Best universities for computer science degrees

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

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October 28 2020
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Studying computer science is a smart bet in today’s world, as the career opportunities for tech-savvy graduates are expanding every year.

There is also an extensive choice of universities when it comes to deciding where to study the subject.

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Some 827 schools feature in the ranking for computer science by Times Higher Education this year.


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Just over a sixth of the featured universities are American, and 59 institutions are based in the UK. Canada is represented by 24 institutions while 25 Australian universities are ranked. 

Computer science degrees vary in their focus and specialisms. Some courses are very theoretical, while others are more focused on programming.

The 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. The full methodology can be found here.

Scroll down to find out what you can do with a computer science degree.

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Best universities worldwide

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Top 5 universities for computer science

1. University of Oxford

Although computer science is a relatively modern discipline, the University of 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 lectures for undergraduates and trained research students at 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.

The department offers three undergraduate degrees: single honours computer science, mathematics and computer science, and computer science and philosophy.

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

2. Stanford University

The Stanford University computer science department was established in 1965. The department offers bachelor’s of science, master’s of science and doctor of philosophy degrees.

The department undertakes research in many areas, including artificial intelligence, robotics, foundations of computer science, scientific computing and programming systems. There is also a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research across chemistry, genetics, linguistics, construction and medicine, among others.

The home of the computer science department is the Gates Computer Science Building, named after Bill Gates, who donated $6 million to the project.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The department of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology confidently declares: “Our students change the world.”

Many of its alumni feature on lists of influential entrepreneurs making an impact at home and abroad.

Students are encouraged to develop start-ups, 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 abstract theory and practical problems in computer science. Students can major in computer science or in both computer science and molecular biology.

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


What can you do with a computer science degree?


4. ETH 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 created in 1981.

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 on 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 which 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. Created as a centre for scientific knowledge and innovation, it remains a top institution for a range of subjects.

5. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science offers both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Students are able to study courses such as neural computation, computational biology, language technologies and machine learning.

Undergraduate students are able to undertake research projects in a number of areas, including robotics and human-computer interaction. In the spring, students present the results of their work at the university-wide Meeting of the Minds celebration of undergraduate research.


Student experience of studying computer science

Women in STEM: stories from MIT students
Studying at POSTECH, South Korea
Caltech: ‘uniquely difficult but a wonderful place to study’
Keeping up with coding
Women in STEM: ‘I hope that one day the tech sector will be more diverse’


Best universities for computer science 2021

Click each institution to view its World University Ranking 2021 profile

Computer science rank 2021   Computer science rank 2020  University Country/region
 1   1  University of Oxford United Kingdom
 2   2  Stanford University United States
 3   4  Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
 4   3  ETH Zurich Switzerland
 5   6  Carnegie Mellon University United States
 6   5  University of Cambridge United Kingdom
 7   8  Harvard University United States
 8   11  National University of Singapore Singapore
 9   NR  University of California, Berkeley United States
 10   7  Imperial College London United Kingdom
 11   9  Princeton University United States
 12   15  Tsinghua University China
 13   16  Georgia Institute of Technology United States
 =14   14  Cornell University United States
 =14   18  Technical University of Munich Germany
 =16   12  University of California, Los Angeles United States
 =16   20  École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland
 =18   13  Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
 =18   19  UCL United Kingdom
 20   29  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
 21   26  University of Washington United States
 22   24  University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
 23   23  University of Toronto Canada
 24   21  Columbia University United States
 25   10  California Institute of Technology United States
 26   22  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States
 27   30  Johns Hopkins University United States
 28   27  Peking University China
 29   28  Yale University United States
 30   25  University of Texas at Austin United States
 31   17  The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
 =32   39  The University of Chicago United States
 =32   =31  University of Pennsylvania United States
 34   =31  University of Montreal Canada
 35   45  Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
 36   33  New York University United States
 37   35  University of California, San Diego United States
 38   37  University of Southern California United States
 39   38  University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 40   41  Zhejiang University China
 41   42  The University of Tokyo Japan
 42   44  Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea
 43   36  Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 44   =50  University of Wisconsin -Madison United States
 =45   34  Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris France
 =45   40  University of Waterloo Canada
 47   =47  Seoul National University South Korea
 48   43  University of British Columbia Canada
 49   49  University of Maryland, College Park United States
 50   52  KU Leuven Belgium
 51   53  Duke University United States
 52   58  LMU Munich Germany
 53   =47  Delft University of Technology Netherlands
 54   =79  UNSW Sydney Australia
 55   63  École Polytechnique France
 =56   66  McGill University Canada
 =56   55  Technical University of Berlin Germany
 58   54  University of California, Santa Barbara United States
 =59   65  University of Freiburg Germany
 =59   46  RWTH Aachen University Germany
 61   68  Technical University of Darmstadt Germany
 62   67  National Taiwan University (NTU) Taiwan
 63   =72  Nanjing University China
 64   =56  University of Melbourne Australia
 65   =69  Australian National University Australia
 66   =56  Aalto University Finland
 67   60  Rice University United States
 68   61  University of Science and Technology of China China
 69   =50  Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Germany
 70   =86  University of Sydney Australia
 =71   82  Kyoto University Japan
 =71   88  Sorbonne University France
 73   =69  KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden
 =74   78  University of Amsterdam Netherlands
 =74   89  Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University United States
 76   85  University of Manchester United Kingdom
 77   =92  Penn State (Main campus) United States
 78   59  Eindhoven University of Technology Netherlands
 79   98  Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong
 =80   64  Technion Israel Institute of Technology Israel
 =80   76  TU Wien Austria
 82   =72  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
 83   =79  University of Technology Sydney Australia
 =84   101–125  City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 =84   71  Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) South Korea
 86   =74  Brown University United States
 87   =83  University of Zurich Switzerland
 88   62  University of California, Irvine United States
 89   90  University of Luxembourg Luxembourg
 90   101–125  Fudan University China
 =91   99  Michigan State University United States
 =91   95  Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) Russian Federation
 93   77  University of Massachusetts United States
 94   101–125  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
 95   =79  King’s College London United Kingdom
 =96   126–150  Indian Institute of Science India
 =96   NR  Tokyo Institute of Technology Japan
 98   96  University of Adelaide Australia
 99   101–125  University of Bonn Germany
 =100   100  Aarhus University Denmark
 =100   126–150  Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) South Korea
 101–125   101–125  University of Alberta Canada
 101–125   101–125  University of Birmingham United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  University of Bologna Italy
 101–125   91  Boston University United States
 101–125   =92  Chalmers University of Technology Sweden
 101–125   151–175  Hong Kong Baptist University Hong Kong
 101–125   =74  ITMO University Russian Federation
 101–125   126–150  Korea University South Korea
 101–125   126–150  Lancaster University United Kingdom
 101–125   126–150  Macau University of Science and Technology Macao
 101–125   101–125  McMaster University Canada
 101–125   176–200  National Chiao Tung University Taiwan
 101–125   =83  Northwestern University United States
 101–125   NR  Paris-Saclay University  France
 101–125   97  Politecnico di Milano Italy
 101–125   201–250  Qatar University Qatar
 101–125   101–125  Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
 101–125   =86  Queensland University of Technology Australia
 101–125   101–125  Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey United States
 101–125   101–125  University of Southampton United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  University of Surrey United Kingdom
 101–125   126–150  Télécom Paris France
 101–125   101–125  University of Trento Italy
 101–125   126–150  University of Tübingen Germany
 126–150   101–125  Arizona State University (Tempe) United States
 126–150   NR  University of California, Davis United States
 126–150   151–175  Central South University China
 126–150   126–150  University of Colorado Boulder United States
 126–150   126–150  Dartmouth College United States
 126–150   101–125  University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany
 126–150   151–175  Graz University of Technology Austria
 126–150   126–150  Harbin Institute of Technology China
 126–150   126–150  Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel
 126–150   151–175  University of Helsinki Finland
 126–150   126–150  King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia
 126–150   101–125  Lomonosov Moscow State University Russian Federation
 126–150   126–150  University of Malaya Malaysia
 126–150   101–125  University of Minnesota United States
 126–150   101–125  Northeastern University United States
 126–150   151–175  Queen’s University Belfast United Kingdom
 126–150   101–125  The University of Queensland Australia
 126–150   NR  University of Rochester United States
 126–150   101–125  Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa Italy
 126–150   101–125  University of South Australia Australia
 126–150   151–175  Stony Brook University United States
 126–150   126–150  Technical University of Denmark Denmark
 126–150   101–125  Tel Aviv University Israel
 126–150   151–175  Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
 126–150   101–125  TU Dresden Germany
 126–150   151–175  Università della Svizzera Italiana Switzerland
 126–150   151–175  University of Warwick United Kingdom
 151–175   151–175  Aalborg University Denmark
 151–175   151–175  University of Basel Switzerland
 151–175   101–125  University of Bristol United Kingdom
 151–175   201–250  École des Ponts ParisTech France
 151–175   126–150  Free University of Bozen-Bolzano Italy
 151–175   201–250  Ghent University Belgium
 151–175   126–150  Griffith University Australia
 151–175   126–150  University of Groningen Netherlands
 151–175   176–200  Huazhong University of Science and Technology China
 151–175   176–200  IMT Atlantique France
 151–175   301–400  Johannes Kepler University of Linz Austria
 151–175   251–300  University of Leeds United Kingdom
 151–175   126–150  University of Mannheim Germany
 151–175   201–250  Monash University Australia
 151–175   126–150  National Tsing Hua University Taiwan
 151–175   126–150  University of Nottingham United Kingdom
 151–175   101–125  Ohio State University (Main campus) United States
 151–175   151–175  University of Passau Germany
 151–175   151–175  Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University Russian Federation
 151–175   126–150  Sejong University South Korea
 151–175   201–250  Simon Fraser University Canada
 151–175   126–150  University of Stuttgart Germany
 151–175   151–175  William & Mary United States
 176–200   126–150  University of California, Riverside United States
 176–200   126–150  École Normale Supérieure de Lyon France
 176–200   126–150  University of Geneva Switzerland
 176–200   176–200  University of Idaho United States
 176–200   NR  Illinois Institute of Technology United States
 176–200   251–300  King Saud University Saudi Arabia
 176–200   201–250  University of Klagenfurt Austria
 176–200   201–250  Lehigh University United States
 176–200   176–200  University of Leicester United Kingdom
 176–200   176–200  Linköping University Sweden
 176–200   151–175  University of Macau Macao
 176–200   201–250  New Jersey Institute of Technology United States
 176–200   151–175  North Carolina State University United States
 176–200   201–250  University of Notre Dame United States
 176–200   201–250  University of Oslo Norway
 176–200   176–200  University of Oulu Finland
 176–200   176–200  Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
 176–200   126–150  Sapienza University of Rome Italy
 176–200   201–250  Sharif University of Technology Iran
 176–200   201–250  Southeast University China
 176–200   201–250  University of Tartu Estonia
 176–200   301–400  Tohoku University Japan
 176–200   151–175  University of Twente Netherlands
 176–200   201–250  Uppsala University Sweden
 176–200   176–200  Washington University in St Louis United States
 176–200   176–200  Xi’an Jiaotong University China

Click here to view the full ranking for computer science

Read more: The most detailed subject guide you will ever see to help you pick your degree


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