When choosing an online computer science degree program, there are several important factors to consider. Taking time to ensure that there is a perfect fit between your goals, objectives, and budget is crucial to your ultimate success in any computer science degree program.
Degree programs ranked by a third-party organization like U.S. News and World Reports can give important clues about special features of a college or university, like student-faculty ratio, satisfaction of graduates, accreditation status, financial aid opportunities, and more. These rankings can make it easier to find the best academic fit for your own personal situation and goals when comparing programs. In addition, a school’s accreditation is very important as it’s an assurance of academic standards and also something that employers often look for as a sign that an applicant has the right training.
Computer Science degrees are three to four year programs designed around mathematical and theoretical knowledge of computer science. Accelerated programs are available and can be especially useful for students who already have some academic or job training. Accelerated programs can be as short as five to seven weeks of intensive study. Having good math and logic skills are generally prerequisites for entering the field of computer science.
People with bachelor’s degrees in computer science sometimes go on to further graduate studies and sometimes directly enter the information technology workforce. People with bachelor’s degrees in computer science move into occupations like lead applications developer, applications architect, business intelligence analyst, and help desk technician, although some of these jobs may require some on the job training before advancement.
Depending on the college or university, there are several different degrees that are conferred, including Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Computer Science, Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Computer Science, and Bachelor of Science (BSc or BS) in Computer Science. Each degree type has a slightly different focus of study and there are also regional and institutional variations in names of degrees.
Attending a brick and mortar school can be great for younger students, those who live near an institution, and those who value the activities provided on a campus. Online learning is becoming increasingly available and often works well for continuing students, people who already have jobs or families or who do not live near a campus that offers the degree they want.
Ranking the Top Online Schools for Computer Science Degree Programs
The following institutions all offer bachelor’s degrees in computer science with online options. They are listed in alphabetical order and tuition is for undergraduate credit hour unless otherwise stated.
American Public University
Summary: This school offers over 170 online certificates and degrees including a BA in computer science. A majority of students enter with credits transferred from other institutions, and 96 percent of graduates express satisfaction with getting their degree from this university. Highly competitive tuition, financial aid, and a grant program for cost of books keeps costs low. They accept Federal Student Aid and Armed Forces Tuition Assistance.
Tuition: $250 per credit hour
Summary: Accelerated seven week session are available completely online at Champlain. They use the PATHe system for transferring credit for existing knowledge, training, and experience when considering prerequisites. Enrollment in their student health insurance program is required.
Tuition: Less than 12 semester credits – $575 per credit hour, plus fees. Over 12 semester hours – $7,697 for whole semester.
Summary: With a campus located in Philadelphia, PA, this university offers bachelor’s and graduate degrees and online and campus courses and is a pioneer in online degree programs. Drexel provides special assistance to military personnel. They are fully accredited and highly regarded by employers.
Tuition: $569 per credit hour.
Florida Tech University
Summary: Florida Tech is an accredited nonprofit with no SAT/GRE/GMAT or ACT entry requirements. Courses are 100 percent online and can be access with mobile devices or desktop computers. It has been ranked among top universities by U.S. News and World Report.
Tuition: $495 per credit hour.
Summary: Liberty is a Christian University with a 40 year history. Located on a 6,800 acre campus in Lynchburg, VA, online courses are also available. Classes are taught in flexible eight week sessions. Liberty’s is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and School and offers BA and graduate degrees.
Tuition: Part-time- $365 per credit hour. Full-time -$325 per credit hour.
Old Dominion University
Summary: Founded in 1930 in urban Norfolk, VA, this university now has a total enrollment of 19,367 undergraduate students. Originally a part of the College of William and Mary, it is now independent and the campus sits on a 251 acre site.
Tuition: In-state, per semester, full-time – $8,450. Out-of-state $23,330.
Summary: Founded 110 years ago, Rasmussen College has a high level of job placement for graduates. They have 24 campuses located in six states and complete computer science programs available online. Their tuition rates are very competitive and have recently gone down.
Tuition: Varies for online courses depending on student’s location. Visit their site for a calculator to determine tuition in your area.
Summary: Regis is one of 28 Jesuit colleges in the United States. Small student-teacher ratio, values centered curriculum at three campus locations, and online courses create a high quality, flexible learning environment. Known for their high commitment to staying current with real world and work place technology developments, they are respected by employers in the information technology field. Accelerated five and eight week programs start six times per year and the degree is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.
Tuition: $460 per credit hour.
Western Governors University
Summary: A large, Utah based university with many online courses, including computer science, WGU has a total student population of 38,000 from all 50 U.S. States. Founded by the governors of 19 states in the western U.S., this institution has a unique organizational structure and a history of commitment to competence in graduates of higher learning. WGU receives support from over 20 corporations and public foundations for its programs and facilities.
Tuition: Information Technology Programs: $2,890 per term
Additional Resource: Top 10 Best Online Masters in Computer Science Degree Programs
This concludes our ranking of the top online computer science degree programs.
All tuition figures are from College Navigator (2014).