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How to Pick Universities for Computer Science Higher Studies

Updated on May 30, 2014

How to make the Initial List?

I've got many questions on how to pick universities for higher studies. You have written GRE, got a good score and next thing you want to do is to make a list of universities to apply. Let's see how to go about it.

This post is about computer science and computer science only. Others, sorry bro. wrong place.

Steps to prepare an Initial List

Well, the first step is to THINK. decide what your interests are, pick a sub specialization you want to pursue if you haven't got one already in mind. If you are a working professional you must have already formed an interest. Otherwise talking to your professors might help. As a general rule you might have to pick one from this list

  • Algorithms and analysis, Computational Geometry etc.
  • Artificial Intelligence and related fields
  • Computational Biology, Bioinformatics and related fields
  • Computer Architecture and microprocessors
  • Databases, Data mining and allied fields
  • Embedded Systems and robotics
  • Computational Theory and Formal Methods
  • Graphics and allied fields which includes Game Development
  • High Performance Computing, multicore stuff
  • Human-Computer Interaction, pervasive computing
  • Networks, distributed systems, network security, graph theory
  • Computer Systems, operating systems, distributed systems
  • Programming Languages, Compilers and related areas
  • Scientific Computing, computational math
  • Security
  • Software Engineering

You need to make a list of initial 50 universities. Later you can narrow it down to ten or lesser based on research interests.

So before sorting out universities you should make a profile of yours which includes your undergraduate score, research papers or publications if any, the reputation of people giving you LORs and GRE score. Stare at it for a while :)

There are lot of rankings available in internet which can help you choose the universities. Find, Top universities , USA news rankings and Guardian rankings here.

While picking universities from this list, you have to consider few things other than specialization.

First, the finance options. As a general rule private universities(with a few exceptions) are costly and state universities are cheaper. i20 amount for the universities is a fair indication of that.

Second, Climate. Are you sure you can survive up north?

Third, Safety of the place.

While doing all these, keep your specialization in mind. Prioritize based on that. To pick universities based on specification this link might help. But don't blindly trust on it. Do your own research.

Universities based on specialization

To do your own research, first thing you need to do is browse through department website, read research areas, labs, faculty profiles and check if it matches your interests. You can also check with students studying there. You can find them in Facebook groups or searching in Facebook.


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