traditional classroom setting, said Dr. Henry Chu, a professor and interim director of the School of Computing and Informatics.
“The beauty of this program is that students don’t have to be in Lafayette or even Louisiana to obtain the same quality education as graduate students who complete the master’s degree program on campus,” Chu said.
“The online delivery will enable working professionals to earn a master’s degree in computer science at their own pace, while having access to the same courses, professors and professional opportunities they would have on campus.”
In January, the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors approved the delivery of UL Lafayette’s existing master’s degree in computer science in an accelerated online format. The program’s courses will be offered in five, eight-week terms; a traditional semester is 16 weeks.
Courses will encompass the same curriculum the on-campus master’s program offers: algorithm design and analysis; computer architecture; programming languages; operating system theory; and data mining, among others.
The master’s degree in computer science will be the first graduate program the School of Computing and Informatics offers both online and on campus. The school also added the state’s only master’s degree program in informatics, or applied computer science, in the Fall 2017 semester.
The new online delivery for the master’s degree in computer science “represents our continued, and ever-growing, commitment to UL Lafayette’s historic role as a leader in computer science education,” said Dr. Mary Farmer-Kaiser, dean of the University’s Graduate School.
UL Lafayette established the country’s first master’s program in computer science in 1962.
Dr. Azmy S. Ackleh is dean of the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences, which includes the School of Computing and Informatics. He noted that for more than 50 years the University “has worked to provide world-class research and learning opportunities for computer science undergraduate and graduate students alike.
“This dedication to excellence has enabled us to remain one of the best programs in the country and to attract students from around the world.”
In rankings released in 2017, the National Science Foundation rated the University’s computer science programs among the top 60 programs in the United States for securing research and development funding.
The expansion of the University’s computer science program comes as Louisiana’s tech industry continues to grow.
“The highly trained people who complete the undergraduate and graduate programs we offer will enable these companies to expand their commitments to Lafayette and to Louisiana. Our graduates will continue to make the state attractive for other companies who want to locate here as well,” Ackleh said.
On May 23, during an address at UL Lafayette, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that CGI has committed to hiring 400 more workers in Acadiana by 2023.
That will bring the total number of CGI workers in Lafayette to 800, with 100 additional jobs sustained elsewhere in Louisiana.
The Canadian firm has been a tenant in University Research Park since 2016. More than 47 percent of CGI employees are UL Lafayette graduates.
Chu said the online master’s degree will help CGI and other Lafayette-based tech firms, such as Perficient, Enquero and WAITR, “fulfill their employment needs with highly skilled and well-trained workers.
“Our School of Computing and Informatics – both in a traditional classroom setting and now online – prepares graduates to meet the demands of the 21st century tech industry.”