The Best Software Engineering Schools: Your Guide

Software engineer working on computer
November 18, 2022
Best Schools for Software EngineeringHow To Get Into the Best Schools for Software EngineeringFAQs: Best Software Engineering Schools


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

Software Engineering has quickly become one of the best and brightest industries to enter. Curious about which schools you should attend to reap the benefits of this lucrative field? Read on to learn more about the top software engineering schools!

Are you a student with ambitions to enter a profitable, fast-paced industry with fantastic growth potential? Do you want the opportunity to work from anywhere and everywhere? Then you may be interested in a career as a software engineer. 

A great place to start is to look for the best software engineering schools. What do you want to do as a software engineer? Are you a creative type interested in game development and entertainment? How about security? Do you value privacy and want to help in the battle to keep the web free and safe for everyone? 

To help you answer these questions and more, here are a few of the best software engineering schools.

Book a Free 30 min Call

Best Schools for Software Engineering

As a student in high school or even college, you're probably most interested in the top schools in the nation. Excellent quality education with unique experience and opportunities will help you stand out to employers. Depending on your school and the program's prestige, you may get hired before you graduate.

Below you'll find our picks for the top software engineering schools. These picks mirror the Best Undergraduate Software Engineering Programs list from US News and World Report. 

Carnegie Mellon University

As the number one top software engineering school, Carnegie Mellon offers one of the best quality degrees for anyone interested in a software-based career. As part of their overall computer science degree, students can take a concentration or minor in software engineering. Carnegie Mellon students will learn the basics but can branch off into ISP, security, and general SE.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

As one of the premier schools for engineering and science of all kinds, MIT hosts a highly acclaimed software engineering program. The sheer size of the engineering school gives students total control over what classes they want to take. You can fashion your education to what you think you'll need to learn, enabling incredible opportunities for your future!

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

As the oldest campus of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has gone completely modern as one of the best software engineering schools in America. The computer engineering program at the University of Illinois teaches the fundamentals of computers working from the outside in, while offering great electives, such as those more advanced software engineering courses.

University of California, Berkeley

The computer science program at UC Berkeley focuses on presented paths. If you're interested in software engineering, you should follow the Bachelor of Arts pathway, as it focuses more on the programming and computations side of science than the mechanical. Be aware of your Berkeley application; you should expect to compete for a spot at this prestigious school.

Georgia Institute of Technology

The state of Georgia has quickly become a major hub for the tech industry, especially in Atlanta. As the city's biggest and most significant college campus, Georgia Tech offers a terrific software engineering program. Many prominent companies, Fiserv, Global Payments, and Cricket Wireless, look to this SE program for future hires. GA Tech's program meets their needs!

Stanford University

Stanford offers an excellent software engineering and computer science program, with a few extra perks for students. If you're interested in research and innovations rather than just a classroom setting, Stanford's computer science program may fit you better. You could also expand your simple computer science degree with a JD from Stanford if you stay longer!

University of Texas at Austin

Austin's burgeoning tech and video game industries emphasize the need for students to become software engineers. The electrical and computer engineering program at Austin gives students course options that look attractive to tech companies. As an undergrad, the computer science concentration of the overall degree would best prepare you for this career path!

University of Washington

For students on the West Coast, consider the University of Washington software engineering and Computer Science degrees. While there, students will find many resources, such as their major's science center and the experienced teaching staff. Local tech and IT companies hire most of these graduates for jobs. Expect what you'll learn to apply to the real world!

University of California, Irvine

The software engineering degree at the University of California at Irvine campus takes a more focused approach. UC Irvine sets SE as a unique degree, whereas other universities place software engineering as a computer science concentration. UCI has created a trim and honed degree pathway that ensures everything learned will be helpful to any future career. 

Purdue University–West Lafayette

Purdue University makes another great choice as a top software engineering school. While an extension of the computer science degree, the software engineering track extends beyond just a few extra required classes and electives to choose from. Students must complete a SE senior project. For a future hire, this shows future employers' skills to land a better job!

University of California, Los Angeles

While not as extensive as Irvine, the University of California at Los Angeles offers software engineering courses for computer science majors. If you're interested, take some of the specific courses offered for SE as electives, like software security and data structure. You could transfer to Irvine from LA with software engineering as your major if you want the more specific degree.

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

At the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, students can take a fully fleshed out and well-paced software engineering program. The extensive list of courses and required classes streamlines the degree and cuts out less relevant computer science courses. As one of the best software engineering schools, Ann Arbor students earn a SE degree that will prepare them for the future.

How To Get Into the Best Schools for Software Engineering

Like any other college, you'll need to apply and compete academically with other applicants to get into the best software engineering school. Make sure you've included everything your school asks, and match your grades to at least the average of other applicants. If you plan on software engineering as your major, take higher-level math and science classes to reflect your goal!

Depending on your opportunities and the application, you may have the chance to talk about why you want to become a software engineer. You can use your extracurriculars and projects to stand out. Search for clubs, scholarships, and ideas that you can apply software engineering skills you've learned and learn from. Your college wants to know who you are.

Apply to as many of these schools as you can! Don't expect your first choice will ultimately be the school you attend. You'll want to apply to several, as it's good to have backups if you don't get into your top schools. Some of these best schools for software engineering are Public Ivies or quality public schools that have become difficult to get accepted into, so be aware!

FAQs: Best Software Engineering Schools

Below you will find some of the more commonly asked questions future undergraduates ask about tech colleges. 

1. Which College Is Best for Software Engineering?

The top spot for software engineering and computer science, according to the US News ranking, goes to Carnegie Mellon. However, you may not qualify or get selected to attend these colleges; it’s possible for other students to get picked over you. Remember, colleges select their students too. You can't go wrong with any of the above twelve. Apply to as many as you can!

2. Which Country Is Best for Studying Software Engineering?

By and large, America stands as one of the best places to study software engineering. However, several other countries would also work if you're looking to take a semester or two to study abroad. Most European countries are technologically innovative enough for your trip abroad; however, Israel and India have thriving tech industries worth noting too.

3. Is Software Engineering a Good Major?

Software engineering makes for a great choice of major and can lead to a fruitful career and well-paying job opportunities. Software engineers will only be needed more as technology progresses and businesses go digital. Not only will it always be easy to find a place for yourself, but you may also receive offers for work before you even graduate from college. 

4. How Many Years Does It Take to Study Software Engineering?

In America, every bachelor's degree takes a total of four years of study to receive your degree, software engineering and computer science included! However, you may be able to earn your degree faster by taking college courses while still in high school. Other countries may have different time tracks for college degrees, but you'll still need to take a few years of school.

5. What GPA Do You Need for Software Engineering?

Your college wants you to have a good GPA; you don't need it for the major. Every university releases an average GPA for incoming freshmen annually. Try to meet or exceed the one for your college. If the school of computer science or software engineering requires an application, usually they don't look at GPA but what you write about. The application manages GPA.

Final Thoughts

Software engineering stands as one of the brightest industries for the future as technology advances and more business goes online. To meet the demands for IT, network security, and software structure, universities have been updating their computer science and software programs to better prepare students for more advanced careers. 

If you're looking toward a career in the tech industry, consider the listed colleges and universities as a great way to jump-start your potential. Many employers actively recruit from the pool of students in computer science and software engineering majors. Any student that earns a degree from these top software engineering schools will probably see success.

Make sure you take courses that give you credit for computer science classes in college. Your extracurriculars also matter; they can hone your skills and may look good if you mention them in a college essay. If you need hands-on assistance with your application to one of these software engineering schools, consider signing up for a free consultation with an experienced admissions expert! 

Good luck with any future applications!

Get A Free Consultation

Speak to a college admissions expert about how we can help you get into your dream school
Schedule a Call

You May Also Like

Before you go, here are a few facts about us!
The Quad Factor: Working with us can increase your chances of admission by 7x!

The Best of the Best: Our team comprises of only 99th percentile tutors and admissions counselors from top-ranking universities, meaning you work with only the most experienced, talented experts.

The Free Consultation: Our experts would love to get to know you, your background, goals, and needs. From there, they match you with a best-fit consultant who will create a detailed project plan and application strategy focused on your success.
Exclusive Guide - Receive your FREE college admissions guide today to demystify the process and get accepted at your dream school!
Get the Free GuideClose