IT Degree Programs in Illinois
A guide to the best IT degree programs in Illinois for 2024.

Illinois is a Midwest powerhouse for information technology employment and higher education. Anchored by Chicago, where tech innovation meets a deep-rooted industrial legacy, the state’s academic institutions offer a host of top-tier IT degrees. From the cutting-edge research in Urbana-Champaign to the dynamic startup culture in Chicago's "Silicon Prairie," Illinois is doing its part to prepare the next generation of IT professionals.

This article will showcase the best IT degree programs in Illinois and explore the benefits and drawbacks of studying information technology in The Prarie State.

What makes our rankings valuable?

Most college rankings online rely heavily on the National Center for Education Statistics, measuring institutional rates for graduation, retention, acceptance, etc. The NCES has good data, and we use it too; however, we go beyond the stats to analyze the current and future relevance of the skills and credentials gained. We also delve deep into value and flexibility to consider accelerated, online, dual-degree, and certificate options.

Top-Ranked IT Programs in Illinois
Rank School City
1 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 61820
2 Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL 60616
3 Northwestern University Evanston, IL 60208
4 University of Chicago Chicago, IL 60637
5 DePaul University Chicago, IL 60614

The Best IT Degrees in Illinois

We selected the top-ranked IT degree programs in Illinois based on numerous factors, including curricula relevance, scope of electives, school reputation, program features, institutional stats, accessibility, and overall value.

Here are the best information technology programs in Illinois:

1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

UIUC offers some of the nation’s best IT degrees through its School of Information Science and Grainger College of Engineering. The university’s graduate and undergraduate programs feature expert instruction and advanced research opportunities in emerging domains like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and data analytics. UIUC’s Research Park, which houses outposts for high-tech startups and Fortune 500 companies, provides students with unparalleled internship and employment opportunities. Furthermore, UIUC offers many top-tier online IT degrees that can be accessed across the globe.

Top Information Technology Degrees:

  • B.S. in Information Sciences + Data Science
  • M.S. in Information Management
  • B.S. Dual Degree in Innovation, Leadership & Engineering Entrepreneurship (ILEE)

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2. Illinois Institute of Technology

As Chicago’s only tech-focused university, Illinois Tech stands out for its world-class undergraduate and graduate IT degree programs. In addition to a deep selection of bachelor’s and master’s, the school offers well-structured dual and accelerated IT degree options for motivated students. Don’t just take it from us; The Wall Street Journal named Illinois Tech the Best College in Illinois for 2024, the Brookings Institution named them #1 in Chicago for workforce earning power, and the school boasts a 91% career placement rate.

Top Information Technology Degrees:

  • Computer Information Systems (B.S.)
  • Information Technology and Management (B.A.C.)
  • Computer Science (B.S.) / Data Science (M.A.S.)

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3. Northwestern University

Northwestern’s information technology degrees seamlessly blend computer science theory with contemporary applications. Its interdisciplinary approach to higher education cultivates a deep understanding of computing principles and empowers students to deploy innovative tech solutions to diverse sectors like business, healthcare, and communication. Leveraging its strategic location just outside Chicago in Evanston and expansive alumni network, Northwestern provides graduates with invaluable connections in the competitive IT landscape.

Top IT Degree Focus Areas:

  • Software Development and Programming
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Digital Interfaces

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4. University of Chicago

Traditionally known for its liberal arts programs, the University of Chicago has made significant strides in information technology through its growing Department of Computer Science. The school's integrative approach merges computer science with various fields, such as biology, economics, and data science, to meet the growing demand for IT professionals across verticals. With a prime location in Chicago’s Hyde Park, students gain access to a vast network of tech companies and startups, enhancing the value of their IT degrees.

Top Information Technology Majors:

  • Data Science
  • Computer Science
  • Computational and Applied Mathematics

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5. DePaul University

Ranked 10th in the nation in 2024 for its undergraduate entrepreneurship program by The Princeton Review, DePaul’s IT degree curricula sync up with workforce demands. Through project-based learning, collaborative computing labs, and internships facilitated by the university's deep relationships with Chicago's high-tech companies, students gain plenty of hands-on experience. Depaul University also offers a deep catalog of online tech degrees in marketable domains like AI, cybersecurity, data science, and game programming.

Top Information Technology Degrees:

  • B.S in Information Technology
  • M.S. in Cybersecurity
  • M.S. in Data Science

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Pros of Studying Information Technology in Illinois

  • Advanced Research Opportunities: Illinois institutions like UIUC and Northwestern are leading the way with groundbreaking research projects. UIUC's collaboration with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and Northwestern's partnership in the Chicago Quantum Exchange expose IT students to the latest technologies and research.
  • Chicago’s Tech Ecosystem: The Windy City hosts an array of tech giants and startups, including Grubhub, Enova & Motorola, providing IT students with diverse internship and career opportunities. Chicago tech incubators like TechNexus and 1871 foster a dynamic community of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Diverse Industry Applications: Illinois' economy spans various sectors, enabling IT graduates to find jobs in non-traditional tech industries such as agriculture with local companies like John Deere and healthcare through the Illinois Medical District.

Cons of Studying Information Technology in Illinois

  • Urban Focus: As you can see from our ranking, many of the best information technology programs in Illinois are located in and around urban centers like Chicago. Pursuing a degree in the big city can be a deterrent for those who prefer a more traditional campus experience.
  • Cost of Living: The cost of living in Chicago is about 20% above the national average, impacting students’ budgets, especially for housing and transportation. That said, other Illinois education hubs like Urbana-Champaign (which comes in about 10% below the national average) are quite affordable.
  • Extreme Weather: Illinois' weather is characterized by cold winters and hot summers, especially in Chicago with its windy lakeside location. Inclimate weather can have a negative impact on campus life and commuting for students unaccustomed to the seasonal extremes.


Thanks to its renowned universities, proliferating tech industry, cutting-edge research opportunities, and diverse business sectors, Illinois is a great place to pursue an IT education. While prospective students should weigh the urban focus and cost of living - especially in Chicago - against their personal preferences and finances, Illinois is a compelling choice for those seeking a top-notch degree in information technology.

Further Reading