Learn More About How We Rank Our Computer Science Programs

As part of our commitment to providing an in-depth, up-to-date overview of the computer science (CS) field, ComputerScience.org offers clear, comprehensive, and data-driven school rankings to help the next generation of computer scientists obtain the best academic preparation they can afford.

Regularly updated based on the field's constant fluctuations, our rankings reflect the most recent developments and shifts in computer science education. Our school rankings thereby help tomorrow's computer scientists take the first step toward rewarding careers in this expanding and ever-changing field.

We know that the sheer number of programs available can be overwhelming, so our rankings seek to expedite the process of researching and comparing prospective programs. We gather, analyze, and condense diverse program data into clear rankings grounded in key factors important to most students and their families.

Our rankings prioritize some of the most essential and commonly valued factors, including institution and program quality, affordability, and return on investment (ROI). Data measurements used in such assessments include graduation rates, financial aid provision percentages, and student loan default rates.

Our rankings allow users to quickly identify and compare the most affordable, high-performing programs available. By identifying the nation's best-value computer science programs, our rankings spare users from perusing countless school websites or wasting time or money on programs with lower ROI.

Choosing the right program and school is ultimately a personal decision, but reliable school rankings can help CS program applicants make sound, data-driven choices between programs of proven quality. ComputerScience.org only uses objective, reliable data provided by the U.S. Department of Education-approved sources discussed below.

About the Data We Use

ComputerScience.org bases its rankings on data derived from two primary sources: the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), run by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard.

Operated by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), NCES collects, analyzes, and reports on education data and activities in the U.S. and abroad.

One of four IES centers, NCES supports the compliance-related mission of IES. As an independent, nonpartisan institute founded in response to the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, IES ensures the accuracy and accessibility of education statistics. IES performance has received the highest rank of effectiveness granted by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

IPEDS, a tool of NCES, gathers aggregate survey data from postsecondary institutions. Survey components include graduation rates, outcome measures, and student financial aid -- factors analyzed by ComputerScience.org when ranking schools. This data comes from institutional departments rather than students, which allows ComputerScience.org to ground its school rankings in outcomes and financial aid data from verifiable, accountable sources.

ComputerScience.org also draws heavily on data from College Scorecard. Designed to empower students and their families to choose worthwhile schools, College Scorecard's institutional performance measures include annual cost, graduation rate, median debt, and proportion of loan recipients.

College Scorecard also offers data on institutional performance based on field of study. Field of study data derive from institutional reports, federal financial aid data, and tax information. Field of study performance measures include median earnings, monthly earnings, median total debt, and graduation rates.

About Our Ranking Factors

To help today's busy students avoid wasting time and money, ComputerScience.org grounds its school rankings in factors directly connected to ROI.

Our rankings evaluate affordability by examining performance data such as net price, alumni loan default rates, financial aid rates, and ratios between aid received and average cost. Academic quality performance measures include retention and graduation rates, class size, number of programs available, and net present value. Rankings of online programs also factor in percentages of students enrolled full time and part time in online programs.

The following section outlines ComputerScience.org's online and on-campus program ranking system factors and related measures.

Online Program Rankings

Below is a list of all the factors we take into consideration when ranking online programs, including master's and doctoral programs.

Affordability

  • A low net price
  • Financial aid
    • Percentage of students awarded financial aid
    • Ratio of the average amount of aid received to average cost
  • Low loan default rate

Quality

  • High retention rate
  • Number of programs offered
  • Low student-to-faculty ratio

Student Success

Online Flexibility

  • Percentage of students enrolled partially online
  • Percentage of students enrolled fully online

On-Campus Program Rankings

Below is a list of all the factors we take into consideration when ranking on-campus programs, including master's and doctoral programs.

Affordability

  • A low net price
  • Low graduate fees (for graduate programs)
  • Financial aid
    • Percentage of students awarded financial aid
    • Ratio of the average amount of aid received to average cost
  • Low loan default rate

Quality

  • High retention rate
  • Number of programs offered
  • Low student-to-faculty ratio

Student Success

Other Sources ComputerScience.org Uses

Below are sources that ComputerScience.org uses for additional salary and career information: