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Best universities for computer science

Want to know which universities come out on top for computer science? We've got you covered.

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As we live in a digital era, technology plays a vital role in our everyday lives, creating ample opportunities for people with computer skills. The field of computer science has a huge impact on almost every industry such as banking, engineering, manufacturing, communications, and healthcare. This makes computer science graduates particularly employable and crucial to the functioning and development of many companies and organisations around the world. So, if you have a passion for technology and computers, you’ve come to the right place as we take a look at the best universities for computer science degrees to help you decide what’s right for you.


To compile this list we have used the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2021 to source the top-ranking institutions for computer science. The universities that make up the top 10 are:


1. University of Oxford (UK)

2. Stanford University (USA)

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)

4. ETH Zurich (Switzerland)

5. Carnegie Mellon University (USA)

6. University of Cambridge (UK)

7. Harvard University (USA)

8. National University of Singapore (Singapore)

9. University of California, Berkeley (USA)

10. Imperial College London (UK)


You can see here that the USA dominates the rankings with half of this list based in the U.S. However, the UK is not to be outdone, with the University of Oxford ranking 1st in the world for computer science. Let’s take a closer look at some of the computer science departments at these leading universities to find out what they offer prospective students. 




University of Oxford


The University of Oxford in the UK offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science. The bachelor’s degree in computer science lasts for three years with the option of an additional fourth year which would enable you to graduate with a master’s degree in computer science. This is if you achieve a 2:1 grade in the third year of course.


To be considered for a place, you need to have studied maths and ideally further maths at A-level, or the equivalent. You’ll need an A*AA with the A* in maths, further maths or computer science to get in to computer science at Oxford. If you studied the international baccalaureate, you need 39 points with 766 at a higher level and the seven must be in higher-level mathematics. Assessment throughout the degree is exam-based so you must be comfortable with this format. The modules you will cover include:


  • Continuous mathematics
  • Digital systems
  • Ethics and responsible innovation
  • Functional programming
  • Linear algebra
  • Algorithms
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Concurrent programming
  • Machine learning
  • Computer security
  • Principles of programming languages


All candidates are required to sit the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) as part of their application. If you are successful, you will be invited to attend an interview where you will be tested on your problem-solving ability. 


Want to see more UK universities offering computer science degrees?


Stanford University


Stanford University regularly ranks within the top five universities in the world. Many breakthroughs have been achieved at the institution including the first lung transplant and the introduction of the computer mouse. Stanford also has one of the largest campuses in the USA with 18 research institutes and seven schools.


The computer science department offers both a major and minor option for those interested in pursuing the subject. For example, you may choose to study computer science as a minor with linguistics, philosophy, or psychology. If deciding to study computer science as your major, you will focus more on statistics, mathematics, and operations. As a major you can expect to cover the following topics:


  • Computer architecture
  • Systems programming
  • Algorithms
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Programming techniques


Undergraduate Stanford University students can also get involved in research projects through CURIS (Undergraduate Research in Computer Science) in addition to the many talks and seminars hosted by the department. For entry onto the MSc in computer science, you will need a GPA of 3.0 to 3.5. For PhD applicants, a 3.6 GPA average is required. 


Discover more universities offering computer science degrees in the USA.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


The clue is in the name, as MIT has gained a global reputation for its strength in the field. The invention of magnetic core memory which led to the development of digital computers took place at MIT. Students and staff have been at the forefront of many technological advancements in use today.


At MIT, a bachelor’s degree in computer science is a combined programme with engineering, molecular biology or cognition. You can also choose to minor in computer science if studying another degree subject. Some of the topics you can expect to cover include:


  • Computation structures
  • Algorithms
  • Programming
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Computer systems engineering


Graduates of engineering and computer science at MIT will develop a deep understanding of engineering principles based on mathematics, computer science, and life sciences. To further expand upon your knowledge, you may decide to continue with a Master of Engineering or Master of Science in electrical engineering and computer science. This degree takes five years to complete. Engineering and computer science students are encouraged to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge within the department and across the university.


So, you might now have a better idea of what to expect from a computer science degree and which universities are best for this field. 


Didn’t find what you were looking for? Check out our course matcher tool to quickly find a degree and university that’s right for you.


You can also stay informed with all the latest news for international students.


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