The Best Colleges for
Computer Science in 2021

In this digital age, getting a computer science degree opens the door to limitless career opportunities. If you want to dive into a career in tech, you should start by going through a list of the best colleges for computer science in 2021.

A bachelor’s degree in computer science takes three to four years to complete but can be worth it when you launch your tech career. This is your guide to choosing the right college for your BSc, BA, MS, and PhD. Read below for the best computer science colleges in the United States.

Top 20 Computer Science Schools in 2021 at a Glance

You need to consider several factors when choosing a college for computer science. If you want to get into a great computer science school, you should make sure you have a good high school transcript. If you don’t have a high school diploma, consider getting a high school equivalency certificate before applying.

Below is a table with the top 20 computer science colleges in the United States. Note that all tuition fees are subject to change.

School and Degrees State Tuition Notes
Brown University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(RI) $60,944 All students
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(CA) $56,862 All Students
Carnegie Mellon University
Bachelor of Science in Information Systems
Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(PA) $50,976
$50,320
$45,700
All Students
Columbia University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
Master of Arts in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(NY) $58,920
$51,194
All students
Cornell University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Bachelor of Science in Art
Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(NY) $56,550
$58,586
$29,500
All Students
Duke University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(NC) $57,934
$58,176
$67,329
All Students
Georgia Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(GA) $31,572/$52,684
$18,970
In-state and out-of-state
Harvard University
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
Master of Computational Science and Engineering
PhD in Computer Science
(MA) $72,357
$49,448
$51,904
All students
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering
Master of Engineering in Computation and Cognition
MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing
(MA) $53,450
$26,725
$55,510
All students
Northwestern University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(IL) $56,232
$56,907
All students
Princeton University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
Master of Science in Engineering
PhD in Computer Science
(NJ) $53,890 All students
Rice University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
Professional Master of Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(TX) $49,112
$50,310
All students
Stanford University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(CA) $52,857
$57,861$/37,620
All students
University of California – Berkeley
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(CA) $39,550/$69,304
$17,486/$32,588
In-state and out-of-state
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Bachelor of Science in Engineering
Master of Science in Computer Science
Professional Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(IL) $38,176/$55,966/$61,314
$14,292/$25,192
In-state, out-of-state, and international
University of Michigan
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering
Bachelor of Science in Engineering
Master of Science and Master of Science and Engineering,
Computer Science and Engineering
PhD in Computer Science and Engineering
(MI) $31,484/$66,698
$54,982.38/$74,724.38
In-state and out-of-state
University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Engineering
Master of Computer and Information Technology
PhD in Computer and Information Science
(PA) $60,042
$24,352
$37,678
All students
University of Texas at Austin
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Bachelor of Science and Arts in Computer Science
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(TX) $27,728
$55,230
In-state and out of state
University of Washington
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
CSE Professional Master’s Program
PhD in Computer Science
(WA) $11,487/38,166
$17,394/$30,294
In-state and out-of-state
Yale University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science
(CT) $59,950
$44,500
All students

Online vs In-Person Computer Science Degrees

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An online computer science degree can be just as effective as an in-person degree. Your employers are more concerned with the quality of education than the learning environment. The key differences between online and computer science degrees are location and duration.

During COVID-19, however, almost every major university has adopted remote learning systems. The online versions of some schools don’t have as many courses as in-person classes. With the increasing popularity of remote learning, this is bound to change soon.

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Choosing the Best School for You

You should consider a few different factors when choosing a college for computer science: programs, cost, and student success rate. Read below to find out more and how you can decide what’s important to you.

Programs

The best school for you should have an advanced, top-quality computer science program. Computer science is an ever-evolving field, so the curriculum needs to include updated technologies. Your school shouldn’t just have a bachelor’s degree, it should have a master’s degree program and a PhD option.

Cost

Different universities have different costs, even if the program is similar. You could be paying extra for prestige or the location. You can decide which factors matter the most to you. You can always get financial aid, but the more you spend on tuition, the longer it would take to clear the debt.

Student Success Rate

What is the reputation of the school? How long does it take for graduates to find jobs? What kind of jobs do they get? What is the average starting salary for graduates? These are some questions you should answer before you turn in an application. Most schools have this information available online.

Best Computer Science Schools in 2021

Best Computer Science Schools in 2021

If you want to study computer science in the United States, take a look at the 20 schools listed below. They each offer exceptional computer science programs for undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students.

Brown University

Brown University is one of the best schools in the country, with a perfect combination of research and education. If you enroll in the doctoral program, you can get a master’s automatically upon completion. Undergraduate students in the computer science program can fast-track a master’s degree by staying for five years instead of four.

Brown University Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

California Institute of Technology

Located in the heart of California, this is another excellent option for both undergraduate and graduate students. It is one of the strongest competitors of MIT, and it offers a similar computer science program structure. While the acceptance rate is six percent, 98 percent of all enrolled students graduate successfully.

Caltech Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

Carnegie Mellon University

The four-year program at Carnegie Mellon can prepare you for a career in different branches of technology. It is one of the few schools that allow you to enroll in a master’s program without completing an undergraduate program first. It is also known to offer the best graduate program for computer science in the United States.

Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

Columbia University

The computer science program at Columbia University focuses on a theoretical approach. You can find advanced courses on computational complexity, artificial intelligence, and more. The curriculum is integrated so you can explore different career paths. Columbia offers all levels of study, so you can apply even if you get your undergraduate degree elsewhere.

Columbia University Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

Cornell University

The computer science programs at Cornell University are designed for learners at all levels. You can learn modern technologies like machine learning. You can also opt for a specialization in computational biology. The PhD in Computer Science is the highest degree available to help you reach your professional peak.

Cornell University Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

Duke University

Duke has a versatile program for undergraduate and graduate computer science degrees. Each program has an extensive curriculum. The school also offers a summer program and a research program for undergraduate studies, which sets it apart from other schools. You can also become a Computer Science Undergraduate Research Fellow.

Duke University Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

Georgia Institute of Technology

Like other institutes of technology, Georgia Tech has an excellent computer science program. This school has a unit dedicated to computing, which offers more specialized degrees across all levels. It’s been one of the best computing institutes since 1990. If you want to study in Georgia, this is a great option.

Georgia Institute of Technology Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

Harvard University

Harvard offers more than just law and business programs. The Harvard School of Computer Science can teach you everything you need to know about the field. You can learn artificial intelligence, computational neuroscience, computational and data science, and more. Harvard also has online programs in computer science for those who prefer remote learning.

Harvard Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computational Science and Engineering
  • PhD in Computer Science

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology can cover everything you need to know to become a software engineer, data structure analyst, and more. MIT promotes a hands-on, project-based approach to learning computer science. The MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing offers cutting-edge computer science training.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Computer Science Program

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering
  • Master of Engineering in Computation and Cognition
  • MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing

Northwestern University

Northwestern University is an amazing research institute. Its computer science department includes a cutting-edge curriculum in computation. You can opt for a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree, which takes about five years. Undergraduates who contribute to research can also get mentioned in publications.

Northwestern University Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

Princeton University

Princeton University has a significantly high volume of annual research reported across every discipline. It is also known for its fluid approach to tuition financing. There are undergraduate and graduate programs available for computer science at Princeton University, and you can also get a PhD afterward.

Princeton University Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Engineering
  • PhD in Computer Science

Rice University

Rice University students can choose between a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts degree in computer science. You will need a strong STEM background for both programs. If you have an artistic or business flair, you can go for the BA in computer science. It also offers graduate degrees.

Rice University Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Professional Master of Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

Stanford University

Stanford has one of the oldest computer science programs in the industry, and it has been standing strong since 1965. The extensive program offers computer science training as a minor, major, or as part of other major programs. If you major, you can complete the BSc in four years, after which you can apply for a master’s.

Stanford Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

University of California - Berkeley

This school has a unique computer science degree that goes beyond programming languages and emphasizes the limitless application of computer science. You can either get admitted through Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences or the College of Letters & Science. You can start with either a BSc or a BA and move onto graduate programs.

University of California Berkeley Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

UIUC has a computer science program that ranks in the top five in the United States. The department has an extensive research facility that has contributed to groundbreaking progress in tech. However, it is not easy to get into the undergraduate, graduate program, or postgraduate programs. This school has an acceptance rate of just five percent.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Professional Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

University of Michigan

The computer science and engineering department at the University of Michigan offers degrees at every level. You can choose from a variety of programs within the department. Companies hire talent directly from this school, so if you are a career-oriented student, the University of Michigan is a great option for you.

University of Michigan Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering
  • Master of Science and Master of Science and Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering
  • PhD, Computer Science, and Engineering

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is one of the oldest schools in the country. The computer science department is located in Philadelphia and is commonly called UPenn CIS. It has been listed as one of the best schools in the United States for computer science and in the world.

University of Pennsylvania Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering
  • Master of Computer and Information Technology
  • PhD in Computer and Information Science

University of Texas at Austin

The computer science program at the University of Texas Austin encourages students to get involved in research at all levels. It also has a great recruitment program that lets you build your network while you’re still in school, so you can get employed quickly. If you want to go to school in Texas, UT Austin is a great choice for computer science.

University of Texas at Austin Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science and Arts in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

University of Washington

Located in the capital, the University of Washington has an excellent computer science program. The Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering offers one of the best doctorate programs in the country. If you have exceptional skills, you can apply for fully funded scholarships and research grants.

University of Washington Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • CSE Professional Master’s Program (PMP)
  • Ph.D in Computer Science

Yale University

Yale may not have been on the radar for the best computer science programs until recently, but it is now one of the best in the world. Within each faculty, students have an incredibly broad range of specialization. For example, you can opt for a degree in Computer Science and Economics. This is helpful because you can learn more skills than just one.

Yale University Computer Science Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Economics
  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • PhD in Computer Science

What Can You Do With a
Computer Science Degree?

You can dive into the tech industry with a computer science degree, but it can also help you take different paths. Non-tech businesses, governments, and even non-profit organizations now depend on computer science for daily operations. With a computer science degree, you can get a job in any industry.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn With a Degree in Computer Science?

A computer science salary depends on your specialization, location, experience, and company. However, computer science workers are among the highest-paid experts across most industries. Those with a bachelor’s degree don’t earn as much as those with an MSc or PhD, but there is always room for development.

81000
Min salary
122247
Average salary
154000
Top salary

Top Computer Science Degree Careers

Profession Minimum Education Average Salary
Network Architect Bachelor’s degree $122,247
Machine Learning Engineer Bachelor’s degree $112,819
Computer Scientist Bachelor’s degree $106,472
Product Manager Bachelor’s degree $101,391
Data Scientist Bachelor’s degree $94,280
Software Engineer Bachelor’s degree $86,978
Business Analyst Bachelor’s degree $78,227
Web Developer Bachelor’s degree $75,840
Information Technology Scientist Bachelor’s degree $57,850
Software Tester Bachelor’s degree $56,927

Does It Matter What College I Go to for Computer Science?

Yes, it does matter which college you go to. Employers are now more fluid about education qualifications, but that doesn’t mean you should choose an insufficient school. The more prestigious and exclusive the school, the more likely your resume is to get attention.

Should You Pursue a Degree in Computer Science?

Yes, you should pursue a degree in computer science. Getting a degree in computer science allows you to learn the skills you need for your career in tech. Even people from other fields should learn a thing or two about computer science. If you want to pursue a career in computer science, you should choose the best college for you.

Find a training program that will help you start your tech career journey.

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