Top Computer Science Programs for Women
Despite massive growth in computer science employment opportunities over the past decade, women are still highly underrepresented. In fact, according to a report from Fortune, the number of female computing professionals has fallen by 35% since 1990. In 2013, women represented only 26% of all computer science professionals.
In an effort to turn this male-dominated field into a more gender-balanced industry, many changes have started to take place. To start, there’s been a push from organizations such as Girls Who Code and Girls, Inc. to encourage female students to become interested and involved in technology at an earlier age. And at the college level, universities have begun to tailor their computer science programs to be more inclusive. These efforts seem to be making a difference with the percentage of female students completing a computer science degree increasing by 76% over the past five years.
We took a look at the top-ranked U.S. universities for computer science that are also offering an inclusive environment for female students looking to enter into the industry.
For this ranking, we analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. News & World Report, StartClass, and PayScale to rank the top computer science programs for women in the U.S. Here they are:
Top 20 Programs
Click on a school’s name to view information specific to that university and its computer science program.
Harvey Mudd College
Harvey Mudd has been a leader in creating a more inclusive environment for computer science students. The program’s professors worked to completely revamp the department, including creating a more collaborative curriculum. They’re also helping other programs drive change, partnering with more than a dozen universities to increase diversity within STEM programs.
Dartmouth College has taken strides in recent years to increase the visibility of women in STEM majors, including computer science. The college founded the Women in Science Project, which provides resources to women seeking a STEM career. The program offers support through mentorship, internship opportunities, and research experience.
Harvard University is home to one of the most active women in technology organizations: Harvard Women in Computer Science (WiCS). The organization hosts WECode, the largest student-run computer science conference. It’s also extended its reach to younger students, supporting middle schoolers in local Girls Who Code chapters.
Rice University’s CSters club has been actively advocating for greater gender equality in computer science since 2002. The organization hosts a mentorship program to connect incoming students with older students as well as networking events with professionals. In 2016, CSters sponsored 30 female students to attend the prestigious Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
Penn State’s Association of Women in Computing (AWC) is working to recruit more females into the school’s Computer Science, Computer Programming, and Electrical Engineering majors. The organization hosts regular talks to keep members up-to-date on the industry and to educate new members about opportunities within the computer science field.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Women’s Technology Program in EECS (WTP-EECS) at MIT is a four-week program for female high school students. Each year, 40 chosen participants attend classes taught by female MIT students, gaining hands-on experience in electrical engineering, discrete mathematics, and computer science.
College of William and Mary
William and Mary’s Women’s Network supports female faculty and students across all majors. The organization has been very active in making on-campus changes related to family leave, child care, salary equity, sexual harassment, and more.
University of Southern California
Since 2000, USC’s Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) has been advocating on behalf of female faculty in STEM positions. In fact, the organization has successfully tripled the number of female tenured faculty members since its founding. WiSE also regularly hosts several grant programs, supporting both female students and faculty members.
Emory University is an affiliate partner to the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), an organization that has been advocating on behalf of women in STEM fields since 1971. The chapter’s goal is to help women within the Emory community advance their careers in STEM fields.
Since 2010, Princeton has been home to the Women in Computer Science (PWiCS). What started out as a small organization meant to help connect female STEM students to one another is now a growing community promoting a large mentorship program and outreach program to connect with younger students.
Georgetown broke major ground at its graduation ceremony in May 2017. All three computer science students that graduated with a GPA of 3.9 or above were women. Moreover, the university is home to several organizations dedicated to increasing the visibility of women in STEM fields, including GU Women Who Code.
Columbia University has seen a recent increase in women majoring in computer science, in part thanks to the tremendous effort the university has put into making the program more inclusive. For instance, in 2015, the university began teaching a new course, Computing in Context. The popular course covers computer science basics as well as how the concepts integrate with other liberal arts areas, including humanities and social sciences.
North Carolina State University
North Carolina State’s WiCS chapter is dedicated to creating a more inclusive computer science program at the undergraduate, graduate, and even faculty levels. The active organization hosts networking events, coding events, and an annual hackathon.
University of Notre Dame
In order to combat low enrollment by women in the school’s engineering departments, Notre Dame founded the Women in Engineering Program. Today, the organization works to remove barriers that cause female students to turn away from STEM programs. The organization has also partnered with Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame to provide further opportunities for female students.
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon’s Women@SCS meets at least twice a month to encourage and support women in the computer science program. Activities hosted by the organization include a Big/Little Sister program to help spark interest in younger students, professional development workshops, and programs aimed at middle school students.
Cornell’s Women in Computing seeks to not only support current computer science students but women already in the professional field as well. The organization hosts a variety of programs including tech talks, networking events, community discussions, live panels, and more.
University of North Carolina - Charlotte
UNCC Women in Computing Initiative’s goal is to increase the number of Computer Science undergraduate majors to 450 female students within the next five years, while proportionally increasing the number of female graduates. The university has also begun including new curriculum that aims to address the gender imbalance in STEM, including FemmeTech, a course focused on issues related to gender and technology.
University of California - Berkeley
UC Berkeley is home to WICSE, an organization of female graduate computer science students looking to build a more inclusive environment in the industry. In addition to outreach programs for younger students, the organization partners with research institutions and corporate partners to host workshops and network events.
University of Pennsylvania
The UPenn WiCS chapter prides itself on fostering an ongoing conversation of how to create a more welcoming environment for women working in STEM. Each month, the chapter hosts new events including tech talks, expert panels, and more.
California Institute of Technology
With computer science as its number one major, CalTech has been taking an active role in promoting gender equality within the field. For instance, the university hosts mentorship programs, discussion groups, and networking events meant to specifically provide support to its female student body and faculty.
Top 45 Programs
Scroll to the right to view all data points included in the table. Information can be sorted by column.
|School Name||Location||Average Starting Salary||Acceptance Rate||In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||Percentage Female CS Students||Graduation Rate|
|Harvey Mudd College||Claremont, California||$78,500||13.0%||$50,649||$50,649||38.6%||86%|
|Dartmouth College||Hanover, New Hampshire||$60,800||11.0%||$49,506||$49,506||35.4%||87%|
|Harvard University||Cambridge, Massachusetts||$65,200||5.6%||$45,278||$45,278||34.1%||87%|
|Rice University||Houston, Texas||$62,300||16.0%||$42,253||$42,253||33.0%||79%|
|Pennsylvania State University||University Park, Pennsylvania||$54,300||51.3%||$17,514||$31,346||32.5%||65%|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Cambridge, Massachusetts||$78,300||8.3%||$46,704||$46,704||31.6%||84%|
|College of William and Mary||Williamsburg, Virginia||$49,100||34.5%||$19,372||$41,072||26.7%||83%|
|University of Southern California||Los Angeles, California||$56,100||17.7%||$50,277||$50,277||26.3%||78%|
|Emory University||Atlanta, Georgia||$53,800||23.7%||$46,314||$46,314||26.1%||84%|
|Princeton University||Princeton, New Jersey||$65,700||7.1%||$43,450||$43,450||25.7%||88%|
|Georgetown University||Washington D.C.||$55,400||17.2%||$48,611||$48,611||25.0%||88%|
|Columbia University||New York City, New York||$64,000||6.6%||$53,000||$53,000||24.2%||87%|
|North Carolina State University||Raleigh, North Carolina||$52,400||50.4%||$8,581||$24,932||23.7%||41%|
|University of Notre Dame||Notre Dame, Indiana||$61,200||19.8%||$47,929||$47,929||23.7%||90%|
|Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||$69,400||23.7%||$50,665||$50,665||23.0%||74%|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, New York||$63,200||15.1%||$49,116||$49,116||22.7%||87%|
|University of North Carolina - Charlotte||Charlotte, North Carolina||$48,000||63.3%||$6,532||$19,703||22.3%||54%|
|University of California - Berkeley||Berkeley, California||$60,500||16.9%||$13,431||$38,139||22.2%||72%|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||$62,200||10.2%||$49,536||$49,536||22.0%||88%|
|California Institute of Technology||Pasadena, California||$58,193||8.8%||$45,390||$45,390||22.0%||82%|
|Northwestern University||Evanston, Illinois||$56,800||13.0%||$49,047||$49,047||21.8%||86%|
|University of California - Los Angeles||Los Angeles, California||$53,100||17.3%||$12,763||$37,471||21.3%||69%|
|Brown University||Providence, Rhode Island||$58,600||9.5%||$49,346||$49,346||20.9%||84%|
|Stanford University||Stanford, California||$70,800||5.0%||$46,320||$46,320||20.7%||76%|
|Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, Maryland||$61,500||14.1%||$48,710||$48,710||19.8%||87%|
|Clemson University||Clemson, South Carolina||$54,100||51.3%||$14,272||$33,190||19.5%||59%|
|University of Chicago||Chicago, Illinois||$53,000||8.4%||$51,351||$51,351||19.4%||88%|
|University of California - San Diego||San Diego, California||$54,400||33.7%||$13,530||$38,238||18.2%||56%|
|Rutgers University||New Brunswick, New Jersey||$51,300||58.5%||$14,131||$29,521||18.0%||57%|
|University of California - Davis||Davis, California||$51,800||38.0%||$13,951||$38,659||17.9%||51%|
|University at Buffalo||Buffalo, New York||$47,600||60.0%||$9,381||$24,461||17.1%||52%|
|Duke University||Durham, North Carolina||$61,300||11.4%||$49,241||$49,241||16.9%||87%|
|The University of Texas at Austin||Austin, Texas||$53,400||39.2%||$9,806||$34,676||16.4%||51%|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, Georgia||$65,300||32.2%||$12,204||$32,396||16.0%||41%|
|Texas A&M University||College Station, Texas||$54,400||66.6%||$10,176||$28,768||15.9%||49%|
|University of Florida||Gainesville, Florida||$49,500||47.5%||$6,381||$28,659||15.8%||65%|
|Case Western Reserve College||Cleveland, Ohio||$58,600||36.3%||$44,560||$44,560||15.5%||65%|
|University of Minnesota||Minneapolis, Minnesota||$51,700||44.6%||$13,790||$22,210||15.4%||54%|
|University of Michigan||Ann Arbor, Michigan||$60,600||26.3%||$13,856||$43,476||15.1%||76%|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, Michigan||$49,800||66.3%||$13,560||$36,360||14.8%||50%|
|University of Maryland||College Park, Maryland||$55,200||44.9%||$9,996||$31,144||14.5%||66%|
|Vanderbilt University||Nashville, Tennessee||$57,900||11.7%||$44,712||$44,712||14.3%||87%|
|University of Wisconsin||Madison, Wisconsin||$50,800||57.6%||$10,415||$29,665||13.7%||55%|
|University of California - Irvine||Irvine, California||$51,900||38.7%||$13,252||$37,960||12.8%||68%|
|University of Illinois||Champaign, Illinois||$58,100||65.6%||$15,054||$30,214||12.5%||68%|
Scholarship Opportunities for Women in Computer Science
In an effort to continue increasing the number of women in computer science, both universities and outside organizations alike are raising scholarship funds geared specifically towards helping female STEM students. These include:
Women Techmakers Scholars Program
Sponsored by Google, the Women Techmakers Scholars program looks to create further gender equality within the computer science field. The scholarship program is divided into three regions:
- North America
- Europe, the Middle East, and Africa
- Asia Pacific
In addition to the scholarship award, the program consists of a retreat and online community as opportunities to connect with fellow women in the field.
Society of Women Engineers Golden Gate High School Scholarship Program
The Society of Women Engineers Golden Gate Section (SWE-GGS) offers several scholarship awards to female high school graduates in the Bay Area who are moving on to pursue degrees in Engineering and Computer Science. Last year alone, the organization awarded more than $18,000 in scholarship funds.
Women in Defense HORIZONS Scholarship
The goal of the Women in Defense HORIZONS Scholarship is to encourage women to pursue careers in national security and defense. The award amount varies each year. Aside from computer science, applicants can choose to pursue a further education and career in engineering, cyber security, international relations, political science, economics, security studies, military history, government relations, physics, math, business or law.
Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation
The Michigan Council of Women in Technology’s mission is to inspire women to enter the technology space within the state of Michigan. The scholarship is awarded to members of the Girls Exploring Together: Information Technology organization. Other than its annual scholarship, the organization has created a robust community of fellow women in the industry to act as mentors and supporters.
StudySoup Women in Technology Scholarship
As a company driven to help students succeed, we know that college is an important step along with many career paths, but it can be expensive. Students can upload notes to StudySoup to lighten their financial burden. However, we still felt like we could do more to give back to the future leaders of the world. We also believe that it is our responsibility to foster innovation in the field of technology and help underrepresented students break down barriers. Therefore, we are offering a $2,000 Women in Technology Scholarship to an outstanding female student who is planning a career in the field of computer science and/or computer programming.
AWC Scholarship Fund for Women in Computing
Sponsored by the Ann Arbor chapter of the Association for Women in Computing, this scholarship is open to female students pursuing a degree in computer science or a technology-related field. The goal of the organization is to increase the visibility of women working in tech-heavy fields. Stay tuned for the application! It will be available the first week of January with a deadline of mid-March.
Microsoft Research Women’s Fellowship Program
The Microsoft Women’s Fellowship Program was founded to provide opportunities to women working in research and technology. The award is given to a female graduate student enrolled in computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, or bioinformatics.
Palantir Women in Technology Scholarship
Palantir’ scholarship is available to full-time undergraduate female computer science students. The organization awards up to $10,000 in scholarships to recipients each year. Additionally, scholarship winners are given the opportunity to visit the Palantir headquarters in Palo Alto for a full-day workshop alongside the company’s top female employees. Select winners are also eligible to participate in an internship program.
Adobe Research Women in Technology Scholarship
In order to create even more innovative technologies, Adobe is working to bring more gender diversity to the technology industry. It’s $10,000 Women in Technology Scholarship is available to female undergraduate computer science students all over the world. The program also offers a free one-year subscription to Creative Cloud, access to an Adobe Research mentor, and an opportunity to interview for an internship within the company.
Buildium Women in Technology Scholarship
Buildium is offering a $2,500 scholarship each semester to women earning a STEM degree in a U.S. or Canadian university. The application requires applicants include a brief essay explaining which female tech leader most inspires them and why. Applicants must also be in good standing with their university.
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