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Top Ten Universities for Computer Science 2013

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Computer science is definitely a hot subject – and QS’s computer science ranking is one of the most-viewed in the QS World University Rankings by Subject. Discover this year’s top universities for computer science, and find out what’s changed since last year...

This year’s edition of the computer sciences ranking is in fact relatively stable, with just one new university entering the top 10 – and one pushed out. A total of 35 countries feature in the top 200, with the US (surprise, surprise) leading the way: 40 US universities make the top 200, 18 from the UK, 15 Australian, 13 German, and eight each from Canada, China and Japan. 

But which are this year’s very best computer science schools? Here’s a look at the top ten...

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

No surprises here! The world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which became the first tech-focused institute to top the overall QS World University Rankings last year, is extremely well known in this field. Indeed, reputation is a key factor – MIT’s strongest score is for academic reputation, based on QS’s global survey of academics.

2. Stanford University (US)

Over on the other side of the US in sunny California, Stanford remains MIT’s closest rival in the computer sciences field. Stanford is beaten by MIT on the indicators for academic and employer reputation, but actually has a slightly higher score for research penetration.

3. University of Oxford (UK)

Climbing to 3rd place from 6th last year, Oxford scores well across all three indicators, but especially for employer reputation. However, the overall highest score on this indicator actually goes to the university’s longstanding rival, Cambridge.

4. Carnegie Mellon University (US)

Moving down one place this year, Carnegie Mellon retains an extremely strong reputation for computer sciences – only MIT has a higher rating in the academic survey. In addition, the university seems pretty good at preparing students for future careers; Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Sciences topped a list of US colleges with the highest-earning graduates compiled by NerdWallet earlier this year.

5. University of Cambridge (UK)

Back in the UK, Cambridge is following Oxford up the computer science ranking, albeit slightly more slowly, climbing from 7th place last year. It has the strongest reputation in the eyes of graduate employers, coming out top in the global employer survey, but remains outranked by rival Oxford due to slightly lower scores in the academic survey and the research citations indicator.

6. Harvard University (US)

Moving down one place this year, Harvard similarly gets its strongest score in the indicator for employer reputation. In fact, if the computer science ranking was based solely on the opinions of graduate employers, Harvard would be third, behind Cambridge and Oxford.

7. University of California, Berkeley (US)

Also falling slightly, from fourth position last year, UC Berkeley is the final US representative in this 50% US-based top ten. Its strongest score is for research penetration; within the top 10, only Stanford has a higher score on this indicator. Princeton (pushed down to 11th overall this year) also ranks higher on this measure, but the highest overall score for research citations goes to Ireland’s University College Dublin.

8. National University of Singapore (Singapore)

Moving up one place this year, Singapore’s flagship university NUS is joined in the computer sciences ranking by Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University – both of which have also climbed this year, to 22nd and 101-150 respectively.

9. ETH Zurich (Switzerland)

One place down compared to last year, Switzerland’s ETH Zurich is again well known across the technology subjects. It’s joined in the computer sciences ranking by fellow Swiss universities Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (which stays stable at 17th) and the University of Zurich (which remains in the 101-150 band).

10. University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)

Finally, the most impressive upwards movement at the top of the 2013 computer sciences ranking comes from the University of Hong Kong, which jumps into the top 10 from 21=. Four other Hong Kong universities make the top 200, with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) climbing one place to 12th, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) making impressive progress from 41= to 19th.

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Written by Laura Bridgestock
The editor of, Laura oversees the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edits the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributes to market research reports including How Do Students Use Rankings?

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