Earning a degree in computer science can open many doors because computing is linked to so many different fields and industries. Students who earn bachelor's degrees in computer science have a strong educational foundation for potential employment in many different disciplines, from robotics to artificial intelligence and computational learning to game design, computer animation or robotic art,. They can continue their education to the graduate level or pursue job opportunities in various fields depending on their interests and skills.
The rankings below represent the 10 best colleges for computer science degree programs from U.S. colleges and universities. There are more prestigious places to study -- Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Carnegie Mellon University, for instance -- but the institutions here were chosen based on a combination of affordability, ease of admission, and other key factors. Degree offerings range from associate to doctoral degrees in computer science. Program graduates should have the skills and mathematical intelligence needed for employment in a wide range of computer-related careers.
Keep reading to learn more about these 10 featured institutions, as well as helpful information on career paths, scholarships, and career outlooks for graduates of computer science degree programs.
Best Colleges for Computer Science Degree Programs 2018-19
Students interested in earning a degree in computer science can use the information in this list to gain more information on 10 of the best schools in the U.S. for on-campus and online degrees in computer science. We ranked each college using a unique methodology that blends various data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. Read on to learn more about these featured institutions, or click on the button below for additional information on how this list was created.
The top institution in our rankings is a public state university located on a 1,561-acre campus in city of Warrensburg. Annual enrollment tops 12,000 students between the flagship campus and an additional campus in the city of Lee's Summit. The university heads our list of 10 best colleges for computer science degree programs based on its strong graduation and admissions rates and its favorable 79 percent admissions rate. UCM also was the leader among these 10 schools for the high number of computer science degrees conferred to students.
Students interested in computer careers have many different on-campus Bachelor of Science in computer science degree plans available, including:
- Software design
- Software development
- Computer science
- Computer networking
- Game development
- Data science
Each pathway requires 120 credits to satisfy graduation requirements. University of Central Missouri also offers a 30-credit graduate program in computer science that can be completed with or without a thesis.
The No.2 institution in our rankings is a state college located in Maryville. The university was founded in 1905 as a college for teachers.
NMSU offers both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in computer science. The B.S. degree has two options: one prepares students for graduate school while the other culminates in a baccalaureate degree and does not require students to take calculus.
Undergraduate computer science students also can choose from concentrations in information assurance and security, data management or mobile computing. Students in each degree path have access to a state-of-the-art computer laboratory located in the Colden Hall Computing Complex. Students also are provided with a personal laptop computer. Graduate students can choose from Master of Science programs in applied computer science or information systems.
NMSU makes our rankings based on its favorable cost of in-state tuition and its 75 percent admissions rate.
This for-profit university in Lenexa, Kansas specializes in fully online degree programs. Grantham offers both associate and bachelor's degrees in computer science, as well as associate and bachelor's degrees in computer engineering.
All coursework for the A.S. or B.S. degree in computer science can be completed entirely online. The associate degree requires 64 credits to complete, while the bachelor's degree requires 122 credits. Students in the B.S. degree path must complete 66 core computer science credits, as well as 25 general education and 31 elective credits.
Grantham University had the fourth-lowest cost of in-state tuition among our top 10. It's also only one of two colleges featured here that has an open admissions policy, as well as the only completely online institution in these rankings.
University at Buffalo is part of the State University of New York System. UB has a north campus in suburban Amherst, its south campus located in Buffalo's University Heights neighborhood, and an additional campus in downtown Buffalo as well. The university had the highest graduation rate among our featured colleges at 74 percent, as well as a favorable 13:1 student to faculty ratio and 60 percent admissions rate.
UB offers both B.S. and B.A. degrees in computer science, as well as a five-year bachelor's to master's pathway that culminates in a B.S. in computer science and M.S. in computer science and engineering. Students in the undergraduate B.S. pathway can specialize in machine learning, data mining, distributed systems, databases, computer architecture and several other areas. All undergraduate students are paired with an academic advisor their first two years at UB.
This private university located at Rexburg is part of the BYU college system headquartered at Salt Lake City. The Idaho campus was founded in 1888 and is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
BYUI offers on-campus bachelor's degrees in computer science, computer engineering and software engineering. Online degree options at BYUI include an associate degrees in computer information systems and computer programming, and bachelor's degrees in computer information technology or software engineering. The university's B.S. in computer science program provides an educational foundation in algorithm development, object-oriented design and programming, data structures, and software engineering best practices. Program graduates are well positioned for employment in a variety of fields or to continue their educational journey in graduate school.
At $3,830, BYUI had the lowest cost of in-state tuition among our 10 featured schools for on-campus and online degrees for computer science.
Missouri S&T, as it's commonly called, is located in the city of Rolla about halfway between Springfield and St. Louis. The university has an annual enrollment of about 8,800 students.
Missouri University of Science and Technology's Bachelor of Science in computer science degree requires 128 credits to complete. Students must earn at least a "C" average in all required computer science courses, as well as complete 12 credits in humanities and nine in social sciences. The university's department of computer science also offers a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in computer science, as well nine graduate certificates ranging from big data management to computational intelligence.
Missouri S&T lands in the sixth spot in these rankings based on a favorable 65 percent graduation rate and 88 percent admissions rate. The university also had the third-highest number of students enrolled in distance education programs.
This public state university in Joplin makes our rankings of the 10 best colleges for on-campus and online computer science degrees based on its low cost of in-state tuition -- $5,523, third-best among our featured institutions. MSSU also had the second-best admissions rate (94 percent) of the eight colleges in these rankings without an open admissions policy.
The university's department of computer information science offers a broad range of undergraduate degrees that focus on different aspects of computer hardware and software. Degree paths include:
- Associate of Science in information systems
- B.S. in information technology
- B.S. in information systems
- B.S. in computational mathematics
The department also offers a minor in network systems administration. Bachelor's degree programs require 120 credits to complete, while the associate degree requires 60.
The eighth institution in our rankings is a small liberal arts college in Frederick, Md. It's located about 30 minutes from the flourishing Interstate 270 technology corridor.
Hood College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science. The B.S. degree in computer science requires 124 credits to complete, including 47 credits in computer science courses and 30 credits in advanced mathematical courses such as calculus, statistics and discrete math. The master's pathway is a 33-credit program, with 15 credits of study in algorithm analysis, software engineering, artificial intelligence and similar topics. The M.S. program requires either a six-credit theses, a six-credit field work project or a six-credit software engineering project.
As a private college, Hood had the highest cost of in-state tuition at $35,150. However, it had favorable graduation and admissions rates, as well as lowest student to faculty ratio at 11:1.
UW Bothell is one of three institutions in the University of Washington system. Just under 6,000 students enrolled at the campus for the 2017-2018 academic year.
The university's college of science, technology, engineering and mathematics offers a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and software engineering. Curriculum was designed with a focus on people-center software development processes and computer programming. The college also offers undergraduate degrees in computer engineering and applied computing. University of Washington at Bothell also offers a master's degree in computer science and software engineering. Core curriculum for the master's degree includes study in development, design, foundations and system programming, as well as a 10-credit thesis capstone project.
UW Bothell had the second-highest graduation rate among these 10 featured institutions at 70 percent.
Rounding out our top 10 is this public university with two campuses in Ogden, Utah and additional locations at Layton, Morgan, Roy, Clearfield and Farmington. The university makes our rankings based on its open admissions policy and low cost of in-state tuition -- $5,321, second-best among these featured schools.
Weber State offers an Associate of Science degree in computer science that requires 63 credits to complete. The Bachelor of Science in computer science pathway, meanwhile, requires 123 credits to satisfy degree requirements. Students in either program meet regularly with career counselors who prepare students to potentially secure employment with various technology companies located in Utah through mock interviews and help with resumes.
Computer Science Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
Earning a degree in computer science can lead to a wide range of career possibilities, from computer systems analyst to software application developer to computer systems or web developer. Degree requirement often vary from job to job, and also from different employers. Although a bachelor's degree is a common educational obtainment for many beginning computer-related careers, many students opt to earn master's degrees to increase their career options and earnings potential. Below is a snapshot of six common career paths for graduates of computer science degree programs.
Career Outlook for Computer Science Majors
Employment for all computer occupations is expected to increase by 13 percent through 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. However, employment for computer research scientists is expected to increase by 19 percent, or 5,400 new jobs, during that same time. Employment should be spurred in part by growth in data collection and data mining services to help businesses better understand large amounts of data. The growing emphasis on cybersecurity also is expected to be a leading driver of additional employment for students who graduate from on-campus or online computer science degree programs.
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
|Software Developers, Applications||$108,080||903,160||30.5%|
|Information Security Analysts||$102,470||108,060||28.4%|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||$123,850||30,070||19.2%|
|Software Developers, Systems Software||$114,000||405,330||10.8%|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$93,610||587,970||8.8%|
|Computer Science Teachers, Postsecondary||$96,200||32,430||8%|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Computer Science
Students pursuing computer science degrees can tap into federal financial aid programs to help pay for their tuition. They also can pursue scholarships and grants to help fund their education. A few of the many different scholarships for computer science degree programs include the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service and the Women Techmakers Scholars Program for women enrolled in computing technology programs. Another important scholarship opportunity is the IEEE Computer Society's Richard E. Merwin Student Scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in computer engineering or computer science. The Association for Computing Machinery also funds scholarships for students to attend various ACM scholarships.
To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.
- Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
- Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.
Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.
- In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
- Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
- Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
- Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
- Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
- Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
- Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
- Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2016-17, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- Computer Science, University of Central Missouri, https://www.ucmo.edu/majors/print/4yearplan.cfm?ftd=281&wi=Computerscience.cfm
- Computer Science, Northwest Missouri State University, https://www.nwmissouri.edu/academics/undergraduate/majors/computer-science.htm
- Computer Science Bachelor of Science, Grantham University, https://www.grantham.edu/online-degrees/computer-science-bachelors/?tab-curriculum
- Computer Science B.S., University at Buffalo, https://catalog.buffalo.edu/academicprograms/computer_science_bs.html
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Brigham Young University Idaho, http://www.byui.edu/computer-science-electrical-engineering/degrees-and-majors
- Computer Science, Missouri University of Science and Technology, http://catalog.mst.edu/undergraduate/degreeprogramsandcourses/computerscience/#bachelorstext
- Computer Information Science, Missouri Southern State University, https://www.mssu.edu/academics/business/computer-information-science/
- Computer Science Major, B.S., Hood College, http://hood.smartcatalogiq.com/2017-2018/Catalog/Undergraduate-Studies/Undergraduate-Majors/Computer-Science-Major-B-S
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Washington Bothell, https://www.uwb.edu/bscsse
- Computer Science, Weber State University, https://www.weber.edu/Majors/computer-science.html
- Computer and Information Research Scientists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm