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The Top 20 Computer Science Schools in 2019

Harvard University

We used to say "computers are the future," but that's not the case anymore. Computers are ubiquitous. They spread further and do more every day. The Internet of Things (IoT) is taking over with thousands of computerized devices for homes and businesses. Computers are the present. If you want to go places in life and get a degree that will allow you to go further, you need computer skills. If you want a top tier computer science degree, however, not just any school will do. We put together this curated list of the creme de la creme. The top twenty computer science schools in the world (this year) are the places to go if you want to specialize in Com. Sci. Whether you're a teenager just daydreaming about the future or an adult going back to school to upgrade your employability, getting into any one of these elite schools will give you the skill to compete at the highest levels in a growing industry.

20. The University of Texas at Austin

Warm weather, southern charm, and a vast city teeming with plenty of opportunities when you need a break from your studies are a tiny part of the appeal to if you join the University of Texas at Austins' CS department. A state known for its cattle, oil, and football might seem an odd place to find a top twenty ranking CS school, but a lot is going on those generalities like that ignore. From award-winning teachers to the brand new Robotics Consortium, students who want it all can add this exceptional school to the top of their search parameters.

19. University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh might not be the first place prospective computer science majors think to look for a genuinely stellar program. However, you'll be missing out if you skip over the U of E. Students seeking a highly detailed, hands-on problem solving and applications based experience will find their top twenty school right here. It doesn't matter whether you want to design for the world or make a more personal product, an education from the University of Edinburgh is the way to achieve that goal.

18. Columbia University (New York, New York)

Columbia is famous for its student-centric approach. If you're looking for a school that will help you focus on more than learning facts and figures to help you push yourself above and beyond then Columbia is a great place to start your computer science education search. The CS department is always sharing the achievements of its students, grads, and staff. When a mutually uplifting department is the best fit for you, then put this school at the top of your list.

17. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Looking into robotics? You'll be pleased to hear that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is adding some new staff, and expanding their program capabilities. Of course, as a top twenty computer sciences school in the world, they were no slouch before. Still, it's nice to see a school invested in expanding their horizons. It's essential for people in the computer science field always to keep looking outward for new ideas and applications. At UICA, you'll find that attitude everywhere.

16. Cornell University (Ithaca, New York)

Cornell is celebrating its computer science department's twentieth anniversary this fall. While CU isn't one of the oldest schools in computer science, they certainly make the grade as far as the top twenty schools go. Moreover, Ithaca is a pleasant smaller town atmosphere compared to the big city environment of most big computer science universities. Students who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of massive crowds and huge urban settings might be better off choosing this stunning school in New York.

15. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena)

If you're a huge fan of new technology, you may already be headed to Cal-Tech for the tech fest in mid-October. People from all over California and the world show up for Pasadena's Tech Fest. The focus is on promoting startups and brilliant new inventions to the public, their peers, and probably even a few investors who may be interested in financing up-and-comers. Inspiring people to broaden their horizons and look at the full scope of what computer-aided technology can do is a big dream and a worthy goal.

Students and hopefuls wh want to be part of inspiring the future, and those who enjoy inventing would do very well at Cal-Tech Pasadena. Outreach programs like Tech Fest are part of the experience. Both students and faculty turn out in droves to support the fun and promote their computing inventions and ideas. Plus, everyone loves a good festival atmosphere.

14. Imperial College London

Students in a variety of computer science fields will find this London school a good match for their needs. Ranked second in the UK (2017) and often in the top 20 QR rankings for their CS program, Imperial College London is a fantastic place to start your digital education or continue with an advanced degree. If you're interested in algorithms, theory, artificial intelligence, or other advanced computing, ICL probably has the perfect program for you.

Better still, ICL is a leader in promoting women's STEM education. As a holder of the prestigious Athena SWAN Bronze Award, they work hard to bring more women into the digital era with degrees that allow them to compete in the workforce. Seeking gender equality isn't easy. Still, with 24.5 % higher female student intake than their 'cohort' school and seven percent higher than the national average, ICL is making significant progress in the field.

13. The University of Washington (Seattle)

Thanks to donations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this Seattle school is a hotbed of computer activity. However, they are a capacity-constrained program, which means they can't and don't take just anyone who applies. The school has a "Geek of the Week award" from geek wire this week. The award was given to a student named Justin Chan for his work with smartphones and artificial intelligence. He says, "my goal is to make medical diagnostics frugal and accessible enough that anyone with a few spare parts and DIY-know-how would be able to obtain clinical-grade accuracies in the comfort of their homes."

The University of Washington made news recently with another advance, and it means something special for prospective CS students. UW just opened a brand new building dedicated to computer science. They can now take in twice as many students as they were able to accommodate in previous years. The capacity constraint still exists, but it means you have twice as high of a chance at getting accepted for the 2019-2020 school year and beyond.

12. University of Melbourne

Computer Science degree hopefuls who want to work with Artificial Intelligence would be well suited to this Australian School. The University of Melbourne focuses heavily on research, which is recognized internationally as one of the best. You can study to work with medical systems in the ARC training center, or head toward a specialty in securities at the Academic Centre of Cyber Security Excellence. There are quite a few directions available to students down under.

The UNM, The Interaction Design Lab, is always doing exciting things. They focus on creating and studying user interfaces. Bringing the digital world and accessibility options to more people is one fantastic way to focus your education on computer sciences. In Melbourne, there's a lab just for that.

11. The University of California- Los Angeles

With award-winning professors like Guy Van den Broeck who recently received the Prestigious Computers and Thought Award, you're bound to be in an incredible and forward-thinking program if you head to L.A. It's no surprise that the home of Hollywood and CGI movies is a prominent center for computer scientists and aspiring CS students as well. There might be a future behind the scenes in the film industry for you if you head to this school.

Professor Van den Broeck isn't the only one making headlines at UCLA. Another professor, Rafail Ostrovsky, was elected as a Foreign Member of Academia Europaea class of 2019. If you're not yet familiar with AE, they only named about twenty members in Informatics this year, and Ostrovsky is one of just two who specialize in Theoretical Computer Science. Overall the Academia Europaea focuses on furthering outstanding scholarship in numerous areas including humanities, medicine, and mathematics, to name just a few.

10. ETH Zurich

When you plan to attend the computer science program in Zurich, there's a large staff of incredible professors there prepared to help you learn about various aspects of computers. For example, Professor Friedemann Mattern specializes in several fields, including the Internet of Things. IoT is a rapidly growing field of computer studies and applications guaranteed to provide you with an intriguing and extensive array of opportunities for employment.

In Zurich, you can take things to a whole other realm if you study hard. Scott Aaronson, a computer scientist from Texas, is lecturing there this year on the topic of quantum computing and other big-picture questions in the digital world. He'll be presenting three lectures for the Paul Bernays Lectures 2019. Students at this top ten computer sciences international school have the unique opportunity to learn from lecturing masters that congregate from around the globe to participate in this lecture series every year.

9. The University of Toronto (Ontario, Canada)

According to their website, the University of Toronto is preparing its students for tomorrows technology. If you seek a computer science degree at this Canadian school, you'll be studying software design and computer applications. If you're interested in investigating mathematical problems in the field or databases, for example, then this is the school for you. Just make sure you're prepared for Canadas' famously cold weather.

If you're not super-familiar with the University of Toronto, but something is nagging at the back of your mind, you probably heard about some of their breakthroughs in the CS field. Back in 2012, UoT helped Microsoft, Google, and IBM make some incredible strides forward in speech recognition. That's right, every time you open up a digital assistant and ask Siri, Alexa or a program like them to set a reminder, find you some excellent takeout for your study group, or add milk to your shopping list, you can probably than UoT staff and students for that tech.

8. University of Oxford

Oxford boasts an impressive twenty-six Nobel Prize winners among their alumni. If you want to attend the computer science program at this British university, you have to have top grades, especially in math. However, for those seeking international notice an the chance to possibly discuss your areas of interest with Nobel winners, then attending Oxford may be your best choice for a CS degree.

7. Princeton University

Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO of Amazon, is an alumnus of Princeton. The school boasts an impressive array of computer science related specialties. If you are looking to get into blockchain techs like cryptocurrencies, computational neuroscience or even securities, then consider Princeton. The school may be better known for its bougie ties and aesthetic beauty, but it should be recognized for tech programs offered in the computer science division instead.

6. University of Cambridge

Cambridge was founded in 1937, so they'll be celebrating their hundredth birthday in a few years. With age comes wisdom, and Cambridge University has that in spades. They also have a massive computer science and technology research department that boasts over two hundred researcher. Students looking for the cutting edge and want to develop and learn about the very latest computer advances, then Cambridge should be on your shortlist as a computer science major.

We just want to take a minute to mention the graphics and interaction group Rainbow. The University of Cambridge Rainbow Research group has been working on computer graphics since the 1960s. They've made considerable contributions in the field. It's likely that when you look at an HD monitor, somewhere in all those pixels is work done by this Cambridge research lab. Students mainly interested in computer graphics might want to add this school to the top of their list. Getting into Rainbow won't be easy. Still, those who excel at seeing the world in all it's glorious high-definition beauty and want to translate that for the masses should aim for Cambridge.

5. Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Most people who think of Harvard consider it for the excellent legal and medical schools. However, this Ivy League top choice has more to offer than you might expect. Though Harvard barely cracked the top five, the computer sciences program is outstanding. In addition to having a degree from one of the most recognized schools in the US and the world, you'll also have one of the best computer science degrees available today when you graduate from Harvard.

When you attend this institution, you'll be part of an incredible line of students and professors from one of the best schools in the world. Moreover, you're joining an ethical department that considers the ramifications of its actions very seriously. Harvard's agenda in CS includes a sense of personal responsibility where computing is concerned.  Students who secretly fear that The Matrix and Battlestar Galactica might not be impossible scenarios will especially appreciate the integration of ethical responsibility into the computing program at Harvard. Of course, science fiction isn't the only application for ethical conduct where computer science is concerned, but it won't hurt that someone is thinking about keeping the AIs honest

4. The University of California- Berkley

U. Cal Berkley has always been a cutting edge institution. Berkley has an integrated undergrad degree in electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS). Students who are aiming for a double major may want to consider picking this sophisticated integrated program instead to reach their highest potential.

Berkley announced last year that they'd be starting some major expansions. Berkeley provost Paul Alivisatos explained that a small expansion on the existing program and structures simply isn't enough to handle the influx of data and computer science majors. They've formed an entirely new division to help keep up with the rise in use of technologies like AI. Students who want to go to a school that's working hard to keep up with their needs and stay ahead of future technology challenges should take a serious look at this top five option.

3. Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Philidelphia)

Carnegie Mellon excels academically. In fact, they achieved a perfect score in the academic reputation category. If your goal is to show off your big brains, there's no better place to apply. Like all the schools on this list, it won't be easy to meet the entrance requirements for CMU. As the school that created the first wi-fi network in 1993, their history in computer science is second to none even if they're only third on our list.

If you're not ready for AI directed experimentation, then you may not have been paying attention to how fast the artificial intelligence field is expanding. Soon there may be robots in labs, not as subjects, but rather as employees and researchers. Carnegie Mellon is helping prepare students and grads for a future where their coworkers might not all be human. Students who look forward to working with robots and other AIs soon have found the right school with CMU.

2. Stanford University

Full disclosure here: Stanford and MIT are pretty much tied for the number one spot. Depending on who you ask, either one could be the 'winner,' in the field. The H-index Indicators are a measure of how much impact the research has had on the world, and Stanford has a perfect score. Do you want to have your pick of places to go anywhere in the world? Especially if you're going to research and develop new technologies, then getting into Stanford will put you on that path. The location, in the heart of Silicon Valley, leaves Stanford grads a vast number of job opportunities right outside their door.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology claims the number one spot for computer technology because it's also the QS rankings top school in the world for seven years running. If you manage to get accepted, you've made a serious splash academically. MIT grads are going places in life. Congratulations are for any student of MIT, but especially the computer science majors who are changing the world. You'll make the connections you need to take any computer job you want if you go to this prestigious school.

Students who are fascinated by both the human mind and AI will be thrilled by some of the research coming out of MIT. Recently two major departments, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Science put their heads together to take a more in-depth look at how people interact with systems that are trying to mimic human intellect. Of course, that's not the only fascinating thing coming out of MIT. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to say they probably ave a breakthrough every week on this campus. Only the very most elite of the top tier students will make it into MIT's CS program, but if you do a whole world of wonders is ahead.

Final Thoughts

Computer science is a part of virtually every business these days. No matter what field you want to go into, there's a computer science specialist behind their systems. From fashion to security, robotics to medicine, everyone uses computers. Anywhere you could wish to go in life; you can get there with a degree from one of these top twenty schools for computer science. You'll never be bored since the field is expanding and evolving rapidly, but getting in might be a little tricky at these prestigious institutions. Nevertheless, if you work hard and keep your grades up, you might find yourself among the elite someday soon.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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