About the Practicum

The Computer Science Practicum provides majors with practical experience in a non-academic setting. Students are introduced to the work environment where they see an application of many of the concepts learned in the classroom. For these reasons, the Practicm is restricted to students nearing the end of their program of study. In addition, the Practicum must provide a work experience that is substantially different from any previous or current work experiences.

Students must enroll in the Practicum course, CS 491, before hand to receive credit. Requirements for the course and the application process are described below.

Practicum Requirements

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Be a declared CS or CIS major and be admitted in the respective program.
  2. Have junior or senior status
  3. Have completed all of the following courses with a C grade or better: CS 341, CS 375, CS 385.
  4. Have completed at least one of the following courses with a C grade or better: CS 410, CS 471.
  5. Complete two of any other 400-level courses, except CS 490.
  6. A student who has failed one or more courses as a result of cheating, according to department records, is not eligible for CS 491.
  7. Provide the names of two WSU computer science professors, from whom they have taken core or option courses, who have agreed to serve as references.
  8. Have been granted no more than 3 semester hours of equivalency credit for previous work experience in computer science.

Application Process

Students who are considering a practicum should apply by completing the CS 491 Student Information form. They should return it, along with a copy of their student transcript, to the coordinator at least one term before they intend to register for the practicum.

Practicum Proposal

Locating a Practicum Site

After receiving formal approval of their application, the student may begin the process of locating a practicum site. Although locating a site is the responsibility of the student, the coordinator can help and may suggest several possible companies. To secure a site, students must apply to companies in the same way as they would with a normal job search.

If a company makes an offer, the student must make the supervisor aware that this work is for academic credit, they must allow an onsite visit by the coordinator, and they must review your written practicum report at the end. If, for any reason, the company does not allow an onsite visit or does not allow you to release a report, the proposal will not be approved.

Submitting a Practicum Proposal

After an approved student has located a practicum site, they should complete the Practicum Proposal form and return it to the coordinator at least 6 weeks before they intend to register for the practicum. The purpose of this form is to determine if the site and tasks performed will be suitable for practicum credit. The information needed for this will include:

  1. The term in which the student plans to register for the practicum.
  2. An estimate of the time required to complete the proposed tasks, in hours.
  3. Beginning and ending dates of the practicum.
  4. The name, address, and phone number of the supervisor.
  5. An outline of the tasks to be performed.

To be approved, a minimum of 200 hours is required on site, the tasks performed must be related to the concepts introduced in the student's computer science course work, and the proposed practicum must be substantially different from any previous or current work experience. Final approval rests with the practicum coordinator. The student must have formal approval from the coordinator before they can register for the class and before any work is performed.

Practicum Completion

Going to Work

For the duration of the Practium, you are expected to work at the company for the hours and pay agreed upon. If you are also taking classes during this time, you must pre-arrange your schedule with your supervisor at the company.

At the end of the Work Term

As the work term comes to an end, students are required to provide the following:

  1. A 3-4 page, typed report that summarizes the student's experience. This report must be submitted to the student's supervisor for approval.
  2. A report from the student's supervisor, on company stationery, confirming the accuracy of the student's report and verifying that the student has not disclosed any confidential information.
  3. Both above reports must be sent directly from the supervisor to the coordinator and are due on the last class day of the term in which the student has registered for the practicum.
  4. An oral report describing the student's practicum experience. This report, up to 50 minutes in length, will be given on campus and be open to interested faculty and students.
  5. A final exit interview with the practicum coordinator.