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Top 20 colleges for computer science majors, based on earning potential

The Golden State dominates PayScale’s ranking of the top computer science schools

By , Network World
September 17, 2013 01:06 PM ET

Network World - California is home to the top five computer science schools in the U.S., according to a new salary-centric report from PayScale.

The research company ranked 129 college majors based on the median pay for alumni from 1,016 schools (see related story, Computer science major ranks No. 8 for salary earning potential).

In addition to ranking the most lucrative majors, PayScale also analyzed which schools produce the highest-paid graduates in each field of study. Among computer science graduates, alumni from University of California, Berkeley, led the pack with a median mid-career salary of $141,400, PayScale said. The Golden State is also home to the next four universities in the computer-science rankings.

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To come up with its rankings, PayScale surveyed 1.4 million civilian employees working full-time in the U.S. Only employees who possess a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees are included in PayScale’s College Salary Report. The rankings are based on the median mid-career earnings of graduates.

Best Schools for Computer Science Majors
Source: PayScale

1. University of California, Berkeley
Starting pay: $82,000
Mid-career pay: $141,400

2. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (CalPoly)
Starting pay: $67,000
Mid-career pay: $125,000

3. University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
Starting pay: $68,000
Mid-career pay: $120,200

4. Stanford University (tie)
Starting pay: $90,000
Mid-career pay: $120,000

4. University of California, Irvine (UCI) (tie)
Starting pay: $64,200
Mid-career pay: $120,000

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Starting pay: $82,400
Mid-career pay: $117,500

7. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)
Starting pay: $66,700
Mid-career pay: $117,000

8. Cornell University
Starting pay: $70,000
Mid-career pay: $116,500

9. University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
Starting pay: $70,000
Mid-career pay: $115,000

10. Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Starting pay: $63,000
Mid-career pay: $114,500

11. San Jose State University (SJSU)
Starting pay: $65,500
Mid-career pay: $114,400

12. New York University (NYU)
Starting pay: $60,000
Mid-career pay: $112,500

13. University of Washington (UW)
Starting pay: $65,000
Mid-career pay: $112,100

14. University of Maryland (UMD)
Starting pay: $66,000
Mid-career pay: $112,000

15. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
Starting pay: $69,500
Mid-career pay: $111,500

16. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) (tie)
Starting pay: $81,300
Mid-career pay: $111,000

16. Georgia Institute of Technology (tie)
Starting pay: $65,800
Mid-career pay: $111,000

18. University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
Starting pay: $65,000
Mid-career pay: $110,000

19. University of Texas (UT) - Austin
Starting pay: $64,000
Mid-career pay: $106,200

20. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
Starting pay: $68,000
Mid-career pay: $106,000

It’s worth noting that not every college and university in the U.S. is included in the study. According to PayScale, there are approximately 3,070 bachelor's degree-granting schools in the U.S, and this year’s College Salary Report includes 1,016 of them. With those 1,016 schools, PayScale asserts that it’s covering 86% of schools with more than 5,000 undergraduates and more than 75% of the estimated undergraduates in bachelor’s degree programs in the U.S.

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