Computer Science BS Animation

Program Purpose

The Computer Science Animation Emphasis gives students the opportunity to learn both the technical and artistic side of creating and implementing digital animation and games, preparing them for technical careers with animation and game programming studios. The animation emphasis includes a core of computer science courses, as well as the opportunity to take electives in computer science. Graduates in this emphasis are thus prepared to be competent software developers and technical problem solvers, in additon to their experience in digital animation. Graduates are prepared for the lifelong learning necessary in this fast-moving field, including a solid background in both rigorous theoretical foundations and practical training.

The Discipline

Computer science touches virtually every area of human endeavor. Software is responsible for everything from the control of kitchen appliances to sophisticated climate models used in predicting future environmental change. Students in computer science learn to approach complex problems in business, science, and entertainment using their strong background in mathematics, algorithms, and data structures.

Fundamentally, computer science is a science of abstraction--creating the right model for a problem and devising the right computer manipulations to solve it.

The BS curriculum is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Curricular Structure

Students in the Computer Science Animation emphasis receive preparation in the fundamental principles of computer science, as well as specialized training in animation. The program has limited enrollment, so interested students first take courses in beginning programming (CS 142), data structures (CS 235), and three-dimensional computer graphics (CSANM 150), then apply to the program. Upon acceptance, students are required to take courses in physics, statistics and mathematics as well as core Computer Science courses. The emphasis requires courses in advanced programming (CS 240), discrete mathematics (CS 236), theory of computation (CS 252), algorithm analysis (CS 312), software design (CS 340), systems programming (CS 224 and CS 324), interactive graphics and image processing (CS 355), computer graphics (CS 455), and shader programming (CSANM 354). Students also study the effects of computing on societal issues and ethics (CS 404) and are expected to be able to think critically, write, and speak on these topics.

Students take four elective courses to help them tailor their curriculum to their individual interests. The elective courses include various topics in animation, in addition to computer graphics, communications and networking, compilers, advanced software design, databases, distributed systems, computer security, artificial intelligence, verification and validation, image processing, and scientific programming. Laboratory work is associated with most of the classes. It is in the lab that the student learns to solve problems creatively and to implement algorithmic solutions in software. Students may choose to take an introductory graduate-level course as one of these electives.

The culmination of the Computer Science Animation emphasis is a capstone course. Students may choose either a film production or video game production course, working in a group to complete the year-long project. Projects completed in these courses regularly receive the highest honors available to animation students in a competition among the best schools in the country.

For more information, see the program's Catalog Description

Major Academic Plan (MAP)

Learning Outcomes

The Computer Science Animation emphasis outcomes reflect both the practical and theoretical nature of the discipline.



Computational Practice:

Students will design and implement significant computer programs that meet a human need and will develop expertise in animation. See the Computer Science BS program for general assessments shared across all emphases.

Courses that Contribute: C S 240 CSANM 150 CSANM 355 CSANM 453R CSANM 454
Linked to BYU Aims: Competence
Computational Theory:

Students will analyze problems and their algorithmic solutions using theoretical concepts. See the Computer Science BS program for general assessments shared across all emphases.

Courses that Contribute: None
Linked to BYU Aims: Quantitative reasoning, Competence
Career Preparation

Students will have sufficient maturity in computer science to work in a professional setting in computer science or animation or to enter a graduate program. See the Computer Science BS program for general assessments shared across all emphases.

Courses that Contribute: None
Linked to BYU Aims: Lifelong learning, Lifelong service

Evidence of Learning

The Computer Science Department is developing several mechanisms over the next several years (2020 - 2021) that will measure the competency of graduating students. Please see the Computer Science BS program for direct and indirect measures relevant to all Computer Science programs. Below are additional measures specific to this emphasis.

Direct Measures

  1. Computational Practice
    • A locally developed Field Assessment that will evaluate competency for both computational practice and computational theory. Questions in relevant classes will evaluate computational practice specific to this emphasis. 
  2. Computational Theory
    • A locally developed Field Assessment, as described above.
  3. Career Preparation
    • Measurements of student placement in jobs and graduate school, including the percentage having a job offer in the emphasis field and separately the percentage having a job offer in another computer science field.

Performance Criteria

The following performance criteria are used to assess performance on the direct measurements that are specific to this emphasis:

Computational Practice

  1. Field Assessment, Emphasis subset. Outstanding: 90% and above, Acceptable: 80-89%, Marginal: 60-79%, Unacceptable: 59% and below.

Computational Theory

  1. Field Assessment, Emphasis subset. Outstanding: 90% and above, Acceptable: 80-89%, Marginal: 60-79%, Unacceptable: 59% and below.

Career Preparation

  1. Percentage of students having a full time job in computer science 6 months after graduation. Of this, which percentage have a job in the emphasis field. Outstanding: 90% and above, Acceptable: 80-89%, Marginal: 60-79%,Unacceptable: 59% and below. Emphasis jobs: 60%


Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement

Please see the Computer Science BS program for the assessment and improvement plan. For emphases, the undergraduate committee will work with faculty who oversee those emphases to review data and make plans for improvement.