Purdue’s Computing Triple-Threat

Did you know that there are three separate ways to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in a computing field at Purdue University if you’re interested in programming, web or otherwise? In this post I show you those three options and briefly explain each to help you decide which might suit your needs.

Computing is a quite diverse topic, and programming is also just as broad. Three individuals could have a title of “programmer” and have three very different sets of skills and responsibilities. That’s why Purdue offers three separate majors for students interested in this field. The trick is, of course, figuring out which is the right major for you.

Two of these majors (Computer Graphics Technology and Computer and Information Technology) are housed in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. The third (Computer Science) is part of the College of Science.

Handout prepared by the Purdue Polytechnic Institute

Computer Graphics Technology

Polytechnic Institute

Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) is actually a department in the Polytechnic Institute and offers several different majors under this one umbrella. All courses of study in CGT contain a programming component, but specific majors most heavily involved with coding are Game Studies and Web Programming and Design.

CGT is a good major for students interested in learning both a design/aesthetic approach to problem-solving and gaining the technical skills needed to solve that problem.

Computer and Information Technology

Polytechnic Institute

Like CGT, Computer and Information Technology (CIT) is also a department within the Polytechnic Institute with individual majors of its own. CIT students utilize analytical and programmatic skills to solve industry or societal issues. Students in this department typically blend technical knowledge with business savvy.

Each of CIT’s majors emphasize a different set of coding languages based on the focus of the program. Network engineers in CIT will learn a different set of code than will software engineers or data managers.

Computer Science

College of Science

Purdue’s Computer Science major is what most individuals consider when hearing the word “programming.” It is from this major that most software engineers emerge. The CS major at Purdue offers a wide variety of concentration areas from database systems and security to visualization and web programming.

Compared to the previous two majors, CS is much more technically-focused. Whereas the other two majors blend a range of disciplines, Computer Science offers its students a deeper understanding of programming concepts and computer hardware. CS students are typically natural-born coders with a mind for systemic approaches to problem-solving.


Each of the three coding-centered degrees at Purdue offer a different approach to learning and a different focus area in the world of programming. No matter what track you think might be a better fit for you, one thing is true: a computing degree from Purdue is a great start to any programming career.

Have specific questions about one of these majors? Email techrecruit@purdue.edu for more information about CGT or CIT and undergrad-info@cs.purdue.edu for information about CS.

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