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Schools in the USA

How Computer Science Schools are Ranked in the US

Organizations and individuals have been ranking computer science schools for years. In the US, a whole industry has arisen focused on the ranking of universities and colleges, including computer science programs. Publications and organizations such as US News & World Report, The Princeton Review, The Washington Monthly and the National Research Council regularly publish general and specialty rankings designed to identify the "best" graduate and undergraduate schools and programs according to quality and value. Computer science programs are often ranked in the specialty section of engineering or technology school rankings. Computer science programs may also be ranked by smaller independent, organizations (such as StudentsReview and GRE Guide's computer science program rankings) or on the global stage, such as in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) based in Shanghai, China.

Each of these publications, however, uses its own particular set of criteria for ranking schools and programs. In the case of the controversial Gourman Report, the author specifically refuses to disclose his methodology. How then should all these rankings be interpreted?

First, the ranking reports often come with detailed data to support conclusions, and while data collection may be criticized, the editors of these reports usually make an effort to ensure that statistics are comparable. So the reports can be used by you to compare institutions and schools on the basis of the data provided.

Second, the statistics that come from the rankings can also suggest topics that need to be studied in more detail. For instance, if you find that a high percentage of students participate in an international exchange and that most go to Asia, you might want to explore why few students go to the EU.

All university and college rankings have one other thing in common: they are a list of institutions and schools. Scanning the list might suggest a computer science school that you had not considered or perhaps even heard of. Used this way, the rankings can help expand your list of schools that can then be researched in more detail. 

However, you should never judge based on rankings alone. Computer science school rankings are important, but there may be other factors that need to be taken into consideration. Schools that are less prominent may have a program that might suit your needs better than any nationally ranked schools. Lesser known regional universities and colleges may also be a wise choice if you wish to remain close to home during your studies. Often times, these schools may have the strongest relationships with local companies and employers. Once you have accumulated this information, you could be able to create your own computer science school rankings.

Schools

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datascience@berkeley
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California College San Diego

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What Are You Waiting For?

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