Schools with Computer Science Programs: How to Choose

Dec 11, 2019

Computer science students learn about the central processes that allow computer systems to obtain, store and disseminate information. Individuals interested in this field of study will find degree programs at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.

Computer science is a complex field that can lead to many career paths. Prospective computer science students may complete an associate, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in the field, depending on their job interests.

Ten Computer Science Schools

The following private and public institutions offer computer science programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2018-2019)*
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $55,465
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $51,832
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $51,354
University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $14,184 (In-state) $43,176 (Out-of-state)
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $15,094 (In-state) $31,664 (Out-of-state)
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $11,207 (In-state) $36,588 (Out-of-state)
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $50,340
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $12,424 (In-state) $33,020 (Out-of-state)
University of Texas-Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $10,610 (In-state) $37,580 (Out-of-state)
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's, Doctorate $52,362

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

The following considerations may help students decide on a school for their computer science education:

  • Determine the focus of the computer science degree (e.g. the field of science, technology or humanities) and choose a school whose program fits your career goals.
  • Consider a program's reputation and prestige with the number of awards, scholarships and fellowships the school has given and received in the past.
  • Choose a school that has numerous research opportunities for students in various aspects of computer science, such as artificial intelligence, graphics, theory, databases and networks to better match your interests and prepare for a career.
  • Check what kinds of computer lab facilities each school has, as well as the availability of up-to-date equipment and technology.

Associate of Science

Obtaining an associate degree in computer science gives the student a broad foundation in math, science and the humanities. Students who are proficient in the introductory computer skills might be able to place into more advanced classes.

Bachelor of Science

A bachelor's degree in CS prepares students to pursue graduate school or enter the workforce as software engineers, educators, analysts, database administrators and more. Students can tailor their degrees to the fields they wish to enter, including science, law, engineering, medicine and politics.

Master of Science

Master's degree programs in CS are offered in traditional on-campus settings or entirely online. Many programs offer students a choice between a research project or thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy

Jobs in the computer science field don't typically require a Ph.D., but students who want to go on to a career in research will need a doctorate. Depending on the program, students might need to obtain a master's degree before being admitted to a doctoral program, or they might be able to apply with only a bachelor's degree.

Students interested in studying computer science can find undergraduate and graduate degree programs at many public and private institutions across the country. Students should consider research opportunities, career goals and the program's reputation before settling on a school to attend.

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