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The Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science to Advance Your Career

The best undergraduate programs for computer and information sciences prepare students for a wide range of careers in this field. You can get a Bachelor of Computer Science or Bachelor of Arts in different topics.

When studying toward a computer science qualification, you will encounter a lot of overlap between software engineering, information technology, and computing. It can be difficult to choose the best bachelor’s degree for you. Take a look at the list below to learn more about the best Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science in 2021.

Overview: The Top 10 Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science

If you want to get your computer science bachelor’s degree, you should check out the list below. Each program has its own pros and cons so you can choose which one suits you the best. This table references the basics of each degree. All program and tuition information has been sourced from each respective school’s website.

School and Degree State Tuition Online Option
California Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics
CA $56,364 per year No
Carnegie Mellon University
Bachelor of Science in Human-Computer Interaction
PA $57,560 per year No
Georgia Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Science in Computational Media
GA $12,418 per year
(in-state, includes fees)
$33,014 per year
(out-of-state, includes fees)
No
Harvard University
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
MA $49,653 per year No
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
MA $27,755 per term No
Northwestern University
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
IL $56,286 per year No
Princeton University
Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science
NJ $56,010 per year No
Stanford University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
CA $18,491 per quarter No
University of California, Berkeley
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
CA $14,312 per year
(in-state)
$44,066 per year
(out-of-state)
No
University of Chicago
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
IL $57,642 per year No

What Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science?

A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science is an undergraduate program that teaches tech optics. You can learn programming languages like Python, network architecture, information theory, computer graphics, web design, and software development. A Bachelor’s Degree program in Computer Science will take you around four years to complete.

Why You Should Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

You should get a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science because it is the usual requirement for entry-level tech jobs. This degree is extremely versatile and a great way to start out in the tech world. You can choose specializations that teach you more specific topics. Read below to learn more about the benefits of a bachelor’s degree.

  • To be employable. Most computer science graduates can become data scientists, computer network architects, software developers, and more. A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science is the perfect way to get a job in tech.
  • To earn a better salary. According to PayScale, the average salary for somebody with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science is about $91,187 per year. This is already a high salary, but it can become even higher if you have more work experience or decide to get a master’s degree.
  • To help innovate and research new technology. Computer science is about more than a high salary. Technology is constantly evolving and by studying computer science, you will be a part of that evolution.

In Detail: The Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science

The institutions and programs we list below give you a comprehensive education, which allows you to thrive in every branch of computer science. Computer science is a foundational science, which means the things you learn are versatile. Read below to explore the best Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science in 2021.

California Institute of Technology | Bachelor of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematic

This program is essentially a mathematics degree that has been tweaked for those who want to apply some of those mathematical abilities more practically. This makes the degree program unique.

While there will be thorough instruction on computing and programming fundamentals, the bulk of this course work will cover things like introductory methods, linear algebra, mathematical methods, and other mathematical fundamentals. Caltech also offers a basic Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

Bachelor of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics Pros

  • There will be opportunities to study abroad without harming your progress.
  • You can get a double major, although a certain set of requirements will need to be met.
  • The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship is a great option if you are interested in doing research projects.

Bachelor of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics Cons

  • The education at this institution is quite exclusive.
  • You will be working in a stressful environment, without student support being readily available.

Carnegie Mellon University | Bachelor of Science in Human-Computer Interaction

There are two compelling computing options at Carnegie Mellon. The first is the more common Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, and the second is a recent addition to the academic program. The Bachelor of Science in Human-Computer Interaction is unique because it offers a more modern perspective on computer science.

Bachelor of Science in Human-Computer Interaction Pros

  • Carnegie Mellon is among the first computer schools in the world to offer this program.
  • The school is at the forefront of digital innovation, which will help set you apart when entering the job market.
  • There is a high demand for potential employees who leave universities with this particular set of skills.

Bachelor of Science in Human-Computer Interaction Cons

  • This is a comparatively new field of study and therefore less developed.
  • The program is expensive.

Georgia Institute of Technology | Bachelor of Science in Computational Media

Computational media is another unique degree program in this field of study. There is an unusually strong emphasis on art, creativity, music, and communications when you sign up for this program. Even though it is still a science degree, you can get a much more well-rounded education.

Bachelor of Science in Computational Media Pros

  • The degree prepares you for engagement with digital media along with computer science.
  • A strong relationship with the school of literature promotes expression and communication in an otherwise scientific field.
  • There is a strong visual design component to this degree program, which can help you become a web designer.

Bachelor of Science in Computational Media Cons

  • This school does not have a strong student-to-faculty ratio.

Harvard University | Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science

At Harvard University, computer science falls under the schools of engineering and applied sciences. For that reason, there will be tremendous emphasis on topics like mathematics and physics.

However, enrolling in this program also means that you will need to be strong in economics, psychology, and linguistics. This Bachelor of Arts program will help make you considerably more rounded without compromising your technical development.

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science Pros

  • The research output at Harvard is higher than most.
  • Harvard has an outstanding reputation with employers and other programs.

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science Cons

  • Getting accepted for a program like this at Harvard is difficult because spaces are limited.
  • The program is fairly expensive.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

MIT is the best place to go if you want to enhance your computer science skills. This university is at the forefront of scientific development. There are five programs available to undergraduate students wishing to pursue computer science, with the most compelling being the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Pros

  • You will leave this program with a strong knowledge of computer hardware.
  • Independent study and research are heavily promoted once you have enrolled in this program.

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Cons

  • The admission rate at MIT is very low at just seven percent.
  • You will be working in a high-pressure academic environment.

Northwestern University | Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science

The Computer Science program at Northwestern falls under the school of engineering, where you will have the option of doing either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts. With your six core courses, the emphasis with this program will be on programming sequences and computing systems.

With your five courses, you will learn artificial intelligence, computer science theory, interface, and software development. Beyond that, you will also need to do a series of advanced computer science courses.

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science Pros

  • When at Northwestern, you will be studying in a highly collaborative environment.
  • The research output is among the highest in the world.

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science Cons

  • This remains a highly exclusive education.
  • The academic reputation at the university is not as high as some of its more famous counterparts.

Princeton University | Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science

The Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science is a great option. You will be exposed to algorithms, theoretical computer science, computer system design, and applications. All of that coursework will be covered in-depth when you enroll. You can also get a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Princeton.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science Pros

  • You can study abroad for a full year without compromising your progress.
  • The independent work program contributes immensely to your research and design experience.
  • Princeton has an outstanding reputation with employers.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science Cons

  • The computer science program does not offer ABET-accredited study.
  • If you fail a prerequisite, you cannot take course-related departments.
  • Because this is an elite school, accessibility remains an issue.

Stanford University | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

When you enroll for this program at Stanford, you can choose from many tracks: artificial intelligence, biocomputation, computer engineering, graphics, human-computer interaction, information, systems, and theory. If you want to specialize your computer science degree, this school is a perfect choice.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Pros

  • Based in California, the university has strong ties to the country’s tech giants.
  • There is an outstanding student-to-faculty ratio.
  • The university has an outstanding reputation with employers.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Cons

  • Getting into Stanford, especially for a program like this, is difficult.
  • Stanford offers an expensive education.

University of California, Berkeley | Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

There are two clear pathways to a Computer Science Degree at the University of California, Berkeley. The first would be to pursue a Bachelor of Science Degree, which is the more direct route.

Alternately, you could also pursue a Bachelor of Arts Degree. The idea with the latter is to produce a more complete and dynamic student, not just a technician. Both place heavy emphasis on computer science, so students from both backgrounds will be well equipped.

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Pros

  • Entry to this program is highly competitive, and that intensity will likely remain even once you have enrolled.
  • There are compelling undergraduate and research scholarship options at Berkeley.
  • This is a public school, which means more inclusivity and affordability.

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Cons

  • There can be high pressure to perform and succeed in this program.
  • There is a low number of opportunities for international students.

University of Chicago | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

In addition to the Bachelor of Science degree, you could also enroll for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Computer Science. In both instances, the entry requirements will be the same. You will need to have a strong calculus background before signing up for the program. You will also need to have a strong physics background.

The humanities degree is designed for computing students that also have a bolder interest in business and management, while the science degree is designed to sharpen your technical ability. You can also try for a combined BS/MS program so you can get your master’s more quickly.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Pros

  • The Student Summer Research Fellowship is outstanding for those interested in developing their research skills in this field.
  • You will have the option of completing your theory requirements in either the third or fourth year.
  • The new theory requirements for this program give you a broader range to choose from than other institutions.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Cons

  • You will not always get the classes that you want in your third and fourth years.
  • The study-abroad requirements are strict.
Online vs In-Person Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science

Online vs In-Person Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science

The majority of the computer science degree programs at the best universities around the world do not offer opportunities for online study. That is because those degree programs are not just about coding and design. Learning the latter can be achieved by merely being online.

Learning about algorithms, complexity theory, applied probability, robotics, and the mathematical sciences sometimes require in-person instruction. At some of the universities we have listed here, there is also a strong or comprehensive engineering element to their computer science undergraduate programs.

Practical, in-person experience requires meaningful access to resources. Laboratories are not cheap, and they are not commonly available. University facilities can give you access to those facilities.

If your only concern is web and app development, then studying regular courses online will be more than sufficient. However, if you want to be a more complete computing expert, an in-person program is going to offer you the best pathways.

Benefits of an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

  • More flexibility. You mostly get to complete that course at your own pace and during your own set of hours.
  • Better access. Universities can be exclusive. The best computing universities also tend to be private and have small faculties. Online programs help bridge that gap.
  • Improved discipline. The increased exposure to a flexible study environment also carries with it tremendous responsibility. You will learn how to motivate yourself and study independently.

Benefits of an In-Person Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

  • Collaboration. Not only will you be learning from some of the best minds in the field, but you will also be able to meet your peers. That is an ideal environment for the development of ideas.
  • Research. The universities that were included in this list have some of the best research capabilities in the world. They also have outstanding research output.
  • Better access to resources. Research in the field of computer science costs a considerable amount. In-person programs have access to funding and resources that online options do not.

How to Pick the Best Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree for You

Picking the right Computer Science degree for you depends on your career path. That takes into account what you plan to achieve, how much money you want to earn, and what kind of work environment you wish to be in. Read below to learn more about the factors you should consider when choosing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.

Follow Industry Pioneers

You can search industry experts on LinkedIn and discover where they went to school. This can help you identify successful programs as well as interact with alumni. This is a good idea if you know you want to follow a specific career path.

Identify What Companies Look For

Computer science is constantly evolving, and you must keep up with the top tech companies. Establish which skills are in demand and which skills are outdated. In some cases, you may need a different degree. Take a look at job postings in your area and discover the requirements.

Broaden Your Scope

Many of the universities we have listed here offer multiple options. You can pursue a double major in computer science to develop the skills that you will need for a meaningful career. It is sometimes not enough to just have technical skills. You can choose a minor or specialization in another field that interests you.

How Much Can You Earn With a Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree?

PayScale reports that people with Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science earn $91,187 per year. This salary depends on your level of experience and whether or not you have a Master’s Degree in Computer Science. Take a look at the career options below to learn more about computer science salaries.

The Top Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree Careers

Profession Average Salary
Computer Network Architect $121,224
Software Engineer $87,332
Information Systems Manager $84,013
Database Administrator $73,398
Information Systems Analyst $66,134
Computer Programmer $64,915
Systems Administrator $62,983
Web Developer $60,149
Web Designer $51,453
Computer Support Specialist $46,103

Why You Should Study Computer Science in 2021

Computer science is a lucrative field with fast growth. The job growth outlook for people working in computer science is at 15 percent, which much faster than the average industry growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science can give you the job security you need for your future. There are many career paths available as a computer scientist. As roles continue to evolve, your skills in computer science will ensure that you stay relevant in the future.

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