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A List of Top Computer Colleges in the U.S.

written by: Winston Smith•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 2/15/2011

This list of top computer colleges in U.S. guides students to the best places to learn about software engineering, computer science and hardware engineering. Learn about the tuition fees, faculty, special programs and facilities available to students.

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    Studying Computer Science and Technology in College

    Computer science is taught at most colleges across the United States but not all programs are widely known and respected. This list of top computer colleges in U.S. guides to the best places to learn computer science and launch your technology career. Maybe you will follow in the steps of Larry Page and David Packard and found your own technology company. The industry connections, coop programs and related programs offered by these computer science programs provide a vital, applied way to learn about current trends in computing.

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    #1: Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)

    The School of Computer Science (SCS) at Carnegie Mellon offers undergraduate, Master's and Doctoral degree programs in computer science. In 2001, students and faculty developed a promising search engine called Vivisimo. The School's areas of research include robotics, databases, artificial intelligence, software engineering and machine learning. The Women@SCS program provides encouragement and programs to support female computer science students. The Carnegie Mellons's tuition rate in 2010 was $41,500 per year.

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    #2: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)

    MIT Logo (Image Credit: MIT.EDU) The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (commonly known as MIT) is one of America's best known colleges for computing, engineering and related fields of study. MIT has been a leader in computing projects such as free software and technology standards. Computer science courses are offered at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. For students seeking to build their applied knowledge, the department's Industrial Connection Program (ICP) organizes partnerships between the School and technology companies. The department's areas of research include electronics, engineering physics, systems and signal processing. Undergraduate fees and tuition at MIT in 2010 were approximately $39,000 per year.

    Students interested in knowing more about MIT's courses can download notes, course outlines and other course materials for free through the MIT OpenCourseWare website.

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    #3: Stanford University (Stanford, CA)

    Stanford's computer science department educates students in many aspects of computing. Computer science courses are offered in hardware systems, mathematics, numerical analysis, computational biology and other aspects of computing. The department's main labs and facilities are based in the Gates Computer Science Building. Many students are drawn to Stanford after hearing about the many successful technology professionals and entrepreneurs that attended the school. Undergraduate fees at Stanford in 2010 were $12,900 per year.

    A short list of the Stanford's most famous computer science students and alumni includes:

    • William Hewlett, HP co-founder
    • David Packard, HP co-founder
    • Vint Cerf (BS), instrumental in creating TCP/IP, a protocol that makes the modern Internet possible
    • Reed Hastings, founder of Netflix
    • Larry Page & Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google

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    #4 University of California - Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)

    UC Berkeley Logo (Image Credit: UC Berkeley is one of the best respected public universities in the United States in several fields of study including computers. Berkeley has several active student groups for computer science students: the Computer Science Graduate Student Association, the Computer Science Undergraduate Association, the UC Berkeley Macintosh Users Group, the Open Computing Facility and Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE). Upsilon Pi Epsilon is an honor society dedicated to the computer science field. Human-Computer Interaction, security, programming, computer architecture and computing theory are some of main research areas explored by professors and students in the Computer Sciences Division.

    In 2009, UC Berkeley substantially increased its tuition fees. Undergraduate students who are residents of California pay nearly $7000 per year while non-California residents have to pay about $17,600 per year. Financial aid programs and scholarships are available for students in need.

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    #5 University of Washington (Seattle, WA)

    Located nearby the headquarters of Microsoft and Amazon, the University of Washington is located in a major center of the US technology industry. Before attending college, Bill Gates used the computer labs at the University of Washington to create software and learn about computers. Degree programs offered by UW's Computer Science & Engineering Department include a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, a professional Master's for working professionals and doctoral degrees. The College of Engineering runs a coop program where engineers and computer science students can obtain paid work experience during their undergraduate programs.

    Senior year students can take "capstone" in specialized technologies such as operating systems, Tablet PCs, games, distributed systems and accessibility. Capstone courses provide students with the opportunity to design applications. The capstone courses offerings change regularly to reflect shifting technology trends, faculty availability and student interest.

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    To learn more about this list of top computer colleges in U.S., have a look at these websites below from each of the colleges discussed in this article. Whether you want to know more about the labs, faculty members or scholarships offered, these websites are a great starting point.

    • Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science -
    • MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science -
    • MIT OpenCourseWare -
    • Stanford Department of Computer Science -
    • Computer Science Division (Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences) - UC Berkeley -
    • University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering -