Here’s which country is the best to do a master’s in computer science:
The United States of America still leads the world when it comes to computer science, and that makes it the best country to do a master’s program.
That said, China is a very, very close second.
The UK, Germany, Singapore, Canada, and Australia are all very competitive too.
So if you want to learn all about which country is the best for a master’s in computer science, then this article is for you.
Let’s get started!
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Which Countries Made it to the Top For a Computer Science Master?
First off, how do you even try to rank countries for something like this?
The criteria I considered are prestige, hireability, job markets in the country of study, immigration accessibility, and language barriers.
I’m going to be listing the best countries in a moment, but let me clarify how this will work.
I mentioned the criteria I used to compare computer science programs, but I’m rolling all of that together in these recommendations.
I’m not going item by item through each notable university in each country.
That would take too long.
Suffice it to say that every country on this list has excellent CS programs.
I’ll name-drop a few of the most prestigious in each country, but that’s about it.
You can trust that these countries earned their spot.
As for the language barrier, I’m writing this in English.
So, assuming you can read it, then any country where English is the primary language should be accessible to you.
I’ll only be covering language barriers in the countries that don’t use English as a default.
There’s one other thing.
Good universities and programs will probably stay competitive over the years.
But when it comes to job markets and immigration rules, that’s all subject to change. So, take it with a grain of salt.
With all of that covered, let’s get into it.
If you have already looked into computer science programs around the world, you won’t be surprised to find the U.S. at the top of this list.
Overall, there are some serious pros and cons to studying in the United States, but when they’re all weighed against each other, it’s an obvious choice as one of the best countries in the world for CS.
It starts with the schools.
There are competitive CS schools around the world, but roughly half of the best programs in the world are in the United States, and programs like those found at Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, and Harvard are all in steep competition for being the very best in the world.
The other leading reason to study in the United States is unlocking access to the job market.
Name the top tech companies in the world.
How many of them are American companies? That’s the real appeal.
The U.S. has a massive, lucrative job market to begin with, and in terms of tech companies, it’s still the world leader.
The two things that make it tough to study in the U.S. are money and immigration, so let’s talk about that.
Studying abroad in the United States is very expensive.
You’re looking at tens of thousands of dollars per semester, just in tuition.
The U.S. also has a very high cost of living.
That said, scholarships and grants are abundant, even for foreign students.
The United States invests over $120 billion a year into college students.
That blows away the rest of the world, and it means that international students have a fair shot at getting a good scholarship, especially for STEM programs.
There’s also the issue of immigration.
The U.S. is weird on this front.
It is simultaneously one of the easiest and hardest countries to immigrate to.
The good news is that student visas are relatively easy to get.
If you get into a CS program in the U.S., odds are in your favor that you’ll get a student visa.
The challenge comes after.
Getting a work visa after you finish the program is a lot harder, even if you get a good job offer.
It is quite arguable whether China or the USA has the best list of colleges for a master’s in computer science.
They’re both extremely competitive countries in this field.
Tsinghua University can go toe to toe with any school in the United States.
The U.S. edges out China in terms of job markets, though.
The most prestigious computer science jobs are still in the United States, and that’s why China is second on the list.
That said, there are a lot of competitive computer science jobs in China.
It’s a huge market with tons of opportunities, and the colleges are working overtime to keep up with demand.
China is barely second on this list.
That said, immigration into China is another issue.
In some ways, it’s easier than getting a student visa into the U.S., but in other ways, it’s considerably more challenging.
China, like most countries, requires you to already be accepted into your program before you can apply for a student visa.
You also have to demonstrate your ability to pay for everything.
While studying in China, the range of jobs you’re allowed to work on a student visa is limited.
So, you need a good bankroll to get started.
Students applying for a visa also have to pass a physical.
China is one of the few countries that checks the health of incoming students. It’s interesting.
There’s something else that might surprise you.
When you apply for a student visa in China, you have to pass an English test (this is often covered when applying to the college).
Most of the courses for international students will be taught in English.
On the plus side, this severely mitigates the language barrier.
That said, when you’re off-campus, there can be a massive language barrier, so you’ll want to invest in learning Mandarin (and check the dialect for the region where you will be staying).
The UK has top colleges in just about any field.
Oxford is world-class, and that is not changing anytime soon.
University College London also has a great computer science program, so there is more than one exceptional option within the UK.
In terms of total program prestige, the UK is just behind China and the United States.
As for immigration into the United Kingdom, it’s in the middle of the pack.
It’s not the hardest country to get into, but it’s not the easiest either.
Like most countries, the UK requires that you are accepted into a program before you can get a visa.
On top of that, you have to have a student sponsor (which is usually discussed during the international application and acceptance process).
You also need to prove that you can afford to move to the UK, live there, and pay for school.
Scholarships and grants count toward this, but without that proof, you won’t get your visa.
If you already live in Europe, then the process can be a lot easier, and it’s more likely that your visa will be approved.
Germany has long been known as one of the top countries for computer science.
It’s not surprising.
Germany has always been at the center of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
The top program in Germany is at the Technical University of Munich.
It is quite competitive internationally, but the UK, U.S., and China all have multiple programs that are higher rated.
So, third is the best Germany could get on this list.
One thing Germany has going for it is that it is in the EU.
That means that completely your program here will open you up to one of the best CS markets in the world.
The U.S. might have the highest number of prestigious computer science jobs, but the EU is not far behind, and it’s technically a bigger market overall.
What really boosts Germany on this list is immigration.
If you’re in the EU/EEA, then you don’t even need a student visa.
You’re already cleared to enter the country and study.
On top of that, tuition in Germany is free for international students too.
So, this is easily the most affordable place to pursue your master’s (not accounting for scholarships in other countries).
Despite the free tuition, you still need to prove that you can handle living expenses.
On top of that, Germany actually has the biggest language barrier on this list.
Some programs are taught in English.
If yours is, then you’re fine.
If it isn’t, you’ll need to demonstrate your proficiency in German to get your visa.
All of that said, Germany is appealing because it is so accessible compared to every other country on this list.
Arguably, Singapore could be higher on this list.
Nanyang Technological University is easily one of the best places in the world to study computer science, and the National University of Singapore is right there with it.
When you consider the size of Singapore, having two such distinguished programs is absolutely impressive.
There are two things that hold Singapore back.
The first is the job market.
Now, Singapore is located such that you can get access to recruitment across Indonesia and India, and those are not small markets.
But, they aren’t as prestigious or lucrative as U.S., Chinese, and European markets.
The Singapore programs are good enough to give you a shot in those other markets, but you’ll see a lot more recruitment for the regions I already mentioned.
You’ll be open to recruitment in Singapore too, but it’s just not a massive job market.
The other challenge for Singapore is immigration.
When it comes to the process, Singapore probably has the easiest immigration on this list.
The problem is that the country just can’t take as many international students as any of the others.
It’s a limitation of size, and that inadvertently creates intense competition for getting access to the country.
You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned a language barrier yet.
You can expect your courses to be taught in English.
In fact, the application process (for the college) will check on that.
The English proficiency standards are probably higher in Singapore than in the United States.
Canada is a popular destination for many fields of study.
A lot of this stems from the Canadian atmosphere.
It’s known as a friendly, accepting country.
In general terms, getting a Canadian visa isn’t too terrible either.
According to most rankings, the University of Toronto has the best computer science programs in Canada, but any of the major Canadian universities will offer a quality education and experience.
One of the other great appeals of studying in Canada is that it opens you up to arguably the largest job market in the world.
While studying in Canada doesn’t guarantee a job, students in Canada will have access to recruitment in Canada, the United States, and across the British Commonwealth.
It’s difficult to beat the range of opportunities that are attached to studying in Canada.
Here’s the drawback, though.
Everyone wants to study in Canada, so it’s competitive.
Canada also isn’t a massive country in terms of population, so the slots are limited.
Even if you get accepted into a program, there are no guarantees that you will get your visa.
The visa process is straightforward, but it’s competitive, and that holds a lot of potential students back every year.
Australia is well known as a great country for computer science.
While it’s not quite the best in the world, it has a few very competitive programs.
The most prestigious is at the University of Technology in Sydney, which regularly competes with the best colleges in the world.
The University of Adelaide also has a widely respected computer science program, so there are options here.
Getting a visa to study in Australia is manageable; the country is open to students from most of the world.
But, it’s not as accessible as most of the other countries on this list.
To get your visa, you first have to be accepted into a program.
That’s pretty normal, but Australia also requires financial proof that you can afford the entire tuition of your program and living expenses.
That’s a steeper requirement than a lot of countries, and it’s too much of a barrier to entry for more.
On top of that, Australia study visas are competitive, so even after you clear those hurdles, you’ll still have to make it into a limited number of spots.
If not for the stringency with immigration, Australia would be higher on the list.