Last Updated on December 28, 2022
Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology has been ranked fifth in the category of Top Undergraduate Computer Science Programs by U.S. News & World Report . With a five-year job placement rate of 100%, graduate salaries reaching an average $107,000 per year, and 80% of graduates remaining in Pennsylvania, the college boasts the best track record for computer science students.
Pennsylvania State University
wo colleges at Penn State offer degrees related to computer science. First, the College of Information Sciences and Technology has three bachelor of science programs including the Information Sciences and Technology (ISTBS) major which begins with a series of mathematics courses like Calculus, Elementary Statistics, and Language, Logic, and Discrete Mathematics. A chosen specialty determines the remaining required courses. Design and Development is one option, and this track provides instruction and practice in software and app development. The second ISTBS option, Integration and Application, combines business with technology and includes three courses focusing on project management and enterprise integration. This specialization is available on campus and completely online and teaches students to identify the needs of a business and determine software and technology solutions. The third choice in this major is People, Organizations, and Society which focuses on the ways in which social media and the ever-changing nature of technology affect society and culture overall.
Other degrees in this college include the B.S. in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations (CYAOP) and the B.S. in Human-Centered Design and Development (HCDD). There are 24 core classes in the CYAOP curriculum covering topics like mathematics, risk analysis, programming, databases, and networking as well as criminal justice and forensics. Students can choose electives based on a concentration area like Geopolitics, Law and Policy, Economics, or Healthcare and also have the option of designing a custom concentration. There is a similar entirely online degree program, the B.S. in Security and Risk Analysis, which also prepares students to work as cybersecurity analysts or security specialists. The HCDD major is a combination of marketing and IT with a focus on web development and design. Core classes include Methods for Studying Users, Programming for the Web, and Human-Centered Design for Mobile Computing. All students complete a capstone during which they create a presentation geared toward business executives detailing a specialized web app or other new technology.
The College of Engineering offers the traditional B.S. in Computer Science which requires more math and theory courses than the information technology programs. There are 15 core classes that provide a foundation in calculus, physics, data structures, computer architecture, and programming. Students can choose the remainder of the major courses from subject areas like machine learning, cybersecurity, graphics, networking, artificial intelligence, and computer vision among others.
At the graduate level, Penn State offers both a Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Computer Science and Engineering. The main difference between these is that the M.S. has more of a research focus and typically includes a thesis, while the M.Eng. is considered a professional degree that prepares students for practical work in the industry. These graduate programs generally take at least two years to complete, but there is a one-year no-thesis M.S. option with two available tracks, one focusing on engineering and the other on computer science. A Ph.D. is also available in the field and includes extensive research, typically requiring at least four years of full-time study.
Penn State might rank 3rd on our list, but it’s far from a consolation prize. The public research university enrolls over 100,000 students across 24 campuses, and has ranked as high as 18th in the nation in undergraduate engineering programs. At the graduate level, the computer science program is ranked 29th in the nation. That’s not bad for the 3rd university on our list!
This renowned computer science program comes at a great value for Pennsylvania residents—under $18,000 a year for tuition. While it doesn’t quite measure up to our prestigious top two, Penn State is among the best colleges for computer science in Pennsylvania and the nation. For Pennsylvania residents, Penn State also offers the best value for computer science in the state. In fact, tuition costs are 1/3 of those at Pennsylvania’s best computer science college.
Pennsylvania State University Computer Science Ranking
Based on 67 evaluation criteria, Pennsylvania State University computer program ranks in Top 50 Computer Schools in USA and in Top 5 Computer Schools in Pennsylvania. Major competitors for this school are Princeton University and Columbia University in the City of New York in New York City.
|Biological / Agricultural Engineering||6||11|
|Engineering Science and Mechanics||Δ||Δ|
|Engineering Program Overall Ranking||21||33|
Δ U.S. News & World Report does not rank this program.
† Penn State does not offer an undergraduate degree in environmental engineering.
1U.S. News & World Report only ranks this program every four years; last ranked in 2014
Computer Science, tied for #29