Golan Levin and Collaborators

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CMU’s new “Bachelor of Computer Science and Art”

15 May 2008 / announcement, pedagogy

I’m delighted to announce that CMU, where I teach, has just approved a unique new hybrid undergraduate degree program which combines Computer Science and the Arts. I had a hand in creating the new degree program, and I’ll be one of the principal academic advisors for these students.  Here’s the full text of the press release, taken from here.  

Carnegie Mellon Announces New Degree
Fusing the Arts With Computer Science   

PITTSBURGH—Beginning this fall, Carnegie Mellon University will offer a Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA), a new interdisciplinary program that will equip students to explore and expand the connections between computation and the arts. Students enrolled in the program will work toward degrees that combine coursework in the university’s world-class School of Computer Science with complementary studies in its internationally renowned College of Fine Arts, which comprises the schools of Art, Architecture, Design, Drama and Music. 

The BCSA program is an “integrated double major,” which combines a sequence of full-strength computer science courses with a rigorous concentration in studio or performing arts.

“The unified Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts degree will allow a new generation of artist-technologists to create new forms of knowledge and influence culture at the highest possible level, by bridging fields in totally new ways,” said Franco Sciannameo, director of the BCSA, Bachelor of Humanities and Arts (BHA) and Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA) programs. In creating the BCSA program, Sciannameo collaborated with faculty and administrators from the College of Fine Arts and the School of Computer Science.

Sophomore Alyssa Reuter, who will join the first cadre of BCSA students, highlighted some of the possibilities the new program could facilitate. “Computer science and art are already fused in fields like character animation, game design, electronic music, interactive graphics and information visualization and robotics,” Reuter said. “Meanwhile, new tools like rapid prototyping, motion capture and broadband Internet are spawning revolutions in architectural design, live performance and participatory culture. And computer science itself is increasingly oriented towards personal, expressive media. It’s exciting to have this chance to exercise both sides of my brain and the opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Eight Carnegie Mellon students are scheduled to transfer into the BCSA degree program this spring, while several first-year students are poised to enter the program in the fall. 

The creation of the BCSA degree closes a long chapter in my own life, since I chose not to attend CMU in 1989 when I learned that they had no such joint degree program. Happily, the new degree is already opening a new chapter in the lives of 8 young people at Carnegie Mellon.

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