The Best
Computer Science Undergraduate Programs of 2021

If you clicked on this article, chances are you’ve decided to pursue a career in computer science. If so, then the next step forward is to find the best bachelor’s degrees in computer science and pick one that matches your learning needs, availability, and resources.

You can generally choose between one of two tracks when pursuing a computer science degree: a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science or a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. While the degrees are awarded by different college departments, both cover the fundamentals of computer science.

Top 20 Computer Science Bachelor’s Degrees of 2021 at a Glance

With the right Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, you can get the skills you’ll need to unlock lucrative opportunities in the tech industry. Schools that provide these degrees also have career-preparedness classes that prepare students for the job hunt.

The information in the table below was taken from the official websites of the respective schools.

School and Degree State Tuition Notes
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(CA) $56,862 All students
Carnegie Mellon University
Bachelor of Science in Information Systems
(PA) $50,976 All students
Columbia University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(NY) $58,920 All students
Cornell University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(NY) $56,550 All students
Duke University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(NC) $57,934 All students
Harvard University
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
(MA) $72,357 All students
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and
Engineering
(MA) $53,450 All students
Stanford University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(CA) $52,857 All students
University of Michigan
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and
Engineering
(MI) $31,484/$66,698 In-state and out-of-state
University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Science
(PA) $60,042 All students
University of Texas at Austin
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(TX) $27,728/
$55,230
In-state and out-of-state
University of California – Berkeley
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and
Computer Science
(CA) $39,550/$69,304 In-state and out-of-state
University of Washington
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(WA) $11,487/38,166 In-state and out-of-state
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Bachelor of Science in Engineering
(IL) $38,176/$55,966 In-state and out-of-state
University of Florida
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
(FL) $11,850/$28,659 In-state and out-of-state
University of Southern Florida
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(FL) $6,410/
$17,324
In-state and out-of-state
University of Southern California
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(CA) $58,195 All students
University of Massachusetts
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(MA) $16,389/ $35,710 In-state and out-of-state
University of Pittsburgh
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(PA) $19,718/$33,746 In-state and out-of-state
University of Georgia
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
(GA) $12,080/ $31,120 In-state and out-of-state

What Are the Requirements for a Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree?

Before you can get admitted into a computer science degree program in any school, you’ll need a high school diploma. High grades in mathematics, algebra, chemistry, and physics should also help get you into the best programs in the country.

A formal computer science education is not expected among incoming computer science undergrads. That said, we highly recommend that you equip yourself with basic computer science skills to excel in your chosen program. A surefire way to do so is by learning to code. Check out our list of the easiest programming languages to learn to get you started.

Choosing the Right Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree Program

Not all computer science bachelor’s degree programs are created equal. Even when a school has a solid program, there are other factors you ought to consider like the university’s acceptance and completion rate, cost of attendance, and job placement rate.

Acceptance Rate

While the acceptance rate is not tied with the quality of education that a university provides, it does give you an insight into your chances of getting into the school. In the United States, Ivy League schools are the most sought-after yet also the most exclusive universities. These universities have acceptance rates ranging from three to eight percent.

If you’re not too hung up on getting into an Ivy League school, there are still tons of universities that offer quality computer science programs and higher admission rates. Not to mention, they’re also more affordable.

Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance in a university is the estimated amount of investment that goes into attending the school within a full academic year. This includes tuition, books, accommodation, food, transportation, and other fees attached to attending the school.

For obvious reasons, this is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a computer science degree program. You should also check the financing options that your prospective school offers like student loans and scholarships.

Job Placement Rate

The job placement rate refers to the percentage of graduates who secure employment after leaving school. This is a crucial yet often overlooked factor when choosing a university and corresponding program.

The best universities have job placement rates within the 70 to 80 percent range. They also provide career coaching services to help students prepare for the job market.

Best Computer Science Bachelor’s Degrees in 2021

Best Computer Science Bachelor’s Degrees in 2021

The universities with the best computer science degree programs have up-to-date curriculums that include the use of cutting-edge and in-demand tools and technologies. Below are some of these programs.

Note that the universities published on this site were chosen for the quality of computer science education they provide, regardless of acceptance rates and cost of attendance.

California Institute of Technology | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Caltech is one of the best destinations for computer science and engineering education. The private research institute has been around since 1891. The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program is just one of the many tech programs you can take at Caltech.

Expect to learn advanced computer science concepts, programming languages, data structures, algorithms, tractability, and more. By the end of the four-year program, you will be able to apply computational thinking in solving real-world problems.

Carnegie Mellon University | Bachelor of Science in Information Systems

Carnegie Mellon University is a research school located in Pittsburgh. Its information systems program is a joint offering between Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The collaboration between the two academic units gives this degree program a holistic touch. Aside from the expected computer science and information technology concepts, the program also includes elements of social science and humanities.

This combination equips students with a deeper understanding of how computer science can be used to solve or improve real-world situations.

Columbia University | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Columbia University is an Ivy League research institute located in New York. Since its creation in 1754, it has maintained a reputation as one of the world’s best schools. The computer science program at Columbia University offers a curriculum that goes beyond theoretical computer science concepts.

To produce a pool of versatile computer scientists, Columbia University’s CS program also touches on more advanced fields. This includes artificial intelligence, algorithm analysis, evaluation of mathematical models, and natural language processing, to name a few.

Cornell University | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Cornell University is another Ivy League school in New York. Its CS program is offered by the university’s Computing and Information Systems Department and is in the same standard as Caltech’s program.

To complete the program, you’ll have to go through a series of theoretical and applied computer science courses. That includes two programming fundamentals courses, five immersive courses, three electives, and a computer science practicum or capstone project.

Duke University | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Duke is another renowned university that has one of the best computer science and engineering programs in the United States. Its curriculum covers data structures and algorithms, computer architecture, design and analysis of algorithms, mathematics, and statistics.

You can also declare a concentration for your degree. You can choose from either of the three pathways: software systems, data science, and AI and machine learning.

Harvard University | Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a list of schools with the best computer science programs in the United States that doesn’t mention Harvard University. The Ivy League university has a state-of-the-art faculty for computer science.

You will learn the core principles of computing and how to design systems that can be used across industries. This will give you more legroom when choosing which company or industry to work for.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering

MIT is a globally recognized technology institute for prospective engineers and STEM professionals. Its computer science bachelor’s degree program is extensive and covers robotics, artificial intelligence, cryptography, financial analysis, games, and computational biology. The program runs for four years.

Stanford University | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Stanford University is another reliable private research institute in the United States. Its four-year computer science program covers computer architecture, systems programming, complexity theory, web development, algorithms, automata, and a host of other subjects.

Because of the range of computer science subjects you’re expected to master, you’ll be able to come out of the program ready for multiple opportunities.

University of Michigan | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering

The University of Michigan was founded in 1817. Its Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers different programs, but you can get a job in tech right after completing the computer science bachelor’s degree program. This program prepares you for a job in software engineering, data science, computer architecture, and cyber security.

University of Pennsylvania | Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Science

Aside from being one of the oldest colleges in the United States, the University of Pennsylvania also prides itself on having one of the best computer science programs. The curriculum is highly specialized and integrates technology and liberal arts, a mix that’s rarely seen in tech-related degree programs.

University of Texas at Austin | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

This university’s computer science degree program offers six different learning pathways, all of which will lead up to a degree from the university. Additional coursework will vary by the track that you choose. Perhaps the most significant track is the integrated program which paves the way for further computer science studies.

University of California - Berkeley | Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

The University of California – Berkeley is one of the most prestigious schools in the United States for good reason. Its computer science program has one of the most rigorous curriculums in the country, combining the fundamentals of computer science with electrical engineering.

This allows graduates to choose from a wider pool of jobs whether in electrical engineering or IT. The university also gives students the option to do a five-year Bachelor/Master Program, through which students can earn two degrees at an accelerated pace.

University of Washington | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

The University of Washington is a public research university in Seattle. It offers a computer science program that merges computer science with liberal arts components. If you’re looking for a more technical program, consider taking the computer engineering program. This dwells more on the math and science of things as well as computing hardware.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | Bachelor of Science in Engineering

This is one of the best public schools in Illinois and an amazing option for pursuing computer science and computer engineering. The undergraduate and graduate schools for CS follow top-class curriculums, covering modern technologies like machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

University of Florida | Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering

The University of Florida has been in existence since 1853 with an academic crew that’s made up of globally renowned experts in technology. Classes for computer science are part of the computer science and engineering department.

It is made up of high level technical courses and non-technical courses that emphasize computer science, communication, and business skills.

University of Southern Florida | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

The University of Southern Florida has campuses in different parts of the state. It is a public research institute and one of the foremost members of the university system in Florida. Its Computer Science and Engineering Department offers programs in computer science, cyber security, computer engineering, and information technology.

A quick look at the computer science curriculum shows immersion in mathematics, physics, and programming concepts. The last one includes discussions on computer logic design, computer architecture, analysis of algorithms, and discrete structures.

University of Southern California | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

The University of Southern California is a private research institute and one of the best in California. Since it is located in rising tech hub Los Angeles, plenty of opportunities await those who graduate from the university.

To earn a computer science degree, students must complete at least 128 units. The main bulk of the program focuses on computer science concepts with an introduction to electrical engineering. Students get to choose between two capstone projects: building large software systems and creating a high-tech startup.

University of Massachusetts | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Located in Amherst, the University of Massachusetts began as an agricultural institute in 1863. Since then, it has evolved into a multi-disciplinary school that offers programs in fields like computer science.

While its computer science program focuses on software development, it nevertheless equips students with the skills they’ll need to explore other areas in tech. By the end of the program, you’ll know how to code in at least one in-demand programming language, write and test programs, navigate different computer architectures, and work in teams.

University of Pittsburgh | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

The University of Pittsburgh’s computer science degree program is only one of four major tech undergraduate programs offered by its School of Computing and Information. Like other CS programs, this program promises to equip students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills essential in computing.

What sets it apart, however, is the rigor that it places on the latter. For their capstone project, students may choose among four options. These require the completion of an academic internship, a directed research project, a designated capstone course, or at least two rotations of an engineering co-op program.

University of Georgia School | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

This university has been around since 1785 and is one of the oldest public schools in the United States. The Computer Science Department offers research-oriented CS programs for both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Its undergraduate program walks you through computer architecture and computer science best practices. It also allows students to choose between a software engineering course and a database management course.

What Can You Do With a Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree?

With a bachelor’s degree in computer science, you can work in a wide range of tech fields. You’ll get the chance to work as a software engineer, data scientist, web developer, cyber security expert, network architect, IT scientist, or web developer.

Because tech has also permeated most industries, plenty of opportunities await computer science graduates. As long as the job entails the expert use and even development of software, you’ll be good to go.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn With a Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree?

Expect to earn more or less than $126,830 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. That’s according to the median pay of computer and information research scientists in 2020 as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Top-earning computer scientists can be found in software publishing and computer systems design.

72210
Min salary
126830
Average salary
194430
Top salary

Top Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree Careers

Profession Approximate Average Salary
Computer Scientist $126,830
Network Architect $116,780
Machine Learning Engineer $112,595
Product Manager $97,865
Data Scientist $96,491
Software Engineer $87,102
Web Developer $77,200
Business Analyst $69,376
Information Technology Scientist $57,820
Software Tester $56,927

Is It Better to Get a BA or BS in Computer Science?

A Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is just as great as a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science. Neither is better than the other, and the one you choose should depend on your passion.

If you have more interest in the technical aspect of computer science, a BS would do. If you want to add humanities and social sciences courses to your learning, a BA would be perfect for you.

Is a Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree Worth It in 2021?

Yes, a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science is worth it. In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that occupations related to computer science and information technology would increase by 15 percent between 2019 and 2029. This is equivalent to the addition of 5,000 jobs.

A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science will pave the way for you to get more advanced degrees like a Master’s Degree in Computer Science and a Ph.D. Because of the relevance of tech in today’s economy, computer science degree holders can expect lots of opportunities in the job market.

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