Computer Science

Computer Science

Computer science encompasses the theories and techniques by which information is encoded, communicated, transformed, stored and analyzed. PUC’s department of computer science provides students with the skills needed to turn ideas into a working computer system.

Fast Facts


Graduates of our program are working for major companies such as Google, Microsoft, Cisco, and others in Silicon Valley.


Internships by our students have included the White House, Cisco, Microsoft, R2 Technology, and In-Q-Tel.


Advanced courses usually have from three to five students, offering a very favorable student to teacher ratio.


Programming concepts are explored throughout courses in order to tackle advanced game programming.


Computer Science majors are in demand, in both a good and bad economy.


  • Software development
  • Network installation & support
  • Computer programming
  • Telecommunications specialists
  • Database administration
  • Education
  • Graphics programming

Yuri Costa’s Chemistry App

The application allows you to add the atomic weight instantaneously, simply by touching one element after another.

Yuri Costa

With two computers, a laptop, and a number of pre-calculus, calculus and computer books cluttering his office, there’s no mystery how a 23-year-old computer science major named Yuri Costa became the creator of an iPod chemistry application in 2009 called iPeTa for Pacific Union College. The only question in anyone’s mind would be “Why chemistry?”

“I was talking with my friend who was taking chemistry, and he said, ‘Yuri, I tried to find this application in the app store, but I couldn’t find it!’” Yuri recalls. “So I thought, ‘Maybe I could do that.’”

The functionalities of iPeTa were no doubt the reason for its popularity among those studying such a difficult subject. The application allowed you to add the atomic weight instantaneously, simply by touching one element after another. In order to see more information about the particular element you just taped and held on the element. It then dynamically created a link to Wikipedia, which directs you to the specific page of that element. “The idea was to have a lot of information that wouldn’t get in your way,” Yuri explains.

Creating the application presented a welcome challenge for this programming enthusiast. Because of Apple’s heavy restrictions, “I first had to learn a whole new programming language used basically nowhere else,” he says. Working full-time during the summer of 2009 at PUC’s information technology department, he would go home in the evenings and spend his free time learning the Objective-C programming language favored by Apple. “It was actually really fun getting to know that and learning a new language, playing with it, finding out all the cool things you can do.”

Once Objective-C was mastered, Yuri began the painstaking process of manually typing and entering each element on the periodic table, its atomic mass, and everything else about the element you could possibly want to know before he started the “fun part”: designing the application. The development of the application took a total of seven weeks to complete. Follwing its release in September 2009, iPeTa quickly became the best friend of chemistry students in 10 countries all around the world, including the United Arab Emirates, Australia, France, and Britain.

While the monetary rewards at this point are almost non-existent, the experience offered a taste of what Yuri hoped to accomplish in the future. His ultimate goal as a programmer is to develop educational tools that will help students unlock their learning potential in a virtual environment. “I think the human mind can learn a lot more, a lot faster, because in a virtual world, there are no boundaries,” he says. “I plan on continuing my education because I need to learn a lot more before I can actually do relevant work on that.”

An Emphasis on Excellence: Three Questions for Dr. Buckhanan

Dr. Buckhanan

Why should I take computer science?

First, you should study CS because it has some of the most diverse applications of any field. I can’t think of a career that isn’t touched by technology today, and people with computer science degrees can apply these skills in so many settings.

“I can’t think of a career that isn’t touched by technology today.”

Why should I take CS at PUC?

Taking a CS degree at PUC is a great choice for anyone looking for a program that emphasizes excellence.  We’re in an incredible liberal arts setting which provides for collaborations with people studying film, business, health care, or other fields that utilize computers. Small classes provide direct, individualized instruction from dedicated faculty. Our proximity to Silicon Valley allows us to invite industry professionals to campus and provide incredible internship opportunities.

How does faith fit into the CS field?

Today we live in an interconnected global world. Technology is one of the primary things that connects us with people living in places we may never travel to.  In such a networked world, issues in ethics like privacy and copyright are really important. Faith really informs our moral decisions in these areas, and we work to foster a dialog about these issues. This global reach also gives us opportunities to reach out and share our faith with a wider audience, and it’s amazing how we can use our computer science skills to share with others.  Additionally, “geeks” can also play a role in mission service by working for various ministries, non-profits, and other service organizations.