Top Computer Science Colleges in USA: Fees, Eligibility, Scholarships, Salaries

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    Anam Shams

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    According to QS Global Subject Rankings 2020 (Computer Science and Information Systems), 5 best computer science colleges in USA have made it to the top 10 universities in the world. Being the largest economy, the country invested 300 million USD in 2019 for computer science education, constituting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and mathematics) discipline.

    • With an entry-level remuneration of around 80,000 USD annually for computer science graduates, computer science is one of the best degrees to study in USA.
    • US Labor Statistics, reports a 16% increase in demand for computer science engineers by 2028.
    • Enrolments at best computer science colleges in USA have tripled in the USA since 2006 owing to the cutting-edge technology and comprehensive research scope.
    • According to Global R&D Funding Forcast 2019, USA will invest about 2 Trillion USD for research with AI, robotics, automation, and the software sector dominating the sector. 
    % change in employment

    Table of Contents

    Best Computer Science Colleges in USA

    The QS global subject rankings 2020 for Computer Science and Information System outline more than 25 top universities in USA offering computer science degrees that are among the top 100 computer science universities in the world.
    5 of the best computer science colleges in USA are tabulated below with the number of degrees offered:

    University QS Global Ranking Degrees offered
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) #1 7 Undergraduate programs, 3 postgraduate programs, 1 Doctorate program
    Stanford University #2 1 Undergraduate program. 9 Postgraduate programs, 1 Doctorate program
    Carnegie Mellon University #3 3 undergraduate degree, 2 postgraduate degrees and Doctorate degrees
    University of California, Berkeley (UCB) #4 3Undergraduate degrees, 6 Postgraduate degrees, 5 Doctorate degrees
    Harvard University #7 3 Undergraduate degrees, 3 Postgraduate degrees, 1 Doctorate degrees

    Computer Science Colleges in USA: Degrees and Specializations

    Computer Science is a comprehensive course covering a wide range of specializations and degrees. Degrees in Computer Science are provided at Bachelor, Masters, and Doctoral levels. Additionally, US universities also provide dual degrees and certificate programs in computer science and engineering.

    The following table shows popular computer science degrees and specializations available to study abroad:

    Education level Degree  Specialization 
    Undergraduate  BS  Computer Science
    BSc Computer Science and Molecular Biology; Urban Science and Computer Science
    Bachelor of Arts Computer Science


    Master of Science
    Computer Science; Computational and Mathematical Engineering; Computer Science and Molecular Biology; Technology and Policy; Computational Science and Engineering; Interdisciplinary Program in Computational Science, Engineering and Math; Software Engineering; Technology Commercialization
    Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)  Computer Science; Computer Science and Molecular Biology; Computer and Electrical Engineering
    Doctorate PhD
    Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Computer and Information Sciences

    Best Value Computer Science Colleges in USA

    Technology is ubiquitous these days, permitting every facet of our lives. Owing to this Computer science graduates have the highest return on investment in the United States. ROI potential in consonance with tuition fee cost of 4 years for computer science colleges in USA is as follows:

    University 20 year Net ROI Total 4 year Cost
    Stanford University $1,607,000 $255,000 $32,200
    University of California $1,424,000 $139,000 $23,900
    Harvey Mudd College $1,398,000 $272,000 $25,500
    Princeton University $1,359,000 $272,000 $18,100
    Brown University $1,349,000 $257,000 $28,700
    Yale University $1,340,000 $261,000 $21,500
    University of California $1,327,000 $236,000 $23,900
    Georgetown University $1,292,000 $263,000 $26,100
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology $1,278,000 $249,000 $30,200

    Computer Science Colleges in USA for Undergraduate Programs 

    UG Computer Science programs are relatively more interdisciplinary in their approach than other programs. This is unlike any other university around the globe. Certainly, this is the advantage of studying Bachelors in Computer Science in USA. The economic extravagance and sound infrastructure of the country are incomparable.

    So, here’s a list of undergraduate programs offered at best computer science colleges in USA:

    University Program  Duration (in years) Annual Tuition Fees (in USD)
    University of California- Los Angeles (UCLA) Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Computer Science and Engineering 4 42,993
    Carnegie Mellon University Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering 4 57,560
    Princeton University Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) or Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) in Computer Science 4 48,502
    Yale University BA or BS in Computer Science  4 57,700
    MIT  Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 4 51,520

    Computer Science Colleges in USA: Eligibility for Bachelors

    Proficiency in English is a prerequisite for non-English speaking students. Hence, applicants need to appear for standardized tests like TOEFL, IELTS, etc. Also, students have to take the SAT or ACT tests. 

    To be eligible for Bachelors in Computer Science in USA, international students are required to fulfill the following admission requirements: 

    • Qualifications: Successfully completed high school education. 
    • Admission tests: SAT (Evidence-Based Reading as well as Writing): 720-770, SAT(Math): 730-790 and the ACT(Composite): 33-35
    • Language proficiency: IELTS- 7, PTE-70, TOEFL (iBT):100 and TOEFL (PBT):75

    Check the required document SOP to study in USA

    Computer Science Colleges in USA: Fees and Funding for Bachelors

    The tuition fees for Bachelors in Computer Science in USA range between 45,000 USD and 95,000 USD per annum. The tuition fee is exclusive of the living cost of the USA which may roughly amount to 1,100 USD/month for an international student.

    However, to fix this, there are plenty of scholarship programs. University scholarships and scholarships offered by private institutions are available for students to fund the programs.

    Computer Science Colleges in USA for Postgraduate Programs

    An MS in Computer Science in USA gives the opportunity to upgrade the employability prospects. Curriculum exclusively focuses on industry-relevant artificial intelligence, machine learning, database handling, and programming.

    Here’s a peek into the available programs at some of the globally ranking computer science colleges in USA:

    Program  University Duration  Annual fees(USD)
    MSc in Computer Network Engineering UCLA 2 26,544
    MSc Computer Science Columbia University 1 60,540
    MSc Computational and Mathematical Engineering Stanford University 2 27,945
    Master of Engineering Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences University of California, Berkeley (UCB) 2 13,272
    MSc Computer Science Princeton University 2 54,070

    Computer Science Colleges in USA: Eligibility for Masters

    • Qualifications: Applicants must have completed 4 years of bachelor’s degree program in relevant discipline from a recognized university. Also, students applying for postgraduate in engineering should have completed a bachelor's degree in engineering.
    • Language proficiency: Standardized tests TOEFL or IELTS is required. Average minimum score required to get admission in best computer science colleges in USA are:
      • IELTS: 6.0
      • TOEFL iBT: 80

    Check the required document SOP for MS to study in USA

    Computer Science Colleges in USA: Fees and Funding for Masters

    The tuition fees are in the range of 26,000 USD and 61,000 USD which do not include cost of living for international students in the USA. As mentioned earlier, scholarship programs by universities and private bodies are available to reduce the burden of hefty course fees to some extent.

    Computer Science Colleges in USA: Certificate Programs 

    Certificate programs are beneficial for graduates who expect to upscale their career prospects by upgrading professional skills.

    • These programs are usually delivered online and can be attained as part-time courses.
    • Students usually do not require to conform to strict completion deadlines as most of them have a relaxed study period.

    Below are some of the certificate programs provided by eminent US universities in the field of computer science:

    Program  University Duration (years) Annual fees(USD)
    Advanced Certificate in Applied Urban Science & Informatics New York University 24,192
    Artificial Intelligence Graduate Certificate Stanford University 1-2 1,300/unit
    Information Management Systems Degree Program Harvard Extension School 3 35,000
    Computer Science- Networking and Systems Certification Columbia University 2 26,933

    Computer Science Colleges in USA: Eligibility for Certificate Programs 

    • Students need to complete a 4-years bachelor’s degree program with knowledge in object-oriented programming using Java or C++.
    • For graduate certificate programs from Harvard University, students need to clear a test within the first semester of the program.

    Aside from this, professionals from a different or non-tech field can shift to IT with these marketable certificate programs. Studies suggest this shift usually escalates the salary range by 30,000 USD to 40,000 USD annually.

    Computer Science Colleges in USA for Doctorate Program

    A PhD degree from computer science in USA usually takes 3-5 years to complete. This period is usually invested in independent study and focused research in the field of interest.

    Some of the popular universities where students dream to be a part of are tabulated below:

    Degree University Duration (in years) Annual fees(USD)
    PhD in Computer Science Harvard University 5 24,004
    PhD Information Technology MIT 3 5,000
    PhD Operation, technology, and Information Management Cornell University 4 29,500
    PhD Electrical and Computer Engineering Carnegie Mellon University 4 44,400
    PhD Computer Science Stanford University 4 52,479

    Computer Science Colleges in USA: Eligibility for PhD 

    Following are the minimum requirements for admissions into the US universities for PhD programs:

    • Qualifications: Completed undergraduate and postgraduate programs from recognized universities.
    • Language proficiency: TOEFL-(paper-based)-600/(internet-based)-100, IELTS-7.0

    Students graduating from non-English speaking institutions need to take the language proficiency tests like IELTS and TOEFL. However, in some universities, PhD applicants do not need to provide general GRE scores (as in Harvard and MIT) but instead subject-based GRE scores only. Hence, students are advised to check the official websites of the universities before proceeding with the application process.

    Computer Science Colleges in USA: Fees and Funding for PhD

    Tuition fees for PhD programs at Computer Science colleges in USA range between 24,000 USD to 55,000 USD for each year. Even though this is exclusive of the living costs, funding options are abound, for doctoral programs.

    There are many financial institutions and privately run organizations that provide scholarships awarding a fair amount of scholarships to meritorious students each year.

    Computer Science Colleges in USA Scholarships Offered

    The table below provides detailed information on some of the popular scholarships for international students in USA who apply for computer science colleges

    Scholarship Organization  Eligible students Scholarship Amount (USD)
    MIT Scholarships MIT All undergraduate programs 47,983
    Aga Khan Scholarship The Aga Khan Foundation All Master’s degree programs 50% grant
    Washington University Scholarships Washington University All undergraduate programs Amount not disclosed
    Princeton University Scholarships Princeton University All undergraduate programs 56,500
    Tata Scholarship-Cornell University Tata Group Students applying for undergraduate programs at Cornell University Variable 
    Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program ACFE Students applied for full-time undergraduate programs 1,000-10,000
    Fulbright-Nehru Master's Fellowships United States- India Educational Foundation (USIEF) Students enrolled in Doctoral program in Computer Science Variable
    University Merit Scholarship University of Chicago All undergraduate programs and research programs 4,000-10,000
    Microsoft Scholarship Program Microsoft Corp. Four years’ of Bachelor’s program -

    Computer Science Colleges in USA: Career Scope

    The world is digitally connected and there is absolutely no area in which a programmer cannot be of use. Thus, job opportunities for graduates in Computer Science have a higher placement rate.

    • Considering salary structure, a graduate diploma holder in Computer Science earns 17% more than a high school pass-outs.
    • Additionally, a postgraduate experience 29% salary increment compared to graduates while the salary of PhD holders is 23% more.
    • Contrary to commercial progress, the USA exhibits a prevalent gender pay gap.
    • As a fact, Assistant Professor jobs in the USA in Computer Science for females levy 6% less salary than their male counterparts.
    • Overall, the United States exhibits a steep 8% increments every 16 months.

    As per Times Higher Education 2019, global graduate employability rankings of Computer Science colleges in USA is as follows:

    University THE (Global) Rank US Rank
    Harvard University 1 1
    California Institute of Technology 2 2
    MIT 3 3
    Stanford University 5 4
    Princeton University 8 5

    Apart from the top 5, there are 9 other Computer Science colleges in the USA that have made it to the top 50 positions of the world.

    Computer Science Colleges in USA: Placements

    Likewise, the probable job roles that Computer Science students are recruited for, go as:

    Job roles Annual package (in USD)
    Systems Analyst 50,000-108,000
    Software Developer  66,740-166,960
    Mobile Application Developer 61,160-161,290
    UNIX System Administrator 87,264-111,706
    Software Development Engineer 89,000-135,000
    Security Engineer 93,000-155,000
    Computer Scientist 77,000-153,000
    Computer Science- Professor  74,500-181,000

    The average salary of IT professionals in the USA is around 84,800 USD for each year. This is the average salary of a graduate from the premier universities of the USA. Thus, as evident, the USA has some of the best Computer Science Colleges in the world. Added to this, at present more than 64,600 jobs are available in the US market for Computer Science graduates.

    The demand for which is expected to increase by 6% until 2028, US Labor Statistics predicts. This is more than the average demand of all existing occupations. However, the field of hardware is less popular than software owing to continuous technological innovation.

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