Computer Sciences

Learn the fundamentals of computer sciences and move into the role of software developer in this ever-expanding, global field.


Is this program right for you?

If you are ready to move into the role of software developer, a certificate in Computer Sciences from the UW–Madison Department of Computer Sciences is the answer. As a qualified software developer, you can expect excellent job prospects and an outstanding salary.

Our students are working professionals with backgrounds in statistics, math, biology, and many other fields. What they have in common is an interest in software development, hands-on learning, and a fast entry point to job opportunities around the world.

The UW–Madison compressed program in Computer Sciences can be completed in four to six semesters, depending on your previous expertise and whether you attend full- or part-time. Many courses are offered in the evenings as well as over the summer. Most students complete one course per semester; you select these fundamental courses from a range of offerings, so you can precisely target the skills most relevant to your career goals.

The majority of our students work in the Madison metropolitan area. Our courses are designed to allow you to maintain your current employment while building your new, highly marketable skill set. In fact, many of our students are paid to complete their certificate in Computer Sciences so they can take on software development roles with their current employers.

Although our certificate in Computer Sciences opens the door to software developer jobs, some students have used it to launch into our competitive Professional Master’s Program in Computer Sciences. With a certificate in computer sciences from UW–Madison, the world of software development is limited only by the opportunities you seek.

Is this program right for you?

If you are ready to move into the role of software developer, a certificate in Computer Sciences from the UW–Madison Department of Computer Sciences is the answer. As a qualified software developer, you can expect excellent job prospects and an outstanding salary.

Our students are working professionals with backgrounds in statistics, math, biology, and many other fields. What they have in common is an interest in software development, hands-on learning, and a fast entry point to job opportunities around the world.

The UW–Madison compressed program in Computer Sciences can be completed in four to six semesters, depending on your previous expertise and whether you attend full- or part-time. Many courses are offered in the evenings as well as over the summer. Most students complete one course per semester; you select these fundamental courses from a range of offerings, so you can precisely target the skills most relevant to your career goals.

The majority of our students work in the Madison metropolitan area. Our courses are designed to allow you to maintain your current employment while building your new, highly marketable skill set. In fact, many of our students are paid to complete their certificate in Computer Sciences so they can take on software development roles with their current employers.

Although our certificate in Computer Sciences opens the door to software developer jobs, some students have used it to launch into our competitive Professional Master’s Program in Computer Sciences. With a certificate in computer sciences from UW–Madison, the world of software development is limited only by the opportunities you seek.

Admissions requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.

Application materials required:

  • Online application
  • Transcripts

Connect with us

Program Overview: Design + Innovation

September 30
noon-12:30 p.m.
Join enrollment coach Zach Benson to get more information about the Design + Innovation master's program including curriculum, application process and potential career paths. There will be time available to answer your questions!
Register for Design + Innovation Program Overview

Program Overview: User Experience Design Capstone Certificate

October 08
11-11:30 a.m.
Join program coordinator Jenny Greiber to get more information about the User Experience Design Capstone Certificate including curriculum, application process and potential career paths. There will be time available to answer your questions!
Register for User Experience Design Capstone Program Overview

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Program highlights

  • Our flexible and compacted curriculum allows you to complete your coursework during both day and evening times. Plus, you can complete the program as a part-time student in just 4-6 semesters.
  • This program is meant for students who don’t have a bachelor’s degree in computer sciences, but who want to gain knowledge in software development. Our curriculum is meant to prepare you for job opportunities around the world.
  • The certificate is a valuable stepping stone to prepare interested students to further their computer sciences skills through our competitive Professional Master’s Program in Computer Sciences.

How you'll learn

  • Students with a background in computer sciences complete four courses for your certificate; at least two must be at the 400 level or above.
  • Students without a background in computer sciences will first complete our Introduction to Programming and Introduction to Data Structures courses, or their equivalent. Some exceptions apply.
  • Select four fundamental courses from a range of offerings to precisely target the skills most relevant to your career goals.
  • Many courses offered during the evenings and summers; most students complete one course per semester.
  • Attend classes full- or part-time, and complete your certificate in as few as four semesters.
  • Maintain at least a grade of C in every course.

Sample curriculum

  • Programming I or Introduction to Data Programming
  • Programming II

Select four courses from the following list of fundamental courses:

  • Machine Organization and Basic Systems
  • Programming III
  • Software Engineering
  • Matrix Methods in Machine Learning
  • Introduction to Programming Languages
  • Introduction to Operating Systems
  • Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
  • Introduction to Computer Architecture
  • Introduction to Computer Graphics
  • Introduction to Database Systems
  • Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction
  • Introduction to Algorithms
  • Introduction to Computer Networks

Job outlook

Top Job Titles
  • Software Development Engineer
  • Software Developer
  • Java Developer
  • .Net Developer
  • Applications Developer

Market Salary
$98K in 2019

Projected Job Growth
30.7% for Software Developers, Applications (2016-2026)

Job Postings
609,702 in 2019

Top Employers
  • Amazon
  • U.S. Bancorp
  • Northrop Grumman
  • General Dynamics
  • J.P. Morgan Chase Company

Source: Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insight. 2020.
Burning Glass Technologies’ Market Salary is an estimated expected salary. Market Salary uses machine learning algorithms to account for experience, skill, and education among other factors that may impact individual salaries.

Ready to learn more about Computer Sciences?
View the UW-Madison Guide

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Connect with our enrollment coaches

Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events

Connect with a coach

Nick Schrober

 I had never taken a computer science course, so the biggest hurdle I faced was building up enough course experience to prove to myself and to UW that I was a good candidate. The Professional Capstone Certificate Program was a perfect entry point to catch up on foundational areas I lacked.  

Nick Schober, Epic