Top Computer Science Schools in the US in 2020 | Top Universities

Top Computer Science Schools in the US in 2020

By Chloe Lane

Updated April 16, 2021 Updated April 16, 2021

In the United States, there are 104 top computer science schools featured in the QS University Subject Rankings 2020, meaning that if you want to study computer science in the US, you have plenty of options. Of these 104, 27 are featured in the world top 100.

The QS University Rankings by Subject are based on four indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper and the H-index (a way of measuring the productivity and published work of a scientist or scholar). You can find more details about the methodology behind the subject rankings here.

Read on to find out more about the top 10 universities in the US to study computer science. Alternatively, see the full computer science schools ranking here.

Top Computer Science Schools in the US

Based on the QS University Rankings by Subject 2020

US Ranking

World University Ranking

Institution

Location

1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Massachusetts

2

Stanford University

California

3

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh

4

University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

California

5

Harvard University

Massachusetts

6

11 

Princeton University

New Jersey

7

15 

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Los Angeles

8

18 

University of Washington

Washington

10=

19=

Columbia University

New York

10=

19=

Cornell University

New York

10=

19=

New York University (NYU)

New York

= 10. New York University (NYU)

New York University (NYU)

Climbing a single place in the QS University Rankings by Subject 2020, NYU retains its place in the world top 20 worldwide (in joint 19th place) and clings on to its position in the US top 10. With a near perfect score in the research citations per paper indicator, it’s clear that the university’s research is highly respected by academics worldwide. NYU has campuses in Manhattan and Brooklyn with its main buildings located around the picturesque Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village – an ideal destination for students.

= 10. Cornell University

Cornell University

In joint 10th place in the US is Cornell University, ranking joint 19th (a rise of six places this year) worldwide for computer science. The university scores particularly well in both the H-Index and the research citations per paper indicators; an indication of the high quality of the university’s academic research. Also located in New York, Cornell’s computer science program has a high employment rate, with 99 percent of graduates employed or in further studies after six months.

= 10. Columbia University

Columbia University

Another top 10 entry located in New York is Columbia University, in joint 10th place in the US and joint 19th worldwide, according to the QS University Rankings by Subject 2020. Established in 1754, Columbia University has produced numerous distinguished alumni, including Oscar winners, Nobel Laureates, US Presidents and Supreme Court judges.

8. University of Washington

The University of Washington

In 18th position worldwide (falling one place this year) and eighth in the US, the University of Washington offers several exceptional computer science programs. The university has partnerships with companies like Microsoft as part of its Global Innovation Exchange project as a way to develop innovation in teaching, learning and research. The university is also home to the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering – a US$72 million state-of-the-art, 85,000 square-foot facility.

7. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

UCLA

Dropping two places to 15th this year is the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), earning its highest score in the research citations per paper indicator. The university is known for being the birthplace of the internet and offers a computer science course that will enable students to ‘design, implement and use the software and hardware of digital computers and digital systems’.

6. Princeton University

Princeton University

One of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the US, Princeton University was founded in 1746, and is renowned for its green campus, architectural splendor and strong research output. Climbing two places in this year’s world ranking for computer science, Princeton University ranks 11th worldwide and sixth in the US. Notable alumni include Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos and Google executive Eric Schmidt, as well as Alan Turing.

5. Harvard University

Harvard University

The oldest higher education institution in the US, Harvard university earns a perfect score in employer reputation, with its graduates highly sought after by top graduate employers.  Retaining its place in seventh worldwide, the university ranks fifth this year in the US and earns a perfect score in the employer reputation indicator.

4. University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

Retaining its fourth-place position both in the world ranking and in the US ranking is the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). As expected, UCB performs well across all four indicators, scoring particularly highly in the research citations per paper and the H index indicators, reflecting the high quality of research produced.

3. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is widely recognized as one of the best computer science programs in the world, earning a perfect score for academic reputation in this year’s subject rankings. This year, the university ranks third both in the US and worldwide. Known for its innovative approach, Carnegie Mellon University works closely with students to create solutions for real world problems.

2. Stanford University

Stanford University

Stanford university performs exceptionally well once again this year, retaining its place in second, both globally and in the US. The university earns perfect scores in both the research citations per paper indicator and the H-index indicator. Stanford University is located in Northern California’s Silicon Valley, where many tech companies were founded, including Yahoo, Google and Hewlett-Packard. 

1.Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Top in the world for computer science is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), earning near perfect scores across all the indicators. Innovation is at the heart of MIT’s teaching, especially in its computer science course. MIT’s computer department strives to improve the stability and security of computers and communications networks, and continually make breakthroughs that enable people to communicate more easily and lead more interconnected lives.

This article was originally published in March 2020 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by

A Content Writer for TopUniversities.com, Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. She enjoys writing articles about a wide range of topics for a student audience. 

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