Computer science programs at top schools offer tremendous breadth and depth – a wide range of course options with the ability to study at the professional level. And while cutting-edge tech attracts many students, the chance to earn top dollar upon graduation may be a higher priority, especially with tuition and fees on the rise. But which computer science programs have a track record of producing high-earning graduates? Check out our list below to see which programs truly stand out.
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Granting about 7,500 undergraduate degrees each year, the University of California at Berkeley is an institution of academic excellence whose influence can be seen in the local Bay Area and beyond. It was founded in 1868 by leaders of the new state of California as the gold rush was picking up speed. Students in the Computer Science undergraduate program are primed for success through personalized advising and tutoring services. Faculty research areas range from machine translation by artificial intelligence to the applications of cryptography.
Stanford University is a household name and one of the top research and educational institutions in the world. Since 1965, the Department of Computer Science at Stanford has provided comprehensive programming and research skills to its undergraduate students as well as establishing corporate enterprises that exhibit excellence in creative work and service. Students have access to internship and full-time work opportunities on the department’s Computer Forum, a corporate affiliate recruiting program.
The University of Pennsylvania is a highly competitive school with a 12% acceptance rate from approximately 31,000 applicants. The university accepts hundreds of students from other countries each year and supports study abroad programs in dozens of countries. Computer science undergraduate majors take a total of 40 credits in courses on programming languages, computer networks used in everyday human life, and technology policy. Students majoring in another discipline can choose computer science as a second major by taking 12 CS courses.
The Undergraduate College at Dartmouth has more than 40 departments and programs to choose from. About half of accepted undergraduate students receive financial aid scholarships from the college. The computer science department receives millions of dollars in grants for cutting-edge research, with some projects completed alongside students. The John G. Kemeny Computing Prize is awarded to outstanding undergraduate CS students who have produced research that exhibits the height of innovation.
At the University of California – Santa Cruz, its relative youth hasn’t held it back from greatness – the university has been ranked 11th in the world for best universities less than 50 years old. Computer science students at UCSC can choose from a Bachelor of Science degree, which concentrates intensely on the science including physics and mathematics, or a Bachelor of Arts degree, which leaves more room for courses outside of the sciences. A Computer Game Design degree builds on a core of computer science to teach students how to create innovative computer games.
Those who strive to improve the state of the world and take part in an eclectic community will find what they’re looking for at the University of San Francisco. Taking steps to further their career prospects, about 30% of USF students are the first in their family to attend college. Students in the USF computer science degree first complete the required introductory computer courses, which cover beginning computer science systems and history, software development, and basic programming. They then go on to upper division courses in applications, theory, languages, and advanced systems.
Professors at the University of California – Santa Barbara include five Nobel Laureates and dozens who are members of exclusive national academies in their field. Data collected from recent student surveys reflects that the majority of students are highly satisfied with the experience at UCSB. Many students in the undergraduate computer science major elect to double major in a complementary discipline. Study abroad programs at UCSB can expose students to the global IT industry and expand their ideas about the big picture of computing.
About 4,500 undergraduates are enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, split almost evenly between women and men. The five academic schools with many departments work together to provide students an interdisciplinary and comprehensive education. The computer science major is part of the largest undergraduate program at MIT, which also encompasses electrical engineering. The average starting salary of its graduates is more than $90,000.
In a recent issue of Sierra magazine, the University of California – Davis was ranked first among the greenest universities by the Sierra Club. UC Davis is also a top producer of Fulbright scholars and its students are some of the happiest in the U.S. Challenging classes, research programs, and community outreach in the Department of Computer Science at UC Davis cultivate students who will be lifelong learners and reach farther in their career pursuits. Two tracks – Computer Science and Engineering, or Computer Science alone – are offered through the department, which currently supports about 500 students.
Stony Brook University students choose from 67 undergraduate majors and 80 minors within 13 colleges and schools. More than 1,840 inventions and 500 patents have been developed at Stony Brook. The computer science undergraduate program aims to develop students’ skills and knowledge in the field so that they can become well-established professional leaders. The Distinguished Lecturer Series organized by the Department of Computer Science brings in cutting-edge research scientists to discuss their work and expose students to new ideas.
Diversity and inclusion are paramount in the culture at California Polytechnic State University, and students are directly exposed to diverse people and ideas to challenge their preconceptions. In the computer science and software engineering programs at CalPoly, the faculty believe students learn best by doing, and as such, students can work independently, in teams, or with faculty or industry leaders to gain that experience. Graduates from the program are recruited from top companies like IBM, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Yahoo, to name a few.
More than 95,000 students have received degrees from the acclaimed programs at Carnegie Mellon University. The Wall Street Journal has noted CMU as a go-to school for recruiters in the areas of computer science, finance, business, and other fields. Encompassing the breadth of the computer science knowledge base, the CS department at CMU places emphasis on computational thinking and problem solving with machines. The undergraduate major is accommodating to any type of student, whether they are new to coding or have extensive programming experience from high school.
One of the top-ranked public research institutions in the nation, the University of California – San Diego has facilities diverse and rich enough to accommodate all of its nearly 30,000 students. The school gets the second highest number of applications in the University of California system. Students in the computer science degree program are encouraged to seek out internships and other work experience early in their college experience. A special two-credit course for incoming freshmen introduces them to the program, including its objectives, faculty advisors, and curriculum.
The University of California – Irvine is a member of the Association of American Universities, which with only 62 members is one of the most prestigious organizations of academic institutions. It recently made the “100 Under 50” list of young universities on track to becoming world-renowned for scholarly excellence. UCI has offered computer science degrees since 1968, eventually turning its CS department into the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, in 2002.
One of the points of pride that Rutgers University holds is that it is the only university in the U.S. that is all of three things: a colonial college, a land-grant institution, and a public university. More than 45,000 undergraduate students from all over the country and the world are enrolled at Rutgers in one of 33 schools and colleges. Admission to the computer science major at Rutgers requires an acceptable grade (C or above ) in the five prerequisite courses, which include calculus and introductory CS classes.
The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has been nationally recognized for having a creative learning environment, a high return on investment, and effective career services. Its focus on the sciences makes it a top choice for students who are passionate about cutting-edge research in fields ranging from software engineering to biochemistry. Students are prepared to think critically and comprehensively in the computer science major at Rose-Hulman with the knowledge that the discipline is always adopting new ideas and programming languages.
Alumni of the University of Maryland at College Park include leaders in astrophysics, agriculture, musical performance, and entrepreneurship. Campus facilities available to students include an environmentally friendly dining hall, a fully stocked library and state-of-the-art computing labs. In the undergraduate program offered by the Department of Computer Science at UMD, 14 percent out of more than 1,200 students are women. Recognized for its versatility and scholarly activity in the computing disciplines, the program is placed at 16th in the world by Academic World Rankings.
With a rich history of science and engineering leadership, Worcester Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1865 to foster a positive impact on humanity through the sciences. Balancing the diverse areas of computer science and the reach of its influence, the CS curriculum at WPI encompasses the arts and humanities as well as the sciences. Areas of specialization such as human-computer interaction, data mining, and computer security and privacy shape students who are academically and experientially prepared for their niche in the field.
Virginia Tech has the most degree programs of any other academic institution in the state of Virginia. Excellence in problem solving, applying computing skills and tools, and designing computing systems are expected of students who graduate from the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. While not required, the option to elect a specialized track is available to students in one of five areas: Human-Computer Interaction; Knowledge, Information, and Data; Media/Creative Computing; Scientific Computing; or Systems and Networking.
Discovery of new ideas, methods, and solutions is a key value upheld by the faculty and administration at the University of Washington. Since 1975, the UW has been in the top five public and private universities receiving the most federal money for grant-funded research and programs. Around 600 undergraduate students major in computer science at the UW, where they have access to research opportunities and internships as well as career fairs and connections to high-tech companies.