About Computer Science

The U.Va. Department of Computer Science is a nationally recognized leader in computer science research and education. Our department includes 40 + faculty members, 120 graduate students and over 1,000 undergraduates. Faculty are active in fundamental computer science and engineering research and are engaged in interdisciplinary initiatives with scientists, humanists, engineers in other disciplines and medical personnel. Our graduate students transition from students to collaborators through participation in world-class research projects. Our undergraduates are involved in research and are enriched by an integrated and challenging curriculum.


Computer Science as a discipline at U.Va. started in 1970 as part of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. When computer science became an independent department in 1984, computers were still primarily large, complicated instruments housed in big storage rooms. Personal computers were just beginning to become mainstream, computer games were still limited to plain text, and the Internet, sophisticated user interfaces, social media, and so forth were only a vision. We were there at that time pushing the frontiers and being part of what was an epochal growth in the field.

We celebrated our 25th anniversary as an independent department in 2010 with a presentation by Vinton Cerf, widely acknowledged as the "father of the Internet." That event gave us an opportunity to review where we started, consider what has happened over the years and envision where we think we are going. We have much to celebrate in our excellent faculty, student research and academic accomplishments. I am eager to share that with you here and on the pages of this site. We are excited about what the next 25 years will bring and we know that we will continue to lead, explore and help define technologies, software and processes that will continue to change the world.

Housed within the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science, the computer science department has 40+ faculty, over 1,000 undergraduate students, including some who are majoring in computer engineering, and 120 graduate students. We are highly ranked for our undergraduate, graduate, and research programs, and many of our faculty have won highly selective awards and other honors, such as society fellow status. There is a great deal of collaboration among our faculty and students, as well as diverse collaboration between our faculty and other departments across the University. We are big enough to be influential in our field but small enough that most of our faculty know all of our students. Our modest size makes this a creative, collaborative, and robust learning environment for our students, with rich and diverse opportunities for individual and small-group projects. We also actively promote diversity of all forms in our student body, because diverse views are essential to developing new technologies and products.

A unique advantage of computer science at UVA is that all students, regardless of degree program, must take multiple courses on engineering and society, which include technical writing, product lifecycle, and professional ethics. These, together with our rigorous technical curriculum, help us produce the best possible computer scientists and engineers. Overall, our alumni consistently tell us that we do an outstanding job in preparing our students for "the real world" after graduation.

I invite you to visit the pages of this site to learn more about where we are and where we plan to go. We welcome your comments and questions, whether you are a prospective undergraduate or graduate student, a parent, or a graduate of the department interested in reconnecting with us.

Best wishes,

Kevin Skadron
Professor and Chair