From my experience at Ohio State, the university offers computer programs through the Arts and Science school and also though the Engineering school. In june I finished my BS in CSE and I can explain the differences here anyway.
- Will be more technical.
- More math
- More science
- Did not require a second language.
- Requires some electrical engineering classes.
- Offered multiple directions:
- Closely coupled with the Electrical Engineering department.
- In fact there is a 6 or so class difference between my CSE degree and a similar EE degree.
- Less technical (not as much math or science)
- Required a second language
- Not as much Electrical Engineering requirements.
- A handful less credit hours than engineering school. (I believe it was 185 credits versus 196 for CSE)
My conclusion: CSE is more technical and CIS is more of an IT such as desktop support or related positions. You can be a programmer as a CIS and you can be a IT person as a CSE but I think with CSE I am more prepared for programming (I did CSE software specialization) and as a CIS you are more prepared for desktop support.
That is my conclusion anyway, take it or leave it.
In terms of recruiters is depends on the job and the person. A friend of mine recently finished his CSE degree and he has had a desktop support job as a student and is considering pursuing desktop support because he said he likes it. I know based that a CSE will be more prepared to solve technical problems in the general sense due to the underlying Engineering experience.
For example, I interviewed for a position at a local company looking to hire their first IT person and hope to cut back on 3rd part consulting costs but I felt a CIS would be better prepared for the job and frankly more interested. The job presented to me no technical problems, but perhaps a CIS would thrive in that position where you are a technical analyst, computer/IT handy man.
Additionally, I know from OSU at least most CSE finish in 5 years (not the usual 4 years everyone claims an undergrad program should be) and CIS majors finish in 4 years (not the usual 5 years a OSU Engineering program will take).
Me, personally, I like to program and solve technical problems and that is what defines me as a CSE, not my degree itself. And OSU has prepared me for problem solving, not for programming in language X.