School of ICT Computer Programming Programs
The School of ICT offers four programs in the Computer Programming field of study.
Ontario Baccalaureate/Bachelor's Degree: Honours (4 years)
Seneca @ York campus
Ontario College Advanced Diploma (3 years)
Seneca @ York campus
Ontario College Diploma (2 years)
Seneca @ York campus
Ontario College Graduate Certificate (8 months)
Seneca @ York campus
About our programs
We are often asked about the focus and purpose of the academic programs in the School of ICT that cover computer programming.
The following will provide some background information and explanations that will help the reader understand our area of technology education.
Computer Science is the study of computation.
An alternate definition states that Computer Science is the study of the principles and use of computers. Its fields of study can be divided into theoretical and practical disciplines, and its practical application includes software system design and computer programming.
Computer science is a very large field of study, which generally attempts to study and determine what can be efficiently automated.
Software engineering is a field of study within computer science.
Software engineering is the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the design, development, operation, and maintenance of software.
Computer programming is part of the software engineering process.
Software development is a field of study within computer science that is somewhat broader than software engineering.
Software development uses the discipline from the engineering field, and also considers human and societal factors, business and organizational disciplines (e.g. marketing, finance, personnel), and the full software lifecycle, from conception, through design and development, to deployment, and then maintenance and replacement.
As above, computer programming is part of the software development process.
School of ICT academic programs
In the software development field of study, Seneca’s School of ICT has three academic programs:
CPD – diploma – 2 years – foundations of computer programming
CPA – diploma – 3 years – adds systems analysis and design topics (introductory software development principles), and more programming
BSD – degree – 4 years – adds coverage of some software engineering principles, in a broader organizational and societal context, at a degree level
BSD and these fields of study
BSD is a software development academic program, within computer science, and alongside and somewhat overlapping software engineering.
In BSD, students learn topics in the fields of study which are most closely applicable to software development, including:
- programming paradigms,
- concurrency and multiprocessing,
- operating systems,
- communications and networks,
- system architecture,
- data organization and storage (including databases),
- media processing, and
- user interface design.
In addition, BSD has a strong breadth component, designed to ensure that the graduate is ready for today's business or organizational environment (or for further study).
If you are passionate about computer programming, then this program is for you.
More about computer science and information technology
As noted earlier, Computer Science is the study of computation. (Computation deals with how to solve problems using an algorithm.)
A computer scientist specializes in the theory of computation and the design of computational systems.
Study areas include:
- mathematical logic,
- set, number, graph theory,
- boolean algebra,
- automata theory,
- language structure and design, and
IT – information technology – is a field of study alongside computer science. It’s the application of information and communications technology in the context of an organization.
Our School of ICT offers diploma- and degree-level programs in information technology:
- IFS – Informatics and Security – degree, 4-year
- CTY – Computer Systems Technology – diploma, 3-year
- CNS – Computer Networking and Technical Support – diploma, 2-year
Computer programming curriculum, diploma vs. degree
Seneca has offered computer programming education since the 1960s. Our diploma-level academic programs - a two-year version (CPD) and a three-year version (CPA) - conform to Ontario standards that have been in place since the 1990s. The goal of the CPA program standards is to prepare graduates to assess situations and then justify and deliver solutions for the improvement or automation of organizational workflow for individuals and organizations. From developing and testing programs to ensuring secure implementation of solutions, graduates work in a broad range of employment settings in a variety of sectors in both large and small organizations.
In summary, graduates are prepared to design, create, and maintain software.
The Software Development four-year degree program (BSD), first delivered in 2003, was designed to have a high level of affinity with the diploma program. In many topic areas, the same topics in the diploma-program version are delivered in the degree-program version, with additional conceptual and theoretical coverage. However, all degree-program course coverage is done by using degree-level standards, and we have degree-level expectations from students.
One of the ways that we explain our curriculum plans, and the degree-diploma difference to prospective students and their decision-supporters is as follows:
Assume that a person wants to learn about introductory computer programming, for example. It does not matter whether it is done out of pure hobby-like interest via self-study, or as part of a non-credit delivery, or as part of a diploma-program delivery, or as part of a degree-program delivery.
For this learning opportunity, it is very likely that the same distinct topics, in the same sequence, must be covered. So, from an outsider's perspective, it looks like the same learning journey. However, there are differences in the learning outcomes, topic delivery (and classroom experience), reference resources, performance expectations, and the graded work assessments.
In summary, degree-level students are held to a higher standard. The assessments are more difficult, with a higher level of complexity. They typically require evidence that conceptual material is correctly applied. For any given task, it is expected that the work quality is higher.
The BSD program curriculum, in part due to its four-year length, offers these advantages over the shorter-duration diploma-level programs:
- A strong three-year treatment of topic areas related to software development
- A three-course sequence in the human-computer interaction field of study
- Courses that cover business/workplace organizations, including accounting, business, and marketing fundamentals
- Strong presence of courses that develop and enhance English communications capabilities, in many forms
The program itself is held to the single Ontario-wide standard for honours-level baccalaureate (bachelor's) degree programs. All such programs - whether delivered at a university or college in Ontario - must enable the student to develop in these areas:
- Depth and Breadth of Knowledge
- Conceptual & Methodological Awareness/Research and Scholarship
- Communication Skills
- Application of Knowledge
- Professional Capacity/Autonomy
- Awareness of Limits of Knowledge