Chicago Computer Science Universities with Program Summaries

With more than 35 schools offering programs, there's no shortage of computer science training in the Chicago area. To decide which one is right for you, read an overview of program and admission requirements at three universities located within 10 miles of downtown.

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Computer Science Schools in Chicago

Students in Chicago have many university options for undergraduate and graduate computer science degree programs. This article focuses on the required coursework at three schools, and it also includes a table of stats on each institution. Details on a few other schools offering relevant programs are provided as well.

  • The largest private school in Chicago is DePaul University, which is also the largest Catholic university in the U.S. DePaul offers computer science bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in downtown Chicago.
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is one of the few public universities in Chicago. UIC is located just west of downtown and its students have the opportunity to earn bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in the field.
  • Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood about nine miles from the city's center, the highly selective University of Chicago holds awards for excellence in teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. As with the other profiled institutions, the university offers computer science programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Computer and Information Support Services, Other
  • Information Science and Studies General
  • Information Technology
  • Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Comparison of Schools

There's a lot of difference in the tuition rates for students at the profiled universities - a factor you'll likely want to consider along with their academic programs. This table also has info on acceptance rates, enrollment numbers, graduation figures and other details that could impact your choice on where to apply.

DePaul University University of Illinois at Chicago University of Chicago
School Type University; private, not-for-profit University; public University; private, not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2014) 23,799* 27,969* 15,097*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016) $36,361* $13,664 in-state; $26,520 out-of-state* $51,351*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2014) 96%* 82%* 69%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) 70%* 74%* 9%*
Retention Rate (2014) 87%* 80%* 99%*
Graduation Rate (2014) 71%* 60%* 93%*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

DePaul University

The College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul offers undergraduate and graduate computer science majors and minors. This college offers several undergraduate courses and 11 master's degree programs entirely online.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

At DePaul, students pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science complete core liberal studies courses, including classes focused on exploring the city of Chicago, composition and rhetoric and multiculturalism in the U.S. The computer science major requires both core computer science courses and courses for a concentration in either standard computer science or software engineering. Computer science coursework includes introductory classes in computer science, applied computing, database systems, discrete mathematics and algorithm design. Concentration coursework consists of six classes covering topics in programming languages and web development or software engineering and user interface architecture.

Master of Science in Computer Science

Students in the master's program learn about the process of developing computer applications for careers in research and development in the computer science industry. Depending upon the student's background, introductory courses may be waived. Required foundation courses cover topics such as algorithms, distributed systems and object-oriented software development. Students select four electives from a single concentration area and the remaining four from across areas such as software and system development, theory, database systems or artificial intelligence. Students may choose a thesis, research or independent study course as an elective. To graduate, candidates must earn 52 credits.

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer and Information Sciences

Ph.D. candidates choose between a computer science and an information systems track upon admission. Students in the computer science track complete coursework and research projects and must pass two breadth exams and one depth exam in their area of research. Students in the information sciences track complete coursework, research and then take a comprehensive exam. Students must complete 60 hours of coursework beyond a master's degree and maintain a 3.5/4.0 or better GPA.

University of Illinois at Chicago

Admissions to the computer science program at UIC are highly competitive. The computer science department staff includes adjunct faculty from other departments such as bioengineering, mathematics and statistics, with over $7 million in research funding annually.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science at UIC offers three concentrations within the bachelor's option. This degree program includes courses in the humanities, social sciences and the arts to produce well-rounded students. All students take major coursework in computer organization, systems, algorithms and software design. Through five elective courses, students may specialize in computer systems, blending in hardware and computer engineering coursework; software engineering, focusing on programming and software engineering practice; or human-centered computing, emphasizing user-interface design, visual media and computer graphics. A total of 128 credit hours are required to earn a bachelor's in computer science at UIC.

Master of Science in Computer Science

Admission to this program requires an undergraduate degree in either computer science or computer engineering or extensive coursework in computer science and a related degree. To earn the master's, students must complete 36 semester hours of credit, and this can be done either with 28 hours of coursework and six thesis credits or with 32 hours of coursework credits and four hours of project work. Students must maintain a 3.0/4.0 GPA.

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

Students may be admitted directly after finishing a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science or a related field. Completing a doctoral degree at UIC involves completing 108 credit hours past a bachelor's degree. Doctoral candidates are required to pass a two-part written departmental qualifying exam, preliminary oral exam and produce and successfully defend dissertation.

University of Chicago

At the undergraduate level, the University of Chicago (U of C) offers a wide variety of courses that can be used to specialize in areas such as artificial intelligence or computer programming. The master's program can be completed less than a year. U of C offers many opportunities for computer applications research in areas like linguistics or biological research. U of C also offers seminars in computer science related topics that are open to the general public.

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Students in either program are required to complete sequences in mathematics and science, taking courses in calculus and either physics or chemistry. The core sequences for computer science begin with four classes covering introductory computer science, computer systems and foundations of software. From there, students advance to coursework in programming languages, algorithms, artificial intelligence, scientific computing and advanced topics and electives. BS candidates also take three classes in an approved related field.

Master of Science in Computer Science

Prior to beginning coursework for this master's program, students either pass proficiency exams or take classes in math for computer science and the concepts of programming. After this, students move on to take five core courses: two from the area of computer systems, networks and architectures, and one each in the areas of foundations of computer science, programming and databases. These classes may cover algorithms, Java programming and/or data warehousing. Students then take four elective courses, chosen from options such as advanced programming, mobile technologies or high-performance computing. Elective courses may also be taken from other colleges within the university.

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

The Ph.D. program at the U of C consists of three phases. Initially, students complete master's requirements, including taking an oral exam and writing a master's paper. Students may choose master's courses for the standard track or a for a computational mathematics track. After completing the master's degree requirements, students choose a research area and prepare for the oral candidacy exam and then begin researching and writing a dissertation. Ph.D. candidates must successfully defend their dissertation to earn the degree.

Other Schools

There are several other universities in Chicago that offer computer science degree programs. A few of them include Roosevelt University in downtown Chicago; Northeastern Illinois University, about 11 miles north of downtown; and Loyola University Chicago, which is about 10 miles north of downtown.

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