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The 20 Best In-Person Schools for Computer Science in 2023

Beginning an incredible career in computer science depends on many factors, but a major one is what school you get a CS degree from.

The best schools for a computer science education have incredible faculty, state-of-the-art equipment, fill their programs with elite students, and have spectacular networking opportunities for their students.

By graduating from one of these programs you can vastly increase the probability of landing your ideal position in computer science after graduating.

On the following list, we’ve concentrated primarily on in-person undergraduate computer science degrees from elite schools in the field. These schools often offer phenomenal online programs, along with elite certifications plus graduate and doctoral CS degrees. Explore their offerings closely to find the best program for you.

We ranked the schools on this list based on their graduation rates, the average salary for graduates, their national rankings, and more. Let’s check out the schools that made the cut:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Graduation Rate

93%

Average Earnings At Grad

$78,500

Website

MIT is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1861. The school focuses on technological and scientific research. It’s known for schools of engineering and management and has world-class programs in math, physics, computer science, among many others.

It is widely considered one of the best schools in the world. Many of its alumni have gone on to lead their respective fields, including U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and former Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke. 

MIT offers a host of Computer Science (or adjacent) undergraduate degrees. Some of the courses you might take in these include:

  • Machine Learning
  • Programming Skills
  • Algorithms 
  • Computer Systems
  • Software Construction

MIT offers an incredibly diverse roster of options for computer science students at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.

At the undergraduate level, students can study Computer Science with focuses on Molecular Biology, Engineering, Economics, Data Science, among other options. You’ll find few schools with the reputation of MIT.

They’re known for retaining elite faculty and graduating some of the most demanded computer scientists in the world.

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California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology

Graduation Rate

93%

Average Earnings At Grad

$153,000

Website

Caltech is a private institute in Pasadena, California. It was founded in 1891. It has an ongoing prank war with MIT but is extremely serious about science and engineering.

The school gets incredible acclaim for its research and programs in chemistry, biology, math, engineering, and computer science.

Caltech alumni have gone on to found companies like Compaq, Intel, and even Hotmail! Its graduates earned the highest average salary among schools on this list. Caltech offers many elite computer science undergraduate degrees.

Courses in these CS degrees include:

  • Decidability and Tractability
  • Intro. to Discrete Math
  • Fundamentals of Computer Program
  • Introduction to Algorithms
  • Intro. to Programming Methods

Students can opt for specializations like Databases, Learning & Vision, Robotics, Quantum & Molecular Computing, among others. Caltech facilitates double majors and offers computer science students significant research opportunities. Computer Science is also Caltech’s most popular major.

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University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Graduation Rate

96%

Average Earnings At Grad

$127,000

Website

The University of Pennsylvania is a private school in Philadelphia. It was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin. It has 12 schools, five offering undergraduate and graduate programs, and seven offering only graduate programs.

It’s known for its programs in law, medicine, engineering, applied sciences, design, medicine, and business, among others. Its notable alumni include poet William Carlos Williams, President Donald Trump, and singer John Legend.

Undergraduate CS Penn students will likely take courses in:

  • Databases
  • Networking
  • Machine Learning
  • Distributed Systems

Penn offers diverse concentrations for its undergraduate CS students. They include Cognitive Science, Data Science, Computational Biology, Computer Vision, Systems, Software Foundations, and Artificial Intelligence.

Students will immerse themselves in conceptual foundations of computer science along with intricate hardware and software systems.

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Harvard University

Harvard University

Graduation Rate

98%

Average Earnings At Grad

$83,000

Website

Harvard is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1636 and is perhaps the most famous school in the prestigious Ivy League.  It’s known for programs in business, medicine, government, education, and engineering and applied sciences, among others.

8 U.S. presidents have graduated from the school, including FDR and JFK. It has the largest endowment of any school on the planet.

Undergraduate Computer Science students at Harvard will study:

  • Elements of Data Science
  • Great Ideas in Computer Science
  • Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science
  • Abstraction and Design in Computation
  • Systems Programming and Machine Organization

Harvard offers undergraduates an A.B. in Computer Science that is heavily based in advanced math, theoretical CS, computer software, and more. Students can also opt to study CS and another field in a joint concentration, although Harvard stresses this isn’t a double major (the two fields must overlap).

They also offer a Bachelor’s/Master’s in CS for qualified students, and an intriguing program called The Mind, Brain, and Behavior Program that combines neuroscience and cognition with CS.

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Columbia University

Columbia University

Graduation Rate

92%

Average Earnings At Grad

$58,000

Website

Columbia is a private university in Manhattan, New York. It was founded in 1754. Many consider it NY’s most prestigious university. Columbia is known for its programs in education, law, journalism business, medicine, and of course, its Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Standout alumni include former President Barack Obama and founding father John Jay, among many others. Columbia offers outstanding undergraduate computer science programs. Students will study:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Computation Complexity
  • Computer Architecture
  • Computer Graphics

Columbia’s undergraduate CS offerings include a BS in Computer Science and another in Computer Engineering. They also offer BA’s in Computer Science, CS and Mathematics, Data Science, Information Science, and a minor in CS.

Most graduates of these programs transition directly into careers in government, industry, or earn a graduate degree. Many students combine their CS education with medicine, business administration, or another area.

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The University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Graduation Rate

93%

Average Earnings At Grad

$59,000

Website

The University of Chicago is a private institution in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood. It was founded in 1890. The school is known for its degrees in business, law, medicine, public policy, and computer science.

It’s known for its vast array of distinct majors and minors, and the 91 Nobel Prize winners within its alumni. On top of that, Obama taught at its Law School for 12 years. The school has a very discerning application process.

Its undergraduate computer science program features courses in: 

  • Concepts of Programming
  • Backends for Mobile Applications
  • Mathematics for Computer Science: Discrete Mathematics
  • Introduction to Computer Programming
  • Natural Language Processing

The school offers both BA’s and BS’ in computer science, in addition to BA/MS and BS/MS programs. The BS degree allows students to add an additional field to their course of study. There’s also a CS minor at UChicago.

Many CS students at the school combine their computer science education with study in mathematics, social sciences, natural sciences, public administration, among other options.

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Stanford University

Stanford University

Graduation Rate

96%

Average Earnings At Grad

$75,000

Website

Stanford is a private university in Stanford, California. It was founded in 1885. It’s known for being widely coveted by students across the country.

It boasts top-tier programs in business, law, medicine, education, and engineering. It also has incredible musical and theatrical groups and is a powerhouse for creative writing.

Some of its most notable alumni include former John Elway, Tiger Woods, and Sigourney Weaver.

Its undergraduate computer science program offers courses in:

  • Calculus
  • Mathematical Foundations of Computing 
  • Introduction to Probability for Computer Scientists
  • Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy
  • Design and Analysis of Algorithms

Stanford takes an interdisciplinary approach to computer science. Students will study theory, design, abstraction, and implementation to solve complex problems.

All students will be immersed in foundational mathematics and then take courses in areas like complexity theory, programming techniques, computer architecture, artificial intelligence, and much more.

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Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College

Graduation Rate

93%

Average Earnings At Grad

$82,000

Website

Claremont McKenna is a private college in Claremont, California. It was founded in 1946. It’s a member of the seven-colleges consortium, known for Scripps College, Pomona, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, among others.

Students enrolled in any of these schools can take classes at the others. It’s known for programs in finance, economics, engineering, and applied sciences, among others. Its notable alumni include comedian Robin Williams.

Claremont’s undergraduate computer science education includes courses in:

  • Discrete Structures
  • Data Structures and Advanced Programming
  • Distributed Software Architecture
  • Special Topics in Computer Science
  • Fundamentals of Computer Science

Claremont doesn’t offer a CS major at its school. However, students accepted into the school can pursue one at Pomona or Harvey Mudd College.

They’ll learn programming languages, computing theory, abstract principles of computer science, as well as solve practical problems.

The school you pick in the consortium to get your CS degree from will require certain courses as its core.

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Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University

Graduation Rate

90%

Average Earnings At Grad

$81,500

Website

Carnegie Mellon is a private university founded in 1900. It’s located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was founded by businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

It’s an exemplary technology and science school, known for degrees in business, engineering, and computer science, as well as doing vital research. Its notable alumni include Ted Danson, Ethan Hawke, and 20 Nobel Prize winners.

Its undergraduate computer science education includes work in and of:

  • Mathematics and Probability
  • Significant Research
  • Independent Study
  • Building and Maintaining Systems

Carnegie Mellon offers a host of distinct undergraduate computer science programs. They include Human-Computer Interaction, Artificial Intelligence, Computational Biology, and more.

Students may double major in complementary areas. There’s also a host of minors that they can choose from, like Machine Learning, Robotics, Language Technologies, Software Engineering, and more.

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Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University

Graduation Rate

93%

Average Earnings At Grad

$62,500

Website

Vanderbilt is a private university in Nashville, Tennessee. It was founded in 1873. It has stellar programs in education, law, medicine, nursing, and engineering. It also has an excellent school of music.

Notable alumni include former quarterback Jay Cutler, novelist James Patterson, and former CEO of Time Inc. Ann Moore.

Its undergraduate computer science education boasts coursework in:

  • Software/Problem Solving
  • Hardware/Systems
  • Calculus
  • Statistics/Probability

Vanderbilt’s undergraduate CS education blends science and engineering. Students will be encouraged to pursue their intellectual and practical interests. They’ll also do theoretical study on computational limits and efficient algorithms. They can pursue a complementary minor in engineering as well.

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Pomona College

Pomona College

Graduation Rate

96%

Average Earnings At Grad

$81,000

Website

Pomona is a private college in Claremont, California. It’s the 5th ranked National Liberal Arts College. Pomona was founded in 1887. It’s known for small class sizes and cultivating strong relationships between students and faculty.

Pomona is part of the Claremont Colleges consortium that also includes Pitzer College, Harvey Mudd College, Scripps College, and Claremont McKenna College. Students can take courses at the other schools in the consortium.

Notable alumni include choral conductor Robert Shaw and former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller.

Students in its undergraduate Computer Science programs can study areas like:

  • Programming Languages
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Operating Systems
  • Security
  • Artificial Intelligence

Students will begin with core competencies in computer science before moving on to courses in the above areas, depending on their interests.

These core areas include systems, algorithms, and CS theory. The program builds towards a senior seminar and an optional independent thesis or senior project.

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Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis

Graduation Rate

92%

Average Earnings At Grad

$62,000

Website

Washington is a private university founded in 1853. It’s based in St. Louis. The school offers superb degrees in business, law, medicine, engineering, social work, design, and computer science.

Notable alumni include actor Peter Sarsgaard and former FBI Director William H. Webster. Its art museum boasts works from Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso. It’s also home to one of the top-ranked hospitals in the nation.

Its undergraduate computer science education offers courses in:

  • Logic and Discrete Mathematics
  • Foundations for Higher Mathematics
  • Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Object-Oriented Software Development Laboratory
  • Analysis of Algorithms

All of these are core requirements for a BS in Computer Science from Washington. Students will also have a significant choice in shaping their degree through electives.

Washington also offers BS degrees in Computer Science with specializations in Business, Computer Engineering, Economics, and Math. There are other options, including minors and second majors that can supplement a CS education from Washington.

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Brown University

Brown University

Graduation Rate

97%

Average Earnings At Grad

$82,500

Website

Brown is a private university in Providence, Rhode Island. It was established in 1764 and is a member of the prestigious Ivy League. It’s known for its excellent programs in history, English, medicine, engineering, and computer science.

Notable alumni include Ted Turner, JFK Jr., and John D. Rockefeller Jr. Brown also boasts over 400 student organizations catering to student interests, including ballroom dancing and a satirical newspaper.

Its computer science undergraduate education features courses in:

  • A Data-Centric Introduction to Programming
  • Computing Foundations: Program Organization
  • Introduction to Algorithms and Data Structures
  • Introduction to Discrete Structures and Probability
  • Accelerated Introduction to Computer Science

Undergraduates in Brown’s CS programs have installed software in-person at in Singapore they made for the Nobel museum, created an SMS-based commodities platform for Ghanaian farmers, among other incredible experiences.

The school offers several combo majors for CS students. These include Math-CS, Computational Biology, CS-Economics, Applied Math CS, and CS-Engaged Scholars Program, among other options. Undergrads will be able to do vital research and work as part of this program.

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Williams College

Williams College

Graduation Rate

96%

Average Earnings At Grad

$60,500

Website

Williams is a private school in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It is the top-ranked National Liberal Arts College for 2020. The school was founded in 1793.

It offers undergraduate degrees in social sciences, arts and humanities, and science and mathematics. It has the oldest alumni society in the world and was the first American school to graduate students in caps and gowns (in 1887). Its notable alumni include Prince Hussain Aga Khan, director Elia Kazan, and director John Frankenheimer.

Its undergraduate computer science program features courses in: 

  • Data Structures and Advanced Programming
  • Computer Organization
  • Algorithm Design and Analysis
  • Computational Biology
  • Software Methods

Students will do comprehensive algorithmic problem solving and learn how computers and programs work with them.

Advanced courses allow students to specialize in areas like computer architecture, networks, graphics, artificial intelligence, compiler design, and operating systems. There are independents study and honors opportunities for qualified students.

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Duke University

Duke University

Graduation Rate

96%

Average Earnings At Grad

$66,000

Website

Duke is a private university in Durham, North Carolina. It was founded in 1838. It’s an iconic, historic school in sports, politics, and branding. Duke offers degrees in engineering, business, law, medicine, public policy, nursing, and computer science.

Notable alumni include Melinda Gates, former presidential candidate Ron Paul, and Zion Williamson.

Its computer science undergraduate program offers courses in:

  • Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Discrete Math for Computer Science
  • Computer Architecture
  • Computer Science Education Research
  • Software Design and Implementation

You can earn either a BA or a BS in computer science from Duke. Students at Duke will do crucial research and work with world-class faculty. You can opt to focus on Data Science or Software Systems as part of the BS version of this degree.

There are also interdepartmental majors that combine computer science study with linguistics, statistics, and mathematics.

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Cornell University

Cornell University

Graduation Rate

95%

Average Earnings At Grad

$71,000

Website

Cornell is a private school in Ithaca, NY. It was founded in 1865. It’s a member of the Ivy League. Cornell offers esteemed programs in law, engineering, veterinary medicine, management, and much more.

Its notable alumni include Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bill Nye, the “Science Guy,” and author E.B. White, among many others.

Students in its undergraduate computer science program can take courses in:

  • Computational Mathematics for Computer Science
  • Data-Driven Web Applications
  • Discrete Structures
  • Excursions in Computational Sustainability
  • Programming Languages and Logics

CS students can learn about data structures, operating systems, artificial intelligence, graphics, databases, computer vision, and much, much more.

There’s a lot of flexibility and student utility in choosing a CS pathway at Cornell. In that vein, undergraduates in any undergraduate program at Cornell can opt for a minor or concentration in computer science.

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Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College

Graduation Rate

96%

Average Earnings At Grad

$70,000

Website

Dartmouth is a private college in Hanover, New Hampshire. It was founded in 1769. It’s especially known for its degrees in engineering, science, arts, business, and medicine.

Almost a quarter of its students are active in NCAA Division 1 sports. Notable alumni include Dr. Seuss, former U.S. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner, among many others.

Its computer science undergraduate education offers courses in:

  • Algorithms
  • 3D Digital Modeling
  • Computational Complexity
  • Computer Architecture
  • Full-Stack Web Development

Students in the CS major at Dartmouth will have the chance to assist in courses, write a thesis or do a project under the tutelage of a faculty member, or help faculty do research or a programming project.

Students may opt for a 4+1 AB/MS in CS where they earn a Master’s degree in five years of study. There are also modified majors and a 4+1 MS in CS with a Digital Arts concentration.

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Northwestern University

Northwestern University

Graduation Rate

94%

Average Earnings At Grad

$55,000

Website

Northwestern is a private university in Evanston, Illinois. It was founded in 1851, on what was then farm and swampland. It’s now a thriving school that has consistently improved in national rankings for years.

It offers phenomenal programs in law, education, medicine, management, engineering, and applied sciences, among other areas.

Notable alumni include former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, actor Zach Braff, comedian Stephen Colbert, and many others.

Its undergraduate computer science education includes courses in:

  • Fundamentals of Computer Programming
  • Probabilistic Systems
  • Single-Variable Integral Calculus
  • Engineering Analysis
  • Data Structures & Algorithms

Students can opt for a Computer Science BS/BA, a BS in CS, or a BA in CS, depending on what school within Northwestern they choose to attend.

These programs can be taken as majors or minors. These programs will give students an understanding of the impacts computer science will have on business, law, engineering, science, medicine, and more.

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University of Southern California

University of Southern California

Graduation Rate

92%

Average Earnings At Grad

$56,000

Website

Better known as USC, this private university is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1880 and is one of the more popular schools in the country.

It’s especially known for its thriving sports programs, as well as excellent programs in education, engineering, law, medicine, social work, and more. Notable alumni include directors Judd Apatow and George Lucas.

Its undergraduate computer science programming features courses in:

  • Operating Systems
  • Data Structures and Object-Oriented Design
  • Discrete Methods in Computer Science
  • Web Technologies
  • File and Database Management

Students can opt for majors in CS, Computer Engineering & CS, CS & Business Administration, or Computer Science (Games). There’s also an undergraduate minor in CS.

In addition to these options, USC has a progressive degree program that lets qualified students get a Master’s within six years of undergraduate and graduate study.

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Amherst College

Amherst College

Graduation Rate

95%

Average Earnings At Grad

$50,500

Website

Amherst is a private college in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1821. USNR ranks it 2nd among National Liberal Arts Colleges in 2020. It’s known for the rigor of its academics and is a member of the Five Colleges consortium.

In addition to Amherst, this encompasses Smith, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Students can take coursework from any of these schools if they’re admitted to one of them.

Notable alumni include Calvin Coolidge, former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Harlan Fiske Stone, and Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Amherst’s undergraduate computer science major requires courses in:

  • Computer Systems
  • Algorithms
  • Data Structures
  • Introduction to Computer Science I and II

Amherst recommends that people considering this major talk to a computer science professor at their Science Center. Each accepted student must take the required courses, four or more electives, and pass an oral exam in their senior year.


Undergraduate Vs Graduate Computer Science Degrees

If you haven’t earned an undergraduate degree, that’s where you’ll want to start to begin your Computer Science education and career.

Compared to other disciplines, you’ll likely find much more optimization and flexibility in these programs. You’ll probably be able to choose from a range of specializations and focuses within computer science to concentrate your education in an area of your choice.

While many other disciplines require graduate degrees for professionals to expect high wages and job security, computer science cares far more about your ability to do the job you’re asked to do. Your credentials are important, but solving problems is infinitely more desired.

However, as with all fields, a graduate degree can propel you to some elite leadership roles you wouldn’t likely fill otherwise. If you’re a working professional looking to elevate your computer science career, change tracks within it, and get paid more, you might consider an online graduate degree in CS.

You might also consider a computer science certification or doctoral degree. We’ve explored some of the schools that not only make this possible but offer stellar reputations for academic excellence to boot.

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor