The Top 10 Best Computer Science Schools for Tech Geniuses
If you have always been interested in coding and computers, you may be looking for the best computer science schools. A degree in computer science just may be what you're looking for to launch a new highly lucrative career. While studying computer science in college, you'll learn about the processes that go on inside computer systems. You'll also learn about the computing theories in use for the past century.
And in the best computer science schools, you'll learn about cutting-edge technology that is going to be leading into our future. Software engineering is one of the most quickly developing industries in the current economy. As such, if you can find a great computer science degree program, you may be all set for a great career.
The first step is looking at the best computer science schools that can help you get there.
What You Will Learn in a Computer Science School
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In a computer science program, you will learn a variety of concepts about different areas of the industry. These include function classes, graph algorithms, time and space complexity analysis, discrete mathematics, computer architecture, continuous mathematics, and the history of computing.
If you have never really liked math, you may want to consider the possibility computer science may not be for you. Although computer science schools do not have any specific requirements for students, an aptitude for math is very important. As such, you may want to pay special attention to getting excellent grades in maths and an excellent score on the math portion of the SAT. These top schools will likely want to see excellent grades in all subjects, but math in particular.
Factors to Keep in Mind When Choosing a School
There are many factors to consider when choosing a computer science program that is a good fit for you. Which of the best computer science schools is right for you depends on exactly what you are seeking.
Facilities and opportunities
When you're researching computer science programs, you should look at what kinds of computer lab facilities each school has to offer. You should make sure that the schools you're interested in have all the latest technology and equipment available. It also helps to make sure that you'll have ample research opportunities. Whether you're interested in graphics, databases, or artificial intelligence, you want to make sure that there are professors whose research interests match yours.
Another important consideration is the types and numbers of fellowships, scholarships, and awards that the school offers to students. These will help you get a stronger education, and accolades on your resume will make it more likely that you'll be able to get into a strong graduate program or get the job of your choice after you graduate.
Ranking and prestige
You should keep in mind that any computer science degree program will teach you the basic concepts. However, the ones considered to be the best computer science schools will offer more opportunities. At a high-ranking school, the students will be more competitive. Additionally, professors will have more research opportunities available for students. Generally, having graduated from one of the best computer science schools will make you more competitive as a candidate for jobs at companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google.
How We Picked These Schools
We examined data on the handful of computer science schools that most consider to be top tier. In addition, we also considered recent rankings of lists of schools too. We made sure to include the best computer science schools in a variety of areas within computer science. This way, students with different interests within the industry can find a school that appeals to them.
Expected tuition costs
The best computer science schools on this list vary widely when it comes to annual costs, with a range between $30,000 to just over $50,000 per year. When taking the entire range into account, this is not significantly higher than the average annual cost of tuition at a computer science school, which is between $40,000 and $45,000. However, students can save a substantial amount of money in many cases by attending a school in their current state of residence; many public universities charge significantly less for tuition for in-state students.
The 10 Best Computer Science Schools
The following is a list of 10 of the best computer science schools available to interested students. Each of these programs offers unique advantages that will appeal to some students more than others.
1. Carnegie Mellon University
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University is consistently at the very top of lists of the best computer science schools. It has a reputation for unique features in programs, such as emphases on concepts like robotics and interactions between computers and humans.
This school also offers somewhat unusual interdisciplinary degrees, such as a Bachelor of Science in Music and Technology. Also offered are degrees in computer science and the arts, as well as computational biology. This university offers a large assortment of technology-related organizations and workshops.
Professionals also recognize Carnegie Mellon for its extremely strong research programs, which have given rise to impressive developments in parallel processing, computer networks, programming languages, software engineering, and more. Students can participate in research through part-time jobs, summer positions, or independent study.
Carnegie Mellon also offers an intensive course of research, which is great for students who have interest exclusively in a research-based career in computer science. At this school, students have the opportunity to not only participate in research that will prepare them for their careers in an educational sense. They also have the chance to be a part of current cutting-edge changes that are being made to the field of computer science.
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, commonly known as MIT, is a private research institution renowned for education and research in technology. The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) program here is the largest undergrad program at the institution.
Students can pursue a major that combines both electrical engineering and computer science if they choose. Four undergraduate majors revolve around computer science. Professionals know the school for its world-class faculty, who excel in both teaching and research. They offer a variety of research opportunities. The school is also home to four different research labs, and students have ample opportunities to utilize them.
3. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
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The University of California, Los Angeles, commonly known as UCLA, offers two different computer science degrees -- a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering. The latter degree is available for students who are interested in both computer science and computer system hardware.
The school is very strong in terms of both academics and research. There are many different research labs on campus, all with different areas of focus. Some professors focus on computational genetics, cognitive systems, advanced systems research, biocybernetics, and many others. No matter what your main area of focus, you're sure to find it here. There is no doubt that UCLA boasts one of the best computer science schools available.
4. The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
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The University of California, Berkeley was founded in 1868 and is the oldest research institution in the University of California system. At this university, students can pursue stellar educations in computer research, computer graphics and animation, programming, and many other subfields within computer science.
Students can study both computer science and engineering if they wish. Additionally, there is a five-year program where students can receive both a bachelor's and a master's degree.
This school offers an advantage to students simply because of its location: It's very close to Silicon Valley. As such, the school has strong ties with some of the biggest names in technology. UC Berkeley routinely hosts speakers from companies such as SpaceX and Apple.
Another great amenity at this institution is that it prioritizes diversity. There are ample opportunities specifically available to women. These include chapters of leading "women-in-STEM" organizations and a residence theme program where women have special access to support from instructors and peers.
5. Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
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The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and was founded in 1885. Professionals know the school for its computer science degree, which not only gives students a strong foundation in computer science but also practical skills that they can use in the real world. It offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Science in Computational Media.
There is also no shortage of research opportunities. The school is home to the "Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Computing" program, or UROC. This program connects students with prospective employers using job fairs. Students also have the opportunities to display their research in a symposium and win prizes.
The Center for Machine Learning is an interdisciplinary research center on campus that provides students with extra training. It is home to many different researchers from different parts of the school who collaborate with impressive results.
6. California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
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The California Institute of Technology, commonly known as CalTech, is located in Pasadena, California. This school has an impressive student-faculty ratio of three to one.
Students who have an interest in the industry can choose between a degree in Computer Science or one in Applied and Computational Mathematics. These programs give students strong foundations in engineering and mathematics, while also allowing them to learn about topics such as robotics, databases, graphics, and networking.
Students who attend this institution can expect to get a well-rounded education in computer science that will enable them to use their knowledge across multiple disciplines. This emphasis on the interdisciplinary not only applies to coursework but also research. Faculty members encourage students to take part in interdisciplinary collaborations that can potentially change the field.
7. Harvard University
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Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University needs no introduction. It is a top university in a variety of different fields, and computer science is no exception.
Harvard has an excellent reputation among prospective employers. Students who successfully graduate with a computer science degree from this school often have no problem securing a job afterward. For this reason alone, this school can easily be considered one of the best computer science schools for any potential student.
Additionally, professionals know Harvard well for its groundbreaking research in a variety of subfields within computer science. These include linguistics, artificial intelligence, imaging, systems and networks, privacy and security, computational theory, and a variety of others.
Another perk is that if students have interests in other areas, such as a foreign language or philosophy, they are free to study those as well. Faculty members place a great deal of emphasis on interdisciplinary research, in addition to interdisciplinary coursework. They realize that the future of computer science relies on many other fields. Many graduates of this school work outside of the tech industry.
8. Stanford University
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Stanford University, located in Palo Alto, California, is another great choice based on location alone. It's right in the heart of Silicon Valley, exposing students to one of the biggest technology hubs in the world. Stanford alumni have gone on to be a part of the founding of many big name companies. These include Netflix, YouTube, Google, WhatsApp, and Mozilla Firefox, among many others.
Faculty at the school state that the primary goal of computer science programs at Stanford is to prepare students for "research and teaching careers either in universities or in industry."
The BS degree program requires students to choose a track or concentration. This will help them find an area of focus and define their studies. The set choices include graphics, biocomputation, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and several others. However, students can also feel free to design their own specialties.
9. Princeton University
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Princeton University, located in Princeton, New Jersey, is known for its emphasis on independent work. Students who attend Princeton do a minimum of one research or independent design project. This school boasts strong programs in theory, graphics and vision, networks and systems, architecture and compilers, security and policy, programming languages, machine learning, and computational biology.
There are a multitude of interdisciplinary programs in research available to students. Both undergraduates and graduates at Princeton have access to excellent facilities. They also have plenty of options when it comes to areas of focus in computer science. For all of the above reasons, you can definitely consider Princeton University to be one of the best computer science schools.
10. University of Chicago
The University of Chicago offers many unique opportunities to its students. For example, undergraduates who have at least a 3.5 GPA can pursue a BS or a BA simultaneously with an MS in computer science. This opportunity is not only open to computer science majors but others as well. If you are accepted, you will have options.
You can choose between a career-oriented or research-oriented MS degree. Additionally, there are many graduate-level opportunities. The University of Chicago offers an MS in Computational Analysis and Public Policy that is excellent preparation for C-suite positions.
This school is one of the best computer science schools that professionals recognize for collaborations between computer science researchers and those in medicine, policy, and business. The campus is also home to a state-of-the-art research and teaching facility that provides a variety of opportunities for students. Students have access to expanded instructional labs, as well as many research opportunities.
Professionals in the field recognize the University of Chicago for its excellent staff. These individuals teach and research in the fields of security, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and many more.
So, Which School Is Best for a Computer Genius in Training?
If you are scratching your head and wondering which of the best computer science schools would best serve you, we have to tell you that the answer lies within. You will need to figure out which subfield in computer science you are passionate about.
Of course, this can be a tall order when you have not yet had the opportunity to figure it out through a computer science education. If you do not know if you want to focus on coding, graphics, or parallel processing, it's best to choose a school with a well-rounded computer science program. All of the schools on this list fit that bill. Some of them are stronger in some areas than others, but they all offer the basics. You would be able to get a great computer science education at any of these schools.
However, since these are the best computer science schools in the United States, you need to remember that they are highly competitive. Any student would be lucky to get into any of these schools. Yet, if you are not one of the few who get accepted, there is no reason to give up on your dream. You can obtain a great computer science education at almost any college.
As long as you make sure to do your best in your classes and pursue any available research opportunities, there is no reason why you cannot launch your education from any computer science school into a stellar career.
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