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Last Updated: August 24, 2021

Top Computer Science Programs in California

The economy of California is stunningly large and can be compared to that of large countries in the world. The GDP of the state of California is among the top 10 within the country of the US and the purchasing power parity of an individual is lower than only 10 countries in the world. It is home to Silicon Valley which is a global hub of high technological innovation and entrepreneurship making it an epicenter of the world’s technology. They excel in fields like aerospace, engineering, entertainment, and music.

When it comes to computer science, every year, around 3200 students are estimated to graduate with computer science degrees in California. The state has over 110 different colleges and schools that offer computer science programs. The tuition fee for a degree in computer science in a university in California is estimated to have an average fee of about $9,000 per year, but for reputed and top-ranked institutions, the fee may even go up to as high as $50,000 per year.

Studying Computer Science in California

Candidates who choose to study in the state of California will be able to find excellent internship and career opportunities that will help them in their future prospects. California also offers the best academic options for candidates by focusing on subjects and specializations that can help them easily build their careers right after college.

The outlook for computer science graduates in the state of California is pretty good, with an estimated number of about 42,000 working professionals. A computer science professional working in the state of California can expect a salary of anything ranging from $60,000 per year up to $115,000 per year. It is estimated that the average salary of a computer science professional in the state lies close to the $70,000 per year mark. California is considered to be home to five of the top-rated computer science schools in the US, regarding salary packages offered to students.

Top Colleges for Computer Science in California

The best colleges for computer science in the state of California are-

Stanford University

Stanford University offers computer science as a major and minor to undergraduate students. Candidates who take up the subject as a major will have to fulfill their requirements in mathematics, science, and engineering fundamentals. The core courses will include subjects under systems and theory. Candidates who take up their master’s program where they will be able to choose the classes they want to learn and fix a specialization. The specializations that are offered include subjects like artificial intelligence, bio-computation, human-computer interaction, etc.

University of California-Berkeley

University of California in Berkeley offers two undergraduate programs in computer science. They offer BA in computer science and a BS in electrical engineering and computer science. The BA in computer science includes subjects like computer graphics, databases, logic design, computer architecture, etc. Their graduate programs offer research possibilities in fields like robotics, biosystems, computational biology, programming systems, operating systems, human-computer interaction, etc.

California Institute of Technology

They offer candidates with options in undergraduate and graduate courses. The undergraduate program includes both mathematical and engineering perspectives aligned with that of computer science and also allows candidates to take up a double major as long as they have completed the core requirements for the course. The courses involved in undergraduate studies are algorithms, biocomputers, graphics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, networks, robotics, etc.

Their graduate programs do not include master’s programs but they offer Ph.D. in computer science. For a Ph.D., candidates are not required to minor in computer science as long as their guide is from the computer science faculty adviser. They will have to formulate, analyze, and find the solution to a particular problem that is significant in the field of study as part of the course.

University of California-Los Angeles

The computer science department here offers candidates with the option of BS in computer science and BS in computer science and engineering. The undergraduate degrees focus on concepts like electrical and computer engineering, civil and environmental engineering, mathematics, statistics, etc. along with a focus on computer-science-related courses which can be chosen by the student.

They offer MS in computer science and a Ph.D. in computer science as part of their graduate-level programs. The students who have chosen the MS program will not have to take a compulsory major. They will be able to choose from artificial intelligence, computational systems biology, computer networks, computer science theory, graphics, etc.

University of California-San Diego

The computer science and engineering department of UC San Diego offers undergraduate and graduate programs to aspiring students. Candidates can take a BS in computer science or a minor in computer science depending on what they want to major in. the courses they will have to study include discrete mathematics, data structures, computer organization, system programming, etc.

Among graduate programs, they offer MS in computer science and engineering and a Ph.D. in computer science. Candidates will be required to keep an overall GPA of 3 at the university and will either have to complete a thesis, comprehensive exam as a standard option, or a comprehensive exam as an interdisciplinary option. Candidates will be able to take up electives as part of the course.

Other Top Colleges for Computer Science in California

University of Southern California

The department of computer science in this university offers a BS, MS, and Ph.D. in computer science with research possibilities in fields like artificial intelligence, theory, systems, and computer vision. The university also offers candidates with a program in data science and options for distance education. For an undergraduate program, the minimum requirement is 128 credits where candidates will have to fulfil writing requirements, general education, pre-major requirements, and major requirements.

The courses that are provided in the university include computation, programming, data structures, discrete mathematics, operating systems, artificial intelligence, etc. The specializations offered in the MS program include data science, computer security, computer networks, software engineering, intelligent robotics, etc. They provide a thesis and non-thesis option for the MS program along with other specialized degrees under data science.

University of California-Irvine

The university offers a major and minor in computer science along with graduate programs in the subject. The research areas they focus on include artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer architecture, programming languages, and compilers, etc. Among graduate programs, they offer a professional master of computer science course, an MS, and a Ph.D. in the subject.

The specializations offered include subjects like cryptography, parallel systems, distributed systems, computer network, computer architecture, systems software, scientific computing, etc.

University of California-Davis

This university offers undergraduate and graduate programs in computer science. The undergraduate programs include a computer science major and a major in computer science and engineering. The courses offered for a computer science major include discrete mathematics, data structures, software development, algorithms, programming, etc.

Candidates who are taking a graduate program in the university will have the option of taking an MS degree or a Ph.D. The master’s program has core requirements in fields like architecture, systems, theory, and applications. They will be able to choose between a thesis and project option for the program.

University of California-Santa Cruz

The department of computer science and engineering offers undergraduate and graduate programs for aspiring candidates. The undergraduate programs include a BA and BS in the subject where the former has an interdisciplinary approach to the subject. Computer science can also be taken as a minor while pursuing other subjects like art, music, business, etc.

This university offers candidates with master’s programs in specific fields under computer science like computational media, data science, human language media, robotics, scientific computing, etc. The general master’s program is MS in computer science and engineering.

University of California-Riverside

The department of computer science offers the subject as undergraduate and graduate programs. Among undergraduate courses, they offer majors and minors in computer science and an option of taking the BS and MS courses together. They also offer a program for data science. The subjects these programs deal with include computer programming, computing, python programming, software construction, discrete structures, etc.

The graduate programs they offer include Ph.D. in computer science and MS in computer science. The subjects that are dealt with in the MS program include compiler construction, computer architecture, computer networks, cloud computing, scientific computing, parallel algorithms, etc.

Claremont Graduate University

The center for informational systems & technology offers graduate programs for specializations in the field of computer science. They offer MS in cybersecurity & networking, MS in data science and analytics, MS in health informatics, MS in information systems and technology, etc. They also offer a Ph.D. in information systems and technology along with dual degree options.

San Diego University

This university offers a BA and BS in computer science for aspiring candidates along with a 4+1 master’s option. The subjects offered under these programs include computational problem solving, programming, computer systems, calculus, discrete mathematics, linear algebra, etc. The major requirements include automata, computability, algorithms, operating systems, etc.

They provide graduate programs for specific specializations under computer science like MS in applied data science, MS in cybersecurity engineering, and MS in applied artificial intelligence.

Top Programs for Computer Science

Master’s in Computer Science-Stanford University

Stanford offers candidates a unique format for the master’s course with students being provided a “shopping period” to choose their courses. Candidates will also be able to choose their specializations. The specializations provided include artificial intelligence, bio-computation, theoretical computer science, software theory, real-world computing, etc. and candidates will be able to attend sample classes before they choose their specialization.

The application process for this university is completely online with candidates having to upload their letters of recommendation, and transcripts before the deadline.

CS Major-University of California-Berkeley

Candidates who want to take a CS major/BA in computer science from the University of California in Berkeley will have to fulfill lower-division and upper-division requirements. Lower-division requirements include courses like calculus, data structures, machine structures, discrete mathematics, probability theory, etc. Upper-division requirements include subjects like parallel computing, computational photography, computational design, data engineering, PCB design, deep learning, etc.

To apply for the course, candidates will have to apply to the College of Letters and Science and choose computer science as their major in the application. The tuition fee for the course is estimated to be around $14,000 per semester. Candidates will have to submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, and medical insurance coverage forms(if required).

BS in Computer Science-UC San Diego

Candidates who take up a BS in computer science will be dealing with subjects like cryptography, computer architecture, databases, machine learning, artificial intelligence, etc. The course focuses on building a foundation in mathematics, physics, and programming. As part of their upper-division courses, candidates will deal with subjects like software engineering, computability, algorithms, data structures, etc.

While applying for the course, candidates will have to submit the completed application, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a statement of purpose. The fee for undergraduate courses in the university is estimated to be around $18,000 per semester and is subject to variation according to the semester the candidate is applying for.

BS in Computer Science-UCLA

The undergraduate program at UCLA focuses on basic mathematic and software engineering. The course is interdisciplinary in nature with a requirement of mathematics and statistics-related courses along with computer science courses. Candidates will be able to choose 12 units of computer science courses they require. The courses offered include software engineering, data structures, operating systems, distributed systems, computer networks, etc.

To apply for an undergraduate program at UCLA, candidates must have a minimum GPA of 3.4. Though SAT/ACT scores used to be considered for admission, they are no longer required to submit these scores until fall 2024. Candidates will have to submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a statement of purpose along with the application form. The fee per semester for every undergraduate program is $13,000 for California residents and non-residents.

Major in Computer Science-California Institute of Technology

Candidates who take up a major in computer science from here will be able to choose multiple courses for the same according to their discretion. The program insists on providing students with interdisciplinary learning by merging mathematics, engineering, and computer science through their syllabus. They will have the option of doing an undergraduate thesis or undergraduate project as part of the course. The subjects that are dealt with include algorithms, machine learning, artificial learning, robotics, systems, operating systems, etc.

The application process for the course includes submitting a duly filled application form along with an application fee of $75. They will also have to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, and their SAT/ACT scores as part of the application. The estimated fee for a nine-month period is $56,000.

Computer Science Degree Programs