Best Master’s in Computer Science Degrees

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What can you do with a Master’s in Computer Science

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Earning a masters degree in computer science brings you closer to the pulse of modern society. You will have the tools to update and revolutionize virtually any industry in which you find passion.

Here are some of the roles you could take on: Computer Network Architect, Computer Programmer, Computer Systems Analyst, or Information Security Analyst.

Also, it’s not too drastic to say studying in the field of computer science may give individuals the opportunity to change the future of our world: possibly solving global problems or inventing new ways of interacting with one another and impacting international systems and processes.

Technology is ever-changing and will undoubtedly become more advanced in the coming years. That’s why earning a Master’s in Computer Science degree now is a great bet on a lucrative and engaging career down the road. 

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Top 10 Best Master’s in Computer Science Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Yale University New Haven, CT
2 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
3 California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA
4 Dartmouth College Hanover, NH
5 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
6 Columbia University New York, NY
7 Stanford University Stanford, CA
8 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA
9 University of Chicago Chicago, IL
10 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA

What kind of Master’s in Computer Science degree should you get?

The institutions outlined below each have different strengths when it comes to their Master of Computer Science degree (abbreviated as “MSc in Computer Science” in other countries). Some of the first computer science programs began back in the 1960s while others weren’t founded until more recently.

Certain programs are more focused on research and the theoretical nature of the field, while others are geared toward professional applications. Many programs give students the option of picking either a research or a professional track. Sometimes the master’s degree in computer science is meant only if one plans on pursuing a PhD, but most of them are stand-alone (terminal) degrees.

Because of both the present and future manifestations of computers technology, graduate degrees in computer science are highly competitive and desirable degrees. And this is true for both residential and online master’s in computer science degrees.

How much money can you make with a Master’s in Computer Science?

Having a graduate degree in computer science will certainly give individuals the chance for better career opportunities. It also is a career that gives back tenfold in terms of annual salary. In general, the median annual salary for computer and information technology occupations is $84,580, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, that number is just the average. Many occupations bring in higher salaries, such as Software Developers ($103,560) and Computer Network Architects ($104,650). Even more better news, the outlook on employment looks to be great for computer occupations—it’s expected to increase by 13 percent between now and 2026.

What are the Best Master’s in Computer Science?

We have ranked the top 50 Best Master’s in Computer Science across the United States. Our methodology takes into consideration a range of metrics, but here are the core factors: the school’s academic reputation, cost of tuition, and average salary of recent graduates.

Our data comes from our own research of program websites and catalogs, the rankings at U.S. News and World Report, the National Center for Educational Statistics, and Payscale.com. Ready to code your way to your future? 

The technology in the field of computers and computer science is ever changing and advancing, and will undoubtedly become more advanced in the coming years. That’s why earning a Master’s in Computer Science degree now is a great bet on a lucrative and engaging career down the road. 

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Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Accredited Online College Programs

What kind of Master’s in Computer Science degree should you get?

The institutions outlined below each have different strengths when it comes to their Master of Computer Science degree (abbreviated as “MSc in Computer Science” in other countries). Some of the first computer science programs began back in the 1960s while others weren’t founded until more recently.

Certain programs are more focused on research and the theoretical nature of the field, while others are geared toward professional applications. Many programs give students the option of picking either a research or a professional track. Sometimes the master’s degree in computer science is meant only if one plans on pursuing a PhD, but most of them are stand-alone (terminal) degrees.

Because of both the present and future manifestations of computers technology, graduate degrees in computer science are highly competitive and desirable degrees. And this is true for both residential and online master’s in computer science degrees.

Program Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Yale University
    Location

    New Haven, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Established in 1701, Yale University is located in New Haven, Connecticut and is a private Ivy League university accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Yale is consistently ranked as in the top three universities in the country, and in the top 15 universities in the world.

    Features

    A computer science degree has been offered at Yale since the departments founding in 1969 by Alan Perlis. He then served as a professor until his death in 1990. Yale hosts distinguished lecturers in the field of computer science who have spoken on topics that mimic its curriculum. Areas include the following:

    Notables

    Yales Master in Computer Science degree is a terminal graduate programas such, it is most oriented toward to students interested in beginning their professional career after graduation rather than pursuing their PhD. It is also an appropriate option for students who are interested in research, but may not be ready to commit to the thoroughness of a PhD.

  2. Harvard University
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Harvard University is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1636, it is considered to be the oldest university in the United States, and ithas been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges since 1929. Harvard consistently ranks among the best universities in the US and the world, notably topping theAcademic Ranking of World Universitiesevery year since 2003.

    Features

    Harvard offers two masters degrees within their graduate program that are a computer science degree: a Master of Science and a Master of Engineering Degree in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE). The graduate program in CSE program lasts one year and is best suited toward graduate students looking to further their knowledge in the industry and quickly move on to professional aspirations. Highlight coursework includes:

    Notables

    The Master of Engineering in CSE program lasts two years and requires a thesis in order to graduate. Typically, the majority of the second year is spent doing research, culminating in the completion and defense of a masters thesis. This program is best suited for students interested in research or planning further education toward a Ph.D.

  3. California Institute of Technology
    Location

    Pasadena, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Also known as Caltech, the California Institute of Technology is a private university founded in 1891. It is located in Pasadena, California and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Caltech ranks as having one of the highest median starting salaries for its alumni. A notable alumnus is Donald Knuth, known as the father of algorithm analysis.

    Features

    Caltechs graduate degree in Computer Science is a non-terminal research-based computer science degree oriented toward a Ph.D. It has general and specialized coursework as well as a thesis component, and can normally be completed in two years. A sampling of coursework includes:

    Notables

    Students can expect to receive a strong grounding in the mathematical and algorithmic foundations of computing, as well as be introduced to cutting-edge research in a variety of subfields of computers. Upon graduating, students will be prepared to utilize their skills and learning to tackle difficult problems in the computer science industry and beyond.

  4. Dartmouth College
    Location

    Hanover, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overviewverview

    Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League, university in Hanover, New Hampshire. Dartmouth College was established in 1769. It is one nine universities that were founded in the United States prior to the American Revolution.Dartmouth College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

    Features

    In the Master of Computer Science program at Dartmouth, students work with top-level faculty researchers in an intimate and collaborative setting. All of Dartmouths Master of Computer Science degree students are eligible to use the state-of-art facilities on campus and are given ample time to conduct research throughout their studies. Some of the stand-0ut courses include:

    Notables

    Students are exposed to research in a variety of fields, including engineering, mathematics, biology, medicine, and more. Dartmouths graduate program takes pride in its small class sizes and nationally recognized faculty.

  5. Cornell University
    Location

    Ithaca, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Cornell University is a private Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865, the university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and is consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the nation.The Cornell University Library is the 11th largest academic library in the United States.

    Features

    The Computer Science degree program Cornell University was created in 1965, over 50 years ago. The graduate degree programis a small, highly selective, four-semester program. This graduate program favors driven, self-motivated students who take pleasure in both research and working alongside undergraduate students in introductory courses. Heres a look at a few electives:

    Notables

    Students admitted into the program must also work as full-time teaching assistants (TAs) during their time of enrollment. As part of the program, and in exchange for these services, however, masters degree students pay no tuition, and receive a stipend and health insurance.

  6. Columbia University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Established in 1754, Columbia University is a private Ivy League university located in Upper Manhattan of New York City, New York. It has been at the forefront of research in the field of computers, engineering, technology and medicine, and is associated with the invention of Macromodel (a software for computational chemistry) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) which is used for audio, video, chat and instant messaging.

    Features

    Columbia offers two degree programs for professionals interested a computer science degree. The Master in Computer Science program is for those who are interested in software engineering, AI, natural language processing or other core areas in computers. Concentrations for the Master in Computer Science degree include:

    Notables

    Columbia also offers a graduate degree in Computer Engineering, which targets students more interested in computer architecture, parallel systems, or other similar specialties.

  7. Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Established in 1885, Stanford University is a private university accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, located in Stanford, California. It is consistently ranked as having one of the best reputations in the world, and holds the rank as the most selective university in 2016.

    Features

    Graduate degree students who complete the coursework of the Master of Computer Science Degree at Stanford indicate to employers that their studies have consisted of both a broad grounding in the discipline of computer science, while also specializing in a particular area such as:

    Notables

    Stanfords faculty and graduates has the second highest Turing Award recipients (behind only University of California-Berkeley), an annual prize given by the Association for Computing Machinery to individuals who have made contributions to the computing community, and it is generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science.

  8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Commonly known as MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded in 1861 and is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. It frequently ranks in the top 10 universities in the country, and as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. In 2014Moneymagazine ranked MIT as third in the U.S. for Best Colleges for Your Money.

    Features

    MITs Master of Computer Science degree is directed to students pursuing their Ph.D. and is not offered as a terminal degree. As such, students who are looking to earn their masters degree and quickly move toward professional pursuits would be better suited studying elsewhere. The masters program consists of 66 units (roughly equivalent to 22 credits at another institution) of coursework, plus a research thesis. Research areas include:

    Notables

    Graduates of MIT have gone on to work at places such as Ivy League (and other prestigious) schools, Facebook, Google, research and consulting firms, or MIT itself.MIT has been involved in computer experimentation since the early 1960s, and MIT faculty and researchers have made fundamental contributions in the field of computer science.

  9. University of Chicago
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Chicago is a private university in Chicago, IL. The university was established in 1890, and is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.The University of Chicagos Master in Computer Science degree most differentiates itself from competitive programs by specifically matching coursework to the career goals its students.

    Features

    The graduate program offers two programs of study: 1) The 9-Course masters degree in Computer Science, and 2) The 12-Course masters degree in Computer Science with Specialization Programs.Typically, students are able to complete the graduate program in 9 months and part-time students can complete the graduate program in as few as 15 months. Students choose from the following specializations:

    Notables

    The 9-course Master of Computer Science Program exposes students to both foundational concepts of computer science and advanced skills required for a prosperous career. The 12-course Masters in Computer Science Specialization Program is more suited to students looking to specialize and improve their skill set in a specific area of study. The 12-course graduate program also allows students to take part in an internship or research project by the completion of their studies.

  10. University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Commonly referred to as Penn, University of Pennsylvania established in 1740 located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Penn is a private Ivy League, doctorate-granting university accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Penn is a prolific and active research institution and is associated with creating the first general purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) in 1946.

    Features

    University of Pennsylvania offers five different masters degrees in computer science all labeled as an Engineering graduate degree. Students with little or no prior experience in computers who desire to pursue a career in computing and technology are recommended to pursue the Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT) degree. Students may choose between pursuing degrees in:

    Notables

    Graduates have worked as a software development engineer at Microsoft, a Systems Engineer at Lockheed Martin, researchers at MIT and University of Pennsylvania, or doctoral students at a variety of top-tier schools.

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