Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Computer Science Degrees

Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Computer Science Degrees

The best computer science liberal arts colleges are those with rich histories of influence, proven through the work produced by the program’s faculty and alumni. Beyond demonstrating scholarly impact in the field, the best computer science degree programs maximize your opportunities to interact with outstanding computer science faculty.

A bachelor’s degree in computer science is an excellent starting point for a career in programming, video game design, cybersecurity, and a host of other rapidly growing fields. As a computer science major, you’ll study algorithms, data structure, operating systems, networking, and much more. With a bachelor’s in computer science, you’ll qualify for well-paying roles such as network architect, information security analyst, or computer systems administrator. The best schools for computer science are those which are regionally accredited, which offer a full array of computer science concentrations, and which give you the chance to work with the best and most influential professors and classmates.

Degree popularity: Computer science bachelor’s degrees are the 14th most popular undergraduate degrees across all student demographics. It is much more popular among men, ranking 6th across men of all demographics. For women, it doesn’t rank among the top 25 degrees. It is the 3rd most popular degree for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders men, and 11th for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders women, according to the number of degree earners reported by the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Computer Science Degree Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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If you think a research university may be a better fit for you, see our ranking of the best research universities for a bachelor’s in computer sciecne.

How do we determine the best computer sciecne research universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Influence”.

The influence of a college or university is based on the schools’ top academic influencers related to the discipline in this ranking. We track the influence of faculty and alumni affialiate with these school counting not only the publicaitons and citations of the school’s affiliated people, but we also consider the overall web presense of the faculty and alumni. The greater the citations, authority of web links, web searches, and pageviews, the greater the individuals’ influence. Those combined make up the departments’ influence in the field of study. We believe tracking the academic influence of the people affiliated with a school is the best indicator of academic excellence.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and misuesed performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is more insulated from manipulation, and more reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Computer Science Degree

  1. #1

    Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

    What is Swarthmore College known for?

    Swarthmore College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    Swarthmore College Computer Science Major:

    CS interdisciplinary options:

    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Linguistics
    • Psychology

    Source

  2. #2

    Harvey Mudd College

    Claremont , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1530/34

    What is Harvey Mudd College known for?

    Harvey Mudd College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    Harvey Mudd College Computer Science Majors:

    • Computer Science
    • Joint degree – Computer Science and Mathematics
    • Joint degree – Mathematical and Computational Biology

    Source

  3. #3

    Amherst College

    Amherst , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    12%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    What is Amherst College known for?

    Amherst College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Literature
    • Law
    • Sociology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

    Amherst College Computer Science Major:

    • Computer Science

    Source

  4. #4

    Pomona College

    Claremont , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    What is Pomona College known for?

    Pomona College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Anthropology
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    Pomona College Computer Science Major:

    • BS Computer Science

    Source

  5. #5

    Wesleyan University

    Middletown , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Wesleyan University known for?

    Wesleyan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    Wesleyan University Computer Science Majors:

    Emphasis on theoretical computer science

    • BS Computer Science
    • BS/MS Computer Science

    Source

  6. #6

    United States Military Academy

    West Point , NY
    Other Rankings

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/27

    What is United States Military Academy known for?

    United States Military Academy’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Law
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    West Point Computer Science Major Threads:

    • Theoretical foundations
    • Programming and software design
    • Systems fundamentals
    • Applications of computing

    Source

  7. #7

    United States Air Force Academy

    USAF Academy , CO
    Other Rankings

    Acceptance

    13%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1335/30

    What is United States Air Force Academy known for?

    United States Air Force Academy’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Law
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

    USAFA Computer Science Majors:

    • Computer Engineering
    • Computer Science
      • Focus on programming, software engineering, and computing theory
    • Cyber Science
    • Data Science

    Source

  8. #8

    Reed College

    Portland , OR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1422/32

    What is Reed College known for?

    Reed College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    Reed College Computer Science Major:

    • BS Computer Science

    Source

  9. #9

    Wellesley College

    Wellesley , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    What is Wellesley College known for?

    Wellesley College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • History
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

    Wellesley College Computer Science Major:

    • BS Computer Science

    Source

  10. #10

    Williams College

    Williamstown , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    15%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

    What is Williams College known for?

    Williams College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Religious Studies
    • Physics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    Williams College Computer Science Major:

    Sample of specializations:

    • Graphics
    • Artificial intelligence
    • Computer architecture
    • Networks
    • Compiler design
    • Operating systems
    • Independent study

    Source

  11. #11

    Davidson College

    Davidson , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1397/31

    What is Davidson College known for?

    Davidson College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    Davidson College Computer Science Major:

    Sample of research opportunities:

    • Computer science
    • Data analytics
    • Theoretical and applied mathematics
    • Graph theory
    • Game theory
    • Sports analytics
    • Virtual reality
    • Machine learning
    • Bioinformatics

    Source

  12. #12

    United States Naval Academy

    Annapolis , MD
    Other Rankings

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1350/29

    What is United States Naval Academy known for?

    United States Naval Academy’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

    USNA Computer Science Majors:

    • Computer science
    • Information Technolog
    • Data Science

    Source

  13. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    21K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1340/29

    What is California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo known for?

    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

    Cal Poly Computer Science Major:

    Concentration:

    • Interactive Entertainment Concentration

    Otehr areas of focus sample:

    • Databases
    • Distributed computing
    • Software engineering
    • Programming languages
    • Graphical user interfaces
    • Operating systems
    • Computer networks
    • Computer graphics
    • Artificial intelligence

    Source

  14. #14

    Bowdoin College

    Brunswick , ME
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Bowdoin College known for?

    Bowdoin College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Physics
    • Religious Studies
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

    Bowdoin College Computer Science Majors:

    • Computer Science
    • Joint major – Computer science and mathematics

    Source

  15. #15

    San Francisco State University

    San Francisco , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    What is San Francisco State University known for?

    San Francisco State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    SFSU Computer Science Major:

    • BS Computer Science

    Source

  16. #16

    Middlebury College

    Middlebury , VT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    22%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/33

    What is Middlebury College known for?

    Middlebury College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Earth Sciences
    • Education
    • History
    • Economics
    • Anthropology
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    Middlebury College Computer Science Major Tracks:

    • Traditional
    • Interdisciplinary

    Source

  17. #18

    Oberlin College

    Oberlin , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    35%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1380/31

    What is Oberlin College known for?

    Oberlin College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    Oberlin College Computer Science Major:

    • BS Computer Science

    Source

  18. #19

    Vassar College

    Poughkeepsie , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    What is Vassar College known for?

    Vassar College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

    Vassar College Computer Science Major:

    • BS Computer Science

    Source

  19. #20

    Colgate University

    Hamilton , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    27%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    What is Colgate University known for?

    Colgate University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • History
    • Biology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Education
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

    Colgate College Computer Science Major:

    • Computer science
    • Computer science and mathematics

    Source

  20. #21

    Haverford College

    Haverford , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

    What is Haverford College known for?

    Haverford College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    Haverford College Computer Science Major Concentrations:

    • Scientific Computing
    • Mathematics

    Source

  21. #22

    Barnard College

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/32

    What is Barnard College known for?

    Barnard College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    Barnard College Computer Science Majors:

    • BA Computer Science
    • Computer Science 4+1 BA/MS Pathway

    Source

  22. #23

    University of Portland

    Portland , OR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/26

    What is University of Portland known for?

    University of Portland’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Portland Computer Science Major Specializations:

    • Artificial intelligence
    • Graphics
    • Game design
    • Human computer interaction
    • Compilers and programming languages
    • Networks
    • Communications systems

    Source

  23. Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1264/27

    What is DigiPen Institute of Technology known for?

    DigiPen Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    DigiPen Institute of Technology Computer Science Majors:

    • BS in Computer Science
    • BS in Computer Science in Machine Learning
    • BA in Game Design
    • BS in Computer Science and Game Design
    • BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation

    Source

  24. #25

    Manhattan College

    Riverdale , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    What is Manhattan College known for?

    Manhattan College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • History
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

    Manhattan College Computer Science Majors:

    • BA Computer Science
    • BS Computer Science
    • BS/MS Computer Science 5-year program

    Source

Go to all Liberal Arts Colleges for Computer Science programs

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