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What are the best universities for Computer Science in the U.S.?

Tags: university computer science usa
Question Id:49

I want to pursue my studies in computer science. Which universities are recommended?


Most good schools use a version of the ACM CS curriculum. How well their faculty teaches it is another question.


There are just TOO MANY BEST colleges and universities for CS to begin to enumerate them!


This is the field where your mind and thought process is the best University.

No place for just theoritical concept you need to give in into lot of practicals to become expert in your field.

This field is so dynamic that no University can make you expert. Only you can make yourself master in this field.


“Best” can only be determined in the context of the needs, interests, and abilities of an individual student. There is no school that is best for everyone. There are many subfields, and a good school can be mediocre at some subfield and vice versa.

That said, there are plenty of lists of schools evaluated according to various sensible metrics. It’s up to you to decide which metrics apply best to your case. I like this list:


I have a SAT score of 2030. I am looking to try my luck with one of the following universities.

MIT CM UCB Stanford Cal tech

Which of the following do you think I have the best chance if getting into.

I have a fair amount of extracul. activities and will be doing my SAT again. I am an international student.


This is a poorly-worded question. There is no "best" (not even mine, which is absolutely fantastic). It depends on what you're looking for, what you're trying to get out of the program, what your preparation is, what size of program would work best for you, and so on. (For that matter, you haven't even said whether you mean high school, undergraduate college, or graduate school, and yet people are happily answering....)

Of course, I realize that every answer that simply gives a linear ranking is going to be voted over my answer, because people prefer listicles to content. And of course half of these will only reflect where the poster went to school or the poster's ability to read some random ranking document.


Finding the top-rated schools in CS is a pretty simple search on Google. You'll find all the usual suspects -- MIT, Berkley, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, etc. That's great but not very surprising.

Let me offer an alternative question -- What are top-notch schools in Compuer Science that are not included on the "Best CS Schools" list? That is, what are the gems in CS education that are not on that list?

So realizing I'm hijacking your question, here's my experience of working with some great, great computer scientests who did not graduate from known commodities (not in any order):

- Case Western Reserve
- Cooper Union
- University of Illinois at Urbana
- Georgia Tech
- Univ of Texas
- Ohio State (THE!)
- SUNY Stony Brook
- University of Waterloo
- New York University
- Renseller Institute of Technology
...I'm sure there are more.

Finally - let's put this in perspective. The top engineer at Google (where I worked for 6 years) is Alan Eustace. He earned BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Central Florida.


San Jose State University may be the cheapest of the super best, probably under-rated CS schools...right in the heart of Silicon Valley.


Knowing people at a few of these top schools, and only referring to undergrad, I'd say that CMU is a really good choice to make unless you're advanced on your studies(then go to MIT, especially if you're going for all graduate courses), you have a desire and need to maintain work-life balance(then Brown looks like a good choice, maybe there are others) or you're more interested in building an entrepreneurial career out of school than getting the best technical education(Stanford, although it is still possible just you're not forced to).

If you also have interests in math, then Harvard, MIT and CMU are good places to shoot for. Oh and if you're international, then there are pretty decent places in Europe or Canada you ought to look at but it may be a little harder to get recruited if you're not careful about going somewhere where these things happen(go to elite (private) schools whenever possible, it just makes life easier).


You know the ratings are just somebody's guess, and some are based on some pretty nebulous stuff, like how published the professors are, which might not have that much to do with how good the school is. Everybody probably has some notion of how the ranking should be done, and mine is this: The top school is the one that places the highest percentage of their graduates in that field at the highest salary.

Anyway you can look at college ranking for CS and find different answers, but you should think about costs, and location as well as the ranking.



I'm just going to copy over my answer from Which universities in the United States have the top Computer Science departments?, which is really more applicable to this question. (It got migrated at some point in the past and was orgiinally about top schools in the world, not just the US.)

I can give you my impressions, based on a mix of what I've heard from students and professors (mostly but not entirely here at Berkeley), rankings and research. The last criteria is going to be really biased because I'm mostly familiar with PL work and some systems stuff.

First off, there are four schools which are about equal and a step above everybody else:

  • MIT
  • Berkeley
  • Stanford
  • CMU

These schools all have different strengths, but they're all pretty good at pretty much everything:

  • Berkeley, for example, is currently well ahead of everyone in distributed systems—or really pretty much all systems stuff; it's also strong in computer architecture and some theory stuff
  • CMU is the best school for programming languages, PL theory, type theory and semantics as well as really strong HCI
  • Stanford seems to have some very strong AI work going on
  • MIT seems really good at CS theory (which, for cultural reasons, is completely distinct from PL theory) and has a strong OS group

That said, while they are good at 
most things, these schools can still have glaring weaknesses. For better or worse, I'm only really familiar with Berkeley, but it does almost nothing with functional programming, type theory or semantics at the moment. The one professor in that field has mostly been concentrating on other things recently :).

I'm sure other schools have similar random shortcomings, I just don't know them.

After this, there are a bunch of schools that seem pretty similar to me, so I'd probably group them too. The ones that come to mind are:

  • Cambridge
  • Cornell
  • UIUC
  • Imperial
  • Washington
  • Michigan
  • UT Austin
  • Harvard
  • ETHZ
  • EPFL
  • Georgia Tech
  • Princeton
  • UPenn
  • Toronto
  • UCLA
  • UCSD

Some of these schools tend to stand out for very specific areas. For example, Cambridge is great for PL semantics, functional programming and security. UPenn is also good with functional programming and has some cool robotics stuff going on. Toronto has some great machine learning research. EPFL is the brithplace of Scala. And so on.

Creating an actual ordering is not practical. Both of my lists are completely unordered. For the same reason, I can't actually give a good top-ten cutoff: I can just group schools together.


There are schools that offer exceptional programs. There are schools with lots of prestige. There are schools whose students are particularly successful. However, the question for a student or faculty member is always one of fit.

Let me give you an example. I’m a CS prof at a small school about two hours away from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. They have one of the most highly regarded CS programs in the world. However, they also are inundated with undergraduates, which means that a course will have hundreds of students at the intro level, and even a difficult upper-division course might have 100. You’ll rarely interact with a professor. Also, the program is in a college of engineering, which means you won’t get a liberal arts education. I would never have been happy in that program, and I doubt I would be successful were I now 18 years old and starting there.

Even at the research level, it’s impossible. CS has a large number of subdisciplines, and different schools excel at different ones. For a PhD, I tell potential applicants to read some research and find several professors at different institutions whose work you enjoy so much that you want to sit at their feet and learn their methods for several years. Who cares where they are, if they are successful enough to help you launch your career?

  1. Stanford university
  2. Carnegie Mellon university
  3. University of California Berkeley
  4. University of Washington Seattle
  5. University of southern California
  6. Eth Zurich
  7. University of Melbourne
  8. National university of Singapore
  9. University of Oxford
  10. University of Toronto
  11. University of waterloo

If you want to do master or phd than go with qs world ranking

Or if you want job offer good on campus placement try this 11 universities


There are many. I am familiar with 4:

Carnegie Mellon

University of Illinois

University of Tulsa

University of Waterloo Canada

Look for schools good industry connections. Find out what internships are offered and whether you are eligible (as a foreign national?).

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