Best 15 Computer Science Schools In California in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

Computer Scientists study computers & computational systems. They work primarily with software systems, design, development, theory, and applications – to design algorithms to analyze computer software/hardware performance. If you have an interest in enrolling in one of the many quality computer science schools in California, consider the cross-section of computer science schools in California noted below that offers a wide range of academic degree options for various price tags.

And while computer science majors and professionals learn how to program, computer programming is only one element of the computer science field. Students interested in studying or a career related to computer science will find that computer science includes the principal areas of –

  • Computer networks.
  • Vision & graphics.
  • Computer systems.
  • Algorithms.
  • Computing theory.
  • Computer security.
  • Computer and human interactions.
  • Computer software engineering.
  • Database systems.
  • Artificial Intelligence, among others.

Work for computer scientists ranges from the tangible – creating a mobile application that works seamlessly and safely, to the abstract, where computer science professionals must solve computer issues with the application of complex algorithmic solutions.

The good news for those with a serious interest in a career in computer science should recognize that the skills taught in computer science programs are applicable (and even more critical – in high demand) across most technology-dependent economic sectors. As a result, computer science includes a variety of sub-specialties, with many independent disciplines in their own right.

Students studying computer science will generally complete a core curriculum (depending on the level of the academic degree, i.e., bachelor’s or master’s, etc.) and then select coursework to support his or her area of specialization. Strict specialization for computer science students tends to happen post-baccalaureate levels; it is helpful to begin to understand in which direction your computer science career will fall while completing your bachelor’s degree in computer science.

Computer science is one of the most popular academic majors in today’s marketplace, including students studying in California.

15 Computer Science Schools In California

1. California State University (CSU Fullerton)

California State University (CSU Fullerton) is located in Southern California and operates as a recognized Hispanic-serving institution. CSU Fullerton’s urban campus is recognized to contribute more than $2 billion to the Californian economy. The Computer Science Department within the Engineering & Computer Science College is considered among the top computer science schools in California and offers several ABET-accredited computer science degree programs.

2. California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo)

California Polytechnic State University is a public polytechnic higher learning institution that was established in 1901. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is a space-grant university with one of the largest campuses across the United States – more than 9,000 acres. The School of Computer Science and Software offers computer science degree programs at the baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate degrees.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 5,035 (U Resident); $5,752 (G Resident)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s & Master’s
  • Student Enrollment – 21,426
  • Accreditation –WASC

3. The University of California (UC Berkeley)

Located in Berkeley, California, this campus of the University of California is a land-grant school that has a student enrollment of approximately 43,150 students. UC Berkeley is regularly ranked among the globe’s most elite institutions of higher education, home to a variety of cutting-edge research labs and institutes. UC Berkeley’s Division of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS) is recognized as one of the top computer science schools in California offers students both undergraduate and graduate degree options.

4. The University of California  (UC Irvine)

The Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences at the University of California (UC Irvine), located within the greater LA metro area, is a research member school of the state’s university system, offering more than 190 undergraduate & graduate degree programs. UCI’s alumni include Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners. For schools less than fifty years old, UC Irvine has been ranked among the top five consistently.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 5,721 (U Resident); $ 19,272 (G – Resident) – (runs on trimester, shown per semester)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s & Master’s & Ph.D.’s
  • Student Enrollment – 36,908
  • Accreditation –WASC

5. The University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA)

Established in 1919 as a branch of an existing school to train teachers, the University of California (UCLA) now serves approximately 45,550 students. The University of California – Los Angeles is recognized as one of the country’s public ivy league schools. The Samueli Computer Science School offers various computer science academic programs, with the computer science and engineering degrees (CSE) accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Division of ABET.

6. The University of California (UC San Diego)

The Jacobs School of Engineering (SOE) at the University of California, situated in La Jolla, is a sea-grant and space-grant state university that offers more than 200 academic degree programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels. At the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels, UC San Diego offers various computer science options.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 7,739 (U Resident); $ 5,721 (G Resident) – (runs on trimester, shown per semester)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s & Master’s & Ph.D. Programs
  • Student Enrollment – 38,736
  • Accreditation –WASC

7. The Masters University & Seminary

The Masters University, located in Santa Clarita, is a private institution of higher education that operates as a nonprofit school. The Masters University offers students an impressive 12 to 1 student to faculty ratio, including the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer and Information Sciences with an academic emphasis in computer science. Students graduate from one of the top computer science schools in California to enter the workforce in cybersecurity, data warehousing, web development, and artificial intelligence, among other occupations.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 12,675 (U)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s
  • Student Enrollment – 2006
  • Accreditation –WASC

8. Biola University

Biola University’s School of Science Technology & Health/Dept of Math & Computer Science (MCS), located in La Mirada, California, is one of the top computer science schools in California. Biola University offers a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in Computer Science that provides students two concentrations – standard computer science or information systems. Students typically complete Biola University’s baccalaureate degree in computer science in four years, although some finish sooner, depending on course loads.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 21,756 (U)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s
  • Student Enrollment – 6,103
  • Accreditation – WASC

9. Pomona College

A member school of the Claremont consortium of colleges, Pomona College, was established as a private college in 1887. The school was created to resemble the colleges located in New England, offering only undergraduate degrees across its 48 majors. Students enrolled in Pomona College’s computer science baccalaureate degree program will participate in research projects relevant to the field and the student’s interests.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 27,190 (U)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s
  • Student Enrollment – 1,637
  • Accreditation –WASC

10. The University of San Diego

The University of San Diego’s Shiley Marcos Engineering School, situated in sunny Southern California, is a private institution of higher education that was once an all-women’s school but is one of the finest computer science schools in California. As a space-grant school that remains affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, the University of San Diego has grown to now include nine colleges/schools. In addition to the BA and BS in computer science, students can opt for an accelerated dual BS/MS combo degree.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 26,060 (U); $ 10,000 (G 8-credits)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s & Master’s
  • Student Enrollment –  9,181
  • Accreditation –WASC

11. California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech)

Located in Southern (Pasadena) California, the California Institute of Technology was founded as a research school in 1891. Cal Tech is world-renown for its academic degrees and educational facilities dedicated to the fields of engineering and science. Cal Tech’s Computing and Mathematical Sciences Department offers a variety of computer science degrees at the undergraduate level, the graduate level and is considered among the finest of all computer science schools in California.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 27,285 (U – undergraduate), $ 28,471 (G – graduate) per semester
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D.’s
  • Student Enrollment – 2,237
  • Accreditation –WASC

12. Claremont McKenna College (CMC)

Claremont McKenna College is a member school of the Claremont College Consortium that was established in 1946 exclusively as a men’s institution of higher education. CMC became coed in the 1970s when other cutting-edge colleges like Amherst and Yale began admitting women.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 28,095 (U); $31,308 (G)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s & Master’s
  • Student Enrollment – 1,246
  • Accreditation –WASC

13. Harvey Mudd College (HMC)

Located in Claremont, California – on the eastern edge of Los Angeles, Harvey Mudd College shares its campus with the other seven Claremont Colleges within the consortium. Founded in the mid 1950s, HMC now operates the McGregor Computer Science Center and is considered among the nation’s top undergraduate schools for students studying science and/or engineering and one of the best computer science schools in California.

  • Tuition Fees – $ 29,330 per semester (U)
  • Program Options – Bachelor’s
  • Student Enrollment – 904
  • Accreditation –WASC

14. The University of Southern California (USC)

Located in Los Angeles and founded in 1880, the University of Southern California is recognized as the oldest of all research higher learning institutions in the Golden State of California. The Department of Computer Science housed within the Viterbi College of Engineering is ranked among the finest computer science schools in California and offers a variety of computer science academic degree programs providing cutting edge research within each degree program.

15. Stanford University (Stanford)

Located in Stanford, California, Stanford University consistently ranks among the world’s finest institutions of higher education, with an 8,000-acre campus that is home to approximately 17,150 students. \ The bachelor’s level offers several concentrations in AI, graphics, biocomputational, theory, systems, information, human/computer, computer engineering, or a personally designed track.

Our Ranking Methodology

The colleges and universities that have been included in the list above include computer science degree offerings from some of the finest computer science schools in California. The universities and colleges are listed according to the tuition costs required to attend.  

The tuition data information that was gathered to analyze and assess the computer degrees offered by these best computer science schools in California includes the latest disclosed tuition costs representing the relevant tuition costs for the school year 2020/2021 unless noted otherwise.  

Each school in the list provides valuable information that students can use to help make well-educated academic decisions with regard to their educational choices.  This information includes –

  • Tuition fees that are per semester which is generally 12 credits for undergraduate or eight credit for graduate students.  
  • Programs options identify the computer science program availability at various academic levels.
  • The college or university’s student enrollment data reveal the size of the college or university.

All other data and information used to analyze these computer science schools in California were gathered from each school’s website or the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) website.

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tooltip-toggle">AD</button><div class="tooltip-body right css-iok6vd-Tooltip">BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.<button type="button" class="css-1pz3fcu css-11e3mg8 css-1w9ghd css-1hhul3j css-1jbuhzf css-yrxnuw css-1u78gm9 css-1y4tel7 css-1kru6p0 css-rnous3 css-12fbi72 bg-accent close-button">Got it!</button></div></section></div></form></div></div> <script> (function(){var i=this.element,e=this.props;if(i){i.setAttribute("data-ssr-mounted","");var o=i.querySelector("select[name=degree]"),a=i.querySelector("select[name=category]"),c=i.querySelector("select[name=subject]"),t=c.querySelectorAll("optgroup"),n=i.querySelector("[name=url]"),r=o.children[0].label,l=a.children[0].label,u=c.children[0].label,s=window.self!==window.top;n.value=s?document.referrer:window.location.href;for(var d,g,m,p=[],f=[],h=[],y=1;y<o.length;y++)p.push({name:o[y].label,id:o[y].value,selected:o[y].selected});for(var b=1;b<a.length;b++)f.push({name:a[b].label,id:a[b].value,selected:a[b].selected,degree:p.map(function(e){return e.id})});for(var v=0;v<t.length;v++){for(var x=void 0,w=0;w<f.length;w++)f[w].name===t[v].label&&(x=f[w].id);for(var O=0;O<t[v].children.length;O++){var E=t[v].children[O];h.push({name:E.label,id:E.value,selected:E.selected,category:x,degree:p.map(function(e){return e.id})})}}o.addEventListener("change",F),a.addEventListener("change",N),c.addEventListener("change",z);var S="".concat("https://platform.highereducation.com/","api"),j="\n query QuickDegreeFinderFeed(\n $publisher: String!\n ) {\n quickDegreeFinder(\n publisher: $publisher\n ) {\n degrees {\n id\n name\n slug\n categories {\n id\n name\n slug\n subjects {\n id\n name\n slug\n }\n }\n }\n }\n }\n ",k={publisher:e&&e.publisher},C="".concat(S,"?query=").concat(encodeURIComponent(j),"&variables=").concat(encodeURIComponent(JSON.stringify(k)));if(k.publisher&&I(C,function(e){var t,n,i=JSON.parse(e).data,r=i&&i.quickDegreeFinder&&i.quickDegreeFinder.degrees;r||!r.length?(t=r.reduce(function(t,n){return n.categories.forEach(function(e){t[e.id]=t[e.id]||e,t[e.id].degree=t[e.id].degree||[],t[e.id].degree.push(n.id)}),t},{}),t=Object.keys(t).map(function(e){return t[e]}),n=r.reduce(function(n,i){return i.categories.forEach(function(t){t.subjects.forEach(function(e){n[e.id]=n[e.id]||e,n[e.id].category=n[e.id].category||t.id,n[e.id].degree=n[e.id].degree||[],n[e.id].degree.push(i.id)})}),n},{}),n=Object.keys(n).map(function(e){return n[e]}),d=p.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),g=f.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),m=h.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),p=r.map(function(e){return e.selected=d[0]&&d[0].id==e.id||!1,e}),f=t.map(function(e){return e.selected=g[0]&&g[0].id==e.id||!1,e}).sort(function(e,t){return e.name<t.name?-1:e.name>t.name?1:0}),h=n.map(function(e){return e.selected=m[0]&&m[0].id==e.id||!1,e}).sort(function(e,t){return e.name<t.name?-1:e.name>t.name?1:0}),F()):console.error("Problem loading QDF feed.")}),"undefined"!=typeof window&&!window.toggleTooltip){Element.prototype.matches||(Element.prototype.matches=Element.prototype.msMatchesSelector||Element.prototype.webkitMatchesSelector),Element.prototype.closest||(Element.prototype.closest=function(e){var t=this;do{if(t.matches(e))return t;t=t.parentElement||t.parentNode}while(null!==t&&1===t.nodeType);return null}),window.NodeList&&!NodeList.prototype.forEach&&(NodeList.prototype.forEach=Array.prototype.forEach);var P=function(e){if(!e)return!1;var t=window.innerWidth,n=e.getBoundingClientRect().left,i=t-(n+e.offsetWidth);return 275+10<i?"right":i<n?"left":"right"};window.toggleTooltip=function(e){if(e.target.classList.contains("tooltip-toggle")){var t=i.querySelector(".tooltip-toggle"),n=e.target.closest("section").querySelector(".tooltip-body");"left"===P(t)?(n.classList.remove("right"),n.classList.add("left")):(n.classList.remove("left"),n.classList.add("right")),n.classList.toggle("open"),"undefined"!=typeof window&&void 0!==window.tagular&&window.tagular("beam","ElementClicked",{"@type":"redventures.usertracking.v3.ElementClicked",webElement:{location:"AD_DISCLOSURE",elementType:"TOOLTIP",position:"Search Experience",text:"Click - 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