Stanford University has remained a top choice for students seeking a degree in computer science in California. The large, private, not-for-profit university ranks 2nd among 2,241 colleges nationwide, with a record of over 628 graduated students under this degree in the most recent data year.
But Stanford’s competition and acceptance rate can be discouraging as many students still barely end up there. The good news is that California boasts 22 ABET-accredited computer science programs, presenting students with plenty of great options.
It is not easy to rank the best colleges for computer science in California because one would be spoilt with choices. But I’ve done the homework for you, selecting only the best schools ideal for aspiring computer science students.
You can read what these schools offer in computer science programs and degrees and determine which suits you best.
List of the seven best schools to study computer science in California
If you are thinking of attending a school in the state of California to study computer science, we strongly recommend you consider any of the following as your top choice:
- Standford university
- California Institute of Technology
- University of California – Berkeley
- Harvey Mudd College
- University of Southern California
- Claremont McKenna College
- University of California in Irvine
- San Diego State University
- California State University-Fullerton
Stanford University is a large private but not-for-profit university spread across 8,000 acres with seven schools (the School of Humanities and Science is the largest) and 80 residential facilities.
It is one of the best universities to consider if you plan to study computer science, with an acceptance rate of 5 percent.
The highest degree offered in Standford is Doctorate, and the school has a total of 15,953 student body, with 6,366 accounting as undergraduates.
The admission requirements to study computer science in Standford include SAT, ACT, and Transcript. Here, there are more international students than indigenes. The latter accounts for only 33 percent of the entire student body, which hints that Standford is an excellent place to study comp sci as an international student.
California Institute of Technology
- California Institute of Technology Admission Requirements Page
- California Institute of Technology Tuition Details page
Another befitting college you can go to for a computer science degree in California is the California Institute of Technology.
The 4-year private science and engineering university in Pasadena houses Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the International Observatory Network, and the Caltech Seismological Laboratory as part of its research facilities.
The highest degree offered at CIT is a doctorate, which confers undergraduate degrees in 28 scientific fields.
With an acceptance rate of 7 percent, the California Institute of Technology considers SAT, ACT, and Transcript for admission requirements.
The number of out-of-state students at this college is a little above the number of in-state students, with the former accounting for 62 percent of the student body.
University of California – Berkeley
- University of California – Berkeley Admission Requirement Page
- University of California – Berkeley Tuition Details page
It is impossible to rule out the University of California – Berkeley when listing top-of-the-line universities to study computer science. This is the next best thing after Standford, especially in the IT programs offered.
ARWU ranked the university’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences 3rd on the global level in computer science and engineering. Employers put this reputation in mind when recruiting post-graduation.
The average starting salary for Bachelor’s graduates in computer science from UCB is around $100,000.
The challenge, however, is the acceptance rate because the school is highly selective. However, if you get in, you are guaranteed a world-class program in computer science.
Harvey Mudd College
If you want to enroll in a computer science school that will expose you to solving real-world problems, then Harvey Mudd College is one of the best options.
It houses seven STEM-related departments and offers six academic majors and four joint majors.
The acceptance rate at Harvey Mudd College is 18%, and they do not consider SAT or Act as Admissions Requirements.
With around 43% and 53% In-State and Out-Of-State Students population, the university offers Bachelor’s as the highest offered degree and offers students the chance to cross-enroll in any class provided by other member schools in the Claremont College Consortium.
University of Southern California
- University of Southern California Admission Requirement Page
- University of Southern California Tuition Details page
Located in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is a sure deal for aspiring computer science students, especially those who prefer to attend a high-research institution
With two main campuses – University Park and the Health Sciences campus – the school offers 23 departments of academic study.
Students at USC also gain access to special programs, such as the Renaissance Scholar program. The institution boasts global footprints, including international programs, research centers, and institutes.
The acceptance rate for students here is 11%, and they consider SAT, ACT, and Transacipt as admissions requirements.
Meanwhile, the highest degree offered at UCS is a doctorate, and they boast around 46,287 total student body, of which 52 percent are out-of-state students.
Claremont McKenna College
The highest degree offered at Claremont McKenna College is a Master’s, totaling 1,264 and 1,262 undergraduates.
With an acceptance rate of 13 percent, Claremont Mckenna is a worthy alternative for schools to attend in California if you want to study computer science.
The 4-year liberal arts college confers bachelor’s degrees in 32 academic majors and houses The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, where they host guest speakers four times per week on career prospects.
University of California in Irvine
- University of California in Irvine Admission Requirement Page
- University of California in Irvine Tuition Details page
University of California in Irvine has the highest acceptance rate of 30 percent among other universities in this ranking article, making it a top choice for aspiring computer science students who do not have all the criteria to meet the standard benchmarks at other options.
The school is the youngest Association of American Universities and offers 92 majors and 86 minors and campus.
It has ten student housing communities and a few research centers and institutes. Students studying computer science at UC Irvine can prioritize class enrollment, undergraduate research engagement, and academic advising, thanks to the campuswide honors program.
Part of the admission requirements includes SAT, ACT, and transcripts. The philosophy of the school is that it’s dedicated to the American dream. There are more in-state students (78 percent) than international students among the 36,303 total students at this university.
San Diego State University
- San Diego State University Admission Requirements Page
- San Diego State University Tuition Details page
San Diego State University is another decent choice for any student wishing to bag a degree in computer science while in California. The university offers 2 Computer Science degree programs.
It is a large public institution that graduated over 209 students with Bachelor’s degrees and 42 students in the Master’s degrees program in 2020.
California State University-Fullerton
- California State University-Fullerton Admission Requirement Page
- California State University-Fullerton Tuition Details page
The California State University-Fullerton has graduated about 264 students in the Bachelor’s degrees program and 101 students in the Master’s degrees.
An MS degree in Computer Science at this university has a high graduate employability rate, which explains why many international students consider this course at California State University – Fullerton.
The bachelor of science offers students a broad foundation in the field, covering theoretical and algorithmic developments to designing and implementing software.
Ample job opportunities are waiting for students currently pursuing a computer science degree in California, especially given that the San Fransisco bay Area of the state houses the most significant number of software companies in the nation.
But securing positions in these companies, even at entry levels, can be very competitive. Still, one of the ways students have the edge over others is through their choice of the university where they study computer science – some schools are more respected and reputable in this field than others.
With this in mind, we handpicked only the best computer science schools in California.
As for the cost of living and tuition, they are generally higher than in the rest of the nation, but the career opportunities that come with post-graduation are worth the academic investment to aspiring tech professionals like you.