The University of Chicago’s top-notch academics, innovative research, and Nobel Prize-winning faculty have given it international acclaim across disciplines. But how does UChicago’s computer science department measure up to peers nationally? If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The University of Chicago’s computer science program is highly selective and ranks among the top computer science programs in the country, though not as highly as elite schools like MIT, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon.

UChicago Computer Science Program Overview

The University of Chicago’s Computer Science program is highly regarded and consistently ranks among the top computer science programs in the world. The program offers a range of degree options and opportunities for interdisciplinary study and research.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at UChicago provides students with a strong foundation in computer science principles and skills. Students learn programming, algorithms, data structures, and computer systems while also gaining a deep understanding of the theoretical aspects of computer science.

The program also emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking skills, preparing students for careers in industry or further study in graduate school.

Master’s Degrees in Computer Science and Computational Analysis and Public Policy

UChicago offers several master’s degree programs in computer science, including a traditional Master of Science in Computer Science and a unique program in Computational Analysis and Public Policy. This interdisciplinary program combines computer science with policy analysis, allowing students to apply computational techniques to public policy challenges.

Graduates of these programs are well-equipped to tackle complex problems at the intersection of technology and society.

PhD Program in Computer Science

The PhD program in Computer Science at UChicago is designed for students interested in pursuing advanced research in computer science. The program offers a wide range of research areas, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and computer vision.

Students work closely with faculty mentors to develop their research skills and contribute to the cutting-edge research happening at UChicago.

Interdisciplinary Opportunities

One of the unique aspects of UChicago’s Computer Science program is the emphasis on interdisciplinary study. Students have the opportunity to take courses and collaborate with faculty and students from other departments, such as mathematics, economics, and biology.

This interdisciplinary approach allows students to explore the connections between computer science and other fields, opening up new avenues for research and innovation.

Research Centers and Initiatives

UChicago is home to several research centers and initiatives that provide opportunities for students to engage in cutting-edge research. The Center for Data and Computing, for example, fosters collaborations between computer scientists and researchers from other disciplines to tackle complex data-related challenges.

The Enabling Technologies Lab focuses on developing new technologies and tools to improve accessibility and inclusivity in computing. These research centers and initiatives provide students with valuable resources and mentorship as they pursue their own research interests.

UChicago Computer Science Rankings

When it comes to computer science programs, the University of Chicago is consistently ranked among the top institutions in the nation. Several prominent rankings have recognized the university’s excellence in this field, making it a popular choice for aspiring computer scientists.

Top 10 computer science program nationally in some rankings

The University of Chicago’s computer science program has consistently been ranked among the top 10 nationally by various reputable sources. These rankings take into account factors such as faculty expertise, research output, student satisfaction, and alumni success.

UChicago’s commitment to academic excellence and innovative research has contributed to its strong position in these rankings.

Graduate school rankings in the top 5-15 range

In graduate school rankings, the University of Chicago’s computer science program typically falls within the top 5-15 range. This reflects the high quality of education and research opportunities available to graduate students.

The program’s rigorous curriculum and collaborative research environment attract students from around the world who are passionate about advancing the field of computer science.

Selective admission rate under 10% for BS program

Admission to the University of Chicago’s computer science program is highly competitive. The undergraduate program boasts a selective admission rate of under 10%, making it one of the most sought-after programs for aspiring computer scientists.

The university’s rigorous admissions process ensures that only the most talented and dedicated students are admitted, creating a vibrant and intellectually stimulating community of learners.

Among the top for research funding and citations

The University of Chicago’s computer science program is known for its strong emphasis on research and innovation. The program consistently ranks among the top institutions for research funding and citations.

This not only demonstrates the program’s commitment to advancing the field but also provides students with valuable opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research projects and collaborate with leading experts in the field.

How UChicago Compares to Peer Institutions

Slightly behind MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon in rankings

When it comes to computer science programs, the University of Chicago is held in high regard. While it may not be at the very top, it still competes with some of the best institutions in the field. According to the latest rankings, UChicago is ranked slightly behind prestigious institutions like MIT, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon.

These universities have a long-standing reputation for excellence in computer science education and research.

However, being slightly behind does not mean that UChicago’s computer science program is any less impressive. It still boasts a strong curriculum, renowned faculty members, and state-of-the-art research facilities.

Students at UChicago have access to cutting-edge resources and opportunities that help them excel in the field.

On par with UC Berkeley, University of Washington

UChicago’s computer science program is often compared to other top-tier universities such as UC Berkeley and the University of Washington. These institutions are known for their strong focus on computer science and have consistently ranked among the best in the country.

When it comes to research output, UChicago is on par with UC Berkeley and the University of Washington. All three institutions have made significant contributions to the field and have produced groundbreaking research in areas such as artificial intelligence, data science, and cybersecurity.

More prestigious than University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Purdue

While rankings are not the sole indicator of a program’s quality, they do provide an insight into how an institution is perceived in the academic community. In terms of prestige, the University of Chicago’s computer science program is considered more prestigious than institutions like the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Purdue.

This is not to say that the computer science programs at these universities are inferior. Both the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Purdue have strong computer science programs with renowned faculty members and successful alumni.

However, UChicago’s long-standing reputation and its position as a leading research institution give it an edge in terms of prestige.

It’s important to note that rankings and prestige are just one aspect to consider when choosing a computer science program. Factors such as curriculum, faculty expertise, research opportunities, and industry connections should also be taken into account.

Ultimately, it’s about finding the best fit for your academic and career goals.

Notable UChicago Computer Science Alumni and Faculty

25+ Turing Award winners have studied or taught at UChicago

The University of Chicago’s Computer Science program has a long history of producing top-notch talent in the field. With a strong emphasis on research and innovation, it’s no surprise that UChicago has attracted some of the brightest minds in computer science.

In fact, over 25 Turing Award winners, the highest honor in computer science, have either studied or taught at UChicago.

Among the notable alumni is John L. Hennessy, who won the Turing Award in 2017 for his pioneering work in computer architecture design. Hennessy, who earned his Ph.D. from UChicago in 1977, went on to become the President of Stanford University and played a crucial role in the development of the modern computer industry.

Another UChicago alumna, Frances E. Allen, was awarded the Turing Award in 2006 for her contributions to optimizing compilers. Allen, who received her master’s degree in mathematics from UChicago, made significant advancements in compiler technology, which have had a profound impact on the efficiency and performance of computer systems.

The presence of so many Turing Award winners at UChicago speaks volumes about the caliber of education and research opportunities available in the Computer Science program. Students who choose to pursue their studies at UChicago can benefit from the expertise and mentorship of these esteemed individuals, gaining invaluable insights into the field.

Prominent tech startup founders and leaders

UChicago’s Computer Science program has also been a breeding ground for successful tech startup founders and leaders. Many alumni have gone on to establish their own companies or hold influential positions in leading tech firms.

One such notable alumnus is Rishi Shah, who co-founded Outcome Health, a healthcare technology company that raised over $500 million in funding. Under Shah’s leadership, Outcome Health grew rapidly, revolutionizing the way healthcare providers educate and engage with patients.

Another UChicago graduate, Divya Nag, co-founded the healthtech startup StartUp Health, which aims to transform the healthcare industry by supporting and investing in innovative healthcare entrepreneurs.

Nag’s entrepreneurial journey began at UChicago, where she developed the skills and network necessary to launch her successful venture.

These examples are just a glimpse of the many accomplished individuals who have emerged from UChicago’s Computer Science program. The program’s focus on practical application and real-world problem-solving equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the ever-evolving tech industry.

For more information about UChicago’s Computer Science program and the achievements of its alumni and faculty, you can visit the official website of the Department of Computer Science.


With its rigorous academics, research prominence, world-class faculty, and famous alumni, the University of Chicago undeniably has one of the top computer science programs in the nation and world. Though not considered the very best like MIT or Stanford, UChicago computer science offers elite academics and prestige on par with the finest technology schools globally. Students gain access to cutting-edge research and interdisciplinary learning opportunities at UChicago’s computer science program.

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