Best universities for computer science degrees 2017

Find the best universities for computer science using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data
September 28 2016

Studying computer science is a smart bet in today’s world; the career opportunities for tech-savvy graduates are expanding every year.

There’s also an extensive choice of universities when it comes to deciding where to study computer science.

Just over 100 schools feature in a new ranking for computer science by Times Higher Education this year.


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A quarter of the featured universities are American colleges and almost half the universities are based in Europe. Just under a quarter of the top 100 universities are Asian institutions.

Computer science degrees vary in terms of their focus and specialisms. Some courses are more theoretical and some more focused on programming.

In previous years, computer science degrees were included in the engineering and technology subject ranking, but this year there is a dedicated league table for computer science for the first time.

The new ranking uses the same methodology as the World University Rankings, but with slightly higher weighting given to the innovation metric and lower weighting for citations.

Scroll down for a full list of degrees covered by the computer science ranking.


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Top five universities for computer science

1. ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

ETH Zurich has a history of developing software and designing computer systems. Eventually these projects called for a dedicated computer science department, which was formed in 1981.

Now there are more than 30 professors in the department, hailing from more than 10 different countries.

About 200 doctoral students and research assistants study and work in the department alongside more than 50 senior scientists.

The department covers many areas of computer science, including computational intelligence, networks and distributed systems, algorithms and theory and information security. Different programming languages are also taught in software engineering courses.

There are close relationships with other departments within the university and with partners in business and industry, such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, SAP and Disney, with whom the university collaborates on research projects.

ETH Zurich dates back to 1855, just a few years after the formation of the federal state of Switzerland. It was created as a centre for scientific knowledge and innovation and remains a top institution for a range of subjects.

2. California Institute of Technology

The tiny university in Pasadena, California, boasts a world-leading department of computing and mathematical sciences.

In fact, computer science is the most popular major for women at Caltech, and 95 per cent of undergraduates take at least one course in computer science.

The undergraduate programme is very flexible; many students double major with computer science and another subject or combine with a minor subject.

Interdisciplinary collaborations are also encouraged, particularly at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory – a Nasa field centre nearby.

There are only three students to every faculty member, one of the lowest ratios of any top university.

Among many achievements, the department can claim responsibility for developing the first asynchronous microprocessor and for building the Touchstone Delta – a supercomputer – with Intel.

3. University of Oxford

Although computer science is a relatively modern discipline, Oxford has one of the oldest departments in the country, formerly known as the Oxford University Computing Laboratory.

Since its beginnings, the department has provided lecturers for undergraduates and trained research students at a postgraduate level.

In addition to core computer science topics, students can take courses in computational biology, quantum computing, information systems, software verification, software engineering and computational linguistics.

Three undergraduate degrees are offered by the department: single honours computer science, maths and computer science, and computer science and philosophy.

As of 2016 there are about 200 undergraduates, about 400 full-time and part-time master’s students and more than 130 doctoral students.

Like students of other subjects, computer science students – whether undergraduate or postgraduate – belong to one of Oxford’s colleges where they have the option to eat, socialise, study and live.

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The department of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT confidently declares ‘our students change the world’.

Many of its alumni feature in lists of influential entrepreneurs who are making changes at home and abroad.

Recently, students have taken their start-ups to San Francisco and research projects have explored problems such as calculating the financial risks of renewable energy and developing faster parallel computing.

Undergraduates are enrolled on a flexible curriculum that allows them to focus on both on abstract theory and practical problems in computer science. Students can major in computer science or both computer science and molecular biology.

The department is the largest across the entire university, with 1,200 undergraduates, 700 postgraduates and 120 faculty members.

Graduates go on to design video games, work on supercomputers, research robotics and often join big companies such as Google and Microsoft.

5. Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Tech’s school of computing was founded in 1970, six years after the university first ran a computer science graduate programme.

Twenty years later, the university established a college of computing – the first public university to do so.

There are currently 18 degree programmes on offer, three separate schools of computer science, 84 faculty members and a wide community of researchers and students.

For graduates of the college, the median starting salary is $70,000 (£53,000) and the highest starting salary as of 2014  was $120,000.

In fact, the computer science major has the highest job placement rate across the university subjects.

The university is particularly recognised for excellence in the fields of artificial intelligence, systems research, and theoretical computer science.


Resources: European universities

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Best universities for computer science 2016-2017

Click each institution to view its profile

Rank 2016-2017

University

Country

1

ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

Switzerland

2

California Institute of Technology

United States

3

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

4

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States

5

Georgia Institute of Technology

United States

6

Carnegie Mellon University

United States

7

Imperial College London

United Kingdom

8

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Switzerland

9

Technical University of Munich

Germany

10

National University of Singapore

Singapore

11

Cornell University

United States

12

University College London

United Kingdom

13

University of Washington

United States

=14

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong

=14

Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore)

Singapore

16

University of Edinburgh

United Kingdom

17

University of Toronto

Canada

18

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

United States

19

University of Maryland, College Park

United States

20

Columbia University

United States

21

Tsinghua University

China

22

University of California, San Diego

United States

23

University of Waterloo

Canada

24

New York University

United States

25

University of Texas at Austin

United States

26

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Germany

27

Peking University

China

28

University of California, Santa Barbara

United States

29

RWTH Aachen University

Germany

30

University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

31

Purdue University

United States

32

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

South Korea

33

Chinese University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

34

École Polytechnique

France

35

Delft University of Technology

Netherlands

36

Technical University of Berlin

Germany

37

University of Tokyo

Japan

38

University of California, Irvine

United States

39

National Taiwan University

Taiwan

40

Australian National University

Australia

41

Rice University

United States

42

University of Melbourne

Australia

=43

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Russian Federation

=43

École Normale Supérieure

France

45

Vienna University of Technology

Austria

46

Technion Israel Institute of Technology

Israel

47

Brown University

United States

48

University of Manchester

United Kingdom

49

Zhejiang University

China

50

University of Freiburg

Germany

51

University of New South Wales

Australia

52

King’s College London

United Kingdom

53

Kyoto University

Japan

54

University of Southampton

United Kingdom

55

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

China

=56

ITMO University

Russian Federation

=56

KU Leuven

Belgium

=58

City University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

=58

University of Luxembourg

Luxembourg

60

University of Glasgow

United Kingdom

61

University of Twente

Netherlands

62

University of Stuttgart

Germany

63

Nanjing University

China

64

Technical University of Darmstadt

Germany

65

Queensland University of Technology

Australia

66

Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Hong Kong

67

University of Alberta

Canada

68

Polytechnic University of Milan

Italy

69

University of Helsinki

Finland

70

Tel Aviv University

Israel

71

Indian Institute of Science

India

72

Arizona State University

United States

73

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Sweden

74

Humboldt University of Berlin

Germany

75

Eindhoven University of Technology

Netherlands

76

Newcastle University

United Kingdom

77

Stony Brook University

United States

78

University of Science and Technology of China

China

79

University of Bonn

Germany

80

University of California, Santa Cruz

United States

81

University of Trento

Italy

82

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

India

83

Ulm University

Germany

84

North Carolina State University

United States

=85

University of Nottingham

United Kingdom

=85

TU Dresden

Germany

87

Radboud University Nijmegen

Netherlands

88

University of Colorado Boulder

United States

89

National Chiao Tung University

Taiwan

90

National Tsing Hua University

Taiwan

91

Lancaster University

United Kingdom

92

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

Italy

93

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Spain

=94

Sapienza University of Rome

Italy

=94

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

United States

=94

Utrecht University

Netherlands

97

Indiana University

United States

=98

University of Notre Dame

United States

=98

University of Oulu

Finland

=100

University of Bristol

United Kingdom

=100

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)

South Korea

Computer science degrees:

  • Computer and information science

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