Computer Science Department

Contact Information

Paul Mattson
Department Head
Instructor in Computer Science

Olin 322
700 College Drive
Decorah, Iowa 52101

Phone: 563-387-1717

As a computer science major/minor, you’ll gain the academic knowledge needed to keep abreast of the changing world of computing. You’ll study computing theory and engage in practices that will help you successfully join computer professionals already working in the field.

The major contains a set of core courses in computer science which will help you learn concepts common to all areas of the discipline. You can then select from a wide range of computer science electives. Since computer science relates to so many different disciplines, you’re encouraged to select additional supporting courses from a broad range of academic areas.

In addition, all majors at Luther require a writing component. In computer science, this is fulfilled by taking CS 296 in conjunction with a companion course.

Data Science

Data science is the study of how we extract meaning from data, and in a data driven world, this is an exciting time to seek a degree in this field. Data science is unique in that it combines techniques and theories from many fields including mathematics, computer science, probability and statistics, machine learning, pattern recognition, communication studies, art, and ethics.

The data science major at Luther teaches the technical skills required to enter this field, along with the interdisciplinary breadth required to apply these skills to a particular field.

More Information about Computer Science

Are you interested in a job or internship relating to computer science? If so, visit Handshake. The tools can help you search for on-campus jobs and internships outside of Luther and make appointments with the Career Center staff.


The Luther computer science faculty are committed to research and education. Most recently the faculty have worked extensively in the area of computer science education. In addition to the numerous texts the faculty have written and published, some of the latest teaching techniques are also being explored at Luther.

New Techniques

Active learning plays a big role in the Computer Science Department. In his introductory class, Professor Emeritus Kent Lee used flip teaching where students watch lectures outside of class and do homework in class allowing students receive instant feedback while learning to program. The lectures for this style of flip teaching are available on Youtube.

Recently Professor Emeriti Brad Miller and David Ranum created a new interactive textbook publishing system and used it to publish their Franklin Beedle text, and a new introductory text called How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Interactive Edition. Both books, as well as the publishing system, are open source and are being used in computer science courses around the world.

Watch Summer Research Video

Computer Science classes are held in the 43,000-square-foot Franklin W. Olin Building, where there is a dedicated Computer Science laboratory and a separate Computer Science research lab right across from the faculty offices. Classrooms and the Computer Science lab are designed to be flexible,encourage interaction between faculty and students, and enable the formation of small study groups.


Whether your interest lies in computer theory, systems, or applications, Luther graduates find ready employment with a background in computer science.

The most common occupational fields among Luther graduates with a computer science majors include:

  • Computer and information systems programming
  • Merchandising/sales/marketing (computer/information systems sales, technical sales)

Luther has alumni employed in computer science-related careers at many high-profile companies. See a sample listing of companies that hire Luther grads:

  • Best Buy
  • Castleton Commodities International
  • CUNA Mutual
  • EPIC Systems
  • Fat Wallet
  • Federated Insurance
  • Fullscreen
  • Google
  • Hewlett Packard
  • IBM
  • Integrated DNA Technologies
  • KCura
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Magenic
  • Maritz Motivation
  • Marvin Windows
  • Mayo Clinic
  • MetLife
  • MoovWeb
  • Reach Local
  • Red Hat
  • Rockwell Automation
  • Securian
  • Sophias Style
  • Sqwiggle
  • Starkey
  • Stats
  • Sysorex
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Tritech Software Systems
  • UNI
  • Xerox

A significant number of our students go to graduate school to pursue advanced degrees. Students from Luther have or are attending universities such as:

  • Stanford
  • MIT
  • The University of Iowa
  • Iowa State
  • Purdue
  • The University of Minnesota
  • Duke

Contact Information

Paul Mattson
Department Head
Instructor in Computer Science

Olin 322
700 College Drive
Decorah, Iowa 52101

Phone: 563-387-1717