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What is the superior university for Computer Science and Information Systems courses between Carnegie Mellon University and ETH Zurich?

Carnegie Mellon University and ETH Zurich are two of the world’s top universities for computer science, ranked 9th and 52nd in the QS World University Rankings 2023, respectively. While both universities offer outstanding programmes, their curricula, admission process, requirements, scholarships, and extracurricular activities differ. 

Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (US), renowned for its strong computer science, engineering, and art programmes. The university comprises seven colleges and schools, including the School of Computer Science, which ranks among the top computer science programmes in the world.

On the other hand, ETH Zurich, also known as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, is a public research university in Switzerland, well-known for its top-tier science, engineering, and mathematics programmes. The university has 16 departments, including the Department of Computer Science, and is ranked 8th in the Best Global Universities for Computer Science.


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Carnegie Mellon University: cmu.edu

ETH Zurich: ethz.ch

Computer Science Departments

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Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science offers programmes in various fields, including computer science, artificial intelligence, robotics, human-computer interaction, and machine learning. The school provides several degree options, including:

— BS in Artificial Intelligence

— BS in Computer Science

— MS in Computer Science

— MS in Artificial Intelligence and Innovation

— MS in Language Technologies

— MS in Intelligent Information Systems (and more)

Festive offer

ETH Zurich: ETH Zurich’s Department of Computer Science, on the other hand, offers programmes in computer science, information technology, communication systems, and cyber-security, with a wide range of specialisations and electives available. The department offers:

— Bachelor’s degree programme

— Master’s in Data Science

— Master’s in Robotics

— Master’s programme in Cyber Security (and more)

Admission Process

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Carnegie Mellon University:

Carnegie Mellon University requires applicants to complete a standard application, which is used to evaluate their academic records, test scores, essays, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities. The university offers Early Decision and Regular Decision options for undergraduate applicants. Applicants must fulfil the following requirements for both bachelor’s and master’s programmes:

— Official transcripts

— TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo English test reports

— Common application essay

— Secondary school counselor evaluation

— Letter of recommendation (LOR)

ETH Zurich:

ETH Zurich uses a holistic approach for evaluating applicants, considering their academic records, test scores, essays, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities. Due to its high competitiveness, the admission process at ETH Zurich requires exceptional academic credentials and adherence to the following requirements to consider applicants for admission:

— Official transcripts or mark sheets 

— Copy of passport or identity card  

— Valid language certificate 

— CV  

— GRE test score  

— Letter of recommendation (LOR)

Tuition fees

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Carnegie Mellon University:

At Carnegie Mellon, the tuition fee for the 2022-2024 academic year is $62,260, and there are additional fees for room and board, textbooks, and other expenses. Though Carnegie Mellon provides substantial financial aid opportunities, they are only available to US citizens, permanent residents, and D.A.C.A. recipients.

ETH Zurich:

ETH Zurich’s tuition fees vary according to the degree programme, and both Swiss nationals and international students pay CHF 730 per semester, along with a compulsory fee of CHF 74. On the other hand, doctoral students must pay CHF 1500 per semester. Additionally, the university offers various scholarships and financial aid programmes to support students’ education financially.


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Carnegie Mellon University:

While Carnegie Mellon University doesn’t offer financial aid to students from outside the United States, it provides resources to help its undergraduate and graduate students search for external scholarships.

ETH Zurich:

ETH Zurich offers international students a wide range of scholarships, including the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships, foundation study grants, and the ETH Scholarship & Opportunity Programme (ESOP).

Extracurricular Activities

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Carnegie Mellon University:

Carnegie Mellon University boasts a diverse range of over 400 student-led organisations catering to various interests and passions, such as religious or spiritual pursuits, civic engagement, media, sports, fraternities and sororities, academics, politics, identity, the arts, and technology. The university’s athletics programme is also formidable, offering more than 23 club sports organisations, including figure skating, crew (rowing), cricket, rugby, ultimate frisbee, cycling, fencing, and martial arts.

ETH Zurich:

ETH Zurich has its departmental student associations across almost all 16 departments. The Students Association at ETH (V.S.E.T.H.) is one of the most significant student associations in Switzerland, professionally managed and boasting around 10,000 members. These associations represent students at the departmental level. The university also has a robust sports program, offering over 120 sports, nearly 600 weekly lessons, and almost 1,200 courses, camps, and events annually.


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While Carnegie Mellon University and ETH Zurich share similarities in their academic excellence, they have differences in their admission processes, requirements, scholarships, and extracurricular activities. Therefore, prospective students should carefully research the differences between these universities to determine which aligns better with their goals and interests. Regardless of their choice, students can expect to receive a world-class education from both universities and become part of a community of like-minded individuals who share their passion for technology and innovation.

(The writer is the co-founder of UniScholars)


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