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The 30 Best Computer Science Schools

Best 30 Computer Science Schools

Computer science has seen tremendous growth and evolution over the last two decades. Technology has been in a constant cycle of transformation, with industries implementing new technologies to try and improve their processes and achieve greater success. Recent times have shown that every new change in computer science has the potential to reshape how corporations, governments and entrepreneurs create better experiences for the people they offer goods and services to.

That said, one element of computer science hasn't changed over the last twenty years: the need for up-and-coming computer science graduates ready to enter the workforce. Students looking at taking a computer science program typically do so with the expectation of finding a healthy job market after graduation.

There's evidence to support the optimism. The technology industry association CompTIA recently released a comprehensive report titled "Cyberstates 2015: The Definitive State-by-State Analysis of The U.S. Tech Industry." According to the report, the U.S. information technology industry showed a net gain of almost 130,000 jobs between 2013 and 2014, with a total of nearly 6.5 million workers in tech sector jobs across the country.

Students looking at potential computer science programs can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options available. To help the next generation of technology professionals discover the program that's best for them, ComputerTrainingSchools.com created a list of the thirty best computer science schools in the country.

Methodology

The data used to create the school rankings was taken from the National Center for Education Statistics' (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) database, drawing on figures from the 2013-14 timeframe. The NCES is an adjunct of the Institute of Education Sciences, and overseen by the U.S. Department of Education.

The data incorporated into our ranking system was taken from several relevant categories, including the following:

  • Total student costs including tuition, books and room and board, calculated as of 2013
  • Student enrollment
  • Student-to-faculty ratio
  • Student graduation rates
  • Student retention rates
  • Eligibility for Title IV student financial aid programs

The 30 Best Computer Science Schools Scores

Here's our roundup of the 30 best computer science schools in the country according to our methodology along with the top 20 online CS schools. Additionally, we provide a breakdown of school details and category scores for the top 10 schools in our list.

#1: Carnegie Mellon University


Carnegie Mellon University was created in 1967 from the merger of the Carnegie Institute of Technology (founded in 1900 by industrialist Andrew Carnegie) and the Mellon Institute (founded in 1913 by Andrew and Richard Mellon). CMU has U.S.-based campuses located in Silicon Valley and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as well as a campus in Qatar on the northeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The School of Computer Science is one of seven distinct schools that make up the greater university.

Institution Type Schools Details

  • Private not-for-profit school
  • Participates in Title IV federal financial aid programs

MetricsCategory Scores

  • Student enrollment: 12,367
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Total cost of attendance, 2013-2014: $60,632
  • Graduation rate: 88%
  • Student retention rate: 94%

#2: Northwestern University


Founded in 1851, Northwestern University has campuses in Evanston, Illinois, and Chicago, and a third campus in Qatar on the Arabian Peninsula. Northwestern consists of twelve distinct schools and colleges, including the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, which offers degree programs in computer science. Known for its impressive research programs, NU was home to more than $550 million in sponsored research in 2013-2014.

Institution TypeSchools Details

  • Private not-for-profit school
  • Participates in Title IV federal financial aid programs

MetricsCategory Scores

  • Student enrollment: 21,592
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 7:1
  • Total cost of attendance, 2013-2014: $61,267
  • Graduation rate: 94%
  • Student retention rate: 98%

#3: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor


Originally located in Detroit when founded in 1817, the University of Michigan campus moved to Ann Arbor in 1837. Today UM consists of nineteen schools and colleges. Undergraduate degrees in computer science are offered through the Michigan Engineering school. There is also a Bachelor's of Science in Information program available through the School of Information, and a B.A. in Computer Science program offered by the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Institution TypeSchool Details

  • Public school
  • Participates in Title IV federal financial aid programs

MetricsCategory Scores

  • Student enrollment: 43,710
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 12:1
  • Total cost of attendance, 2013-2014: $24,186
  • Graduation rate: 90%
  • Student retention rate: 90%

#4: Massachusetts Institute of Technology


The letters "MIT" are recognized around the world as being synonymous with technology education. Located in Cambridge, MIT is one of the most esteemed technology schools in the nation. The school celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2011. MIT is made up of six schools, including the School of Engineering, which offers the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science program.

Institution TypeSchool Details

  • Private not-for-profit school
  • Participates in Title IV federal financial aid programs

MetricsCategory Scores

  • Student enrollment: 11,301
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 8:1
  • Total cost of attendance, 2013-2014: $57,242
  • Graduation rate: 93%
  • Student retention rate: 98%

#5: Yale University


Yale University is the third-oldest higher education school in the U.S. Located in New Haven Connecticut, this Ivy League university consists of a dozen separate schools: Yale College (for undergraduate programs), Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and ten distinct professional schools. Yale College offers three different B.A. degree programs in computer science, including a rather unconventional pairing of computer science and psychology.

Institution TypeSchool Details

  • Private not-for-profit school
  • Participates in Title IV federal financial aid programs

MetricsCategory Scores

  • Student enrollment: 12,109
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 6:1
  • Total cost of attendance, 2013-2014: $60,900
  • Graduation rate: 98%
  • Student retention rate: 99%

#6: Pennsylvania State University


Penn State started as one of the nation's first agricultural colleges. Today, it's a hugely popular public university with the largest student enrollment of any school on our Top 30 list. Penn State has awarded over three-quarters of a million degrees since it was founded in 1855. The following numbers are based on data posted for Penn State's flagship campus in the State College municipality.

Institution TypeSchool Details

  • Public school
  • Participates in Title IV federal financial aid programs

MetricsCategory Scores

  • Student enrollment: 46,615
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 17:1
  • Total cost of attendance, 2013-2014: $28,804
  • Graduation rate: 85%
  • Student retention rate: 92%

#7: Northeastern University


Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is located in Boston MA and is made up of nine separate colleges and schools. Northeastern's College of Computer and Information Science was the first college in the nation dedicated to computer science; it has evolved into a highly diversified technology school offering 19 different undergraduate degree programs.

Institution TypeSchool Details

  • Private not-for-profit school
  • Participates in Title IV federal financial aid programs

MetricsCategory Scores

  • Student enrollment: 20,053
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 13:1
  • Total cost of attendance, 2013-2014: $56,296
  • Graduation rate: 83%
  • Student retention rate: 96%

#8: Lehigh University


Lehigh University was founded in 1865 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and is comprised of four unique colleges. The P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science hosts the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. There are also bachelor degree programs in computer science available through the College of Arts and Sciences.

Institution TypeSchool Details

  • Private not-for-profit school
  • Participates in Title IV federal financial aid programs

MetricsCategory Scores

  • Student enrollment: 7,096
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Total cost of attendance, 2013-2014: $56,080
  • Graduation rate: 86%
  • Student retention rate: 94%

#9: Cornell University


Founded in 1865, Cornell University is home to 14 colleges and schools located at campuses in Ithaca, New York City, and in Qatar on the Arabian Peninsula. Cornell offers computer science programs through both its College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering. The school also offers a degree program in Information Science, Systems and Technology.

Institution TypeSchool Details

  • Private not-for-profit school
  • Participates in Title IV federal financial aid programs

    MetricsCategory Scores

    • Student enrollment: 21,131
    • Student-to-faculty ratio: 12:1
    • Total cost of attendance, 2013-2014: $59,888
    • Graduation rate: 93%
    • Student retention rate: 97%

    #10: Washington University in St. Louis


    WUSTL was founded in 1853 in St. Louis, Missouri. The university consists of seven academic divisions, including the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences. WUSTL's Department of Computer Science & Engineering offers undergraduate and graduate programs in computer science, which can be taken up to the PhD level.

    Institution TypeSchool Details

    • Private not-for-profit school
    • Participates in Title IV federal financial aid programs

    MetricsCategory Scores

    • Student enrollment: 14,032
    • Student-to-faculty ratio: 8:1
    • Total cost of attendance, 2013-2014: $59,758
    • Graduation rate: 94%
    • Student retention rate: 96%

    #11: Harvard University

    Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, remains one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Computer science programs are offered through the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

    #12: Syracuse University

    Founded in 1870 and based in Syracuse, New York, SU reported a student enrollment of over 21,000 for fall 2014. Syracuse offers both on-campus and online computer science programs through its Electrical Engineering and Computer Science school.

    #13: Marist College

    Marist College's main campus is spread along the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York, and hosts a student population of just over 6,300. The Marist College School of Computer Science and Mathematics includes an enterprise computing research laboratory funded by the National Science Foundation.

    #14: University of Notre Dame

    This renowned university in Indiana boasts an impressive 95 percent graduation rate and 97 percent student retention rate. Computer science programs are offered through the College of Engineering, which hosts the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

    #15: Muhlenberg College

    With a student enrollment of just more than 2,400, Muhlenberg is a small but well-respected school located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Degree programs are available through its Mathematics and Computer Science department.

    #16: University of Chicago

    The University of Chicago boasts a 99 percent student retention rate, tied with the highest value in our study. Computer science programs are offered through its Division of the Physical Studies school.

    #17: Columbia University

    This prestigious Ivy League school in the city of New York is made up of more than twenty distinct schools. Computer science programs are nested in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

    #18: University of California, Los Angeles

    UCLA is the third public school to appear on our list, after University of Michigan and Penn State. A total cost of attendance for 2013-2014 ($32,416) places UCLA among the more affordable schools in our Top 30.

    #19: George Washington University

    GWU's computer science programs are available through its School of Engineering & Applied Science. Undergraduate and graduate computer science degree programs are available, as well as a graduate program in cybersecurity.

    #20: University of Minnesota

    The University of Minnesota has campuses in the Twin Cities, as well as Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester. This school received the #1 ranking in our study for total cost of attendance in 2013-14 ($25,281).

    #21: Georgetown University

    This venerable Washington D.C. school has an impressive 92 percent graduation rate and 96 percent student retention rate.

    #22: Villanova University

    Located in a suburb of Philadelphia, Villanova offers Bachelor's and Master's degrees in computer science, as well as a Master's degree in software engineering.

    #23: Stanford University

    The Stanford Computing Science department is considered by many to be one of the best in the country. The Gates Computer Science Building was named for the Microsoft co-founder himself.

    #24: Emory University

    Emory University is located in Atlanta. It had a student enrollment of just less than 15,000 in 2014.

    #25: Dartmouth College

    This Ivy League school is located in Hanover, New Hampshire. It offers an extensive selection of undergraduate and graduate computer science programs.

    #26: University of Washington

    The University of Washington is based in Seattle, Washington. It's a public school, and its total cost of attendance for 2013-2014 of $27,034 was among the lowest on our list.

    #27: Princeton University

    Another venerable Ivy League, Princeton was founded in 1746, making it the fourth-oldest college in the U.S.

    #28: University of California - Davis

    UC Davis is one of three public schools that round off our Top 30 list. UC Davis is made up of ten colleges and schools, including its College of Engineering, home to its Computer Science department.

    #29: University of Delaware

    The University of Delaware is a public school located in Newark, Delware. Good attendance costs and student retention numbers earned UDel a place on our list.

    #30: Ohio State University

    Ohio State University is located in the city of Columbus. It offers degree programs in Computer and Information Science, as well as Computer Science and Engineering.

    Top 20 Online Computer Science Schools Scores

    Not every student can make their way to a campus to take all the classes for a computer science degree. Thankfully, there are a growing number of schools that offer fully online degree programs in CS. Using all of the applicable metrics from our Top 30 study, we came up with the following list of the best online computer science schools.

    #1: Ohio State University

    #2: University of California - San Diego

    #3: Azusa Pacific University

    #4: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    #5: University of Pittsburgh

    #6: New York University

    #7: Purdue University

    #8: Georgia Institute of Technology

    #9: Rochester Institute of Technology

    #10: Virginia Tech

    #11: Gonzaga University

    #12: West Chester University of Pennsylvania

    #13: Chapman University

    #14: Clemson University

    #15: National University

    #16: Creighton University

    #17: Duquesne University

    #18: University of San Francisco

    #19: Quinnipiac University

    #20: Madonna University

    Sources
    "United States Tech Industry Employs 6.5 Million in 2014," CompTIA, February 10, 2015, http://www.comptia.org/about-us/newsroom/press-releases/2015/02/10/united-states-tech-industry-employs-6.5-million-in-2014

    "Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System," National Center for Education Statistics, 2014, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

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