School and Ranking Information
There are few schools in the Charleston area offering a computer science major. The following schools, all of which are 4-year institutions, are considered the top three based on rankings, tuition and degree level:
- Winner: The Citadel in Charleston came in first place due to its top-5 ranking for institutions in the South in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report, low tuition rates and graduate-level computer science program.
- Runner Up #1: The College of Charleston, located in Charleston, secured the first runner up spot due to its public institution type and number of master's degrees awarded.
- Runner Up #2: Charleston Southern University in Charleston received third place for its multiple options for bachelor's degrees in computer science and its graduate success.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||The Citadel||College of Charleston||Charleston Southern University|
|Ranking (2022)||2nd for regional universities (South)*||9th for regional universities (South)*||49th for regional universities (South)|
|Location||Charleston, SC||Charleston, SC||Charleston, SC|
|School Type||4-year, public||4-year, public||4-year, private not-for-profit|
|Tuition & Fees (2021-2022)||$10,890 (graduate, in-state); $18,540 (graduate, out-of-state)**||$14,230 (graduate, in-state): $37,836 (graduate, out-of-state)**||$28,930 (undergraduate): $5,085 (graduate)**|
|Computer Science Degree Levels Offered||Master's degrees||Master's degrees||Bachelor's degrees|
|Computer Science Degrees (All Levels) Awarded in 2020-2021||0**||6**||10**|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2015 Entering Class||73%**||67%**||49%**|
|Noteworthy||16th for best value schools in the south in 2022*||4th for top public schools among regional universities (South) in 2020*||23rd in Best Colleges for Veterans in the South in 2022*|
Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **National Center for Education Statistics
Winner: The Citadel
- Ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2022 as 2nd for top public schools in the South
- 86% of student body in 2021 was male, according to the NCES
- ABET accredits the computer science program
The Military College of South Carolina, or The Citadel, was founded in 1842. The Citadel primarily offers a cadet undergraduate education, with emphasis on a cadet lifestyle during their four years on campus. The school does have non-military graduate and evening undergraduate degree programs available.
The Master of Science (M.S.) in Computer Science program is a joint offering between The Citadel's Graduate College and College of Charletson's Graduate School. The program requires 33 semesters hours, with completion of a core curriculum, an area of specialization, choice of electives, a research thesis or project thesis. The core courses cover object-oriented design, systems architecture, software engineering foundations, and data modeling. Specializations include computer science, software engineering, and information systems.
The engineering school also has a graduate certificate program. The 4-course certificate covering technical project management includes classes that can be substituted for required coursework in the M.S. program.
Runner-Up #1: College of Charleston
- Computer Science one of six award-winning departments in the School of Sciences and Mathematics
- Name one of 'The Best 388 Colleges' for 2023 by The Princeton Review
- Ranked 4th in 2022 among top public schools in the south ranked by U.S. News & World Report
The College of Charleston, together with The Citadel, jointly offers an M.S. degree program in computer science and information sciences. The 33-hour graduate program's location is the Lowcountry Graduate Center (LGC). The LGC is a graduate educational center formed from a partnership among the College of Charleston, The Citadel, and other South Carolina institutions for the educational benefit of the state's coast area. In support of the working student, most classes are offered in the evenings.
Students pursue computer science-focused coursework or choose another specialization covering information systems or software engineering. Completion of the degree program has students select a non-thesis, project thesis, or research thesis option. The total number of required program hours can vary based on the option selected. For the two thesis program options, there are established time constraints, typically about two years, for program completion.
Runner-Up #2: Charleston Southern University
- Graduates earn employment at noted institutions such as Microsoft, NASA, Intel, Disney, and the Pentagon
- NCES statistics showed that 99% of full-time beginning undergraduates received financial aid in 2020-2021
- CSU had a 57% acceptance rate for 2021-2022, according to NCES figures
Charleston Southern University offers its students two bachelor's degree programs in CS through its Department of Computer and Information Science and the College of Science and Mathematics. A 125-hour B.S. in Computer Science offering requires students to complete courses covering liberal arts, scientific methods, and computer science. The curriculum has students learn various computer science areas, including computer architecture, software design, applied networking, and systems analysis. For the students to graduate, a senior portfolio review is required.
CSU also offers a Bachelor of Technology (BT) in Computer Science, which combines a liberal arts education with the upper-division computer science coursework. The BT program is structured for students who have already earned an 89-hour associate's degree in computer science or related field, and it gives these students flexibility to customize their course selection based on completed coursework and interests. A Bachelor of Arts in Computer and Information Sciences is available with four track options, including human computer interface, networking, IT management, and systems.