Top Universities in the US for Computer Science | Top Universities

Top Universities in the US for Computer Science

By Sabrina Collier

Updated February 22, 2021 Updated February 22, 2021

Click here to read an updated version of this article, based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

Are you thinking of studying computer science in the United States? The country has a strong presence in the computer science ranking in the latest edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject, boasting an impressive 90 entries out of the 500 featured. Read on for an overview of the top 10 universities in the US for computer science, plus other high-ranking US institutions in this field.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT

Frequently found at the top of the subject rankings tables, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is ranked 1st for computer science and has also been the world’s leading university in the overall QS World University Rankings® for five consecutive years. MIT’s computer science department, combined with electrical engineering, is the largest department at the institution. The university is well-known for its innovative research in this area, with its computer science faculty and researchers having made fundamental contributions to cybernetics, artificial intelligence, computer languages, machine learning, robotics, and cryptography.

2. Stanford University

Stanford

Ranked 2nd both for computer science and in the overall World University Rankings this year, Stanford University’s setting near the famous Silicon  Valley in California makes it unique amongst these top universities in the US, with many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations right on its doorstep. Stanford’s computer science department was founded in 1965 and is part of the university’s School of Engineering.

3. Harvard University

Harvard

Harvard University is ranked 4th in the world in the latest computer science ranking. Its computer science department is part of the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (founded in 1847, with computer science courses available from 1984). Famous technology magnates to have studied at Harvard include Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg (both of whom famously ‘dropped out’ to pursue their careers in tech).

4. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University

The next of the top universities in the US for computer science is Carnegie Mellon University, based in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Within the QS World University Rankings by Subject, Carnegie Mellon University achieves its strongest score in the field of computer science, ranked 5th in the world in this field. Its School of Computer Science is based at the Gates and Hillman Centers, a US$98 million complex which opened in 2009 and has achieved LEED Gold certification for its high levels of sustainability.

5. University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley is ranked 7th in the world for computer science this year, and like MIT combines its computer science school with electrical engineering. The Turing Award, known as the ‘Nobel Prize in computing’ has been awarded to 11 alumni and 10 past and present faculty members of Berkeley, including Douglas Engelbart, the inventor of the computer mouse.

6. Princeton University

Princeton University

Ranked 10th in the world for computer science, Princeton University’s computer science department is part of the university’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, in which 1,900 students are enrolled. Its alumni include ‘father of computer science’ Alan Turing, computer scientists Alonzo Church and John von Neumann, and Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos.

7. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

UCLA

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is ranked 16th in the world for computer science this year. Its computer science faculty is part of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, which is credited as being ‘the birthplace of the internet’, as the first transmission of what would become the internet was sent from the university’s Boelter Hall in 1969.

8. Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

Georgia Tech

The next of the top universities in the US for computer science is Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), up 14 places this year to rank 25th for computer science. Its College of Computing has about 4,570 students enrolled on 18 degree programs and is located at the Klaus Advanced Computing Building (KACB), a LEED Gold certified building with six research centers and 70 research laboratories.

9. Cornell University

Cornell University

Heading to the state of New York, Cornell University is currently ranked joint 26th in the world for computer science, sharing this spot with Canada’s University of Waterloo. Its department of computer science was established in 1965, making it one of the oldest of its kind in the country. Based in Ithaca, the university runs a technology-focused graduate campus in New York City, known as Cornell Tech.

=10. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Caltech

Sharing 28th place in the world for computer science this year, California Institute of Technology is known as one of the US’s top tech schools, with a noted alumni of scientific researchers, astronauts and business founders, including Sabeer Bhatia (founder of Hotmail). Like the university itself, the Computing and Mathematical Sciences Faculty is small, with only 20 faculty members and 150 students.

=10. University of Washington

University of Washington

Joining Caltech at joint 28th in the world for computer science, the University of Washington’s college of computer science and engineering was established as an inter-college graduate program in 1967. Undergraduates often participate in research, with 33 students at the university winning the Computing Research Association Undergraduate Research Award over a decade, more than any other program in the nation.

Other top universities in the US for computer science

Many more top universities in the US are included in the computer science ranking, including the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (30th), Columbia University (joint 31st) and the University of Texas at Austin (34th). Six more US universities feature in the global top 50 for computer science, and eight more in the top 100. View the full computer science ranking here.

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This article was originally published in September 2016 . It was last updated in February 2021

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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