Search Google Appliance


Portland State announces a computer science career pathway for non-majors
Author: Julie Rutherford, Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science
Posted: May 6, 2014

(Portland, Ore.) May 6, 2014 — Portland State University today announced an innovative new program designed to prepare high-achieving post-baccalaureate students with diverse educational backgrounds for graduate study in Computer Science.

 “New Beginnings” is an intensive nine-month, cohort-based immersion program that covers the foundational knowledge in programming, theory and systems that undergraduates typically acquire during their first three years as a computer science major. It is intended for returning students who already have a bachelor’s degree but little to no knowledge of computer science or programming experience.

Participants who successfully complete the program are automatically accepted into PSU’s Computer Science M.S. program in the spring. A master’s degree in Computer Science can then be achieved with an additional year and a half of full-time study.

“We designed New Beginnings with both student and industry needs in mind,” explains Warren Harrison, Chair of the Computer Science Department at Portland State. “In Portland we have both a great need for talented programmers, and a great supply of potential talent. New Beginnings provides a unique pathway for high-achieving students, who may lack the undergraduate credentials, to quickly gain the skills they need to thrive as graduate students and professionals in computer science.” 

Since its announcement, leaders in the Oregon tech industry have expressed strong support for the New Beginnings program.

“Oregon industry needs talented computer science students.  Portland State University continues to meet this need with yet another innovative and strategic program,” said Richard Carroll, Vice President, Enterprise IT at Con-way. ”Con-way is pleased to be associated with PSU.  As a leader in computer science education for Oregon, Con-way is able to quickly utilize PSU’s skilled, job-ready students.”

“Jive Software is enthusiastic about New Beginnings as another meaningful path to train and then connect motivated programmers to opportunities within our local tech community, and further cultivate the talent pipeline with work-ready graduates,” offered Amy Dobler, Manager of Employee Success at Jive Software.

The program begins on July 1, 2014. Admission to New Beginnings is competitive. There are 20 openings in the first cohort. Applicants are expected to have at least one year of mathematics beyond pre-calculus (e.g. calculus, linear algebra etc.) and an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or better. No prior programming experience is expected or required.

The New Beginnings initiative is supported by a $195,000 seed grant from the Oregon Engineering and Technology Industrial Council (ETIC) Investment Fund. ETIC funding is projected to decrease over time as tuition income is generated and reinvested in the program. New Beginnings is projected to be financially self-sustaining within five years.

More information about New Beginnings is available at