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School of Computing

CIS or computing science?

CIS or Computing Science – which program is right for you?

At UFV, you can enroll in a Computer Information Systems (CIS) program. Or you can choose the Bachelor of Science with a major in Computing Science. What’s the difference? And which one is the best fit for you?

What CIS & Computing Science have in common

Computers. (Kidding!) 

There is definitely plenty of overlap between CIS and Computing Science. Here are some elements the two programs share:

Core courses

Computing Science and CIS students take many of the same foundational courses, including:

  • Principles of Computing
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Object-oriented Programming
  • Introduction to Discrete Mathematics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Databases and Database Management Systems
  • Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Operating Systems

Co-op option

With both programs, you have the option to enroll in UFV’s co-operative education program. In co-op, you go back and forth between study terms and paid work terms. The advantages of being in the co-op are not small. Your work terms are a great resume booster. You earn competitive wages, you receive professional feedback, and you build industry contacts. You also get the chance to explore what types of organizations and work you enjoy most.

Career direction

Both CIS and computing science will train you to be a digital problem-solver. You'll graduate able to help organizations thrive with your advanced computer skills.


“Computing science” vs “Computer science”

You might be wondering why it’s called “computing science.” That’s because “computing” is about more than computer hardware. You could do computing in your head (not easy!) or with technology. Laptops, mobile phones, super-computers, game consoles and even devices we don’t think of as “computers” – like microwaves – rely on algorithms and programming. Calling it “computing” science keeps the focus on the problem-solving process and not the technology. Who knows what will replace “computers” fifty years from now?

How CIS & Computing Science are different

Course emphasis

Each program leans more heavily in a certain direction. 

The computing science program covers more challenging mathematics, including calculus. It has a stronger emphasis on computing theory – how to solve problems using advanced algorithms and programming languages. You’ll be exploring areas like software development, artificial intelligence, and data mining.

In CIS, your training will be broader to meet a wider range of business needs. You’ll tackle programming and software development, but also learn about computer hardware, networked systems and security, project management, web development, and end-user support.

Laddering option

A key feature of CIS at UFV is its program flexibility. You can start with a certificate, diploma, or degree, and each program ladders seamlessly to the next. You can choose to graduate with your certificate or diploma to boost your employability. Then, when the time is right, you can continue in the degree program. 

With computing science, you can complete a major or minor as part of a four-year Bachelor of Science, but there is no diploma or certificate option.

Career pathways

If you’re a computing science grad, you’re more likely to end up coding, working for a large company that specializes in software development.

As a CIS grad, you’re more likely to become an IT professional. You could work for a medium-sized to large organization, or launch your own business as an IT consultant for smaller companies. You may work as a computer network technician, a CIS manager, a programmer, or web developer.

In a nutshell

Consider CIS if:

Consider computing science if:

  • You like beings hands-on as well as immersed in software
  • You want to explore different aspects of computing careers
  • You’re interested in business and project management
  • You’re not sure you want to commit to a four-year degree


  • You love to code, code, code
  • Your math skills are solid and you enjoy advanced math
  • You see yourself working for a software giant
  • You’re ready to pursue a four-year degree


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