Best Online Computer Science Degree Programs

By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/22/2021

An online computer science degree can give graduates the theoretical, mathematical, and analytical foundation necessary to succeed in various careers with high salary expectations in rapidly growing industries. Because these jobs are so popular, they are also highly competitive. Graduates of online computer science degree programs likely possess a powerful combination of education, skills and experience that will impress recruiters and give these candidates a signficant advantage over self-educated applicants.

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Online Bachelor’s in Computer Science with the Highest Return on Investment

2021 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's Degrees in Computer Science Badge

Computer science degrees across the country have a high return on investment, with 10-year ROIs averaging $622,300. The 25 top online bachelor’s degrees in computer science offer ROIs as high as $779,500. Our rankings are based on real-world alumni outcomes, evaluating income and debt over time to estimate how much alumni end up benefiting from their computer science degrees. With tuitions starting at $6,780, the schools on this list are great options for an online bachelor's in computer science.

ROI amounts are based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education. Tuitions are manually researched in order to determine tuition amounts specific to online degrees. Read our methodology for more details.

RankSchool Annual Tuition Median Starting Salary Median Debt 10-year ROI
# 1 #1 $15,000 $77,966 $18,601 $779,500
# 2 #2 $14,280 $76,208 $24,000 $754,700
# 3 #3 $6,780 $75,270 $16,892 $753,900
# 4 #4 $16,650 $78,122 $25,492 $742,500
# 5 #5 $16,695 $73,882 $21,875 $733,400
# 6 #6 $21,125 $73,769 $25,000 $728,300
# 7 #7 $21,152 $71,045 $18,772 $708,000
# 8 #8 $18,200 $71,211 $23,562 $694,800
# 9 #9 $20,673 $66,566 $24,656 $654,600
# 10 #10 $8,340 $64,113 $12,516 $645,500
# 11 #11 $16,650 $66,449 $36,000 $639,300
# 12 #12 $14,970 $63,935 $18,000 $635,800
# 13 #13 $10,500 $63,005 $21,500 $621,900
# 14 #14 $12,210 $62,734 $22,000 $618,400
# 15 #15 $12,210 $62,409 $19,434 $618,300
# 16 #16 $12,736 $63,380 $31,602 $613,100
# 17 #17 $15,750 $61,303 $17,030 $609,900
# 18 #18 $12,980 $60,698 $12,598 $608,300
# 19 #19 $11,760 $61,212 $26,000 $596,900
# 20 #20 $11,210 $61,814 $34,862 $593,000
# 21 #21 $21,450 $60,161 $22,000 $592,000
# 22 #22 $10,376 $59,253 $17,750 $587,900
# 23 #23 $15,900 $58,221 $25,944 $567,100
# 24 #24 $19,570 $57,770 $23,000 $566,100
# 25 #25 $12,865 $57,995 $30,100 $559,600

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Computer Science Rankings Details

#1

University of Florida

Gainesville (FL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $779,500
  • Median Salary: $77,966
  • Annual Tuition: $15,000
  • Median Debt: $18,601

The University of Florida offers an online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science degree. Courses in the program cover professional communication for engineers, computational linear algebra, physics with calculus, computer organization, data structures and algorithms, and operating systems. The school offers a flexible schedule where students can take from three to 18 credits... per semester, and the program requires a total of 120 credits to complete.

Students use Canvas to access online courses. The school allows students to transfer 60 or more credits from other colleges, and it offers a special discount rate for online students. The Office for Student Financial Affairs (SFA) connects students to scholarships, grants, loans, and other assistance programs, such as out-of-state tuition waivers for veterans and members of the military. The computer science field is expected to grow by 22% between 2018 and 2028. Graduates of this program can pursue careers in business intelligence analysts, computer programmers, database administrators, web developers, and more.

Students can apply online for the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Note that the application deadlines are different for online and in-person students. Online students have access to services provided by the Career Connections Center.

Cost per Credit: $500
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 90%
Acceptance Rate: 42%
Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
Average SAT Scores: 1280 - 1440
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,181

#2

Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Fort Collins (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $754,700
  • Median Salary: $76,208
  • Annual Tuition: $14,280
  • Median Debt: $24,000

Colorado State University (CSU) - Fort Collins offers an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree completion program. The program offers five concentrations: general computer science studies, artificial intelligence and machine learning, computing systems, human-centered computing, or networks and security. Degree completion time depends on how many credits students... transfer into the 120-credit program.

Students at CSU - Fort Collins access online courses via the Canvas learning management system. A Student Success Team is available to assist students who want to use their military benefits to pay for their education. Students have access to services provided through CSU's Career Center.

Applicants can submit their applications and any required materials online. Services available to online students include adult learner and veteran services, academic advising, career center services, online library databases, online proctoring, free access to Microsoft 365, student government, IT support, the Women and Gender Advocacy Center, and more.

Cost per Credit: $476
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 71%
Acceptance Rate: 83%
Financial Aid Recipients: 80%
Average SAT Scores: 1070 - 1280
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,248

#3

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City (UT)
  • 10-Year ROI: $753,900
  • Median Salary: $75,270
  • Annual Tuition: $6,780
  • Median Debt: $16,892

Western Governors University's online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree offers courses in IT fundamentals, web development, network and security, business, programming, communication, data management, information assurance, software, and data manipulation. The 35-course program prepares students to design, develop and optimize systems that will meet industry needs.... The online Bachelor of Science in Cloud Computing is a 38-course degree program that includes industry-critical certification in AWS Certified SysOps Administrator-Associate at no extra cost.

All classes are remote, and learning is asynchronous, delivered through web-based tests, papers, and projects. The school’s competency-based education (CBE) approach means that students can progress at their own pace. Students can also apply for course credit based on subject area assessments. Students can work with a program mentor for help in degree planning, and they can receive one-on-one support from faculty if needed. The university offers more than $20 million in financial assistance, including the need-based New Start Scholarship and Resiliency Grant. Seventy percent of students graduate in one year.

Applicants must complete an application (with fee) online. Enrollment counselors are available for applicants who need assistance with the enrollment process. Additional online resources include library services and tutorials.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 29%
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 88,921

#4

Regis University

Denver (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $742,500
  • Median Salary: $78,122
  • Annual Tuition: $16,650
  • Median Debt: $25,492

Regis University offers an online Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science. Students learn about programming languages, paradigms, and platforms so that they can implement computational solutions in enterprise organizations. Available online or in-person, this program features 8-week terms, and students must complete 120 credits to earn this degree.

This degree gives students the... opportunity to pursue careers in a field that is expected to grow by 16% between 2018 and 2028. In addition to accepting financial aid and scholarships, Regis has a generous policy for transfer credits, and the school also has a FastForward program for students who want to earn a master's as well as a bachelor's degree. Students and alumni have access to the Center for Career and Professional Development, which provides resume assistance, interview coaching, and career transition support.

Students can apply anytime as Regis accepts applications on a rolling basis, and they can start in January, March, May, July, August, or October. Ideally, students should apply at least four weeks before their desired start date. Once accepted, students have access to a range of support services.

Cost per Credit: $555
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 69%
Acceptance Rate: 60%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 1050 - 1230
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,301

#5

Oregon State University

Corvallis (OR)
  • 10-Year ROI: $733,400
  • Median Salary: $73,882
  • Annual Tuition: $16,695
  • Median Debt: $21,875

Oregon State University (OSU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Post baccalaureate) and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degrees. Designed for students who have a bachelor's degree in any field, the post baccalaureate program requires 60 credits of specialized computer courses. In comparison, the bachelor's program requires a total of 180 quarter credits,... and at least 45 must be completed at OSU. These programs offer courses in programming, databases, software engineering, computer forensics, operating systems, and other IT concepts. To earn their bachelor's degree, students must complete a three-term capstone senior project.

Oregon State University uses the Canvas learning management system, allowing students to watch video lessons, submit assignments, take quizzes, and engage in discussions. The faculty for these programs are experts in the computer science field. Online students can get low-interest loans to cover tuition costs, and some students complete internships, which they can search for on OSU's Handshake platform.

Students must submit an online application to apply. The program has four different start dates during the year (spring, summer, fall, and winter semesters), and application deadlines are usually about eight weeks before classes start. The school offers support services to online students, such as success coaching, library services, online tutoring, and career guidance.

Cost per Credit: $371
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 180
Graduation Rate: 67%
Acceptance Rate: 79%
Financial Aid Recipients: 86%
Average SAT Scores: 1080 - 1310
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 5,306

#6

University of Colorado Boulder

Boulder (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $728,300
  • Median Salary: $73,769
  • Annual Tuition: $21,125
  • Median Debt: $25,000

The online Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Science degree is available through the University of Colorado Boulder's (UCB's) College of Engineering and Applied Science. The 45-credit program is designed for working professionals with bachelor’s degrees in other fields who are seeking a career change. Students learn advanced software engineering skills and study mathematics... and algorithms for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Online classes are asynchronous to offer flexibility for working professionals but include weekly assignment deadlines. The coursework is delivered in the form of articles, case studies, online discussion forums, and videos via remote learning tools. The computer science program is taught by the same faculty that teaches the on-campus version. Students with prior college-level computer science credit may transfer up to 15 credits into the program.

There are spring, summer, and autumn start dates. Students must complete and submit an online application form (with fee). Academic advisors and course assistants are available for one-on-one consultation when online students need assistance.

Cost per Credit: $845
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 71%
Acceptance Rate: 80%
Financial Aid Recipients: 64%
Average SAT Scores: 1150 - 1360
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 547

#7

Arizona State University

Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
  • 10-Year ROI: $708,000
  • Median Salary: $71,045
  • Annual Tuition: $21,152
  • Median Debt: $18,772

The online BS in Computer Information Systems from Arizona State University (ASU) provides specializations in software engineering, information technology, business data analytics, and geographic information science. The 120-credit degree program includes instruction in engineering, business, mathematics, and other related interest areas.

ASU uses the Canvas learning management platform... to deliver asynchronous coursework. The school has various scholarships for computer science students, such as the Women in Science Scholarship that awards up to $5000 for women interested in pursuing STEM degrees or the Brian S. Page Endowed Scholarship that awards $1,350 to students based on need. A computer science degree from ASU can prepare students for jobs in computer programming, data management, and cybersecurity.

Applicants have several options for applying to ASU; Students can use the Common Application, Coalition Application, or the university's application. Resources available for online students include career counseling, tutoring, financial planning, and international student engagement.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 66%
Acceptance Rate: 76%
Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
Average SAT Scores: 1091 - 1298
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 28,353

#8

Saint Louis University-Main Campus

St. Louis (MO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $694,800
  • Median Salary: $71,211
  • Annual Tuition: $18,200
  • Median Debt: $23,562

Saint Louis University (SLU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems through their School for Professional Studies. The program at this Jesuit school requires 120 credits to complete, and students can pursue a concentration in data analytics by taking two additional courses. The courses are offered in eight-week terms. The curriculum covers programming,... data-driven decision making, system analysis, computer forensics, cyber threats and defense, data mining, and more. For full-time students without transfer credits, this program takes four years to complete.

SLU online students take their online courses through the Blackboard learning management system. With this degree, students can pursue careers in market research, data analysis, or business intelligence. Students can apply for financial aid, and the school also offers scholarships for academic achievement, service, financial need, and first-year students.

Students can apply for this online program at any time, and the program has six start terms every year. Once enrolled, students can access 24/7 tutoring services and student support services.

Cost per Credit: $650
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 77%
Acceptance Rate: 64%
Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
Average SAT Scores: 1180 - 1370
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 503

#9

University of North Texas

Denton (TX)
  • 10-Year ROI: $654,600
  • Median Salary: $66,566
  • Annual Tuition: $20,673
  • Median Debt: $24,656

In the online Bachelor of Science in Information Science program at the University of North Texas (UNT), students can choose a specialization in information science and knowledge organization, project and knowledge management, information management and health informatics, digital content and information systems, human language technology, or data science. This 120-credit degree... typically takes four years to complete, but UNT offers "Degree in Three" programs that help students complete this degree in just three years. Students with transfer credits may be able to complete the degree in a shorter amount of time.

Online coursework is delivered through the Canvas learning management system. Accelerated degree pathways help students save money on tuition while completing their degrees faster. UNT allows students to earn credits by testing out of courses through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Students can attend special lectures featuring renowned scholars in the computer science field.

Students can submit an online application for the fall, summer, or spring terms. Student Support Services helps students stay on track with their degree, and it offers special programs for low-income, first-generation, and students with disabilities.

Cost per Credit: $689
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 53%
Acceptance Rate: 72%
Financial Aid Recipients: 81%
Average SAT Scores: 1060 - 1260
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,619

#10

Weber State University

Ogden (UT)
  • 10-Year ROI: $645,500
  • Median Salary: $64,113
  • Annual Tuition: $8,340
  • Median Debt: $12,516

The Bachelor of Integrated Studies (BIS) degree with a computer science emphasis is an online, customizable program. Students receive an interdisciplinary approach to the computer science discipline and can choose two other areas of concentration. The computer science emphasis requires 28 credit hours, including four required courses (16 hours) and three electives (12 hours). The... curriculum explores the basics of computing, programming, algorithms, and data structures. To graduate, students must complete a capstone project.

Synchronous online courses are delivered through the Canvas platform. The university provides more than $90 million in scholarship funding and financial assistance annually. Internship opportunities are posted regularly on the university's Career Services Center website. Graduates have gone on to work at high-profile organizations in the public and private sectors.

The program has multiple start dates throughout the year. Prospective students must apply online and pay an application fee. Online students have access to an academic coach for support.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 30%
Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,836

#11

National University

La Jolla (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $639,300
  • Median Salary: $66,449
  • Annual Tuition: $16,650
  • Median Debt: $36,000

The online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at National University follows a four-week class schedule. The curriculum covers programming, data structures and algorithms, operating systems, software engineering, and computer architecture. Students will learn how to design and develop software systems and study the impact of computing on organizations, society, and individuals.... The program requires students to complete at least 180 quarter units, including two classes dedicated to a final senior project. A Computer Science Transition Program is available for those interested in obtaining a Master of Science in Computer Science while earning their degree.

National University provides asynchronous online content using web-based tools, including discussion boards, recorded lectures, and assigned readings. Faculty members may be contacted through text and email. Online students can apply for an Opportunity Scholarship as part of the university’s $30 million investment in new scholarships. National University is a designated Yellow Ribbon school, providing additional accommodations for military students.

Prospective students can apply online. All online students attend a virtual orientation and have access to tutoring, career services, and an academic advisor. Individuals may also use virtual materials from the library and work with an online reference assistant.

Cost per Credit: $370
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 180
Graduation Rate: 36%
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,130

#12

University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi (MD)
  • 10-Year ROI: $635,800
  • Median Salary: $63,935
  • Annual Tuition: $14,970
  • Median Debt: $18,000

The online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree leads to career opportunities or advancement in software engineering or architecture, application design, systems analysis, and engineering. In addition to a strong liberal arts curriculum, students will study programming, algorithms, data structure and analysis, and computer and operating systems. The 120-credit program... is suited for students with computer programming experience, whether professionally or through personal exploration.

Online courses are asynchronous, so students have the flexibility to study when convenient. Students can fast track their degrees by earning credit for relevant work or military experience. As many as 90 credits can be transferred from previous schools or programs.

Students have access to various online services and resources, including academic advising, career planning, tutoring, a writing center, and digital library resources.

Cost per Credit: $499
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 15%
Financial Aid Recipients: 53%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 36,550

#13

Colorado State University Global

Greenwood Village (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $621,900
  • Median Salary: $63,005
  • Annual Tuition: $10,500
  • Median Debt: $21,500

The online BS in Computer Science from Colorado State University Global is a 120 credit-hour program that instructs students in finding technical solutions for different computer-based problems. The curriculum also includes instruction in software systems and computer analysis. Students can obtain several computer programming certificates: Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 8 Programmer,... and C++ Certified Associate Programmer from the C++ Institute. Students are prepared for careers in software engineering, computational science, and systems analysis.

Colorado State University Global's online learning management system is Canvas by Instructure. Professors load content onto Canvas and may also use it as a face-to-face teaching tool, while students use it to access materials, assignments, lectures, examinations, and marks. Computer science scholarships for students include the Merit Scholarship, awarding a total of $16,000 to $4,000 ($4,000 to $1,000 per year) for students who meet the selection criteria. A total of $4,000 ($1,000 per year) will be awarded to students admitted to and participate in the University Honors Program.

Applicants must submit the university's online application. Online resources include adult learner services, advising, and the career center.

Cost per Credit: $350
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 64%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 8,054

#14

Old Dominion University

Norfolk (VA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $618,400
  • Median Salary: $62,734
  • Annual Tuition: $12,210
  • Median Debt: $22,000

The online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree is offered through Old Dominion University’s distance learning platform, ODU Online. It’s available as a degree completion program or a full, 120-credit degree. The degree completion program requires that students complete at least 30 credits at ODU. Course requirements include software engineering, programming languages,... data structures, discrete structures, and professional development. Graduates enter the leading-edge technology fields of software development, network and database administration, and information security analysis.

Online courses are delivered via the Blackboard learning management platform. While most coursework is asynchronous, students are still expected to complete assignments and meet due dates. Some instructors may schedule live, online meeting times, but most classes offer recorded lectures and web-based discussion boards. Instructors have virtual office hours to engage with students. The prior learning assessment program can result in credit for relevant professional or military experience.

To apply to the program, prospective students should submit a completed application and official transcripts. ODU Online has enrollment counselors ready to help with the process. Once online learners are enrolled, they can access academic advising, virtual tutoring, and 24/7 IT support.

Cost per Credit: $407
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 50%
Acceptance Rate: 86%
Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
Average SAT Scores: 990 - 1200
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,736

#15

University of Illinois at Springfield

Springfield (IL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $618,300
  • Median Salary: $62,409
  • Annual Tuition: $12,210
  • Median Debt: $19,434

The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree. Students can choose between a software engineering focus or a specialization in system security and information assurance. Courses include computer organization, data structures, network security, Windows network administration, and more. The 120-credit degree can take four... years to compete on a full-time basis, but with transfer credits, students may be able to complete the program in 12 to 15 months.

Students use the Blackboard online learning platform to submit assignments, take online tests, and interact with faculty and classmates. UIS allows students to transfer in up to 90 credits into the program. Students can offset tuition costs by applying for institutional scholarships, including the AfterCollege STEM Inclusion scholarship.

Students can apply online for the spring or fall semester. UIS begins reviewing applications for the spring semester on September 15 and for the fall application on March 15. The school offers IT support, advising services, and a career services department to help students find jobs after graduation.

Cost per Credit: $407
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 51%
Acceptance Rate: 52%
Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
Average SAT Scores: 990 - 1218
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 942

#16

Franklin University

Columbus (OH)
  • 10-Year ROI: $613,100
  • Median Salary: $63,380
  • Annual Tuition: $12,736
  • Median Debt: $31,602

The online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is a 124-credit program with a curriculum that includes general education courses, a professional core, and electives. Students will engage in team-based simulation experiences for three different capstone requirements. They’ll learn widely used computer languages and build software components with Java.

The classes are asynchronous,... but students are expected to schedule virtual meetings for group projects. Up to 94 credits can be transferred toward the attainment of the bachelor’s degree. Nearly 80 percent of the students at Franklin University take their coursework online.

Prospective students can apply online. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and students may work with an admissions advisor for assistance in the process. Distance learning resources include free tutoring and writing support, a personal academic advisor, and access to library databases. Student orientation is also offered online.

Cost per Credit: $398
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 14%
Financial Aid Recipients: 86%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,578

#17

Auburn University

Auburn (AL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $609,900
  • Median Salary: $61,303
  • Annual Tuition: $15,750
  • Median Debt: $17,030

The online Bachelor of Computer Science (degree completion) at Auburn University gives students a comprehensive understanding of computer development. The 20 required courses total 60 credit hours, accounting for half of the degree. Topics include information technology, database management, network platforms, operating systems, web and mobile app development, and computer network... design.

Auburn online uses the Latitude Learning Fast Train learning management system to deliver asynchronous content to its students. Students can view various scholarships through the Auburn University Scholarship Opportunity Manager (AUSOM). Specific scholarships available to computer science students include the A.S. Hodel Endowed scholarship, the Mark C. Smith Endowed Scholarship, and the $5000 Ashley and Ryan Robinett Family Annual Scholarship.

Students must submit an application on the university's website. Spring applications are due in July, summer applications are due in January, and fall applications are due in February.

Cost per Credit: $525
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 78%
Acceptance Rate: 84%
Financial Aid Recipients: 75%
Average SAT Scores: 1150 - 1310
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 303

#18

California State University Monterey Bay

Seaside (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $608,300
  • Median Salary: $60,698
  • Annual Tuition: $12,980
  • Median Debt: $12,598

The online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from California State University Monterey Bay offers instruction in computer science theory and hands-on information technology practice. The curriculum covers subjects from programming and algorithms to database design. This degree completion program allows students to transfer credits from another school or pursue another college... degree. The program is 24 months and 60 credit hours.

California State Online uses the Blackboard platform for asynchronous coursework. Scholarships available to computer science students include the Trustees' Award for students who demonstrate academic excellence; the Gregson Bautzer Scholarship for students who graduated from the California Academy of Mathematics and Science; and the Howard C. Christensen Endowed Scholarship for students who demonstrate financial need. Graduates are prepared for jobs in software engineering, mobile app development, and technology program management.

Applicants must use the online portal to create an account and submit an application. California State University has four enrollment periods with different deadlines: June 30th for winter term, August 31st for spring term, September 30th for the summer term, and December 15th for winter term.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 60%
Acceptance Rate: 53%
Financial Aid Recipients: 85%
Average SAT Scores: 960 - 1160
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 157

#19

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Milwaukee (WI)
  • 10-Year ROI: $596,900
  • Median Salary: $61,212
  • Annual Tuition: $11,760
  • Median Debt: $26,000

The Bachelor of Science in Information Science and Technology and Bachelor of Science in Applied Computing from the University of Wisconsin focuses on IT and business knowledge. Students study topics in program management, information systems strategy, and legal and ethical issues. These 120-credit degree programs can take up to four years to complete, but the school's competency-based... program allows students to take as many courses as they want at their own pace, which allows them to finish faster. Students with 90 transfer credits may complete the 30 credits in these majors in 12 to 15 months.

The school uses the Canvas learning management system and online tools such as TopHat, Engage, Pressbooks, and Piazza. Tenured-track faculty and IT professionals teach the courses in these programs. The school accepts transfer credits so that students can earn their degrees faster. Students can use federal grants and loans to cover tuition costs, and the Wisconsin Grant Program can provide financial assistance to students who are enrolled at least part-time.

Students can submit an online application at any time, and they can start a 12-week subscription period at the beginning of any month. Students have access to financial aid coordinators and academic success coaches.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 44%
Acceptance Rate: 72%
Financial Aid Recipients: 83%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,603

#20

Grantham University

Kansas City (KS)
  • 10-Year ROI: $593,000
  • Median Salary: $61,814
  • Annual Tuition: $11,210
  • Median Debt: $34,862

Grantham University (GU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, instructing students in data structures, programming languages, software engineering, computer networks, security operations, and more. This 120-credit program takes students 38 months to complete. Students are required to complete a capstone project before graduation.

Classes are asynchronous, but... students are required to check in regularly and engage with faculty and classmates. Students can transfer up to 75% of the required credits for graduation. Military students receive discounted tuition, flexible deployment options, and academic credit for military training and life experience.

Classes begin every month, and applicants can submit their applications and other required materials online. Students are assigned a student advisor and have access to the tutoring and the career services office.

Cost per Credit: $295
School Type: For-Profit
Credits Required: 152
Graduation Rate: 29%
Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
Accreditation: DEAC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 6,707

#21

Loyola University Chicago

Chicago (IL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $592,000
  • Median Salary: $60,161
  • Annual Tuition: $21,450
  • Median Debt: $22,000

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Information Technology at Loyola University Chicago covers Java programming, object-oriented software development, web development, and IT management. The B.A. in Applied Studies degree with a computer science certificate focuses on strategic communication and leadership theories. This program also requires students to complete nine credit hours of... computer science courses. Both of these online programs are delivered on an eight-week schedule so students can finish their degrees quickly.

Online students use Sakai, Lumen, Zoom, and Proctortrack to facilitate learning. Online courses are delivered with both asynchronous and synchronous components with evening and Saturday morning classes. Students can transfer up to 18 credit hours toward their major and credits to meet the general education requirements. Once students complete 90 credits, they become eligible for the school's FastTrack program, which allows them to pursue a Master's Degree in Information Technology while working on their bachelor's degree. Students can earn up to 36 credit hours for prior professional or military experience.

This program accepts applications on a rolling basis, and the school has seven start dates through the year. The application process takes about four weeks, and once accepted, students can access a variety of online support services.

Cost per Credit: $715
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 74%
Acceptance Rate: 71%
Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
Average SAT Scores: 1120 - 1310
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 282

#22

Florida International University

Miami (FL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $587,900
  • Median Salary: $59,253
  • Annual Tuition: $10,376
  • Median Debt: $17,750

The online Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science degree from FIU Online is designed for students interested in digital information systems, database management, and computer programming. The curriculum includes courses in economics, business, digital media, and other areas. The interdisciplinary curriculum allows students to take courses in economics, business, digital media, and... other areas. Graduates of this program can pursue technology-related positions in medicine, science, research, and other fields.

Online learning is facilitated through the Canvas platform, where students can attend classes, get real-time feedback on assignments, and work on projects in tandem with classmates. Coursework is asynchronous, but students must meet deadlines for assignments and exams. Students also have access to Career Engage, a voluntary university service to help them gain industry certification, improve networking and interviewing skills, build their brands, and launch their careers.

The degree program begins in the spring, fall, and summer. Applications can be submitted online. Admissions advisors are available to help throughout the application process. Online students have access to a range of online resources, including academic advising, tutoring, writing support, career planning, disability services, and counseling.

Cost per Credit: $346
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 58%
Acceptance Rate: 54%
Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
Average SAT Scores: 1090 - 1260
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 9,286

#23

Lakeland University

Plymouth (WI)
  • 10-Year ROI: $567,100
  • Median Salary: $58,221
  • Annual Tuition: $15,900
  • Median Debt: $25,944

Lakeland University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with concentrations in computer science, information systems, or software design. The program covers programming, data management, data structures, and systems analysis. The computer science and software design options allow students to take more programming courses, while the information systems option... includes courses in project management and predictive analytics. Students can complete the program in four years.

Online courses are asynchronous and include discussion boards, course materials, assignments, and exams. Students can earn credit for prior learning to shorten the time it takes to earn their degrees. Lakeland also allows students to earn credit for real-time work projects. The school also offers scholarships for online students and tuition discounts for military students.

Students must submit an online application to apply and submit the required documentation. Online students have access to library resources, tutoring, and other academic services.

Cost per Credit: $530
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 47%
Acceptance Rate: 52%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 870 - 1080
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 101

#24

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks (ND)
  • 10-Year ROI: $566,100
  • Median Salary: $57,770
  • Annual Tuition: $19,570
  • Median Debt: $23,000

The University of North Dakota (UND) offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree. Students learn about cybersecurity, software engineering, information technology, and game design. The 120-credit, ABET-accredited program can be completed in four to five years.

Classes are entirely online and have the same instructors as the in-person classes. Students can... regularly interact with faculty and classmates. Online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate regardless of their state residency. Scholarships are available for first-year and transfer students. Ninety percent of UND computer science graduates found jobs. Students in the program interned for major companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Honeywell, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and more.

Applications deadlines are in the fall, spring, and summer. Once enrolled, students have access to many resources, including academic advising, tutoring, coaching, financial aid services, military and veteran services, career services, and digital library resources.

Cost per Credit: $631
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 55%
Acceptance Rate: 83%
Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
Average SAT Scores: 980 - 1230
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,867

#25

Baker College Online

Cadillac (MI) (and 8 others)
  • 10-Year ROI: $559,600
  • Median Salary: $57,995
  • Annual Tuition: $12,865
  • Median Debt: $30,100

Baker College Online offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with concentrations in computer programming or database technology. Both programs are 120 credits and take, on average, four years to complete. Both programs cover programming languages and data structure and require that students complete a 150-hour internship with a company and complete a capstone... course. The database technology program places a greater emphasis on database administration.

Online coursework is asynchronous and delivered on the Canvas learning platform, where students can participate in discussions and ask questions. Eighty-six percent of Baker College Online students receive scholarships, grants, or financial aid. The college also offers students one of the lowest tuition rates of any private college in the state.

Students must complete an online application to apply. Once enrolled, students have access to an online library network.

Cost per Credit: $415
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 13%
Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,638

Meet Online Grad Jeffrey Richley

Jeffrey Richley is a former online college graduate working as a Chief Data Scientist. Jeff began his undergraduate education in the 90s, finished his bachelor's degree in computer science at Liberty University in 2018, and is currently pursuing his master's in computer science at Georgia Tech with a specialization in computational perception and robotics.

To learn more about the best online computer science programs, check out our 2020 rankings. Otherwise, continue reading for advice from online student Jeffrey Richley!

Can you tell us a bit about how you decided on an online program versus an on-campus program?

Frankly with me, it was the only option that I had found. I had stopped school back in '94, and I had attempted quite a few times at different locations to start back up. Everywhere I talked to said "You have to start from scratch." That wasn't going to work. It wasn't financially or time feasible.

Liberty's online program was really the only place that had offered something that was actually feasible to do. That's why I chose that for my bachelor's. For my master's I had a friend going through the Georgia Tech program and I was helping him with a lot of his classes. That got me interested.

What kinds of advice or caution would you offer to a prospective online student who wanted to study computer science?

Make sure that you're doing it because you really are interested in the subject and not because you've heard that you can make tons of money with it. Computer science, and just programming in general, is super easy for the people that it comes naturally to. For the people that struggle with it, it is going to be a struggle and grind forever. If anyone ever asked me about getting into the computer science world, I always ask them "Why?"

What personality traits do you think a student should have in order to be successful in an online computer science program?

To start with the online part, they've got to be a self starter. They've got to be organized. This is not a world where someone needs to make sure you're in class. A lot of times the lectures are taped, they give you a syllabus, tell you when things are due, and let you go. It's not for somebody that needs to be coddled. That kind of person would struggle greatly.

The other thing is curiosity. You could go through the classes and just do what they say. You can get a good grade. But you need to be curious about what's really going on, and dig further, and understand why, as opposed to what.

How did your online degree impact your career goals? What was the motivation behind going back for a master's degree?

I'm in civil service. I quickly advanced up through the ranks, and then just hit a stopping point where there was no more progression. I found out that people weren't even wanting to give me interviews because I didn't have a bachelor's degree. I've even been told, "Hey, you were the best on paper, but you didn't have the degree. So our policy is we don't interview you." In order for me to really even get a lateral position, I had to get the bachelor's degree.

Do you think computer science is a subject that can be successfully studied online?

Absolutely. It's probably one of the easier ones to do online.

Online Computer Science Degree Overview & Career Information

With computer science degrees in high demand, online degrees are a flexible, affordable, accessible, and high-quality choice for those in or entering the technology field. There are many online degree options, and students can find a program to suit nearly any budget. It's important to keep in mind that the most expensive programs can offer the most financial aid.

Online associate degrees and certificates in computer science will help prepare graduates for entry-level technical positions and further education. Students will learn the basics and fundamentals of computer science such as programming languages and computer architectures. However, in order to advance into a higher-level computer science career, candidates should complete a bachelor’s degree.

An online bachelor's degree is often sufficient for most computer science careers. Students will learn how to develop, design, and test computer software, hardware, and networks through hands-on programming projects. These undergraduate degrees will help equip students with the training they need for a wide range of technical roles.

An online master's can help open opportunities for research, development, and a PhD program, making graduates more competitive in the job market. This is a great option for students who have a strong interest in the theories and languages associated with computer science as well as students who want a deeper understanding of a computer science specialization.

To earn a doctoral degree in computer science, students must commit several years and participate in original research studies to keep them on the cutting edge of computer science. A PhD in computer science can help lead to careers in teaching and research at four-year colleges and universities as well as high-level computer science jobs and management positions.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Computer Science

An online bachelor’s degree in computer science helps train students in the fundamental concepts underlying today’s information technology and software engineering. A computer science degree helps prepare students with skills necessary to learn other computer languages easily and keep up with rapidly changing technologies. Upon graduation, students should be able to apply knowledge and theory to real-world problems in the workforce.

Program Requirements

Applicants typically must have a high school diploma or the equivalent and standardized college entrance exam scores to qualify for an online bachelor's program. To graduate, students should expect to complete around 120 semester credit hours over the course of 4 years. The tuition for online bachelor's programs varies widely, with schools charging anywhere from $6,000 to $47,000 per year.

Curriculum

Students pursuing online bachelor’s degrees should expect to understand the theory and organization of computer systems. Most computer science programs include core classes that cover computer programming, operating systems, web design, data structures, algorithms, and logic & computation. Some schools may place an additional emphasis on mathematics and require classes such as statistics, probability, discrete math, and calculus. Besides the foundational courses, students also complete advanced courses and possibly a computer science specialization. Advanced courses discuss topics like computer networking, data networks, computer architecture, and machine learning. Specializations require a focused set of courses in computer science, such as software engineering, networking, or database administration.

Careers

A bachelor’s degree in computer science can help open up a number of entry-level positions, such as computer programmer, systems analyst, data scientist, systems or network administrator, web developer, computer support specialist, software developer, and database administrator. Graduates who participate in an internship during the degree can narrow down their skill set to prepare for a particular type of position upon graduation.

Accreditation for Online Computer Science Degrees

Prospective computer science students are encouraged to select an online degree program that has received accreditation from a national or regional accrediting organization. Accreditation is a comprehensive evaluation process that schools and programs may choose to go through to let the public know that they meet established standards of excellence. Programs are evaluated based on their curricula, faculty members, research programs, and student resources, among other things.

Programmatic accreditation is not required for computer science degrees, but this credential can be a useful sign of a high-quality program. While accreditation is not required for computer scientists, the designation may help boost your resume when applying for jobs. Students can also consider programs offered by schools that are nationally or regionally accredited. Legitimate accrediting agencies should always be recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Accreditation may also be beneficial if you plan to transfer credits to another accredited school or apply for federal financial aid. Most schools and financial assistance programs require applicants to attend an accredited school. To learn more about accreditation, please visit our comprehensive accreditation hub.

Do I Need a Computer Science Certification?

Earning a professional certification in the computer science field has the potential to help recent graduates as well as seasoned professionals in the field. For a recent graduate, certification may provide a foundation for a career path. For experienced computer scientists, certification verifies proficiency in a specialization and strengthens professional credentials.

For those in the computer science field, especially software developers, there are two main types of certification: CSDA (Certified Software Development Associate) and CSDP (Certified Software Development Professional).

  • The CSDA is for individuals who are newer to the field. Earning a CSDA as an entry-level employee signals to potential employers that the certificate recipient has a comprehensive understanding of the concepts, principles, and techniques of software development and design.

  • The CSDP, in contrast, is for those who have already completed at least two years of professional experience. This certification indicates that recipients are proficient in software engineering requirements, software engineering design, software engineering construction, and software engineering testing. The CSDP requires a final examination that takes place online, and contains 160 questions.

Both of these certifications are offered through the IEEE Computer Society and require that applicants take an exam to demonstrate their proficiency.

Microsoft also offers over 230 computer software and systems operations certification. Certification types include fundamentals, role-based, specialty, and Microsoft-specific certs such as:

  • Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE)
  • Microsoft Solutions Associate (MCSA)
  • Microsoft Solutions Developer (MCSD)
  • Microsoft Solutions Expert (MCSE)
  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

For answers to frequently asked questions and to learn more about the different types of certification offered, visit the Microsoft Learning site.

What is the Best Specialization in Computer Science?

Computer science is a rapidly growing field with with a number of sub-fields to specialize in. Read on to learn about some of the most popular computer science specializations and examples of related coursework within each field.

Artificial Intelligence

Students studying computer science can specialize in artificial intelligence, or AI. Through this course of study, students develop an understanding of machine-learning techniques that can be applied to independent computing systems. Subjects such as robotics, statistical programming, and natural language processing are covered in the coursework.

A specialization in artificial intelligence allows computer scientists to work professionally on every day systems like home security systems, energy grid control systems, and automated lighting or thermal control systems, as well as more cutting-edge systems.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is an example of a specialization within the field of computer science. It requires a thorough understanding of best practices in security management, as well as the principles pertaining to ethical hacking. Cybersecurity specialists work to address potential breaches in the protective measures in place to secure data and confidential information.

Students who choose to specialize in cybersecurity learn how to implement multi-layered security architecture for the protection of data and networks, as well as a comprehensive understanding of cryptography, risk management, and security authentication and authorization.

Computer Networking and Telecommunications

Computer networking and telecommunications is an area of specialization that computer science students can pursue through certain degree programs. This field covers the design, application, and management of linking systems between one or more computers and associated software.

Students learn about network architecture and data communications, as well as advanced routing, and local area network (LAN) switching. Computer networking and telecommunications specialists are also concerned with security, and must be familiar with protective measures of information systems.

Software Design and Development

Certain computer science programs offer students the opportunity to specialize in software design and development. Intended for students who plan to pursue a career in software engineering. Students learn about specific software operating systems, both prototypes and current versions, and take classes in large-scale distributed systems for resource sharing, parallel programming, and embedded systems software.

Software engineering specialization also prepares students for research of issues such as human-computer collaborative systems, model and component-based development, and software reliability, verification, and security.

What Can You Do With a Computer Science Degree?

Computer science deals with the process of using computer systems to solve problems that range from software design to scientific questions about the computing process. The definition of a computer scientist is broad, mainly because specialists help fill a variety of different roles in the industry, from designing software to using programming knowledge to eliminating issues. Students looking for a job immediately after graduation will likely have several options open to them, including:

  • Computer Engineer: Computer engineers can be found designing microprocessors, personal computers, circuits, and supercomputers. Computer engineers also often write software and firmware and design analog sensors, operating systems, and circuit boards.
  • Computer Network Architect: Computer network architects design, build, research, and upgrade small and large data communication networks, including intranets, wide area networks (WANs), and local area networks LANs).
  • Computer Programmer: Computer programmers write, test, debug, update, and expand the code that allows software programs and computer applications to function properly. Programmers work closely with non-technical team members, such as project designers and project stakeholders. They also work with software developers and can even share the same duties, so programmers may also design programs.
  • Computer Support Specialist: Also called help desk technicians, customer support specialists are certified specialists who guide individuals through the process of manually fixing a computer. A technician will also study the company’s products and manuals to discover ways of fixing faulty equipment and software.
  • Database Administrator: Database administrators, also known as DBAs, store and organize data using specialized software and ensure the data is secure, backed up and restored. DBAs make sure the data is easily accessible to data analysts and serves the needs of the organization.
  • Data Scientist: Data scientists analyze existing data, predict data patterns, and create programs, plans, and products using information gleaned from data analysis.
  • Information Security Analyst: Information security analysts plan and implement security measures to protect sensitive information as well as computer networks and systems. They stay up to date on information technology security trends to recommend security enhancements and to develop the best practices and security standards.
  • Information Technology (IT) Manager: Information technology managers determine an organization's information technology goals and oversee the implementation of computer systems to achieve these goals. They typically supervise other computer related positions, such as computer systems analysts, computer support specialists, software developers, and information security analysts.
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator: Network administrators tend to work on short and long-term projects involving network modeling and analysis and the coordination and planning of hardware and software communications. Typical tasks of a network administrator include planning, coordinating, and carrying out security measures to safeguard against viruses, designing and configuring hardware and software, performing data backups, and configuring email applications.
  • Software Developer: Software developers are the creative brains who make the theoretical designs for the applications that people use on their computers and develop the underlying systems that control devices or networks. Developers oversee the entire development process of software through understanding user needs and designing, testing, and recommending software to meet these needs.
  • Software Engineer: Software engineers design and create computer programs. Similar to software developers, they evaluate a client’s software needs, upgrade existing programs, and collaborate with programmers and other engineers to develop large projects. Unlike software developers, engineers utilize engineering concepts to develop software and focus on computer and program architecture.
  • Systems Analyst: Systems analysts examine requirements and procedures to improve the current way a system operates. Most will review the capabilities of a system, its work flow, and its limitations to make significant or moderate adjustments. Systems analysts will also test and maintain programs and systems to ensure that no bugs or viruses enter them.
  • Web Developer: Web developers design and create websites. They also manage the basic planning and layout of a new website, the programming of links and other network connections, and the maintenance of new features required to keep a website on the cutting edge.

How Much Can You Make With a Computer Science Degree?

Graduates with computer science degrees are in demand, but salary ranges for positions vary depending on the specialty area. Other factors include the region where the employer is located and applicant years of relevant experience. Additionally, employers have their internal salary ranges, but also set competitive rates to attract quality employees. The salaries listed below are based on the national average of reported salaries for bachelor's degree holders for each position.

  • Computer Programming: New graduates planning for careers in computer programming may apply for jobs with titles such as software developer, software engineer, front-end developer or engineer, application developer or computer programmer. Software engineers earn an average of $79,000 a year; software developers earn about $76,000 a year, and front-end developers earn about $71,000. Application developers and web application developers on average earned a little less with salaries of $66,000 and $56,000 respectively. Individuals with expertise in a programming language may be attracted to jobs such as java developer. The average reported salary for a Java developer was $67,000.
  • Information Technology and Systems Engineers: Individuals looking for jobs in information technology may apply for positions with titles such as IT project manager, IT business analyst, systems engineer and network engineer. IT project managers earned a reported average salary of about $89,000 per year while IT business analysts earned about $70,000 per year. Systems engineers earned about $63,364 annually, and the average salary for network engineers was about $67,000.
  • The Experience Factor: Applicants with experience in the field can qualify for higher salaries. For example, senior software engineers or senior developers can earn $101,000 per year, and a senior systems administrator can earn about $84,000 per year. Solutions architects specialize in designing computer systems for organizations. Individuals in this specialty area can earn an average of $114,000 annually.

Do I Need a Degree to Work in Computer Science?

While free online resources for computer science education exist and can be helpful if used as supplementary material, college graduates are reported to have landed more jobs than self-educated individuals. Do you dream of working for a top tech company, like Amazon or Google? You better hit the books for a couple more years, because chances of being hired at these companies are dramatically improved for those who have earned master's degrees. Tech recruiting experts agree that it takes a balance of talent and education to be a great candidate for a job, so having a degree in addition to demonstrated computer science skills can provide the edge you need to get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. In this day and age, when our lives revolve around computers, gaining an education in the field of computer science is more beneficial than ever!

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