Although Illinois is famously known for its high population, food, and presidential associations, many students across the country attend universities in this state. In this article, we will take a look at the best computer science schools in Illinois.
We’ll go over the computer science schools in Illinois that will equip you with the skills to start a successful career in this field. We used the Illinois computer science school rankings to highlight the top schools, programs, and job opportunities post-graduation.
How to Choose a Good Computer Science School in Illinois
To choose a good computer science school in Illinois, you should consider its cost, campus life, and programs. It is extremely important to maintain a healthy work-life balance while in school and to avoid going into debt while doing so. We’ll dive further into these factors below.
Student clubs, co-curricular activities, and the overall campus life all serve to enhance your educational experience. Consider schools that offer activities that interest you, such as sports, art, and debate. It’s important to have hobbies while studying so you do not burn out.
When evaluating a potential program, consider its costs. Compare the cost of tuition, transportation, books, and supplies with all the schools on your list. To avoid racking up a lot of debt while pursuing your education, verify that the school you want to attend offers financial aid.
Program of Study
Your program of study should typically be in line with your career aspirations. If you already know which career or specialization you want to pursue, make sure the school you choose offers the right courses. The knowledge and skills you acquire should be current and in demand.
Illinois Computer Science School Rankings: What Schools Have the Best Computer Science Programs in Illinois?
|Computer Science School||Top Undergrad Program||Top Grad Program||US News Ranking|
|University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign||Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering||Master of Science in Computer Science||#5|
|Northwestern University||Bachelor of Science In Computer Science||Master of Science in Computer Science||#28|
|University of Chicago||Bachelor of Science In Computer Science||Master of Science in Computer Science||#28|
|University of Illinois–Chicago||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||Master of Science in Computer Science||#60|
|Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago||N/A||PhD Program in Computer Science||#89|
|Illinois Institute of Technology||Bachelor of Science In Computer Science||Master of Science in Computer Science||#99|
|DePaul University||Bachelor of Science In Computer Science||Master of Science in Computer Science||#146|
|Southern Illinois University-Carbondale||Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science||Master of Science and PhD in Computer Science||#179|
|Bradley University||Computer Science Major||Master of Science in Computer Science||#2*|
|University of Illinois Springfield||Bachelor of Science In Computer Science||Master of Science in Computer Science||#30*|
*Data was collected from the Regional Universities Midwest ranking from US News and World Report
Illinois Computer Science Schools Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Computer Science Schools in Illinois
To rank the best Computer Science schools in Illinois, we used US News & World Report’s breakdown of the best computer science program as a guide. We also took into consideration the subject-specific rankings conducted by Times Higher Education, as well as factors such as graduation rate, acceptance rate, and affordability.
Best Computer Science Schools in Illinois Explained
The best computer science schools in Illinois offer top computer science programs, are accreditated, and have high graduation rates. Below, we dive into the top computer science schools, their national rankings, and the top programs.
Best Undergraduate Computer Science Schools in Illinois
The best undergraduate computer science schools in Illinois include University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, and University of Chicago. If you are interested in pursuing computer science at the associate or bachelor’s degree level, consider the following schools.
Best Computer Science Associate Degree Schools in Illinois
- Elgin Community College | Associate Degree Pathway for Computer Science. This program is ideal for students who wish to transfer and major in computer science at a four-year institution. Students can complete the 60-credit program in four semesters.
- Illinois Central College | Associate Degree in Computer Programming and Database Development. Illinois Central College offers a 60-credit program that prepares students for computer programming and database systems. Students study programming, database administration, and structured system analysis.
- College of Lake County | Associate Degree in Computer Science. The College of Lake County is a fairly large school with a student enrollment of approximately 11,854. Its computer science associate degree is ideal for those who are looking forward to pursuing computer science at a four-year university.
- City Colleges of Chicago | Associate Degree in Computer Science. This program can be completed in four semesters and requires 60 credits. Students learn composition, programming, and discrete mathematics. Earning this degree increases your chances of transferring to a bachelor’s degree program.
- Oakton Community College | Associate Degree in Computer Science. This program is for students who wish to major in computer science at a four-year institution, but have not yet committed to it. Some courses covered in this program include Java, C++, and Python.
Best Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Illinois
- University of Chicago | Joint BS/MS in Computer Science. Students can receive a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Science at the same time. They can choose between a research-oriented or professionally-oriented degree path.
- Northwestern University | Bachelor of Science In Computer Science. Northwestern University’s computer science bachelor’s degree requires 48 units. Students study engineering analysis, calculus, and probabilistic systems.
- University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign | Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. This program is offered by the Grainger College of Engineering. Students learn programming, algorithms, computer systems, and electromagnetics. The program requires 128 hours.
- University of Illinois-Chicago | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Students must complete 128 credits to graduate from this program. Courses include Database Systems, Human Augmentics, Compiler Design, and Numerical Analysis.
- Illinois Institute of Technology | Bachelor of Science In Computer Science. The Illinois Institute of Technology is an ideal institution that will help you launch your career in software engineering. Offered by the College of Computing, the program prepares students to become data scientists, Java developers, or web developers.
Best Online Associate Degrees
Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees
Best Graduate Schools for Computer Science in Illinois
If you are looking to advance your tech education and skills, you should only consider the best programs. We’ve put together some of the best graduate schools for computer science in Illinois, including their star programs.
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Best Schools for Master’s in Computer Science in Illinois
- University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign | Master of Science in Computer Science. This research-oriented degree requires 28 credit hours of coursework and four credit hours of thesis work. Courses covered in this program include Programming Languages, Formal Methods, Software Engineering, and Systems and Networking.
- Northwestern University | Master of Science in Computer Science. This program features several research areas, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, programming languages, and security and privacy. There is a residency requirement for the program.
- University of Chicago | Master of Science in Computer Science. This program blends computer science coursework with applied technical knowledge. It’s well suited for students interested in software engineering, information security, high-performance computing application development, and data analytics.
- University of Illinois-Chicago | Master of Science in Computer Science. This 36-credit program requires students to complete a project, coursework, and a thesis. There is no comprehensive examination in this program. Many students have shared testimonials describing how this program has helped them realize their career goals.
- Illinois Institute of Technology | Master of Science in Computer Science. This program will bring you closer to realizing your career or academic goals. It covers programming, theory, and systems. Although the degree can be earned purely through coursework, the school gives students the option to also develop, compete, and defend their thesis.
Best PhD in Computer Science Universities in Illinois
- University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign | PhD in Computer Science. Students in this graduate degree program must take a preliminary exam and qualifying exam, and defend their thesis. Students must complete 96 credit hours or 64 if they already have master’s degrees.
- Northwestern University | PhD in Computer Science. Northwestern University is a highly rated university with top-tier research facilities. Students can choose from one of five tracks, including interfaces and computer engineering.
- University of Chicago | PhD in Computer Science. University of Chicago provides successful research in computer science. Students must go through a qualifying phase, candidacy phase, and dissertation phase.
- University of Illinois-Chicago | PhD in Computer Science. This school offers financial support in the form of a stipend of at least $2,290 per month. This makes University of Illinois at Chicago an excellent option for those on a tight budget.
- Illinois Institute of Technology | PhD in Computer Science. This university features state-of-the-art work in cyber security, data science, artificial intelligence, and software engineering. By the end of this program, you’ll be able to demonstrate mastery in these areas to make original contributions to research.
Best Online Master’s Degrees
Best Online PhD Programs
Admission Requirements for Computer Science Schools in Illinois
The basic admission requirements for computer science schools in Illinois are different for undergraduate and graduate students. With that said, there is a common pattern displayed by most universities when enrolling students in their programs. Here are some of the admission requirements for computer science schools in Illinois.
Computer Science Schools in Illinois: Undergraduate Admission Requirements
- High school transcripts
- SAT/ACT scores if you are planning to include them in your application
- TOEFL iBT/IELTS/Duolingo English Test for international students
- A minimum GPA between 3.50 and 3.94
- Letters of recommendation and personal essays/statements
Computer Science Schools in Illinois: Graduate Admission Requirements
- Minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last two years of their undergraduate study
- Bachelor’s degree in a related field
- Transcripts from all institutions attended
- Statement of purpose
- GRE, SAT, or ACT scores
Is It Hard to Get Into a School for Computer Science in Illinois?
Yes, it’s fairly hard to get into a computer science school in Illinois, as most impose high GPA requirements for related programs. Public schools tend to have higher acceptance rates than private institutions. Here are some of the easiest colleges to get into in Illinois for CS. Note that prestigious, renowned schools tend to be more highly regarded by employers.
Easiest Colleges to Get Into in Illinois for Computer Science
- Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Acceptance Rate: 92%. According to College Scorecard, Southern Illinois University Carbondale is the easiest school in Illinois to get into with an acceptance rate of 92 percent. The school offers two graduate computer science programs.
- University of Illinois Springfield | Acceptance Rate: 77%. The school offers a total of three computer science programs, all of which can be attended in person or online. The Committee of National Security Systems and the National Security Agency certify the department.
- Bradley University | Acceptance Rate: 73%. Bradley University is slightly more selective, with an acceptance rate of 73 percent. It has a vast variety of computer science majors, minors, and graduate programs.
- University of Illinois-Chicago | Acceptance Rate: 73%. The computer science department is certified by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. Students in any of the computer science programs learn about computing, programming, and design.
- DePaul University | Acceptance Rate: 70%. This is one of the easiest private universities to get into, as some in this state have reported acceptance rates of seven percent. As per its official page, DePaul boats that 89 percent of computer science graduates are employed.
How to Get Into the Best Colleges and Universities
Best Online Schools for Computer Science in Illinois
The best online schools for computer science in Illinois are University of Illinois Champaign, Bradley University, DePaul University. The following list was prepared using data from College Scorecard.
|School||Graduation Rate||Top Online Computer Science Program|
|University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign||86%||Online Master of Computer Science|
|Bradley University||76%||Online Master’s Degree in Computer Science|
|DePaul University||68%||Master of Science in Computer Science|
|Lewis University||67%||Computer Science (Accelerated)|
|University of Illinois Springfield||54%||Master of Science in Computer Science|
The Most Affordable Colleges for Computer Science in Illinois
The most affordable colleges for computer science in Illinois are University of Illinois Springfield, University of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and Illinois State University. Here’s a brief overview of the costs to expect in these colleges and universities.
How to Attend the Top Computer Science Schools in Illinois With Financial Aid
It is possible to attend the top computer science schools in Illinois with financial aid as universities offer federal and state loans, as well as corporation scholarships and grants. Here are some of the best computer science scholarships for students in the state of Illinois.
Best Computer Science Scholarships for Illinois Students
- Intel AFCEA Scholarship | Amount: $5,000 for undergraduates and $10,000 for graduate students. This is a national award offered to undergraduate students pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science, Cyber Security, Information Technology, or Electrical Engineering. Those pursuing graduate degrees can also apply.
- Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship | Amount: A maximum of $7,500 per full academic year. This scholarship is only available to junior and sophomore students who are interested in pursuing research careers in math, engineering, or natural sciences. The scholarships help cover tuition, books, board, mandatory fees, and rooms.
- CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award | Amount: Up to $1,500. This is a national award that is issued to students who’ve shown great potential in computer research. It is offered in conjunction with the Computing Research Association.
- John Deere Scholarship in Computer Science | Amount: $2,000. The John Deere Scholarship is offered in recognition of those who’ve demonstrated great potential in the computer science community. The award is specifically for Hispanic or Latinx college students.
Illinois Employment Outlook for Computer Science
Illinois’ employment outlook for computer science shows a steady growth of professionals employed in related fields. As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 175,110 professionals employed in computer and mathematical occupations in Illinois. This figure has grown by 2.9 percent over the past few years.
Your chances of finding work after graduation in this state are decently high. Besides, most of these professions pay significantly higher salaries than the national average. Here’s a breakdown of some of the highest-paying computer science careers in Illinois.
Highest-Paying Computer Science Careers in Illinois
|Computer Science Job||Computer Science Degree||Average Salary in Illinois|
|Computer Network Architects||Bachelor’s degree||$124,940|
|Information Security Analysts||Bachelor’s degree||$112,830|
|Software Developers||Bachelor’s degree||$109,970|
|Computer Systems Analysts||Bachelor’s degree||$95,170|
|Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers||Bachelor’s degree||$91,670|
Best Computer Science Jobs in Illinois Explained
Earning a computer science degree is perhaps the most ideal way to launch a career in this field. Here is a brief overview of some of the best computer science jobs to look forward to after graduation.
Does It Matter What Computer Science School in Illinois I Go To?
Yes, it does matter what computer science school you go to in Illinois. Employers and clients in the computer science field are always keen to recruit professionals from established and recognized institutions. Getting a computer science degree from a reputable university could do wonders for your career trajectory.
With that said, computer science is still a hands-on profession that requires you to demonstrate what you can do. You shouldn’t rely too heavily on the reputation of a school to help you launch a career in this field. Work on honing your skills and portfolio and gain working experience.
Additional Reading About Computer Science
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Best Computer Science Schools in Illinois FAQ
Yes, Illinois is good for computer science. You can find affordable and high-quality computer science programs from some of the most highly-rated universities in Illinois. According to the US News & World Report rankings, some of the best computer science schools in Illinois include University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University.
Yes, it does matter which school and program you choose for computer science. Not all computer science degrees are the same as institutions offer different majors and concentrations. Finding a school that offers a concentration that is in line with your career and personal goals is essential.
Yes, University of Chicago is good for computer science. Not only does it offer excellent computer science programs, but it is ranked as the sixth-best school nationally by US News & World Report.
Yes, computer science is a relatively hard discipline to learn because of its sheer constructive nature. However, if you are motivated and are willing to learn computer science, then you will find it easier to advance in this field.
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