The Top Colleges for Computer Science

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A woman pointing on the computer screen while a seated man listens to what she says.

The Top Colleges for Computer Science

No field has grown more in the past few decades than computer science. Technology is growing at an insane pace, and it’s difficult for businesses, governments, and other organizations to keep up with the trends. That’s where computer scientists come into play! Let’s get to know the best computer science schools.

If you’re interested in computers and technology and want to enter into an in-demand field, you might want to consider attending one of the best computer science schools in the country. Lucky for you, we’ve already done all the research already!

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Browse our list of the best computer science schools and see which stand out to you!

1. Carnegie Mellon University – Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science has been routinely ranked as one of the best computer science programs in the country for the past few decades.

Founded in 1988, CMU’s, computer science program offers a range of bachelor’s degrees in some of the most important subfields of the discipline including human-computer interaction, computational biology, and artificial intelligence – just to name a few. Computer Science students even have the option of pursuing interdisciplinary majors.

Freshmen are considered undeclared until halfway through their second semester when they can declare a specific focus. In addition to several majors, students can also choose from eight different computer science minors.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, MA

MIT makes it on the list of the best computer science schools with its EECS program which offers a full range of energy, information, and computer systems. The school’s iconic commitment to quality and innovation shines through in its computer science programs.

As the largest undergraduate program in the entire college, EECS offers undergraduates a comprehensive and flexible curriculum providing students with the foundations they need in computer science to succeed in further education and a professional career.

EECS degrees focus on giving students the ability to solve complex problems and design complete research projects. The two undergraduate majors offered by MIT’s EECs are:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

3. Stanford University – Stanford, CA

Stanford’s Computer Science department focuses on providing undergraduates with an extensive, flexible, and robust education in the field with enough flexibility and freedom to ensure students get to pursue their specific interests.

The Computer Science program offers majors, minors, research opportunities, and a wide range of courses. Students majoring in computer science have to complete a senior project requirement where they put their theoretical learning into practical research opportunities or other experiential activities.

Students can choose to complete their senior project by working with a team to build a programming application or by collaborating with corporate partners in research and development labs on various projects.

4. University of California–Berkeley – Berkeley, CA

UC Berkeley’s Computer Science Division is one of the most robust and well-developed computer science programs in the country for undergraduates. The school has been recognized across the country for its innovations and developments.

Undergraduates are provided with vibrant academic opportunities, world-class faculty, state-of-the-art research facilities, and much more. Students interested in pursuing a degree in computer science can choose from two different majors at UC Berkeley:

  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science (CS)

The specific education requirements of each computer science major are incredibly similar, but the admissions processes vary a great deal.

5. University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign – Urbana, IL

The Grainger College of Engineering is the premier computer science program provider at the University of Illinois. Students can receive a wide range of computer science majors from the program.

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The two most straightforward degrees provide students with a B.S. in Mathematics & Computer Science and a B.S. in Statistics & Computer Science. However, the school also offers a customizable CS + X degree which allows undergraduates some flexibility by choosing an additional area of study to incorporate into their computer science studies.

A similar degree program called X + Data Science gives students the freedom to choose a field to pair with their data science curriculum. On top of these programs, the University of Illinois also offers a computer science minor and a five-year bachelor’s and master’s hybrid.

6. Cornell University – Ithaca, NY

Cornell University easily ranks as one of the best computer science schools in the country with an extensive and thorough program designed to provide students with a foundational understanding of the various subfields within computer science.

Courses within the program cover a broad range of topics including theory, system, programming languages, logic, data structures, and algorithms.

Students also have some flexibility with electives including scientific computing, networks, databases, cryptography, computer vision, computer graphics, and artificial intelligence.

Undergraduates finish with one of two possible degrees:

  • Bachelors of Science for students in the College of Engineering
  • Bachelors of Arts for students in the College of Arts and Sciences

Neither degree program has an advantage over the other in terms of furthering education or professional career opportunities, so students can choose the track that piques their interest the most.

7. University of Washington – Seattle, WA

The Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) provides a fantastic education to more than 1,500 undergraduates every year. It offers two primary majors and a host of intro and non-major classes.

But strictly academic offerings aren’t the only reason UW made it onto our list of the best computer science schools in the country.

It also offers world-class facilities and labs where students can put their theoretical knowledge to the test and get the real-world experience that prepares them for a career in the field of computer science.

The two degrees students can pursue are:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (CS)
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering (CE)

Both majors give students some flexibility to customize their specific course of study to meet their strengths and personal interests.

8. Georgia Institute of Technology – Atlanta, GA

The Georgia Institute of Technology recognizes that computer science is the foundation for a plethora of disciplines and industries. That’s why the school has built a robust and comprehensive computer science program over the last few decades.

The goal of the program is to provide students with a strong foundation of the basics of computer science and the computing skills they need to be competitive. The program stresses the importance of problem-solving and innovation.

The Georgia Tech College of Computing offers the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BSCS) through which computer science students can gain the skill and knowledge they need to compete in further education and professional careers.

9. Princeton University – Princeton, NJ

Princeton University earns a spot as one of the best computer science schools in the country because of the myriad undergraduate courses it offers students in tandem with world-renowned research opportunities and a strong educational foundation overall.

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Princeton is so committed to the field of computer science and believes it is so integral to every other field that each student must take at least one computer science course no matter their major.

The robust and extensive computer science education students receive from Princeton prepares them for success in further education or a professional career.

Computer science majors can choose between a bachelor of art and a bachelor of science in computer science, depending on whether they would rather have a science-based or liberal arts spin on their education.

10. University of Texas–Austin – Austin, TX

The University of Texas Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas is one of the best computer science schools for undergraduates due to its wide range of academic offerings.

Students interested in pursuing the field of computer science have five main choices: a bachelor of science degree, a bachelor of arts degree, a hybrid between the two, an honors course, and a five-year BS/MS hybrid. Computer science students, no matter the degree path they choose, benefit from the school’s state-the-art research facilities, fantastic staff, and robust student organizations.

11. California Institute of Technology – Pasadena, CA

Caltech is widely regarded as one of the best research institutes in the world. Not surprisingly, this excellent school also offers a competitive computer science program. The program is designed to offer students a robust and extensive foundation in the algorithmic and mathematical components of computing.

Undergraduates can expect a diverse array of computer science-related courses spanning several specialties in addition to real-world research opportunities to put their theoretical knowledge to the test.

According to Caltech, its computer science faculty and students strive to “understand information and computation as intrinsic components of a broad array of natural and engineered systems tackle challenging and fundamental problems with the potential for long-term and real-world impact develop underlying theory nurture collaboration between traditionally separate disciplines.”

12. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor – Ann Arbor, MI

The University of Michigan’s computer science major prepares students for future success academically and professionally within the field.

The university combines world-class academic offerings with top-tier staff to make it one of the best computer science schools available for students.

The computer science program provides students with a solid footing, in theory, hardware, and software while also giving undergraduates more than enough space to take electives in different computer science specializations.

13. Columbia University – New York, NY

Columbia’s computer science majors focus on an integrated and dynamic curriculum focusing on both the theoretical and practical side of the field with courses spanning a range of important subfields such as computer architecture, programming languages, operating systems, and much more. Out of all the best computer science schools we’ve discussed, Columbia offers the most degree options for undergraduates including:

  • BS in Computer Science (SEAS)
  • BS in Computer Engineering (SEAS)
  • BA in Computer Science (CC, GS, Barnard)
  • BA in Computer Science and Mathematics (CC & GS)
  • BA in Data Science
  • BA in Information Science (CC, GS)
  • Minor/Concentration in Computer Science

14. University of California–Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA

The Computer Science Department UCLA seeks to create, apply, and impart the foundations of computer science and engineering within their myriad offerings to students.

The top-tier university offers a wide range of computer science courses covering the fundamentals of the field along with more specialized topics, world-class research opportunities, first-rate staff members, and so much more.

A man using laptop to write code, sitting at desk with multiple screens beside him.

The Computer Science Department gives students an option between a degree in Computer Science or Computer Science and Engineering. The obvious difference is that the latter degree adds more of an engineering focus which is great for students interested in this field

15. University of Wisconsin–Madison – Madison, WI

The University of Wisconsin describes its undergraduate computer science curriculum as “state-of-the-art” and we have to agree! Students have the choice to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in computer science depending on their specific areas of interest and personal strengths.

Both degree programs provide students with a wealth of courses covering the fundamentals of computer science including wireless systems, software engineering, programming languages, operating systems, human-computer interaction, databases, computer systems, artificial intelligence, and much more.

These courses are supplemented with excellent research opportunities, study abroad programs, and other experiential learning opportunities for students.

16. Harvard University – Cambridge, MA

The Harvard School of Engineering offers a top-ranked computer science degree program focusing on the foundations of computation along with the way computation interacts with the whole world. Computer science students at Harvard have the opportunity to pursue various areas of research:

  • Areas of Research
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Architecture
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computation and Society
  • Computational and Data Science
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Economics and Computation
  • Graphics, Vision, and Visualization
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Machine Learning
  • Programming Languages
  • Systems, Networks, and Databases
  • Theory of Computation

Wondering how hard it is to get into Harvard? Read this.

17. University of California–San Diego – La Jolla, CA

Every computer science degree program at UCSD provides students with a robust and extensive curriculum focused on giving students the education and training needed to succeed in the competitive climate of the current high-tech professional landscape or higher education.

Students will receive an education in the foundational principles of the computer science field along with specialized courses focusing on different specialties.

Students can choose from four different primary degree offerings within the field from UCSD including, a B.S. Computer Science, a B.S. Computer Engineering, aB.S. Computer Science with a Specialization in Bioinformatics, or a Minor in Computer Science

18. University of Maryland–College Park – College Park, MD

The University of Maryland’s Department of Computer Science puts undergraduates at the forefront of their entire program. With more than 3,400 students pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science at UM, it’s no secret the school makes on our list of the best computer science schools.

Through this computer science program, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the fundamentals of the field including theory and programming language.

On top of a wide range of top-rated courses, students benefit from great internships, fantastic honors programs, excellent study abroad programs, and unbeatable research opportunities.

19. University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA

UPenn’s Department of Computer and Information Science provides two different undergraduate degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS)

As with many of the best computer science schools, there are not a lot of differences between the majors in terms of academic and professional opportunities they provide for students. However, there are some differences in terms of educational requirements.

The BSE follows a path similar to that of standard engineering programs while the BAS option gives students a liberal arts focus. Students who are solely interested in a computer science career might enjoy the former degree more while the latter is a good choice for undergrads who have interests outside of computer science too.

20. Purdue University–West Lafayette – West Lafayette, IN

Computer science majors at Purdue University start off their freshman and sophomore years taking six core classes that lay the foundational aspects of the entire degree program. After these initial years, undergraduates select a specific track that focuses their studies on a particular subfield of computer science.

A team of programmers looking at the computer screen.

Every track comes with 2-4 required courses along with a long list of electives, giving students some freedom in choosing their academic path towards a computer science degree.

Students even have the option to choose more than one track if a few pique their interests. The esteemed faculty at Purdue and the school’s range of research opportunities earn it a spot as one of the best computer science schools.

Not sure where to begin when applying to college? The college entrance experts at AdmissionSight can help! We have a proven track record of success in helping high schoolers get into the schools of their dreams.

In fact, 3 out of every 4 students we work with end up getting accepted to a Top 10 or Ivy League school. With our 10 years of experience, we know the ins and outs of the college admissions process and can provide you with the insights and support you need to reach your academic goals. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.



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