With so many processes and jobs going digital, computer programmers and software developers perform vital services for society. These professionals write and experiment with code to ensure software and computers function correctly. Additionally, they write code for new software. Thanks to computer programmers and software developers, many professionals enjoy digital tools that make their jobs easier.
A computer programming degree prepares individuals for employment as both computer programmers and software developers. In terms of salary and job outlook, software development offers better job prospects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes a median annual income of $107,510 for software developers and projects 22% job growth between 2019-2029. The annual income and job outlook stand at $86,550 and -9%, respectively, for computer programmers.
Keep reading to learn the goals and requirements of a computer programming degree and how professionals and scholarships can aid studies.
What Are the Goals of a Computer Programming Degree?
A computer programming degree prepares students to succeed in the computer science field. Although courses vary by program, most computer programming degrees require coding, ethical hacking, user experience, and mathematics courses.
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What degree do I need to be a computer programmer?
To become a computer programmer, individuals should earn a degree in computer science or a related subject. Most entry-level computer programming positions require a bachelor’s degree.
How long does it take to become a computer programmer?
Since computer programmers typically need a bachelor’s degree, it takes about four years to complete the required courses. Individuals wanting to start their career earlier can participate in an accelerated program.
What kind of jobs can you get with a computer programming degree?
This degree prepares students to pursue careers as computer programmers, informational technology professionals, and software developers. Most computer programmers work in offices or from home.
Is computer programming a good career?
This career offers a rewarding salary, so many individuals classify it as a promising career. According to the BLS, computer programmers enjoy a higher than average salary.
Most computer programming degrees allow students to select a minor or concentration. This flexibility enables learners to tailor their studies for their career goals. Typical concentrations include big data, cybersecurity, game development, mobile applications, and artificial intelligence. Some courses prepare students to earn certifications by covering the material on required exams. Computer programming offers certifications for C, C++, and Oracle Application Express.
Why Get a Computer Programming Degree?
Investing time and money into any college degree yields benefits. However, completing a computer programming program comes with unique perks. Below, we highlight five specific pros of earning this degree.
The BLS reports a higher median wage for computer programmers and software developers than many other careers. The median incomes for software developers and computer programmers stand at $107,510 and $86,550, respectively.
Computer Professionals Can Work From Home
Since most computer programming tasks occur online, many employers let these professionals work from home. Working from home saves time and money on commuting.
Useful for Everyday Life
Technological issues arise regularly, and computer programming knowledge helps individuals troubleshoot these problems. Graduates also use their knowledge to assist friends and family members with technology questions.
Automation Causes an Increased Industry Need
With more jobs going digital and automation increasing, companies need individuals who can develop new computer programs and software. The BLS lists the projected job outlook for computer and information technology occupations as 11% for 2019-2029.
Opportunity for Self-Employment
According to the BLS, self-employed computer programmers comprise 3% of the workforce. Individuals wanting to set their own working hours and rates or work from wherever they wish should consider becoming a self-employed computer programmer.
What Are the Requirements for a Computer Programming Degree?
Colleges and universities set their own admission requirements. Typically, the more advanced the degree, the more competitive the requirements. Applicants must submit an application form, relevant test scores, official transcripts, references, and a small fee. Graduate programs may require a portfolio review or an interview with an admissions panel. Aspiring college attendees should apply for multiple programs due to the competitive nature.
While earning a computer programming degree, learners must maintain a certain GPA. Most computer programming courses include lectures, project-based exams, and hands-on practice. Computer programming programs with a research emphasis may also require a thesis or capstone.
Professional Organizations for Computer Programming Students
Students benefit from joining professional organizations aligned with their desired career outcomes. Typically, professional organizations host events and keep professionals up to date on industry advancements. Oftentimes, organizations extend membership discounts to students. Below, we highlight four professional organizations for aspiring computer programmers and software developers.
Since 1947, ACM has sought to advance the computer programming industry. This organization's membership pool totals more than 100,000 students and professionals. Members benefit from access to an exclusive job board and a digital library. ACM also publishes a student newsletter and journal.
CRA advances the technological profession through research. Students members gain access to resources for research projects. The organization's Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers Award Program acknowledges students demonstrating computer research excellence. CRA also provides helpful information on selecting graduate programs.
IACSIT charges an affordable student membership, and student members benefit from a reduced conference admission fee. This international organization connects individuals around the world, so it allows students to learn from mentors with diverse backgrounds.
Scholarships for Computer Programming Students
Scholarships can help fund a computer programming degree. Nonprofits, schools, and corporations all provide financial awards. Most scholarships require an application form, recommendation letters, and essays. Since most of these awards have many applicants and few recipients, we encourage prospective students to apply for multiple scholarships. Take a look at these three options for computer programming students.
Who Can Apply: The Society of Women Engineers administers this scholarship to female students in engineering-related fields, such as computer programming. Both undergraduates and graduate students qualify for this scholarship. Applicants must attend a program with accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Who Can Apply: Full-time undergraduate students with a declared computer science major qualify for this scholarship. Individuals must complete one full college semester before applying. The recipient needs a minimum 3.0 GPA. This scholarship award honors the memory of Betty Stevens Frecknall and her achievements in the computer science field.
Who Can Apply: Each year, Microsoft sets aside funds to assist Black computer science students. For 2021, the organization offers 27 scholarships. To apply, individuals must submit a photo of themselves, two recommendation letters, transcripts, and two essays. One essay focuses on the student’s financial need. The other details how the individual plans to engage in the technology industry in their future career.
Stanford’s Computer Science Department was founded in 1965, making it one of the oldest and most prestigious programs of its kind. The research the department has kept up with the times, leading the way in technological development and making it a top institution for studying the discipline. Undergraduates in Computer Science have the opportunity to become thoroughly involved in research, working with faculty and resources that are some of the best in the world.
While studying at Stanford, students become thoroughly enmeshed with campus culture and learning. Undergraduates in the Computer Science program have the opportunity to get involved in teaching, with many employed in discussion sections for introductory courses. Other students pursue opportunities such as internships and jobs in the nearby Silicon Valley. Required courses for the program include:
Computer Organization and Systems
Principles of Computer Systems
Data Structures and Algorithms
If you’re interested in performing cutting-edge research while you’re still in your first few years of study, Stanford is the place for you. This university provides students with exemplary training for future work in the field and even hosts a special program called CURIS. This program provides top students with research opportunities throughout the summer months.
The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the largest undergraduate program at MIT. The program is world-renowned for its academic quality and propensity towards innovation. Students in this program learn how to solve problems in unique ways, working with modeling and abstraction methods that prepare them for success in top careers as software engineers or even bioengineers.
Each flexible, intensive course is taught by world class faculty. Students will gain exposure to high-tech material such as mathematical computer theory to robotics. In addition to optional independent study or research opportunities, students are encouraged to take classes in concentration fields such as:
Graphics and Human-Computer Interfaces
Materials, Devices, and Nanotechnology
Signals and Systems
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is home to some of the world’s most advanced research laboratories. The four affiliate labs on campus include The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, the Microsystems Technology Laboratories, and the Research Laboratory of Electronics. Graduates pursue leadership positions in fields such as finance, law, nanotechnology, biomedical technology, and many others. As a result of these extensive, hands-on experiences, the institute consistently ranks at the top of U.S. News and World Report rankings for its academic excellence and overall quality.
Princeton University not only offers a fundamental computer science program, it also allows students to customize their studies in an array of interdisciplinary areas. The program is highly flexible, allowing students to major in computer science through either the A.B. or B.S.E. degree program. Students may design their own programs within a broad framework, and also engage in unique learning experiences such as independent study. The university also offers a certificate program in Applications of Computing.
In addition to a flexibly designed, customizable program, students also have the opportunity to engage in advanced research or even entrepreneurial product design. This allows them to gain experience in the core areas of computer science and their own chosen disciplines. Required courses for the major include:
Reasoning about Computation
Algorithms for Computational Biology
Information Technology and Public Policy
Computer Architecture and Organization
Algorithms and Data Structures
Students are highly successful upon graduation from this program, with many joining major companies in computing and information technology. Others continue their education with graduate studies at the highest ranked Computer Science graduate programs, or even attend professional schools such as medical school. The program’s success is largely accredited to its thirty-nine experienced, tenure-track faculty, all with extensive backgrounds in machine learning, computational biology, graphics, networks, and other crucial disciplines.
Berkeley’s Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science prepares students both for long-term research careers as well as technical leadership in a variety of industries. The program looks beyond the technology of today and gives students the training necessary to anticipate future developments—as well as to initiate those developments while still enrolled in their studies. The department also features a unique Basic Programming Skills development program for entry-level employment, allowing students to complete the equivalent of a minor to gain some experience in the field.
Unlike many institutions of its size and caliber, Berkeley offers the unique distinction of having the majority of its Computer Science courses taught by regular Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty. These teachers are also renowned researchers in the field, teaching classes such as:
Foundations of Data Science
Introduction to Computational Thinking with Data
Matlab for Programmers
Scheme and Functional Programming for Programmers
Productive Use of the UNIX Environment
JAVA for Programmers
This top-ranked program is offered at a vibrant, diverse community in one of the most technologically-influential areas of the world. The program has close ties to local industry, allowing students to explore internships and research in topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Programming Systems, Security, Communications, and many other fields.
The Department of Computer Science at Yale University offers a range of exceptional programs, including a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, as well as a combined Bachelor’s and Master’s program. The university also features unique joint majors with the Departments of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Psychology. Because every program at Yale is ingrained in the liberal arts, students even have the opportunity to complete second majors, such as Economics or even Theater Studies.
This program is supplemented by a wide variety of electives, giving students flexibility in designing their degree pathways. Students also have the opportunity to engage in challenging original research under the guidance of a faculty member. Opportunities exist throughout the year, including over the summer. Required classes include:
Introduction to Computing and Programming
Law, Technology, and Culture
Introduction to Information Systems
Mathematical Tools for Computer Science
Introduction to Systems Programming and Computer Organization
This program is highly collaborative, allowing students to work with their peers in the department as well as in other disciplines such as mathematics, statistics, music, business, linguistics, and more. These collaborations help the program to fit nicely into the diverse, academically rigorous community offered at Yale. As a result, this large research university is one of the few on this list with a prestigious designation as an Ivy League institution.
California Institute of Technology offers a Computer Science major that provides students with a solid footing in the mathematical and algorithmic foundations of computing. Students receive access to cutting-edge research in multiple sub disciplines of Computer Science, and also learn how to apply their understandings of computation to other areas. There is notable flexibility in course scheduling, allowing students to engage in several tracks. These tracks include robotics, graphics, database, and many more.
In addition to selecting a track upon which to focus their studies, students also engage in a set of core classes and design a unique capstone project. This capstone project gives young, aspiring researchers the opportunity to conduct independent work in any area of their choice. Other required classes include:
Introduction to Algorithms
Fundamentals of Computer Programming
Decidability and Tractability
Machine Learning and Data Mining
While most students will engage in sufficient research throughout the regular duration of their undergraduate studies, the institute also features unique Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships to allow students to gain further experience. Students may also engage in research or internships opportunities outside of the institute, working at external positions that are often paid while gaining vital experience. Students even have the opportunity to double major, making this one of the most versatile and advanced programs of its kind.
The program in Computer Science at Harvard Unviresity is designed for all styles and levels of computer programmers. Most students admitted to this program have little to no experience in the discipline, making it an excellent option for young, aspiring researchers. Many Computer Science courses at Harvard allow for research experiences, and most students will, at some point in their studies, work one-on-one with faculty to conduct research in all sorts of areas. Common areas of research interest include Architecture, Artificial Intelligence, and Theory of Computation.
Students will take a range of courses in the liberal arts, as well as in the overall study of information. Programming languages are learned and these skills are honed within this program, but are not the sole focus of the concentration. In addition to these core competencies, required courses include:
Data Structures and Algorithms
Fairness, Privacy and Validity in Data Analysis
Networks Design Projects
Harvard features a variety of unique opportunities to tailor their studies towards their interests. For example, motivated students may pursue joint concentrations between Computer Science and another field, allowing them to explore a research problem that bridges the two fields. The university also features a variety of Active Learning Laboratories and related machine shops, which support students by giving them access to training and hands-on work with state-of-the art instrumentation and advanced fabrication tools.
The undergraduate program at Dartmouth is designed not just to give students experience in modern computation technologies such as hardware and software, but to also give them the tools necessary to innovate and develop exciting new technologies, both on campus and off. The program focuses on design, implementation, diagnosis, communication, and analysis of computers and computer-related problems.
In addition to a standard Computer Science undergraduate program, students may also take additional classes that will count toward a Master of Science degree with concentrations in Digital Arts or Computer Science. This allows talented students to accelerate their progress towards top-ranked graduate degrees. Recommended courses for the stand-alone major include:
Networks in our Social, Technological, and Natural Worlds
Problem Solving via Object-Oriented Programming
Introduction to Computational Neuroscience
3D Digital Modeling
Computer Animation: The State of the Art
Dartmouth is one of the few universities on this list to offer study abroad programs uniquely designed for Computer Science majors. Through the Aquincum Institute of Technology, students may study at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary. In small class sizes of less than twenty students, Dartmouth students may take coursework in topics such as Design, Entrepreneurship, Computer Science, Mathematics, and even Hungarian Culture. These experiences prepare students to work and to program in a highly diverse, rapidly changing global climate.
Carnegie Mellon’s rigorous Bachelor of Science in Computer Science combines an in-depth core of computer science courses with substantial coursework through a required minor in a different subject. Many students pursue coursework in the humanities and other sciences, providing them the unique flexibility to engage in studies and employment in other fields. Courses are intensive and project-based, and allow students the ability to receive independent study credit through research.
This unparalleled program allows students to conduct part-time or summer jobs in independent computer science research. These experiences helps students gain insight into the issues surrounding the building and maintenance of computer-based systems. This four-year program is broken down into three main components: general education, fine arts, and computer science. Students will take a range of versatile, dynamic courses, including:
Designing Human Centered Software
Machine Learning in Practice
Natural Language Processing
Computer Game Programming
The university encourages students to engage in study abroad and internship opportunities to enhance and broaden their interdisciplinary experiences. Over thirty percent of graduating seniors study abroad at some point, enjoying programs in countries such as the Czech Republic, China, Peru, Italy, Spain, Thailand, Ireland, and Morocco. Internship opportunities are also encouraged, with students engaging in work experiences at startups, art museums, and a variety of other organizations and companies.
While Rice University’s program in Computer Science provides students with the training and expertise necessary to solve advanced problems and design challenges in mathematics or computer science, it is unique in that it requires zero programming or coding experience. Students are not required to declare this as a major until after the sophomore year, allowing students to gain experience in other fields before moving on to field-specific and intensive coursework.
Computer Science is offered via Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science tracks. Students will take courses tailored to their career goals, as well as core coursework in topics such as:
Principles of Parallel Programming
Probability and Statistics
Elements of Algorithms and Computational Thinking
Introduction to Program Design
Operating Systems and Concurrent Programming
Advanced Object-Oriented Programming and Design
Students in this program gain experience through computer science research positions in areas such as Programming Languages, Software Engineering, Algorithms, and many others. Students may become involved in faculty research either during the academic year or through paid summer internships. As a result, graduates are highly successful at finding positions in practically any industry. Computer Science alumni from Rice University are highly successful, working at global powerhouses such as Amazon, Yahoo!, YouTube, and Google. Many have developed nonprofit and for-profit startups, or even gone on to work for government agencies such as the Department of Defense.
The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at the Georgia Tech College of Computing prepares students with the tools necessary to become successful at innovation and leadership in the field of computing. The degree provides for a great deal of flexibility and customization, allowing students to choose from eight distinct threads. Threads include media, modeling and simulation, people, intelligence, devices, and several others.
The incorporation of threads in course design provides students with the ability to customize their courses towards a specific field of interest, or to prepare them for graduate or doctoral studies. Although specific course schedules will vary depending on the thread chosen, a sample schedule might include coursework in:
Introduction to Discrete Math
Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming
Data Structures and Algorithms
Computing Organization and Programming
Students have multiple opportunities to get involved while studying at Georgia Tech. Student organizations are a way for students to hone their leadership skills. Popular organizations include the Big Data Club, CM Ambassadors, Entertainment Software Enthusiasts, and many others. Students also have the opportunity to participate in internships and cooperative experiences to further develop their skills. In the past, students have worked at organizations that are both local and global, often receiving paid positions.
Founded in 1979, the Department of Computer Science at Brown has a well-developed history of educating innovative information technology researchers, teachers, and practitioners. As one of the country’s leading computer science programs, it fosters a multidisciplinary approach to the subject. Students work to integrate computing and algorithmic thinking in other areas such as linguistics, archaeology, mathematics, medicine, and many other fields. This provides an environment that supports cross-curricular research and innovation at the undergraduate level.
Students will take a variety of courses, each built upon a collection of pathways representing different areas of computer science. Generally, students will take a variety of core and sequence-based classes, choosing from concentrations such as software principles, data, or systems, for example. A course schedule might include classes such as:
Compilers and Program Analysis
Database Management Systems
Design of Computing Systems
Undergraduate students at Brown have the ability to engage in world-class learning experiences, both on campus and off. Students have flown to Singapore to install software, built their own SMS-based commodity exchanges in Ghana, and facilitated many other interactive, relevant experiences as a result of their learnings in Computer Science. Students at Brown are supported by creative, innovative faculty and well-developed, engaging curriculum, allowing them to make a difference both during and after their undergraduate studies.
The Computer Science program at Columbia prepares graduates for a broad range of careers in industry, education, or government, providing them with the skills necessary to become leaders in the field. These programs combine the advantages of small class sizes with the extensive resources of a large, well-funded research institution. On campus, students have access to a variety of cutting-edge research laboratories and other technological resources to help advance their knowledge and practice with these facilities.
Students will take a variety of courses within an integrated curriculum. This curriculum includes a broad core of eight foundational courses and seven advanced courses chosen from one of six elective tracks. A sample schedule might include classes in the following topics:
Computer Science Theory
Fundamentals of Computer Systems
Game Theoretic Models of Operation
Undergraduates expand and demonstrate their learning through a range of research opportunities and participation in student organizations. Popular clubs and organizations include the Association for Computing Machinery, Women in Computer Science, and the Application Development Initiative, all of which allow students to make valuable professional connections that will help them obtain jobs when they graduate.
Duke University offers several courses of study for undergraduates interested in computer science, including a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Arts, a double major with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a minor in Computer Science. These programs are designed to give students extensive hands-on experience through research, scholarship programs, and internships.
The Bachelor of Science degree is designed for students who are interested in continuing their education in computer science after graduation, or those who are simply interested in a rigorous approach to the field. It provides students with training in mathematical foundations and applications, as well as other interdisciplinary areas. Required classes include:
Introduction to Operating Systems
Introduction to the Design and Analysis of Algorithms
Discrete Math for Computer Science
Introduction to Computer Science
Data Structures and Algorithms
Undergraduates are given access to a variety of programs outside the classroom to complement what they are learning inside it. A range of faculty research projects are available, allowing students to pursue independent study courses guided by experienced, world-renowned faculty. Students can also participate in talks, events, and other activities supported by student organizations such as the Association for Computing Machinery’s student chapter and the committee on Women in Computing. Duke also hosts the regional ACM student programming contests each year.
The University of Chicago offers a variety of programs to prepare students for career success in computer science. In addition to standard Bachelor of Arts programs, students may also enroll in combined BA/MS or BS/MS degrees, or pursue coursework in an additional field of study. A minor is also available, allowing students to pursue work in other areas such as the social sciences, arts, or public administration.
All programs in the Computer Science department require students to take a core set of courses in mathematical sciences, physical sciences, and computer sciences. Emphasizing the importance of collaborative, hands-on learning, a sample schedule will include classes such as:
Computer Science with Applications
Theory of Algorithms
Students at the University of Chicago engage in a variety of research collaborations with industry partners and prestigious faculty. Emphasizing the importance of high-impact research, students work with a variety of collaborative partners to research areas such as machine learning, programming languages, systems, and theory.
The unique program in Computer Science at Cornell University is a hybrid between both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering. This unique combination allows students to major in computer science and specialize in topics such as artificial intelligence, game design, business management and consulting, or even computer graphics. Students may enter directly into the workforce, or go on to masters and doctoral studies in computer-related fields.
This program is broad and rigorous, but allows students to take classes in outside areas well. Each student is granted an individual faculty advisor who works closely with him or her to develop a coherent, cohesive program that supports individual career objectives. Each plan also includes a strong core of liberal arts classes. A sample schedule might include classes such as:
Fundamental Programming Concepts
Introduction to Computing Using MATLAB and Robotics
Transition to Object-Oriented Programming
Introductory Design and Programming for the Web
Autonomous Model Robots
Language and Information
Advanced Topics in Computer Game Architecture
Cornell’s Computer Science program resides within the Cornell Engineering school, which is ranked fifteenth in U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of the best Graduate Schools of Engineering. Students have access to a range of recently renovated research and learning facilities, such as Upson Hall. This building is a LEED certified building with multiple educational and laboratory research areas, along with modern energy conservation systems.
At Vanderbilt, aspiring computer scientists have the ability to gain experience in the field by conducting experiments in areas of practical and intellectual interest, while at the same time learning the theoretical underpinnings of the subject. Students will take classes in state-of-the-art computer facilities while working on team projects, individual research, and class assignments. Summer internships are available, as are opportunities for collaborative work and participation in student professional organizations.
This unique program is usually completed in just four years, but also presents the option of a pre-medical option as well as a five-year accelerated Master’s program and a five year combined Bachelor of Science and Masters of Finance option. Required classes for the stand-alone major include:
Methods of Linear Algebra
Intermediate Software Design
Program Design and Data Structures
There are multiple opportunities for students to engage in research experiences at this award-winning institution. Hosting several renowned research facilities, such as the Institute for Software Integrated Systems and the Institute for Surgery and Engineering, Vanderbilt allows undergraduate students to conduct independent research projects in their fields of interest as well as to work with experienced, approachable faculty members on already existing projects.
The Computer Science program at the University of California Los Angeles is housed within the university’s prestigious Office for Academic and Student Affairs for UCLA Engineering. This office maintains all student activities, academic advising, counseling, and career services, providing students with a one-stop shop for all of their needs while enrolled in their Computer Science studies.
The university is highly interactive, providing students with one-of-a kind access to resources such as tutoring, study skills improvement, and access to personal advisors who will help them create individually tailored degree pathways. Students will take classes in topics such as:
Principles of Programming Languages
Theory of Computation and Formal Languages
The University of California Los Angeles prepares students for career success through a wide variety of internship opportunities, workshops, and networking events. Current undergraduate students have access to paid experiences at organizations such as WindAid, C.W. Howe partners, Mattel, Bank of America, and countless other institutions. Students also have the ability to participate in student organizations such as the Association for Computing Machinery, the Linux Users Group, and many others.
Offered through the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan, the Computer Science Major provides students with a world of exceptional opportunities. Curriculum is taught by world-class faculty who help students tailor their computing studies to their areas of interest. Students develop the knowledge of computing algorithmic fundamentals and the potential to initiate major future discovery through their studies in the ever-changing world of computer science at the University of Michigan.
This program is highly interdisciplinary, allowing students to take advanced electives in areas such as electronic commerce, computer game design, web information systems, graphics, and many other areas. Schedules vary widely depending on the electives and pathways chosen, but most students will take classes such as:
Thriving in a Digital World
Elementary Programming Concepts
Computer Science Pragmatics
Introduction to Electronic Circuits
Probabilistic Methods in Engineering
Digital Integrated Circuits
Learning does not stop once students leave the classroom. The University of Michigan prepares students for career success by offering up a variety of research experiences, as well as the opportunity to get involved with multiple student organizations and multidisciplinary teams. These experiences help students learn about entrepreneurship and to start their own companies. Other students compete in computing contests or networking events with corporate recruiters. This prepares students for paid internships at top companies, and for ultimate career success in the industry or graduate school.
The Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Notre Dame was established in 1990, offering a range of ABET-accredited and easily-transferable programs in the field. A range of concentrations in computer science are available, allowing students to choose their customization in fields such as Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, Media Computing, or Mobile Computing.
Through the exploration of the program concentrations and through other electives, students have the ability to create highly flexible, marketable degrees. While each degree plan will contain a high level of electives and personally selected courses, most students will take classes such as:
Logic Design and Sequential Circuits
Theory of Computing
Operating Systems Principles
While enrolled at the University of Notre Dame, most undergraduate computer science students will partake in student organizations such as Usenix/Sage, Tau Beta Pi Indiana Delta, the Society of Women Engineers or NDLug. Participation in these organizations helps students make connections with potential employers and future leaders and hone their skills in computer science, programming, and engineering.
The University of Texas at Austin offers five different prestigious undergraduate degrees in Computer Science. These include the Bachelor of Science, which requires additional mathematics, science, and computer science courses, as well as the Bachelor of Science and Arts which has a broader liberal arts base. Students can also choose from a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Science for Turing Scholars, a Bachelor of Science for future teachers, and an integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s degree that allows students to earn an advanced degree in just five years.
Although the department recognizes that the curriculum of computer science is too broad to learn in just four short years, it allows a great deal of flexibility to allow students to pursue their own interests within the field. Students can dive into one of ten concentration areas, such as networks and security, entrepreneurship, programming languages, or game development. They will take a wide range of classes, such as:
Theory in Programming Practice
Generic Programming & STL
Introduction to Computer Security
The Department of Computer Science offers several types of scholarships to qualified students. These are offered through the generosity of alumni and industry donors, as well as those seeking to expand opportunities for minority students and students from Texas. These help to support students as they study and engage in various activities, such as study abroad, internships, and job experiences. The university features study abroad experiences in countries such as Australia, Denmark, Chile, Brazil, and dozens of others.
Residing in the top U.S. city for startups, Washington University in St. Louis is at the forefront of computer science developments. This top-ranked program is large, enrolling nearly six hundred undergraduates, yet innovative. Computer scientists and engineers at the university are constantly developing new ways to make an impact on society through their research and studies.
A unique feature of the Computer Science program is the ability it provides for students to pursue other areas of interest. Sixty-nine percent of undergraduate students pursue a second degree or a combined graduate degree. The curriculum includes one hundred and twenty courses, requiring core courses, mathematics courses, and a broad range of electives. Core requirements include:
Logic and Discrete Mathematics
Foundations for Higher Mathematics
Data Structures and Algorithms
Object-Oriented Software Development Laboratory
Analysis of Algorithms
Most students will be involved in some sort of research while enrolled on this scenic campus in St. Louis, helping to expand their understandings of the field and bolster their resumes before graduation. While most students conduct research via independent study projects or through faculty-sponsored initiatives, many students also choose to work full-time on research projects over the summer months. Washington University seeks to make undergraduate studies not just innovative, but also affordable. The university has pledged to meet full financial need of all admitted students, offering a range of scholarships, research fellowships, and work study programs to do so.
Northwestern offers four different options for students interested in computer science: a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, a minor in Computer Science, and a combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science degree. Graduates of this program are recruited and employed in every industry, including software development, information technology consulting, data analytics, and even financial risk analysis. Many students finish this program and go on to graduate degree studies in computer science as well.
While students in the Computer Science program will take a wide variety of interdisciplinary courses, most students begin their study in the major by taking a sequence of introductory courses, including An Introduction to Computer Science for Everyone and Fundamentals of Computer Programming. Students will then choose from one of five specializations, focusing on a specific area of interest, such as:
Northwestern provides ample and varied opportunities for student involvement. Most students work on real research alongside graduate students and faculty members, exploring new areas of inquiry in facilities such as the Communications and Networking Laboratory, IDEAS—Design Automation of Intelligent Systems, and the Intelligent Information Laboratory. Students also have access to several student groups and organizations, such as the Chicago Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, Construction for Learning, .Dev, and the Computer Systems Reading Group.
Johns Hopkins University prides itself on a small campus community that provides the flexibility for students to study across disciplines. By offering both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in computer science, students can customize their studies with double majors or minors in other areas, such as music, cognitive science, economics, or even entrepreneurship and management.
Students work closely with like-minded students from diverse backgrounds, engaging in collaborative teams to create significant bonds. These bonds have frequently led to the development of startup ventures and lifelong relationships. Students pursue coursework not just in computer science, but also develop communication and problem-solving skills. Required classes include:
Theory of Computation
Advanced Computer Networks
Johns Hopkins graduates are recruited by innovators from leading industries, such as Microsoft, Apple, Intel, and Google. While much of students’ learning occurs inside the classroom, students will also engage in a variety of extracurricular activities. Popular student organizations include the Association for Computer Machinery chapter, which allows students to explore new and old computing technologies, as well as Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the international honor society for computing and information disciplines.
The University of California at San Diego hosts one of the most impressive starting salaries for graduates of its Computer Science and Engineering programs – starting at $68,000 per year plus benefits. Students graduate as skilled, well-represented computer scientists, having experienced a significant social networking environment and in-depth coursework in how technology affects all industries. Students don’t just take classes about computer science – they learn how computer science can help solve the world’s problems in medicine, social services, the environment, robotics, and more.
Students pursue a broad liberal arts core for the first two years of studies at UC San Diego. Afterwards, they move on to core coursework in computer science. Required classes include:
Basic Data Structures and Object-Oriented Design
Software Tools and Techniques Laboratory
Introduction to Discrete Mathematics
Mathematics, Algorithms, and Systems Analysis
Computer Organization and System Programming
Advanced Data Structures
Design and Analysis of Algorithms
The University of California is at the forefront in developing better learning strategies to be used inside the classroom. The university utilizes technology to facilitate better educational practice, integrating technologies such as the Ubiquitous Presenter, the Tablet PC Grader, and Clickers. The department is also leading the way in enhancing a campus-wide initiative called “Fluency in Information Technology.” This initiative is designed to attract more students from non-engineering majors to develop their understandings in computer science and technology.
The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at the University of Virginia prepares graduates for careers that are rewarding both personally and societally. This program connects closely to other disciplines, including visual arts, music, science, linguistics, engineering, and mathematics. The department is nationally recognized and includes over forty faculty members and one thousand undergraduate students. Students participate in broad, interdisciplinary research collaborating with others in world-class research projects.
As a requirement of the computer science degree at the University of Virginia, all students must take several courses on engineering and society, such as technical writing, product lifecycle, and professional ethics. This training helps to better prepare students for real-life careers in an ever-changing environment. This ABET-accredited program requires classes such as:
Software Development Methods
Program and Data Representation
Theory of Computation
Analysis of Algorithms
The university has a commitment to excellence in instruction and engagement. The program is constantly being re-designed so that students obtain the best access to current materials. Students benefit from small class sizes and exclusive access to world-class research. In fact, according to U.S. News and World Report, the research budget per student surpasses other top schools such as Stanford and UC Berkeley. Students work in cutting-edge laboratories to learn applied research techniques and gain experience with state-of-the-art experimental systems.
The University of Illinois does not limit students who are interested in Computer Science to one possible degree path. While enrolled, students may choose to major in the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, the Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science, the Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Computer Science, a minor in Computer Science, or a Software Engineering certificate. These programs allow students to conduct world-changing research and work with faculty members who are pioneers in computation.
There are multiple opportunities for students to receive full and partial financial aid for their studies at the University of Illinois. Computer Science students have access to a wide variety of scholarships, fellowships, and other awards. Required and elective courses include a sampling of the following:
Software Design Studio
Ethical and Professional Issues in Computer Science
Data Structure and Software Principles
Intelligence and Big Data
Human and Social Impact
Programming Languages and Compilers
Student organizations are at the forefront of the educational experience for many University of Illinois students. These opportunities allow students to gain leadership and professional development experience as they engage in groups such as HackIllinois, the Association for Computing Machinery, and CocoaNuts, a community for learning about iOS application development.
Purdue’s computer science department offers a wide variety of classes in several different areas of concentration. Students may choose to specialize their studies in areas such as foundations, database and information systems, computer graphics and visualization, or engineering. As a result of this flexibility and customization, Purdue has earned a reputation as one of the best in the field. It is ranked in the top twenty by U.S. News and World Report, as well as the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to the exceptional coursework within the major in computer science, students have access to a number of supplemental programs to help them gain experience in computer science topics. The extensive list of opportunities includes the Bridge program, a two-week summer residential course designed for upcoming undergraduate with little programming experience, as well as the Computer Science 180 Black and Gold, which helps accelerate students’ progress in computer programing classes. Other required coursework includes:
Programming in C
Data Structures and Algorithms
Problem Solving and Object-Oriented Programming
Purdue graduates are highly successful, experiencing a nearly one hundred percent job placement rate. Each year, the university hosts a Computer Science-specific job fair, exposing students to over forty different companies. The university emphasizes the importance of peer mentoring programs as well as increasing diversity within the department and on campus. As a result, Purdue’s Department of Computer Science is the first department to hire a department-specific diversity director.
North Carolina State University features not only an exceptional Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, but also allows students to concentrate specifically in Game Development, a rapidly growing field. The department also offers a minor in Computer Programming, an accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s program, and an honors program. Established in 1967, the department is one of the oldest in the countries and strives to produce graduates who are at the forefront of research and learning.
With forty-seven tenure and tenure-track faculty, the university is one of the best in the nation in awarding all levels of degrees in Computer Science. Students may choose to specialize in concentrations such as Theory, Artificial Intelligence, Systems, Security, or others. Coursework will be taken in the following subjects:
Computer Architectures and Operating Systems
Theory of Computation
Networking and Performance Evaluation
Software and Network Systems Security
While enrolled, students have access to a range of teaching and research laboratories to help them hone their experience in computer science. The university fosters numerous multidisciplinary and collaborative interactions, allowing students to work closely with students and faculty from other universities, government agencies, laboratories, and organizations. Many faculty at the university hold joint appointments, working on research with other facilities such as Duke University and Oakridge National Laboratory.
Undergraduate students majoring in Computer Science at the College of William and Mary benefit from an ever-adapting programs that recognizes the demands of the industry. Students will gain knowledge of the logic and capabilities of computing, as well as an extensive liberal arts education. Honors projects are available, as are a one-year master’s degree and a minor in Computer Science.
Students will choose from a range of in-depth, hands-on courses, including:
Programming for Data Science
Computational Problem Solving
Introduction to Cryptography
Neural Networks Machine Learning
Each year, the Department of Computer Science at the College of William and Mary graduates around sixty students with undergraduate and graduate degrees. Faculty and students are actively engaged in their research, enjoying a college with a large research budget but also with the warmth and collegial environment of a small liberal arts college. Faculty and students are currently engaged in research in topics such as algorithms, computer systems, and security in a state-of-the-art computing environment.
This stunning campus on the shores of the Pacific Ocean is ranked number eight among the country’s top public universities by U.S. News and World Report. It is one of the best computer science colleges and offers a range of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in computer science. Graduates of this program work at some of the most prestigious universities and laboratories around the world, such as Cornell, Microsoft, Google, Virginia Tech, and many others.
The exceptional faculty at the University of California Santa Barbara is experienced, housing five winners of Nobel Prizes as well as countless recipients of other awards. These faculty help organize conferences and workshops to help students gain experience and connections in the industry. In addition to those hands-on networking experiences, students will also take a range of prerequisite and core courses, including:
Problem Solving with Computers
Object Oriented Design and Implementation
Automata and Formal Languages
Introduction to Computational Science or Parallel Scientific Computing
Students at the University of California Santa Barbara have the unique opportunity to conduct paid research as a “work-study” format with their instructors. These positions may be undertaken in any area of interest, so long as there is faculty support. This sort of work helps students gain valuable work experience, leading to successful, productive careers at startups, graduate school, or high-tech industries. Faculty members are at the cutting-edge of computer science research in fields such as big data, cloud, and mobile, and work with students to inspire them to create and innovate new technologies.
The Computer Science curriculum at Texas A&M University is designed to prepare students through a rigorous combination of science, mathematics, English, statistics, and computing courses. Undergraduates are prepared to meet challenges in the field of computer science and work closely with other departments at the university in this ABET-accredited program. Graduates are highly successful, working in industries such as hardware and software development, video game development, and even aerospace.
Students will explore required and elective courses in topics such as algorithms, languages, software systems, and graphics. With the ability to pursue Bachelor of Science or Master of Science degrees in Computer Science, as well as a minor or Doctor of Philosophy, students have no shortage of options. Required courses include:
Analysis of Algorithms
Structures of Interactive Information
Computers and New Media
The Engineering Department, which houses the Computer Science program, has been a part of the Texas A&M community since 1876. The college is consistently ranked among the best in the nation, producing a large number of National Merit Scholars through the employment of nationally recognized faculty and extensively funded research. The campus houses over 600 faculty members and over 17,000 engineering students across fourteen departments within Engineering.
In addition to a rigorous, well-established program in Computer Science, the University of California, Irvine offers students the unique opportunity to pursue a joint undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Engineering. Housed within the college’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, it offers the only independent computing school in the University of California System. Broken down into three distinct departments Computer Science, Informatics, and Statistics – this multidisciplinary program teaches students how to interact with computer science on a global scale.
Within the computer science major, students may choose from several different areas of specialization. These include information, intelligent systems, networked systems, visual computing, and many others. Aside from electives in these areas of specializations, students will also take classes such as:
Data Structure Implementation and Analysis
Principles in System Design
Boolean Algebra and Logic
Introduction to Software Engineering
Programming in C/C++ as a Second Language
Faculty members in this program regularly lead and participate in a number of research laboratories and centers, such as the Center for Digital Transformation and the Software Engineering and Analysis Lab. Research is driven by a variety of grants, gifts, and contracts from governmental and private institutions. The university is committed to research development and overall success, and recently committed to increasing diversity in the computing and information technology fields. The Office of Access and Inclusion was recently developed to help support the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented populations.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
The Computer Science program at Virginia Tech is challenging, rewarding, and in-depth, attracting students from all around the world. The college hosts a variety of extensive course offerings as well as cutting-edge research opportunities, allowing students to interact with the latest technologies through student organizations such as the Association for Women in Computing, CS Squared, and the Association for Computing Machinery. As a result, Virginia Tech graduates nearly 700 students in Computer Science every year.
The Department of Computer Science’s accredited Bachelor of Science in Computer Science allows students to pursue specialized tracks of study in key areas. These tracks include Human Computer Interaction, Knowledge, Information and Data, Media/Creative, Scientific Computing, and Systems and Networking. A variety of topics will be explored through rigorous courses such as:
Introduction to Media Computation
Self-Study in a Programming System
Software Design and Data Structures
Simulation and Modeling
Compiler Design and Implementation
In addition to hands-on coursework in top-ranked research laboratories, students will also be granted access to exciting opportunities that can lead to graduate or post-doctoral studies at the Blacksburg or Northern Virginia campus. The faculty body consists of twelve National Science Foundation award winners, and all members are active researchers and contributors to the profession. The university partners with corporate partners who offer internships and permanent employment, which allows students to gain professional employment and research experience before graduation.
The Computer Science program at the University of Florida blends a strong, engineering-oriented technical program with a flexible interdisciplinary core. Students receive training not only on the technical and theoretical models behind computing, but also in communication and collaboration. Students may choose from a wide variety of technical electives to allow them to develop their understanding in a certain track. These tracks help answer the demands of industry in specific fields.
A wide range of programs are offered, both in the College of Liberal Arts as well as the College of Engineering. Students may choose to pursue a stand-alone Bachelor of Science, a master’s degree, or a Ph.D. program in Computer Science. A hybrid computer engineering program is also available. Required courses for the Bachelor of Science include:
Theory and Practice of Multimedia Production
Computational Structures in Computer Graphics
Introduction to Data Science
Knowledge-Based System: Theory and Practice
Artificial Intelligence and Heuristics
Introduction to Software Engineering
With total research expenditures tallying over $5 million, students at the University of Florida have access to some of the most technologically advanced laboratories, research facilities, and tools in the nation. Current areas of research including Modeling and Art, Computer Systems, Computer Graphics, Network and Security, and countless other topics. Faculty members are experienced in a broad range of interests, receiving dozens of accolades such as the National Science Foundation and Fulbright awards.
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