Liberal arts schools typically focus on providing a well-rounded education that includes a broad range of subjects in addition to a student’s chosen major. While computer science programs at liberal arts colleges may not be as specialized or extensive as those at larger universities, they can still provide a strong foundation in computer science for graduate school study and a future career. Indeed, tech employers often value liberal arts graduates for their critical thinking, communication, adaptability, and interdisciplinary perspective. Here are a few liberal arts colleges known for offering strong computer science programs:
Williams College: Williams College, located in Massachusetts, offers a strong computer science program focused on building problem-solving skills through theoretical and experimental approaches and emphasizes the integration of computer science with other disciplines including sociology, art, and biology.
Swarthmore College: Swarthmore, located near Philadelphia, is known for its rigorous computer science program offering courses that explore the intersection of computer science with other fields of study. Swarthmore places a large emphasis on supporting computer science students through peer tutoring by the CS Ninjas, a dynamic Women in Computer Science group, and a robust network of alumni.
Grinnell College: Grinnell, located in Iowa, is known for its commitment to undergraduate research (during the summer and school year) and offers a computer science program that combines theory and practical experience. Grinnell even offers a study abroad program designed especially for computer science majors in the UK, Scandinavia, or Australia. Grinnell is only one of four institutions internationally recognized by both the Association of Computing Machinery and the Institution of Electrical Electronics Engineers.
Carleton College: At Carleton, located in Minnesota, each computer science senior works on a group capstone project, “Comps”, with a small group of peers and a faculty mentor including theoretical and implementation components. Students present their research in a colloquium and release their finished software on the web. To foster community in the department, a CS Tea event is held weekly with guest speakers.
Pomona College: Part of the Claremont Colleges consortium in California, Pomona College offers a computer science program with a liberal arts perspective, allowing students to explore the social and ethical implications of technology. Pomona College students can participate in the 5C Hackathon, a coding competition across the Claremont Colleges, and other extracurricular activities that allow students to apply their computer science skills in practical ways and showcase their abilities.
Bryn Mawr College: Located near Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr College is one of the Seven Sisters, a collection of historically women’s colleges. Bryn Mawr offers a computer science program with a focus on gender and diversity in technology, along with an interdisciplinary approach focused on broader impacts of technology. The program is supported by faculty in conjunction with Haverford College.
Remember that the size and scope of computer science programs can vary at liberal arts colleges, so it’s essential to research each institution to ensure it aligns with your academic and career goals. Additionally, some students may prefer the smaller class sizes, personalized attention, and interdisciplinary opportunities that liberal arts colleges can provide