Computer software engineers create software programs for computer applications.

Publications such as "U.S. News & World Report" and various websites have ranked the best schools for software engineering. What sets these schools apart from others in the software engineering and computer science field? Innovative programs at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels, highly distinguished faculty members and opportunities to pursue advanced research in the field.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ranked first among undergraduate computer science schools in the 2010-11 rankings by "U.S. News & World Report." The school also ranked first in the collegecrunch.org rankings for 2009 and second in the rankings by PhDs.org for 2010. Aside from offering a bachelor's degree in computer science, MIT has graduate programs such as the master of science, master of engineering, engineer in computer science, Ph.D. and doctor of science.

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Massachusetts Institute of Technology 77 Massachusetts Ave., Room 38-401 Cambridge, MA 02139 617-253-4600 eecs.mit.edu

Stanford University

Stanford University's computer science department is among the best in nation. Collegecrunch.org ranked the program second behind MIT, and PhDs.org ranked the program first based on admissions selectivity, quality of education, students-to-faculty ratio and faculty productivity. Stanford offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate program and bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in the field. Areas of specialty that are especially important in relation to software engineering include robotics, artificial intelligence and scientific computing.

Computer Science Department Stanford University 353 Serra Mall Stanford, CA 94305 650-723-2273 cs.stanford.edu

Harvard University

Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was ranked third by PhDs.org and No. 12 by collegecrunch.org. Harvard offers various joint concentrations at the undergraduate level, and the master of science, master of engineering and Ph.D. degrees as part of its graduate curriculum. Harvard students pursue research in robotics, languages, compilers and operating systems, and computational linguistics and artificial intelligence.

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Harvard University 29 Oxford St. Cambridge, MA 02138 617-496-3815 seas.harvard.edu

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is highly regarded for its computer science and software engineering programs. The school ranked second in the "U.S. News & World Report" rankings and third according to collegecrunch.org. PhDs.org ranked the Carnegie Mellon program No. 12. Aside from its undergraduate program, CMU offers innovative programs in areas such as human-computer interaction and entertainment technology. CMU is also home to the Institute for Software Research.

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Carnegie Mellon University 5000 Forbes Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15213 412-268-2082 ece.cmu.edu