So you’re thinking about pursuing a master’s degree in computer science, but you aren’t quite sure where to start? First of all, this likely means you have recently completed an undergraduate degree, so congratulations! That is quite the accomplishment and it is great that you are already looking into what to do next.
To help with your search for the best computer science master’s programs, we have compiled a list of the top 10 schools in the world below, as well as more information on master’s degrees in computer science.
What is Computer Science?
Chances are, you are already familiar with computer science. But, in case you’re not, here is a simple explanation: computer science is the study of computers and their systems. To go a bit more in-depth, computer science deals a lot with computer software and various software systems, rather than just the physical computer.
In this field, people deal with the design and development of software. This results in a wide variety of studies, with some of the most common being artificial intelligence, database systems and human-computer interactions.
Even if you are interested in only one niche of computer science, learning the rest of the skills taught in computer science courses can be valuable when applying for jobs in the future. For example, it is awesome if you have learned artificial intelligence, but even better if you have learned artificial intelligence and software engineering.
Why a Master’s Degree in Computer Science?
Going for a master’s degree can seem pretty daunting, especially if you haven’t even finished an undergraduate degree. Many may wonder if choosing to go for a master’s degree is really worth all of the time it will take to earn. While it may take some extra time, there are really a lot of reasons a master’s degree may be a better option than sticking with an undergrad degree.
A bachelor’s degree in the world of computer science is viewed as a way for beginners to get a foot in the field and experiment with different jobs, figuring out what they really want to do. Then, after deciding what specialization they want to pursue, these professionals go back to school for a master’s degree, allowing them to gain specific knowledge and the necessary documentation to secure a spot in higher job positions.
With a bachelor’s degree, you can definitely find jobs working in computer science, but you can find even more jobs, and often higher-paying jobs, with a master’s degree. A Master’s Degree in Computer Science gives you more authority when meeting with potential employers.
So, here are the top 10 schools offering master’s degrees in computer science to help you further your career trajectory.
Top 10 Computer Science Master’s Programs in the World
Prior to earning your Master’s Degree in Computer Science, you first need to graduate with an undergraduate degree of some sort. Generally, it will be required that you have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or at least a bachelor’s degree in a similar field. However, if you are able to earn a bachelor’s in computer science prior to applying to master’s degree programs, you will have a better understanding of the subject and a better chance of being accepted.
It can be difficult to choose a college to attend when you have no idea which is the best university for your master’s degree program. That’s why we have gathered information from Business Insider and CollegeChoice to provide you with a list of the top 10 computer science master’s programs in the world:
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, MIT is commonly known as one of the best tech universities in the world. While they do offer a master’s program for computer science, it is not a terminal program. This means that it is only offered to those who completed their undergrad at MIT and you are required to do a research thesis. That being said, it is consistently ranked as the best computer science master’s program in the world.
Located in Stanford, California, US, Stanford University offers two variations of a Master’s Degree in Computer Science. One is intended to be terminal, meaning it will not lead to a Ph.D., while the other has a distinction in research, making it possible for students to later pursue a Ph.D.
3. Carnegie Mellon
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US brings Carnegie Mellon University to the top 10 list, offering three variations of the program. One is an MS in Computer Science, which allows you to create your own study course rather than attend a set of fixed courses. The other two are a fifth-year master’s, requiring a research project and a bachelor’s in computer science from Carnegie Mellon, and an accelerated MBA program.
4. University of California- Berkeley
Commonly known as “Berkeley,” this school in Berkeley, California, US, offers an MS in Computer Science, putting an emphasis on research experience.
5. University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge, located in Cambridge, United Kingdom, offers two variations of a master’s degree: an M.Phil (Master’s of Philosophy) and an M.Eng (Master’s of Engineering), both with a concentration in computer science. Both require taught modules as well as a research project.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard offers a Ph.D. in computer sciences, and a Master’s Degree in Computational Science and Engineering specifically for those interested in a Ph.D. from Harvard and wanting to apply directly to their master’s program.
7. University of Oxford
Oxford University, in Oxford, United Kingdom, offers an M.S.c. in computer science. This program requires taught modules as well as a dissertation of up to 30,000 words.
8. Princeton University
In Princeton, New Jersey, US, Princeton University offers a master’s program, with the requirement of having completed an undergraduate degree in science, engineering or mathematics.
9. ETH Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland’s ETH Zurich offers a master’s program that works closely with its research program, allowing students plenty of opportunities to work on new research in the field.
10. University of Toronto
Finally, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, we have the University of Toronto offering an M.S.c. program focusing on taught coursework as well as one large research paper.
Let’s now move on to what careers you can pursue upon completion of your Master’s Degree in Computer Science.
Careers in Computer Science
Like many other tech sectors, computer science is an ever-growing field with many jobs in high demand. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted over 500,000 new jobs will be created by 2028.
This is good news for anyone thinking about pursuing a degree in computer science because there is a very good chance of getting a job right away instead of playing the waiting game for months on end.
Some of the top careers in this field right now include the following:
- Computer Programming: Computer programmers write code to get computers to perform tasks or solve problems.
- Software Development: Software developers design and create software, as well as maintaining the performance of the software. This is all done through writing and maintaining code.
- Web Development: Web development is the process of designing and developing websites.
- Software/Hardware Engineering: Both software and hardware engineering jobs apply engineering to the development of software/hardware.
- Data Science: Data scientists use a variety of processes and methods to draw new knowledge from groups of data, making it easier for others to understand.
All of the above jobs include high-paying salaries, often reaching six figures. And, with the field growing so rapidly, these great jobs with high salaries are easily attainable.
A computer science master’s degree provides you with career freedom and the opportunity for career advancement. There are so many different jobs you can choose from, and with all of them paying great salaries, it makes sense to work toward a master’s degree in the field.
As shown, there are plenty of amazing computer science master’s programs all over the world to choose from. With each one varying from the others, you are sure to find the perfect match for your needs. The above top 10 colleges would look stunning on any resume and being able to say you graduated from one would give you a headstart over other interviewees while searching for a job.
One of the biggest things to consider when choosing which program you would like to complete is if you plan to pursue a Ph.D. Many of these top colleges only allow those pursuing a Ph.D. to apply for their master’s programs, and while the program may be one of the best in the world, if you aren’t planning to do a Ph.D., it may not be the best program for you.
If you are still trying to choose what is right for you, master’s degree or not, that’s OK. Deciding to pursue your master’s degree is a tough decision to make, but it can definitely be worth it, especially if you are pursuing the field of computer science.