10 hot computer science schools

Leading universities report rising enrollment in computer-related courses

Enrollment in the top U.S. computer science programs as well as applications for next year are up significantly, as more college students discover that their job prospects are better — and their starting salaries higher — if they have a computer-related degree. Here are the latest enrollment figures from 10 of the hottest computer science schools in the nation.

Related stories:

Want a job? Get a computer science degree

Computer Science Major is Cool Again

Does a computer science degree matter anymore?

10 recession-proof IT skills

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

At MIT, students choose their majors at the end of freshman year. Currently, MIT has 699 computer science majors enrolled, up 10% from last year. Computer science majors represent more than 25% of MIT's undergraduate population. One area where MIT has had success in recent years is in attracting more women as computer science majors, which have grown from 25% of the class in 2006 to 32% in 2009.

Other stats:

Undergraduate majors who are women in 2009: 32%
Undergraduate majors who are women in 2008: 29%
Undergraduate majors who are women in 2007: 28%
Undergraduate majors who are women in 2006: 25%

Stanford University

Stanford University

Stanford University students declare their majors after they arrive on campus. In 2009, 123 students declared computer science as their major, up 40% from the prior year. The number of students taking an introductory computer science class is up 20% this year, representing half of all Stanford University undergraduates.

Other stats:

Introductory computer science course enrollment in 2009: 800
Introductory computer science course enrollment in 2008: 670

University of California-Berkeley

University of California-Berkeley

Undergraduate enrollment at UC Berkeley's Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department's degree program is 929 students, up 8% from last year. In addition to these engineering students, UC Berkeley has another 120 liberal arts students enrolled as computer science majors, up 9% from last year. The current enrollment is a significant increase from the bust year of 2004, but it hasn't matched the boom year of 2000.

Other stats:

Graduate school applications received in 2010: 3,000
Graduate school applications received in 2009: 2,700

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science caps enrollment in its Department of Computer Science at around 130 students per class, for a total enrollment of less than 550 students. Demand for these slots is rising: the school received more than 3,000 applications this year, up 14% from a year ago but not quite at the peak of 2001. Starting salaries for CMU's computer science grads remained high last year despite the downturn.

Other stats:

Highest starting salary in 2009: $105,000
Median starting salary in 2009: $80,000
Lowest starting salary in 2009: $27,000

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Enrollment at the University of Illinois' Department of Computer Science has increased for the last three years, reaching 770 students this year. Applications for next year rose 26% to 860. U of I reports solid recruitment of its students by software, healthcare, trading and agricultural firms. Last spring, U of I's computer science majors had the highest starting salary of any students in an engineering-related field.

Other stats:

2009 Enrollment: 770

Average number of job offers extended to 2009 grads: 2.3

Average starting salary for 2009 grads: $72,000

Cornell University

Cornell University

Cornell University students are accepted as computer science majors during sophomore year. The university has 220 students enrolled as computer science majors, up slightly from last year. One enrollment driver: rising salaries upon graduation.

Other stats:

Average starting salary in 2009: $74,550
Average starting salary in 2008: $73,630

2009 computer science grads with jobs or pursuing graduate school as of June 2009: 94%

Princeton University

Princeton University

At Princeton University, students don't choose to be computer science majors until sophomore year. Enrollment in this program has been rising steadily since 2005. But the big increase has been in the number of undergraduate students taking a computer science class, which reached 900 this year. Currently, 40% of Princeton students take the introductory computer science course as either a requirement or an elective.

Other stats:

Princeton students taking a computer science class in 2009: 900
Princeton students taking a computer science class in 2005: 500

Princeton students taking the introductory computer science course in 2009: 40%

University of Washington

University of Washington

At the University of Washington, students apply to be computer science and engineering majors during their sophomore year. Enrollment in the program is capped, with 175 new undergraduates admitted every year. This year, the program received three applications for every slot. In 2007, the program received only two applications for every slot. More than 2,500 students are taking the university's introductory computer science and engineering courses this year, the largest enrollment ever.

Other stats:

Introductory computer science course enrollment in 2009: 2,500
Introductory computer science course enrollment in 2006: 2,000

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology

Enrollment in Georgia Tech's College of Computing is up 3% this year, but applications for next year are up 5%. Last spring, the College of Computing had the highest job placement rate of any major on campus and the highest starting salary. The number of companies attending the college's special career fair has doubled in the last two years.

Other stats:

Job placement for Class of 2009: 87%

Companies attending computer science career fair in 2010: 60
Companies attending computer science career fair in 2008: 30

University of Texas ? Austi

University of Texas – Austin

Overall enrollment at the University of Texas at Austin is up 10% this year and is projected to rise another 10% next year. As the university grows, so does its computer science program. This year's enrollment in the computer science program is 948 students, up 5% over last year but not yet at the peak level achieved a decade ago.