By CSDH Staff
These days, more and more schools offer online computer science degrees. This is great news for busy professionals who want to complete a degree on their own time.
Computer Science Degree Hub compiled this list of the top 10 best computer science online degree programs to help with your search. Read on for more information on the best online computer science degree accredited programs out there.
Top Online Computer Science Degrees Methodology
We awarded points in three categories according to the system provided below. We also utilized a fourth bonus category to award points for standout features. Examples of standout features for the best online computer science degree include:
- Appearance on national rankings
- Arranged internships or job placement programs
- Discounts for online students
Estimated Program Cost
Under $70,000 – 1 point
Under $60,000 – 2 points
Under $50,000 – 3 points
Under $40,000 – 4 points
Under $30,000 – 5 points
Under $20,000 – 6 points
Under $15,000 – 7 points
Under $10,000 – 8 points
Annual Percentage of 20-Year Net Return on Investment (ROI)
0-2% – 1 point
3-4% – 2 points
5-6% – 3 points
7-8% – 4 points
9%+ – 5 points
Below 60% – 1 point
Below 70% – 2 points
Below 80% – 3 points
Below 90% – 4 points
Below 100% – 5 points
Estimated Program Cost: $35,280
Looking for an accelerated computer science degree online? Auburn University offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree online. The computer science program consists of 60 credits (you can transfer in the other 60). It takes two years to complete the degree.
What makes Auburn’s online computer science programs stand out is the short time it takes to earn a degree. Students take two courses per 7.5-week term over five terms in the year.
Some of the online courses cover topics such as:
- Artificial intelligence
- Data science and structures
- Multiple operating systems
- Project management
- Web development
Auburn is one of the top 100 schools in the United States according to U.S. News and World Report. Kiplinger rates Auburn in its top 50 best values among public colleges. The school offers low tuition costs to both in-state and out-of-state students.
Estimated Program Cost: $31,620
Oregon State University offers a BS in CompSci degree program. This is one of the fastest computer science degree programs for online students.
The 60-credit program is for students who have a bachelor’s degree but want to earn a second in computer science. It is also for those who have all the credits necessary for a bachelor’s degree except their computer science credits.
When you enroll in the fast track online degree program you can complete the computer science program in one year of full-time study online.
OSU ranks among the top 150 national universities by U.S. News and World Report. It also ranks #63 for best undergraduate engineering programs. All students pay the same low tuition regardless of their residential status.
Estimated Program Cost: $34,245 (Arizona residents), $39,930 (out of state)
Arizona State University offers an accelerated online computer science degree. It is for online students interested in computer software engineering.
Online computer science programs like these are limited, so the ABET accredited program offering from ASU is a good find.
Computer science students who complete this bachelor’s degree program can find work in different areas of technology and computers. Fields include:
- Artificial intelligence
- Computer system administration
- Project management
- Video game development
- Web development
ASU ranks with several major publications. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as a top national university.
Estimated Program Cost: $51,000
Baker College offers a fast computer science degree. You can earn a bachelor’s degree online in computer science with a concentration. The program has two concentrations to choose from, including:
- Computer programming
- Database analytics
The school also offers other online computer science programs. If your interests like in game development, you’re in luck. Baker has an online bachelor’s degree in game software development.
Students in an online computer science program take a series of relevant courses. They study data structures and algorithms and systems development methods. Students learn a series of programming languages that include:
- Visual BASIC
Estimated Program Cost: $31,200
Central Methodist University is a good school for a computer science accelerated degree. They offer two degree types: BS or BA in Computer Science.
The main difference between the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science program is in the general education curriculum. The BA degree program demands more humanities courses than the BS degree.
But students take many of the same computer courses for the degree in computer science. Online students take courses like:
- Computer architecture and operating systems
- Data structures and algorithms
- Game programming
- Web programming
The program also teaches programming languages like visual BASIC, Java, and .NET.
Estimated Program Cost: $42,240
The University of Illinois at Springfield is a good school for a degree in computer science. It offers a bachelor’s in computer science that students can complete online.
The 120-unit program teaches students the skills they need to work as computer systems analysts or other computer science careers. As one of the top online computer science degrees, there are many different classes you take. These classes equip students with knowledge and skill in the field.
Some of the online courses you take as a computer science major include:
- Computer organization
- Data analysis
- Introduction to networks
- Software development
- Software security
- Systems programming languages
- Theoretical computer science
The school ranks 20th among regionally accredited college and universities in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.
Estimated Program Cost: $55,200
Concordia University offers computer science programs for undergraduates. The 120-credit hour online computer science degree program helps students qualify for many computer science careers.
The program offers eight-week courses that help you move along at a rigorous pace. Because of the accelerated classes, Concordia offers one of the fastest online computer science degree programs out there.
Students take online learning courses that explore topics like data and discrete structures. Computer science majors also study human computer interaction and software systems. Internship opportunities help your job search during your senior year. Computer science graduates then take on jobs as a:
- Computer programmer
- Computer systems analyst
- Database administrator
Estimated Program Cost: $121,820
Lewis University offers one of the best online computer science degree programs. You can get a bachelor’s in computer science degree in less than four years through the accelerated pathway.
The accelerated computer science degree is 100% online. There are no campus visits required. But the program targets non-traditional students unlike on campus programs. It’s open to those with coding and programming experience. Transfer students can also qualify
A computer science graduate can find many different employment opportunities. Lewis graduates have gone on to work as:
- Data scientists
- Information security analysts
- Network architects
- Network engineers
- Project managers
- Security engineers
- Software developers
- Web developers
U.S. News and World Report ranks Lewis University #22 among best regional schools in the Midwest and #39 in best value schools.
Estimated Program Cost: $66,600
With a high school diploma and associate degree, you can qualify for admission to Regis University. This school offers one of the best computer science degree online programs. And, it’s ABET-accredited and accelerated!
Not only can you finish your bachelor’s in record time, but there’s a dual-level combined bachelor’s and master’s degree. This program requires 152 credit hours.
But for the undergraduate program, plan on taking many courses that prepare you for the computer and information technology field. Courses include:
- Algorithms and complexity
- Computer networks
- Discrete mathematics
- Programming languages
- Web database applications
U.S. News ranks the school’s online bachelor’s programs among the best in the United States.
University Park, Pennsylvania
Estimated Program Cost: $74,340 (Pennsylvania residents), $79,632
Penn State World Campus offers an accredited computer science degree online. Students can earn a bachelor’s degree in computer software engineering by completing 126 credit hours.
The online program teaches you about different principles in software engineering. Students learn software programs used in the industry. You take courses in database management and information technology. You also take many software and computer engineering courses.
The higher education program prepares students for work in computer programs and software engineering. Graduates take jobs as:
- Computer systems analyst
- Computer information systems security analysts
- Project manager
- Sales engineer
- Software developer
- Software testing engineer
- User interface designer
- Video game designer
- Web developers
The program also prepares undergrads to become graduate students.
What’s the difference between computer science and computer engineering?
Computer science is the study of the methods by which computers store, process, and communicate information. Computer scientists develop the algorithms for processing data. They design the languages used to instruct computers on how to process data. They also develop and employ the techniques and methods used to program computers.
In a way, computer scientists are mathematicians. They apply mathematics to processing, interpreting, storing, communicating, and securing data. It is typical for computer science professionals to specialize in one or two of these areas.
Computer engineers take computer science and combine it with electrical engineering. They focus on designing, adapting, and optimizing software to run on specific hardware configurations. Computer hardware engineers focus on:
They also construct the hardware involved in computing, from microprocessors to supercomputers. They maintain computer systems and use experimental computer technology. They do this to run more efficient computer systems.
There is a lot of overlap between computer science and computer engineering. Computer scientists and computer engineers work on many of the same projects. But they focus on different aspects of the job. Both play an important role in the advancement of computing technology.
Should I pursue an accelerated computer science degree program online?
There are many benefits to accelerated online degree programs. But they aren’t for everyone. Here’s how to find out if an accelerated program is for you.
Accelerated programs allow students to complete a degree in a shortened length of time. This can appeal to those who want to move into a career quickly. It also saves you time and money.
Some four-year degree programs offer online degrees that take less than four years to complete. Accelerated programs can take as little as 2.5 years for a bachelor’s degree. If this sounds like something you want, by all means, go for it. But there’s much to consider.
Before committing to an accelerated program, consider the amount of time required to meet the program’s demands. How many hours do you need each week to study? Can you balance your job, family, and school? And simply, do you have the time?
Accelerated programs tend to attract the most dedicated students. Does this sound like you? If so, an accelerated program may be exactly what you’re looking for.
What jobs can I get with a bachelor’s degree in computer science?
Computer and information technology jobs are out there, especially for those with a college degree. Computers are an integral part of our lives. Our iPhones are our computers. The apps we use we can’t live without. Technology has added computers to our cars, TVs, refrigerators, and more.
Because tech shifts and evolves, the industry needs skilled computer engineers and specialists who are up on the latest and greatest technologies. These specialists are in high demand.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers can expect a 25% job growth over the next several years.
Here are some jobs and their wages in the computer science and engineering industry that expect employment growth.
- Computer hardware engineer: $128,170/year
- Computer network architect: $120,520/year
- Database administrator: $101,000/year
- Network and computer systems administrator: $80,600/year
- Software developer: $109,020/year
What skills should I focus on for an accelerated software engineering degree online?
Whether it’s an undergraduate degree in computer science or engineering, both have the reputation of being a tough degree to earn. They both give you a strong foundation of skills you can transition into another degree or the workforce.
In a software program, you take many math and computer science courses. Since the degree blends engineering and computers, you start a program by learning the basics. Early on you take courses in math like:
- Elementary discrete mathematics
Students also take foundational computer courses where you learn how to code and program. Both computer science and engineering programs teach C++, C#, Java, and Python. So, gaining some experience in any one of these is a great start.
There are many websites that employ various methods to teach you how to program. Here are a few to check out.
How do computer science students finance their degree?
There are many different ways to finance your degree in computer science. The cost per credit doesn’t have to break the bank if you’re eligible for financial aid.
The FAFSA is a great place to start. Not only can you apply for federal aid there, but you can also research other forms of funding.
Scholarships and grants are another great way to cut the cost per credit. You find these opportunities at your university, community organizations, churches, and state government resources.
The best strategy for financing your online learning and degree is to get as much of your tuition covered by scholarships and federal grants as possible. If you still have a balance and can’t afford to pay it, consider federally subsidized student loans. Private student loans should be a last resort. Why? Because of their high interest rates.
Get creative when financing your computer science bachelor’s degree. Computer science majors work paid internships and jobs. They even take on personal projects for pay. Opportunities are out there if you know where to look.
Do I need a graduate degree for the computer science field?
Graduate degrees don’t hurt in computer science and engineering. They can help you advance your career or get your foot in the door of a new one. But your higher education doesn’t have to include a graduate degree.
Many students move straight into the workforce after they graduate with a computer science bachelor’s degree. Here you can spend time in the industry gaining skills and knowledge. You also figure out areas that interest you, and those that don’t. It is during this time that you can determine if a master’s degree is right for you or if a computer science bachelor’s is enough.
One of the benefits of an ABET accredited online program, such as a computer science bachelor degree is that you can jump into work right after you graduate. Even with a 2 year computer science degree online, you can jump right into the field and be a competitive candidate. You don’t have to worry about graduate school.
Other Schools Offering Online Computer Science Programs
- Southern New Hampshire University
- Tuition and graduation rate information sourced from The National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator.
- Information on each school’s 20-year net return on investment sourced from PayScale.com.
- The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).