Computer Science, Carleton University

Computer Science with Ten Specialized Streams
School of Computer Science, Carleton University, Ottawa

“Carleton’s undergraduate degree has enough flexibility to allow you to pair Computer Science with whatever else interests you. The professors here also care about your success. Add to that the beautiful, green campus and its proximity to downtown Ottawa, and you can‘t go wrong!”
-- Gail Carmichael, fourth-year Computer Science student (above with another student in the Computer Game Development lab)

Did you know... Four Carleton students won a $1,000 prize for the “Most Technically Challenging” project at the Great Canadian Appathon (GCA) competition in April 2011. The project, called Sandscape, is designed to “help players remember those happy, sunny days at the beach when the most important thing in their lives was a competition to see who could build the biggest network of sand trenches.” XMG may bring the game to market.


Ottawa is is often called Silicon Valley North due to its high population of tech companies. And Carleton’s computer science programs are the knowledge center of this community. In fact, over 150 high tech companies in the Ottawa area can trace their roots to research, innovations, and entrepreneurship by Carleton alumni, faculty and students.

In Carleton computer science you learn how thrive in today’s constantly changing tech environment. The school has done globally acclaimed research in security, software engineering, networks, object-oriented programming, and computational geometry.

computer science at Carlton University

PhD student Julie Thorpe, who hypothesized that brain waves are unique and repeatable, tests the possibility that thoughts can be transmitted directly to a computer.

Multidisciplinary streams

  • Biomedical computing: mashes up computer science with biology to prepare you for jobs in biotechnology, medical computing and the life sciences.
  • Management & business systems: adds courses from the Sprott School of Business to teach you to be a business technology leader.
  • Law: the impact of computers on law and law enforcement, leading to a career in contract or high tech patent law.
  • Psychology: mashes up computer science and psychology in very cool ways - including cognitive science, human factors, product-design methodology, and the social aspects of computer use. You can also get into artificial intelligence, human-computer interfaces, and human-centric computing.

Specialization streams

  • Mobile & social networking applications: the inside scoop on mobile communication devices like the iPhone and the BlackBerry, as well as social networking applications like Facebook and MySpace.
  • Game development: designing and developing state of the art computer games; providing advanced knowledge in several  areas of computer science including artificial intelligence and graphics.
  • Network computing: design, develop and maintain secure client-server, peer-to-peer and other kinds of networks.
  • Computer & internet security: turns you into a cybersecurity guru with the skills to combat hackers and malicious software such as viruses and worms.
  • Software engineering: learn the design, implementation, and validation of large-scale, cost-effective computing systems.
  • Specialized software and computing stream: the same core training as in the other streams, but with the added flexibility to design your own mashup of more advanced topics.

Carleton computer science students get opportunities to work with innovative high tech companies, as well as with various governmental agencies. Graduates can also apply to the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) for professional IT certification.

Prominent faculty members include:

  • Dr. Paul Van Oorschot, an expert on cryptography, is co-founder and former chief scientist at Entrust. He is the director of the Carleton-Cloakware Security Research Lab and an inventor on 15 US patents.
  • Jörg-Rüdiger Sack holds an NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Applied Parallel Computing. He is a founding member of the High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory with a budget of $127 million.

Job Opportunities

Carleton computer science grads go on to careermashups in many different fields, including software design and development, web services and infrastructure, software and systems security, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, computer gaming, and business.

They get jobs at federal and provincial governments; government organizations like the Communications Security Establishment, the RCMP, NRC, and CSIS; and private high tech companies like Entrust, Alcatel-Lucent, Blackberry, March Networks, Mitel, Espial, and Madadamian.

Comparable Programs

Given Carleton’s ten specialized and multidisciplinary streams, Carleton’s Computer Science program can be compared to The University of Toronto’s Computer Science program.

UofT also offers ten specialized concentrations of study: computer systems; scientific computing; theory of computation; computer vision; human-computer interaction; game design; formal languages and logic for specifying, modeling and reasoning; computers and communication; and web and internet technologies. However, while U of T’s concentrations of study are all streams within computer science, Carleton’s four multidisciplinary streams branch out to mash-up with programs in law, psychology, biomedicine, and business. In this respect, the multidisciplinary streams within Carleton’s Computer Science program can be compared with:

Please note: some of the above comparable programs are full standalone programs rather than streams or options within a larger Computer Science program and may offer more detailed instruction in specific areas of interest.