Best Computer Science Schools in California

Technology has long been an important part of our lives because of its many benefits. Not only does it help enhance our personal convenience but also advances many industries, such as healthcare.

Computer science degree holders have a great future ahead of them because they are responsible for translating innovative ideas and more. Computers science is also among the areas of study that continuously grows and changes, which computer science schools should adapt to and keep in mind.

That said, we ranked the best computer science schools in California from the lowest to the highest average annual cost. On top of having programs that are continuously upgraded, these educational institutions made it to our list because they have the following features in common: 

  • An average annual cost of no more than $28,000
  • An expected median starting salary of no less than $45,000
  • Has recognized and accredited programs

10 Best Computer Science Schools in California

1. California State University – Bakersfield

4 Year; Bakersfield, CA

Average Annual Cost: $5,318

CSUB is a public university with a WSCUC accreditation and Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) designation, ensuring equity, diversity, and social justice. It has been continuously rising in national ranking, with most of its alumni remaining local for employment.

The university’s Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department offers programs that meet or exceed the standards set by:

  • ACM (Association for Computing Machinery)
  • ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology)
  • IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

No matter what track or concentration they choose, computer science students will have access to world-class AI/Visualization Laboratory, Robotics Laboratory, and other state-of-the-art facilities. This level of quality education will help them develop the skills and knowledge needed for the continuously evolving high-tech world.

CSUB also offers an on-campus MS in Computer Science (MSCS) with project and thesis options. This hands-on program ensures students have a solid foundation in software engineering and computer science for career advancement.

2. California State University – Fullerton

4 Year; Fullerton, CA

Average Annual Cost: $7,991

CSUF has a mid-level acceptance rate of 53% and boasts Asian American Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPISI) and HSI designations. Moreover, it has high graduation and retention rates.

This university received its 10-year WSCUC accreditation last 2019, and its School of Engineering and Computer Science has an ABET accreditation.

The school’s Department of Computer Science’s curricula ensures graduates can gain local, national, and global employment and take on several roles. The available undergraduate programs include a minor and a bachelor’s degree in CS, while for graduate programs, you can choose from:

  • MSCS
  • Online-only MS in Software Engineering
  • Accelerated MS in Software Engineering

3. California State University – Long Beach

4 Year; Long Beach, CA

Average Annual Cost: $9,622

Yet another public school with HSI and AANAPISI designations, CSULB is 2022’s ninth most ethnically diverse university in the West. Like CSUF, it has received its 10-year WSCUC accreditation but only in 2021.

The university’s Department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science produces graduates with a good foundation of theoretical knowledge and practical basics. It offers an ABET-accredited BSCS and a Minor in Computer Science.

Students will enjoy hands-on learning and develop ethics, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Meanwhile, graduates and professionals can enroll in any of the post-graduate degrees offered: MS in Computer Science and Engineering (Interdisciplinary).

4. California State University – Sacramento

4 Year; Sacramento, CA

Average Annual Cost: $9,979

This culturally diverse, transformative, large public university has high acceptance, graduation, and retention rates. It is WSCUC-accredited, a member of the Western Association of Graduate Schools and National Council of Graduate Schools, and listed as one of the American Association of University Women’s approved colleges.

Its Department of Computer Science is one of the largest and oldest programs in the California State University System. Its accredited undergraduate minor offerings are Computer Science and Information Security (CSIS) and Computer Forensics.

For those who want to earn a bachelor’s degree, the university offers BSCS, wherein they can choose and add any or more of the following related fields of study:

  • Computer Architecture and Operating Systems
  • Computer Graphics
  • Computing Theory and Symbolic Computation
  • Data Communications and Networking
  • Database Systems and Applications
  • Systems Software
  • Software Engineering

Likewise, learners may start working on a specialization by enrolling in any of the university’s undergraduate certification programs:

  • Cyber Defense and Operations
  • Information Assurance and Security
  • Game Engineering
  • Systems Software
  • Software Engineering

The university also doesn’t fall short in post-graduate studies. It offers two master’s degrees, nine graduate certificate programs, and one master’s degree joint program.

5. California State University – East Bay

4 Year; Hayward, CA

Average Annual Cost: $11,116

As another CSU, it’s expected that Cal State East Bay is an equal-opportunity public educational institution. In fact, it’s included in Wall Street Journal’s Top Colleges in the West for Diversity list. What it is most well-known for is its commitment to promoting civic engagement.

The College of Science, Department of Computer Science, has one of the largest programs in the university. It offers a Minor in Computer Science that non-computer science majors can also choose as one of their electives.

Those dedicated to earning a computer science degree can enroll in the BSCS program. On the other hand, those furthering their studies have two options: MSCS and MS in Computer Networks.

6. California State Polytechnic University – Pomona

4 Year; Pomona, CA

Average Annual Cost: $12,734

This large public educational institution is one of the two polytechnic colleges in the California State University System offering two Computer Science programs. With a learn-by-doing philosophy, Cal Poly’s ABET-accredited BS in Computer Science’s students will enjoy project-oriented lectures and activities.

Students gain fundamental computer software, architecture, and algorithm knowledge and skills. At the same time, they will receive concentrated and extensive instruction and training on more specific and advanced concepts.

Graduates and practicing professionals can further their studies by enrolling in Cal Poly’s MSCS program. The curriculum emphasizes technical competence while encouraging independent judgment and work.

7. California State University – San Marcos

4 Year; San Marcos, CA

Average Annual Cost: $13,399

With full accreditation from WSCUC, more than 70% of this mid-sized public university’s graduates land a job within six months post-graduation. Among its most popular programs is computer science, and for a good reason. 

CSUSM’s Department of Computer Science and Information designed the curriculum with a rich mix of modern computer science courses without overlooking the basics. Even the Minor in CS program ensures enrollees will have sufficient knowledge of how software and computers actually work.

The computer science degree programs available at the university are as follows:

  • BSCS
  • MSCS
  • MS in Cybersecurity

8. National University

4 Year; La Jolla, CA

Average Annual Cost: $14,664

This veteran-founded WSCUC-accredited private educational institution has regional accreditation to offer online programs and is military-friendly. It offers a flexible, career-focused, ABET-accredited BSCS program based on a curriculum that balances three important aspects, namely:

  • Strong academic foundation
  • Realistic design
  • Implementation projects

NU also offers multiple degrees for computer science graduates and practicing professionals to help them advance their careers, gain more skills and knowledge, and become more globally competitive. The available programs for you to choose from are:

  • MSCS (Online only)
  • MSCIS
  • MS in Cybersecurity
  • MS in Data Science

9. San Francisco State University

4 Year; San Francisco, CA

Average Annual Cost: $15,113

With AANAPISI and HSI designation, SFSU is an educational research institution known for its social justice and inclusiveness advocacies. Academic-wise, it offers more than 200 programs, from bachelor’s to doctorate degrees. In fact, its Department of Computer Science has quite a long list of offerings, namely:

  • Minor in CS
  • Minor in Computing Applications
  • BSCS
  • Data Science and Machine Learning for Biotechnology Certification
  • Graduate Certificate in Software Engineering
  • MSCS
  • MS in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

These programs have up-to-date curricula designed to prepare students for their chosen careers and advanced studies.

10. California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo

4 Year; San Luis Obispo, CA

Average Annual Cost: $21,595

Wrapping up this list of the best computer science schools in California is the second polytechnic university in the state. It has a similar learn-by-doing philosophy as Cal Poly Pomona.

Students enrolled in any CS programs offered by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo will benefit from various electives, industry project participations, clubs, co-ops, and internships. The undergraduate programs available for those interested in computer science are:

  • Minor in CS
  • Cross-Disciplinary Studies Minor in Bioinformatics
  • Cross-Disciplinary Studies Minor in Data Science
  • Cross-Disciplinary Studies Minor in Computing for Interactive Arts
  • BSCS

BSCS enrollees may also choose an area of specialization, such as interactive entertainment, software engineering, distributed computing, graphical user interfaces, and programming languages. Qualified students can opt for the blended BS + MS Computer Science program. Nonetheless, the university also offers an MSCS program.

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