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Computer and Information Sciences

The VMI CIS program provides cadets the opportunity to experience the whole lifecycle of modern computer software systems from requirements analysis and representation to system and software design, development, and maintenance.

We also provide education with rigorous experiential learning in computer security, human-centric computing, and product development of online and mobile platforms. The program provides a solid foundation in the general areas of CIS including programming, computer architecture, algorithm design and analysis, database design and analysis, networking, information retrieval, software engineering, human-computer interaction, and ethical issues in computing.

The opportunity to accomplish advanced study under the direction of a faculty member is a required experience in a two-semester capstone.

The Department of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) is an evolutionary learning laboratory, rooted in the VMI mission, dedicated to preparing engaged learners endowed with computational thinking, knowledge, skills, and abilities to address real-world problems. We emphasize excellence in teaching and provide a dynamic program integrating teaching, scholarship, service, and cadet development. Our program is driven by an engaged faculty and innovative Computer and Information Sciences curricula with pervasive extensive practice. Rooted in the VMI mission, CIS aims to graduate the next generation of cyber leaders as citizen soldiers with the character, honor, acumen and knowledge to recognize and affect change; navigate ambiguity and surmount complexity; celebrate and benefit from diversity; and motivate and inspire teams to create useful societal and economic value.

To be recognized as the Cyber Leaders program preparing citizen soldiers as problem solvers; applying Computer and Information Sciences knowledge, skills and best practices, and transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries, to develop appropriate user-centric solutions to responsibly invent a better future and ethically lead the new "Intelligence Revolution."

Given our evolving world that is now irrevocably instrumented and interconnected by computer networks, deeply embedded sensors, ever-developing user-centered devices and services, virtually infinite computing power, big data analyzers, and smart semi-autonomic decision making, there is a need to broaden our historical perspective of ‘computer science.’  Our view is that cyberspace artifacts (or hardware, software, data and their orchestrations) comprise the basic infrastructure needed to allow humans (and human assemblies including teams, organizations, communities, etc.) to work, develop and even play to their fullest potential. Such basic cyberspace artifacts would enable scientists, engineers and practitioners to research, create, and implement cognitive cyber-physical equivalents to real-world objects and environments. This will ultimately result in cognitive prosthetics and smart environments with new capabilities supporting and augmenting human capabilities. 

We surmise that, anchored in a commensurate perspective of “Computer and Information Sciences” embracing the world of cyberspace, the sciences, arts and humanities must be called upon and used synergistically to develop such new capabilities but with the human condition ever foremost.  Any solutions and tools that would emerge must recognize that “tools for tools sake do not serve the human naturally” and so the needs of human ontological imperatives must be in the vanguard of requirements as our new Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) program evolves, advances, and continues to contribute to intellectual growth.

The areas of concerns that are innately CIS must ultimately result from computer-based concepts, paradigms, methodologies, and utilities that generate useful, efficient, and usable products and services.  Such areas require deep understanding of the various ontological views of what it is to be human and the epistemological concerns in how humans most effectively acquire facts, information, knowledge, and develop wisdom.  We see a primitive exemplar in the IBM Watson. The new CIS should harness and empower extensions of human physical and intellectual abilities through the use of computational thinking, aspect computing (for example, secure computing, interactive computing, collaborative computing, mobile computing, etc.),  and the synergy of at least the following intellectual domains: communication, information storage and retrieval, and data analysis for a wide range of inter-linked arenas including but not limited to management science, mathematics, biological sciences,  chemistry, physics, engineering, communication (our ERH and modern languages), military science, political science, economics, international studies,  and social sciences.

Overlaying such breadth is the further need to research and address moral, ethical and leadership issues of how to manage conflicts such as the tension between privacy and security and between economic growth and environmental degradation now expanding into uncharted realms of human physical and cognitive spaces.

Students in the Computer and Information Sciences program will be able to:

  1. Analyze a complex computing problem and to apply principles of computing and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions.
  2. Design, implement, and evaluate a computing-based solution to meet a given set of computing requirements in the context of the program’s discipline.
  3. Communicate effectively in a variety of professional contexts.
  4. Recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgments in computing practice based on legal and ethical principles.
  5. Function effectively as a member or leader of a team engaged in activities appropriate to the program discipline.
  6. Apply computer science theory and software development fundamentals to produce computing-based solutions.

The Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science at VMI prepares citizen-soldiers for civic and professional engagements empowered by demonstrable rigor in knowledge and application of computer science theory and software development.

As knowledgeable problem solvers, graduates will have the ability to:

  1. Effectively and efficiently solve complex problems by:
    1. Applying knowledge, skills, and abilities in computer science and software development to address the different phases of a computing-based system life cycle [1, 2, 6]
    2. Employing computational, critical and creative thinking, as individuals or team leaders or members, grounded in legal and ethical principles, in their computing-related profession [3, 4, 5]
  2. Effectively adapt to increasing responsibilities and rapidly changing environment by continual intellectual and professional growth [1-6]

Academic Year1st Class Cadets2nd Class Cadets3rd Class Cadets4th Class CadetsBachelor's Degrees Awarded
2019-2020 23 27 32 32 20
2020-2021 23 27 32 35 19
2021-2022 27 27 23 35 23


CIS Enrollment and Graduation Data

Degrees and Programs

Major(s): Computer Science

Degree(s): Bachelor of Science (B.S.).



21 credits total plus practicum

  • 9 core credits [no prerequisite courses (beyond the VMI core) is required for any of the core courses]
    • Cyber Systems, Security, and Resilience
      • CIS 253 – Perspectives in Information Systems and Security
    • Programming
      • CIS 111 – Programming I 
      • CIS 310 – Computational Thinking for non-CIS Majors
      • EE 240 – C Programming
    • Behavior and Ethics
      • ERH 207 - Ethics
      • PS 201 - Introduction to Psychology
  • 12 elective credits chosen from among two of the following tracks (the reason for restricting the electives to two tracks is to provide adequate depth):

A.  Technical Track

  1. CIS 112 – Programming II
    EE 242 – C++ and Object-Oriented Programming

  2. CIS 321 – Networking
    EE 445 - Computer Networks

  3. CIS 405 – Architecture and Operating Systems
    EE 328 - Computer Architecture

  4. CIS 423 – Computer and Network Security
    CIS 425 - Computer Forensics

B.  Management and Policy Track

  1. BU 330 – Management Information Systems
  2. BU 335 - Web 2.0 for Business
  3. EC 414 – Applied Game Theory
  4. IS 320 – National Security Policy

C.  Humanistic and Social Studies Track

  1. ERH 221 – Digital Rhetoric
  2. ERH 314 – Technical Communication
  3. ERH 302 Civic Discourse
  4. ERH 332 – Logic and Critical Thinking
  5. PS 302 - Social Psychology
  6. PS 313 - Forensic Psychology

No more than three elective courses in any one track

At least 15 credits outside the major


  • Must be pre-approved by the minor coordinator
  • Must address issues related to security, ethics, and resilience
  • Must qualify for a 3 credit or more course equivalence
  • Requires a final report and presentation
  • May include, but not limited to, any of the following:
    • Capstone project
    • Internship
    • Summer research project
  • Behavior and Ethics
    • ERH 207 - Ethics

CIS in the News

Find out more about the department's cadets and faculty in recent VMI news.

Student at VMI, a military college in Virginia

Creating A Cyber Secure World: John Barker ‘23

Once Virginia Military Institute came into view, John Barker '23 felt a surge of excitement. He had always dreamt of immersing himself in the world of information technology and making a mark in the industry.  

Hayden Rose portrait over image of VMI barracks

Cadet Rescues Injured Civilian

Hayden Rose ’26, a computer science major at Virginia Military Institute, used the skills he learned as a VMI emergency medical technician (EMT) to save a woman’s life recently while embedded with the 91st cyber brigade for a military activity at Camp Pendleton.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders