Advice on strong CS Programs that also offer design?

I’m looking for help to expand my S21’s college list. His main area of interest is computer science, but he also enjoys graphic design, with perhaps an interest in user experience (UX) design or software development. He hasn’t been able to take the SAT yet, but is overall a very strong student, likely in the top 5% of his class, likely National Merit Semifinalist, with good extracurricular depth and some awards in CS-related activities.

We’re in the Northeast and have been leaning toward staying in this region, especially given all the uncertainties in the world now, but are open to suggestions almost anywhere. He strongly prefers an urban campus, not interested in a party school, would prefer a racially/ethnically diverse setting. He’s open to a technically focused school, but he also has some wider-ranging interests, so I’m looking for schools that have significant humanities offerings as well. He really likes the traditional Ivy campus “feel” but understands that might be a stretch to find with wanting to be in a city.

His top two contenders right now are Brown and Northeastern, with part of the attraction being a focus on undergraduate CS instruction and that both have opportunities to pursue design. Other reach schools of current interest are MIT and University of Chicago. Right now his safety schools are National Merit full ride schools and our state flagship. We would be looking for some aid, either need or merit, to get us down to <$40,000/year.

Thank you in advance for any assistance! I know it’s time to get these lists squared away!

Carnegie Mellon has a CS concentration in Human Computer Interaction. They’re also starting an HCI major this year.

There’s also the BCSA program - “created in 2008 by the College of Fine Arts and the School of Computer Science. It provides an ideal technical and conceptual foundation for students interested in pursuing fields which comprehensively meld technology and the arts such as game design, computer animation, computer music, interactive stagecraft, robotic art and other emerging media.”

A minor in Design is also available

Campus is 3 miles from the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, it’s certainly not a party school, is in the top 50 of USN’s Diversity ranking, and has significant Humanities & Social Sciences and Fine Arts Colleges.

Business Insider ranks the School of Design as 4th best in the world and the School of Computer Science as 3rd.

Northeastern was my first thought - the CS+Design combined major, and the Scout student-led design studio, plus the automatic $30K/year for NMF, could be a winning combination. Brown/RISD and CMU are definitely top contenders too.

At some schools, the Cognitive Science major is where CS and Design intersect. The Design and Interaction track in the UC San Diego CogSci department is a case in point, although far from home and expensive for OOS.

UPenn could be worth a look, as an urban Ivy with some good Design+CS options, such as the Digital Media Design BSE.

There’s also the Interaction Design BDes at UW-Seattle. Also the Digital track of the Multi-Disciplinary Design major at U of Utah (which has a nice Honors College and can be very affordable with merit + path to residency after the 1st year).

RIT also has a wealth of programs that span both fields. The Human-Centered Computing major in the CS school could be a good place to start looking, but there are also several programs in the Art & Design school that could be a fit.

RPI would be a match that would give merit. I’d think you’d get tuition to around $40k. Case Western may also be worth exploring.

Thank you all so much! Yes, Carnegie Mellon is definitely on the list…I actually meant to type that instead of University of Chicago (I think I had Chicago on the brain since we had just received yet another piece of mail from them! :smile: ).

Thank you @aquapt for mentioning Cognitive Science. I hadn’t heard that term before and looking now, I can see that it encompasses several of his interests. He really loves programming, but I suspect he may lean more towards real-world problem-solving than the hard-core math end of CS.

I’m not sure he’d go for RIT or RPI - he already rejected WPI after visiting for feeling like the setting didn’t hit his “urban” requirement. But I’m going to look into each of these suggestions.

RIT might be urban enough for him; RPI more likely not.

He might also check out the Engineering Psychology major at Tufts.

Also the HCDE (Human Centered Design & Engineering) major at UW-Seattle which is not as exclusively computing-oriented as Interaction Design.

UCSD CogSci could be a great fit academically (distance and cost being the main downsides); the university isn’t right in the city but the light rail system is expanding to connect the campus to the city, and that should be operational by the time your S21 starts college.