Where to Study Computer Science
When deciding where to study computer science, international students coming to the United States can choose between some of the best computer science programs in the world. However, the best locations for studying computer science often have more than just top-tier academic programs. This article will identify some of the best locations for studying computer science, as well as provide international students insight into pressing factors to consider when deciding where to study computer science.
Academics and Research
If academic renown and cutting-edge research are an international student's primary concern, locations with active and well-funded institutions will be the best options for studying computer science. However, computer science programs in the US are among the best in the world, and international students can be sure that they will receive an internationally-recognized degree that is highly valued by employers all around the world, regardless of where they study. In fact, a study conducted by US News and World Report assessing the best computer science schools in the world placed seven out of the ten top schools for computer science in the United States. Additionally, a similar study by the same entity, which focused strictly on institutions within the United States, yielded the following list of the top schools for computer science:
Top Schools for Computer Science in the US
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Stanford University
- University of California—Berkeley
- Harvard University
- California Institute of Technology
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Cornell University
- University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign
- University of Washington
- Princeton University
- University of Texas—Austin
- Georgia Institute of Technology
If academics and research opportunities are your primary concern in deciding where to study computer science, you may want to check out our helpful article on the Top Schools for Computer Science in the United States.
However, while the renown and quality of the institution is always a key factor in pursuing any degree, it would be wise for international students to focus on other criteria when deciding where to study computer science. For instance, not only are computer science degrees in demand in nearly every industry, they are available and applicable in nearly every location. This high availability of jobs and programs means international students will have their pick of city and state in which to study.
Popular Cities for Computer Science in the US
While computer science degrees have available applications in nearly every city in the United States, there are some locations that are considered computer science and technology hubs. The most prominent of these popular cities for computer science in the US is the so-called Silicon Valley area of California. The area is synonymous with technology in the United States and represents the cities that make up the area, including all of the Santa Clara Valley, encompassing San Jose (the third largest city in California and 10th largest in the United States) and the surrounding cities of Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Saratoga, Sunnyale, Fremont, Newark, and parts of San Francisco. The Silicon Valley area is by far the best location for studying computer science for those international students who want to live and breathe technology in the epicenter of US computer science. The opportunities for cutting-edge research, internships with major businesses in the field, and subsequent employment upon graduation are at their highest in Silicon Valley, which is the reason the cities which make it up are the most popular cities for computer science in the US.
While Silicon Valley may be the heart of the computer science industry in the US, it is far from the only option for students to consider. Below is a list of popular cities for computer science in the US that international students may want to look into when deciding where to study computer science. These cities have the highest proportion of computer science jobs relative to their populations according to a measure known as relative popularity. A relative popularity of 1.0 means there are an average number of computer science jobs relative to the city's population when compared to the US as a whole. The cities on the list represent some of the best locations for studying computer science in the US as indicated by their relative popularity factor.
- San Jose, California (6.5)
- Blacksburg, Virginia (13.8)
- Austin, Texas (8.6)
- Bethesda, Maryland (7.4)
- Washington, D.C. (5.5)