The Best Software Engineering Schools: Your Guide

Software engineer working on computer
August 28, 2023
6 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 08/08/23

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 high-ranking 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.

Best Schools for Software Engineering

As a high school or college student, you're probably most interested in the best colleges for software engineering. Excellent 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-rated software engineering programs.

School Name Acceptance Rate Avg. GPA Avg. SAT Score Avg. ACT Score
Carnegie Mellon University 14% 3.9 1480-1560 33-35
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4% 4.17 1510-1580 34-36
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 60% 3.58-3.95 1310-1510 29-34
University of California, Berkeley 11% 4.17-4.31 1340-1540 30-35
Georgia Institute of Technology 20.2% 4.1 1430 31
Stanford University 3.96% 3.96 1500-1570 33-35
University of Texas at Austin 29% 3.83 1230-1500 29-34
University of California, Irvine 21% 3.95 1215-1450 24-31
Purdue University–West Lafayette 69% 3.7 1190-1430 26-33
University of California, Los Angeles 9% 3.95-4.00 1360-1550 29-32
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 17.7% 3.88 1350-1530 31-34

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 majoring in software engineering, 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. Colleges with excellent software engineering programs are interested in learning about the value you bring.

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 quality software engineering colleges are Public Ivies or quality public schools that have become difficult to get accepted into, so be aware!


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?

According to the US News ranking the top spot for software engineering and computer science 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 choose their students too. You can't go wrong with any of the above twelve. Apply to as many as you can!

2. Where Is the Best Place to Study 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 also have thriving tech industries worth noting.

3. What Are the Best Software Engineering Schools in California?

California has several great schools for software engineering, including the University of California at Los Angeles, The University of California at Irvine, and Stanford University

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 the best 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!

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