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Top School in Madison for a Computer Science Degree

Students interested in studying computer science in Madison, WI, have few schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

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School and Ranking Information

Some schools in and within 50 miles of Madison, WI, offer undergraduate and graduate programs not only in computer science but in related areas such as information technology and software engineering. The following institutions are considered the top three schools in and near Madison for computer science programs based on rankings, program offerings and graduation rates:

  • Winner: Coming in first among the three schools is the University of Wisconsin - Madison, due to its levels of study offered, number of degrees awarded, high graduation rate and national and program rankings. It is also the largest school by enrollment in Madison with computer science studies, which range from bachelor's to doctoral degree programs.
  • Runner Up #1: Edgewood College is the first runner up as it is the only other nonprofit school in Madison with computer science programs. It also ranks second due to its high job placement rates. The school awards a bachelor's degree in computer science.
  • Runner Up #2: Beloit College is third among the schools due to its location (about 40 miles from Madison), though it does have a graduation rate just under that of the University of Wisconsin and is a nationally ranked liberal arts school. Students can earn a bachelor's degree in computer science.

School Comparison Chart

Category University of Wisconsin - Madison Edgewood College Beloit College
Rankings 10th for top public schools, nationwide (2013)*,
11th for graduate computer science programs, nationwide (2010)*,
41st among national universities (2013)*
179th among national universities (2013)* 63rd among national liberal arts colleges (2013)*
Location Madison, WI Madison, WI Beloit, WI (42.1 miles from Madison)
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $10,378 (undergraduate, in-state),
$26,628 (undergraduate, out-of-state),
$11,833 (graduate, in-state),
$25,159 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$23,740 (undergraduate)** $38,474 (undergraduate)**
Computer Science Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Bachelor's degrees Bachelor's degrees
Computer Science Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 179** 11** 4**
Most Popular Computer Science Program in 2011-2012 Bachelor's in Computer and Information Sciences, General (98 awarded)** N/A N/A
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2005 Entering Class 82%** 51%** 76%**
Noteworthy Two faculty members have earned a National Medal of Science*** 100% job placement rate for graduates of computer information systems programs*** 98% of full-time faculty members hold terminal degrees in their field***

*U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator, ***Schools' websites

Winner: University of Wisconsin - Madison

  • Graduate computer science specialty programs in systems (7th), programming language (10th) and theory (12th) were all ranked in the top 15 by U.S. News & World Report in 2010
  • Undergraduate computer science students can complete internship and volunteer experiences or obtain part-time employment on campus
  • The university's Department of Computer Sciences is one of the oldest in the country

UW - Madison's Department of Computer Sciences includes faculty members specializing in such areas as artificial intelligence, mathematical programming and human-computer interaction. Undergraduate students can choose to earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Program requirements include 11 computer science courses and four mathematics courses covering topics like data structures and systems fundamentals. Students can also earn an undergraduate computer science certificate consisting of six courses. Graduate programs are available as well. The computer science master's degree program requires students to complete at least 24 credits, and the doctoral program stipulates that students complete coursework along with written and oral exams and a dissertation.

Runner-Up #1: Edgewood College

  • Edgewood College offers three computing and information sciences bachelor's degree programs
  • Students perform community outreach services as a part of their computer information systems major
  • In the 2011-2012 school year, 98% of incoming students received scholarships or grants from the college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics

Edgewood College's computer science teaching major prepares students to earn the Wisconsin educator license needed to teach ages 10 to 21. Students must complete at least eight computer science courses in such topics as programming, database structures and networking in addition to a teacher education curriculum. The college also offers a computer information systems major that trains students for information technology careers as well as a business/computer information systems major that students earn in conjunction with a 35-credit business minor. Both programs include 66-68 credits of departmental coursework in areas like computer science, network management and statistics. An internship is also required. Minors in computer information systems, computer science teaching and computer science are available as well.

Runner-Up #2: Beloit College

  • Computer science program offers internship placements with local firms and employment opportunities in the college's information technology office
  • Students in the computer science program have the opportunity to study abroad in locations such as Australia, Chile and India

Beloit College's computer science bachelor's degree program requires students to take at least nine departmental courses and two mathematics courses. The computer science courses cover topics including data structures and algorithms, computer architecture and scientific computation. Students are also required to complete a series of capstone projects by the end of their academic career. Over the course of the database capstone project, individuals build applications befitting the needs of a client. The software engineering capstone requires students to design and test software.

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