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The 20 Best Graduate Programs in Computer Science—And How to Apply to Them

Note on Methodology: The Academic Ranking of World Universities lists the following 20 graduate computer science programs as the best in the United States (only Toronto in Canada, Oxford in England, and a handful of schools in Israel and Switzerland rank with these U.S. schools). The first nine schools on this list are also the best worldwide.

Donald Knuth, a notable Computer Science alumnus and a Stanford professor emeritus, authors an on-going, mammoth, seven-volume series called The Art of Computer Programming, recognized as the industry's ultimate go-to guide.

Cambridge, Massachusetts From revolutionary medical electronic devices harvesting energy to a child's LeapPad Learning System, the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department (EECS) at MIT has a solid reputation for making a global technological impact in the world.

The Computer Science department offers master's and doctoral programs with courses in areas such as algorithms, information theory, multicore programming, and robotics.

Once in the program, students follow in the footsteps of notable alumni like William Hewlett (co-founder of Hewlett-Packard) and Robert Metcalf (co-founder of 3Com), as well as current faculty members such as Anant Agarwal, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who has co-founded several companies including Tilera Corporation, which created the Tile multicore processor, and Virtual Machine Works.

Princeton, New Jersey Are you interested in designing the latest software technology to help those suffering from speech impairments brought on by strokes or head trauma?

degrees with research projects and internships in both of those important areas, as well as projects in theory, computational markets, networks and systems, computer architecture, and programming languages, just to name a few.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Working with computer science alumni and faculty such as William “Red” Whittaker---who led the Tartan Racing team to victory in the 2007 DARPA Grand Challenge and who is currently leading a graduate team competing for the Google Lunar X Prize (space competition to land a robot on the moon)---is just one of the many advantages of attending the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science (SCS). Carnegie

His work, which has been featured in BBC World News, highlights breakthrough research in robotics manipulation and how personal robots can truly be useful in common household and office spaces.

programs offer courses and research topics in areas such as database systems, security, graphics, robotics, and computer architecture, to name a few.

program includes different field and graduate school requirements including teaching, breadth requirement, research projects, completing residencies, and taking exams.

Research and specialized areas include games design, artificial intelligence, computer networks, intelligent robotics, and software engineering, just to name a few.

For example, faculty member Professor Erik Winfrees's breakthrough research in molecular programming aims to put this technology in the hands of users in biology, chemistry, and physics.

Facebook, the social media giant, has hired Caltech graduates in research positions to improve long-term web performance and user latency optimization.

At UMCP, students can also work alongside some of the most distinguished faculty in solving complex issues such as data security problems, online fraud, and other forms of abuse. Professor Elaine Shi's significant research achievements in cryptography and oblivious computation may shape the monitoring and protection aspects of online security.

The Master's in Computer Science program includes core courses and specific topics of study and research such as robotics, computer vision, programming languages, and coding theory.

The graduate program prepares students for research and teaching and offers research projects in areas such as data mining, computational biology, software engineering, and distributed systems, to name a few.

The Master's of Science program includes core courses and a thesis, as well as specialty track areas such as natural language processing, software systems, and computer security, to name a few.

The PMP program is designed for fully employed professionals who plan on continuing working while attaining skills to move them into higher-level positions and projects of greater depth.

Zoran Popovic,in collaboration with UW biochemist David Baker, created an online multi-player visual game called Foldit that eventually led to the discovery of the structure of an AIDS-related protein that baffled scientists for over a decade.

Atlanta, Georgia Georgia Tech's School of Computer Science has resources like faculty member Tom Conte and his groundbreaking research in computer architecture and compiler code generation, which allow graduate students to work alongside some of the biggest pioneers in computer science today.

The school provides doctoral programs in algorithms and optimization, bioengineering, bioinformatics, and computer science, Los Angeles, California UCLA Computer Science alumnus Vint Cerf, who wears three-piece suits in an industry known for casual attire, has received recognition as an Internet pioneer and been dubbed one of “the fathers of the internet.” His contributions have garnered him the National Medal of Technology, the Turing Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Yale Computer Science department offers two graduate programs: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree and a terminal Master of Science (M.S.) degree.  It typically takes a year to get a master's, and between four and six years to obtain a doctorate.

The first three terms of the doctoral program have breadth requirements, but the third term has its main focus on research, guided by an adviser and supervisory committee.

Some of the areas of research include computer music, robotics, computer graphics, scientific computing and applied math, and machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Students can expect to work alongside notable faculty such as Brian Scassellati, whose research project in the robotics lab builds human-like robots to aid in the understanding human development (more specifically, the social development of children).

NIJ's Research Assistantship Program

The NIJ Research Assistantship Program (RAP) offers highly qualified doctoral students the opportunity to bring their expertise to NIJ to work across offices and program areas to obtain a practical and applied research experience.

NIJ and each participating university establish an agreement through which NIJ provides funds to pay research assistants’ salaries, health insurance and tuition remission (via a memorandum of understanding and inter-agency or cooperative agreement).

The provision and amount of these funds are determined by the university’s standard practice for similarly situated graduate research assistants whose work is performed at the university.

If funding is available, research assistants may work full time up to 40 hours per week during university breaks in the fall, winter, spring and summer (with the NIJ RAP manager’s and the university’s prior approval).

Research assistants work primarily at the NIJ office, 810 Seventh St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Sometimes, work is conducted in the field, such as during data collection efforts, or at another approved location, such as at a university or research facility.

Research assistants will comply with the general workplace conditions applicable to other individuals who regularly work on site at NIJ, including security requirements, dress code and business hours.

Previous NIJ research assistants have gone on to accept positions as full-time faculty at universities, associates and directors of research centers, and analysts and agents at local and federal law enforcement agencies.

The following table presents a list of NIJ research assistants from 1999 to present. Students have worked on a variety of research portfolios including, but not limited to, violence against women, school safety, trafficking, forensics, geospatial analysis, law enforcement, artificial intelligence, and corrections.

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