Computer science graduates play an increasingly important role in our tech-reliant society. Just about everything we do involves technology – be it communicating with friends, family and colleagues via mobile devices, to the apps we use in our daily lives for banking or work.
A Microsoft and YouGov survey found that 83 percent of teachers in the US believe computer science is important for students’ success in the workplace. This is rather apt, considering the rise in new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning that are transforming businesses in every part of the globe.
Enterprise leaders and businesses will need professionals with the right skills and knowledge to work with these technological advances, making it pragmatic for graduates with computer science or relevant degrees to pursue a Master’s or PhD in the field. This not only improves their competitiveness in the job market and fills the chasm between supply and demand, but it can also open the door to career opportunities across various sectors, be it in research, academia, manufacturing, banking, healthcare, or beyond.
North America, which is home to schools that offer a great diversity of computer science-related programmes for international students, serves as an ideal location for the field of study. Monoliths such as Google, Apple and Facebook operate within the region, paving the way for potential job opportunities in the future. Culture-wise, North America is known to be hospitable and welcoming, home to people from all corners of the globe.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, here are four institutions worth looking into for a graduate degree in computer science:
COMPUTER SCIENCE, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
NC State is North Carolina’s premier engineering institution, and the Department of Computer Science within its College of Engineering attracts graduate students from all backgrounds and corners of the globe, thanks to high-quality programmes and flexible learning options.
Computer science and its graduate program are based on Centennial Campus, home to more than 100 large and small companies, government agencies and university research and teaching facilities – providing a platform for students to access some of the best resources and internships in the region.
The department receives thousands of applications annually, and one in every four enrolled graduate students is a woman. It also boasts an impressive number of female faculty, placing it among the top computer science departments in the nation by number of female tenure-track faculty.
Graduate students can choose from several research and professional degrees, including the PhD in Computer Science, thesis MS in Computer Science, and a non-thesis Master of Computer Science that offers tracks in Data Science, Security and Software Engineering.
Doctoral students receive preparation for leadership positions in academia, industry research labs and government. This degree program is especially attractive because the Computer Science department offers competitive, four-year financial aid packages to every PhD admittee who seeks funding.
BREN SCHOOL OF COMPUTING AND INFORMATICS, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IRVINE
The Bren School in California, US has a unique perspective on the information technology disciplines, providing students with a broad foundation from which to build educational programmes and research initiatives that explore the applications of the computing discipline – from circuits and systems to software engineering and human aspects of computing.
Prospective students will be hearted to note that Brent School has several accolades under its belt. For instance, in 2014, US News & World Report ranked Bren School at 29th for computer science graduate programmes and 14th among public university programmes. In the same year, Microsoft Academic Search ranked UC Irvine 20th among US universities in computer science.
Students will also learn from an influential faculty. Some of their staff are fellows of societies including the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), among others.
Stellar faculty aside, graduate students can also choose from a number of programmes to cater to their personal and professional interests. The school’s research programmes include Computer Science (MS and PhD), Informatics (MS and PhD), Networked Systems (MS and PhD), Software Engineering (MS and PhD), Statistics (MS and PhD) and Computational Science (PhD).
By blending research with education in multiple disciplines, the Bren School is poised to lead interdisciplinary efforts and meet the challenges of the future.
SCHOOL OF COMPUTING SCIENCE, SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY
SFU is located in Vancouver – one of Canada’s most diverse cities with a moderate climate. In recent years, SFU’s School of Computing Science has ranked high internationally.
The university’s School of Computing Science is one of Canada’s best schools for software development training. A 2014 LinkedIn review ranked SFU Computing Science third for students landing top software development jobs. Meanwhile, in recent years, the school was also recognized among the top 50 and top 75 computer science departments worldwide in the 2014 and 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). Unsurprisingly, giants such as Google, Hootsuite, Microsoft, Telus, Deloitte and Electronic Arts regularly visit the School.
The school is also known for its research prowess, with its 42 tenure-track research faculty (divided between their Burnaby and Surrey campuses), and 15 adjunct professors and 11 associate members. The school focuses on six research areas: Algorithms And Complexity Theory; Artificial Intelligence; Databases, Data Mining And Computational Biology; Graphics, HCI, Multimedia, Vision And Medical Image Analysis; Networks And Systems; and Programming Languages and Software Engineering.
There are ALSO numerous graduate programmes to choose from, including: the Professional Master of Science in Computer Science, MSc Thesis, Accelerated MSc and the SFU and Zhejiang University (ZJU) Graduate Dual-Degree (SFU-ZJU GDDP).
SCHOOL OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH
Located in Ontario, Canada, Guelph’s School of Computer Science aims prepares students with strong technical and analytic skills. Here, students gain hands-on experience in leading edge technology, problem solving and software development, preparing them with an applied academic foundation. To boot, Maclean’s Magazine consistently ranks Guelph as one of Canada’s top Comprehensive Universities.
As a student at the school, you’ll have the opportunity to engage in advanced research and graduate studies under the supervision of professors at the cutting-edge of their fields. Students interested in a course-based programme can enrol in the Master of Cybersecurity and Threat Intelligence (MCTI), providing graduates with the potential to branch into careers in cybersecurity, cyber threat intelligence and digital forensics within the Canadian or global landscape.
Meanwhile, those interested in a thesis-based programme can opt for the MSc in Computer Science, MSc Collaborative Specialization in Artificial Intelligence or the PhD in Computational Sciences.
The PhD in Computational Sciences is a full-time, three-year programme that aims to prepare students for both academia and industry. It also aims to produce interdisciplinary scholars capable of tackling emerging problems in the sciences and humanities through investigation, advanced research and application of current computer technologies.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International
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