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Top Computer Science Schools in 2014

Top Computer Science Schools in 2014 main image

To view the latest version of this article based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016, click here, or, read on for last year's results.

It’s fair to say that computer science is one of the most popular subject areas across the world today. In fact, of the 30 disciplines covered by the QS World University Rankings by Subject, the computer science table is by far the most viewed.

The US predictably has a strong representation – as do countries such as the UK, Australia and Germany, which tend to rank well across all subject areas. But this is also a field in which many Asian countries are especially strong – China and Japan each have eight representatives within the top 200; India, South Korea and Taiwan six each; and Hong Kong and Malaysia another five each – while Singapore’s three entries include one within the top 10. Overall, some 39 countries have at least one university ranked within the top 200 for computer science.

Top universities for computer science in the US

The three very top computer schools in the world, according to the recently released ranking, are all based in the US. The ranking is headed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – little surprise, given the university’s now well-established leadership in the fields of engineering and technology. Second and third positions are taken by Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University, with two more US universities making the top 10; Harvard at 5th and University of California, Berkeley in 6th.

In total, 37 US universities are ranked among the world’s 200 top universities for computer science. As the famous names listed above would suggest, most of these institutions are well known across a wide range of subjects. However, US universities that rank especially well in the computer science field include Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), currently ranked 31st in the world for computer science and 99= in the 2013/14 QS World University Rankings®; and the University of Texas at Austin, which is 32nd for computer science and 71= overall.

See more of the top universities for computer science in the US >

Top universities for computer science in the UK

The UK has 19 entries among the world’s 200 top computer science schools, including six within the global top 50. The Universities of Cambridge and Oxford lead the way, ranked 4th and 7th respectively, followed by the University of Edinburgh (12th), Imperial College London (13th), UCL (25th) and the University of Manchester (37th). As in the case of the US, these are all universities which rank well overall, though it is worth noting that this is a particularly strong subject for the University of Edinburgh (currently 17= in the QS World University Rankings), and also for City University London – currently ranked 347th overall, it makes the global top 200 in this subject.

See more of the UK’s leading computer science schools >

Top universities for computer science in Australia

With 15 entries, Australia boasts almost as many of the world’s top computer science schools as the UK, including five institutions featured in the global top 50. The highest-placed of these is the University of Melbourne (15th), closely followed by Australian National University (17th), the University of New South Wales (29=), University of Sydney (38th) and University of Queensland (39th). This largely corresponds to the overall ranking order of the country’s universities – except Melbourne outperforms the overall leader, Australian National University (ANU) in this field, and the University of New South Wales also ranks particularly well in this subject compared to its overall position (52nd in the 2013/14 QS World University Rankings).

See more of the top universities for computer science in Australia >

Top universities for computer science in Europe

After the US, UK and Australia, the next largest selection of leading computer science schools is claimed by Germany, with 12 German universities in the global top 200. Two of these make the top 50: Technische Universität München (33rd) and the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (40th). The first of these is Germany’s second highest-ranked university overall, at 53rd in the 2013/14 QS World University Rankings. The more specialized Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) has a lower position in the overall rankings, where it’s currently 116=, but ranks especially well across the engineering and natural sciences subjects.

Beyond Germany and the UK, other European countries with a notable share of the world’s 200 top computer science schools include Italy and the Netherlands with six representatives each; Spain and Sweden with four each; and Belgium, France, Ireland and Switzerland, all with three entries. Switzerland’s ETH Zurich is the highest-ranked university for computer science anywhere outside of the US and UK, at 8th, and the next highest continental European entry is its fellow Swiss Institute of Technology, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (22=). Also within the top 50 are Italy’s Politecnico di Milano (48th) and Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (49th).

Top universities for computer science in Canada

Canada has eight universities ranked among the global top 200 for computer science, led by the University of Toronto (19th).  The University of Waterloo (24th) is particularly strong in this field, and the University of British Columbia (UBC) also makes the top 50, ranked 41st. McGill University, which is currently Canada’s second-ranked university in the overall QS World University Rankings, is within the global top 100 for computer science, and the top 200 also includes Simon Fraser University, Université de Montréal, University of Alberta and University of Calgary.

Compare Canada’s top universities for computer science >

Top universities for computer science in Asia

As mentioned above, universities in Asia have a very strong presence in the ranking of the world’s top computer science schools. Japan and China each have eight universities ranked among the top 200, with the University of Tokyo (20th), Tsinghua University (34th) and Peking University (35th) all within the top 50. This is also a strong subject area for India, South Korea and Taiwan, each of which boasts six universities within the world’s top 200 for computer science, and for Hong Kong and Malaysia, with five apiece.

A total of 12 Asian universities are ranked among the world’s top 50 computer science schools, led by the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 9th place. Two more Singaporean universities also appear later in the ranking: Nanyang Technological University (21st) and Singapore Management University (101-150). Three of Hong Kong’s featured universities are within the top 20 – Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (11th), University of Hong Kong (14th) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (18th) – with Hong Kong Polytechnic University also just making the top 50.

South Korea’s KAIST and Seoul National University have both climbed this year to reach 36th and 42= respectively, and National Taiwan University is close behind in 45th.

Other leading computer science schools

Aside from the countries already mentioned above, other nations which are home to one or more of the world’s leading computer science schools include: Mexico, Austria, Chile, Finland, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Russia and Turkey. All ranked within the world’s top 100 for computer science are: Israel’s Technion, Austria’s Technische Universität Wien, New Zealand’s University of Auckland, Mexico’s Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and Brazil’s Universidade de São Paulo and Universidade Estadual de Campinas.

Image credits: Donaldytong/Wikimedia Commons (Melbourne)

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

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