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Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science Online Computer Science Degrees

Online computer science degrees give students and young professionals that chance to earn a top credential in a flexible higher educational environment. The following page can help students get started via (1) a quick search tool for online computer science programs from colleges and universities across the country, and (2) a guidebook outlining CS degree programs at all levels, including what they entail and who gravitates toward them. Find online programs, get the inside scoop on computer degrees, and more.

Meet the Expert: Brian Carey

Brian Carey has more than 20 years of experience in software development. He's worked for small companies as well as large, multi-national corporations. His experience ranges from Java software development to Lotus Notes architecture. His professional history includes work in the pharmaceutical, information technology, and financial industries. He's also done public sector work at both the municipal and federal level. He holds an M.B.A. in Management Information Systems.

Never stop learning. Always be ready to embrace new ideas because technology is always changing.

Best Online Computer Science Programs 2018-2019

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Online computer science degree programs give students the opportunity to earn a top credential in a flexible environment. Because the field has such a sunny growth outlook – an 18 percent increase according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – it’s no wonder many students are turning to a degree in computer science. Degree levels and specializations make this a customizable option that potential students can tailor to their interests and projected career paths, but first they must find the right program. Below, discover computer science degrees at all levels, find programs with our search tool and get expert info on where a CS degree can take you.

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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Independence University Salt Lake City, Utah$18,02179%-100% 1 Yes Yes No School website
2 Brigham Young University-Idaho Rexburg, Idaho$2,00933%96%53% 1 No Yes Yes School website
3 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, Illinois$9,49370%65%52% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
4 Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia$23,80088%24%55% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
5 Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska$6,84062%-32% 7 Yes No Yes School website
6 Park University Parkville, Missouri$11,73049%85%27% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Davenport University Grand Rapids, Michigan$17,54493%78%41% 7 Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Dakota State University Madison, South Dakota$4,29776%83%43% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Pennsylvania State University-Worldwide University Park, Pennsylvania$16,95235%56%87% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, Kentucky$9,00061%91%40% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
11 National University La Jolla, California$13,0164%-50% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
12 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, Utah$5,7801%-19% 7 No No Yes School website
13 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, Maryland$6,81611%-10% 3 Yes No Yes School website
14 George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia$8,20429%81%70% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, Louisiana$5,18049%62%40% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Fort Hays State University Hays, Kansas$3,78973%91%44% 2 No Yes Yes School website
17 Georgia Southwestern State University Americus, Georgia$3,88636%68%36% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
18 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, Florida$20,760100%70%43% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
19 Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia$6,33065%85%55% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
20 California State University-Monterey Bay Seaside, California$5,47245%35%48% 1 No Yes Yes School website
21 Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon$8,71567%77%67% 1 No Yes Yes School website
22 Wilmington University New Castle, Delaware$10,6203%-31% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
23 Baker College Flint, Michigan$9,00080%-18% 5 Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, New York$17,77283%78%32% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
25 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Milwaukee, Wisconsin$8,09116%73%48% 1 No Yes Yes School website
26 Austin Peay State University Clarksville, Tennessee$6,21623%89%40% 1 Yes No Yes School website
27 Virginia International University Fairfax, Virginia$9,408-25%- 1 No Yes Yes School website
28 Franklin University Columbus, Ohio$11,856--16% 4 Yes No Yes School website
29 University of Houston-Victoria Victoria, Texas$4,57685%48%- 2 No Yes Yes School website
30 Brandman University Irvine, California$12,000-81%- 1 Yes No Yes School website
31 Hodges University Naples, Florida$13,20020%60%25% 5 No Yes Yes School website
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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Western Nebraska Community College Scottsbluff, Nebraska$2,28073%25% 2 Yes No Yes School website
2 Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, Indiana$4,05511%11% 20 Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Western Texas College Snyder, Texas$2,08844%43% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
4 Garden City Community College Garden City, Kansas$1,82444%31% 1 Yes No Yes School website
5 Collin County Community College District McKinney, Texas$2,4603%13% 7 Yes Yes Yes School website
6 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, Georgia$2,136-23% 9 Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, Mississippi$2,80042%28% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Central Texas College Killeen, Texas$2,94019%9% 11 Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Santa Fe Community College Santa Fe, New Mexico$1,77016%16% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Metropolitan Community College Omaha, Nebraska$2,62531%13% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Hinds Community College Raymond, Mississippi$2,64025%18% 5 Yes Yes Yes School website
12 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, Wyoming$2,13642%22% 8 Yes No Yes School website
13 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, Wyoming$2,13672%38% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Lone Star College System The Woodlands, Texas$2,73610%8% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Sinclair Community College Dayton, Ohio$3,16944%16% 6 Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Sheridan College Sheridan, Wyoming$2,13654%30% 2 Yes No Yes School website
17 National Park College Hot Springs, Arkansas$2,94027%32% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
18 North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park, Minnesota$3,9223%13% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
19 State Fair Community College Sedalia, Missouri$3,60020%22% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
20 Pitt Community College Winterville, North Carolina$1,82416%10% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
21 Stark State College North Canton, Ohio$2,79619%7% 6 Yes Yes Yes School website
22 Tulsa Community College Tulsa, Oklahoma$2,32744%14% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
23 Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, Michigan$3,72016%15% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Irvine Valley College Irvine, California$1,104-44% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
25 Mesa Community College Mesa, Arizona$2,06425%13% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
26 Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, Georgia$2,136-45% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, Minnesota$4,8247%34% 9 Yes Yes Yes School website
28 South Piedmont Community College Polkton, North Carolina$1,728-16% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, North Carolina$2,4322%16% 8 Yes Yes Yes School website
30 Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville, Georgia$2,136-21% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
31 York County Community College Wells, Maine$2,76043%19% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Carl Albert State College Poteau, Oklahoma$2,17735%34% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
33 Clark State Community College Springfield, Ohio$2,91237%13% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Minnesota State College Southeast Winona, Minnesota$4,969-26% 5 Yes Yes Yes School website
35 Southwestern Community College Sylva, North Carolina$2,1289%30% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
36 Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville, North Carolina$2,4322%12% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
37 Saint Louis Community College Saint Louis, Missouri$4,0803%10% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
38 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, Wisconsin$3,911-35% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Yavapai College Prescott, Arizona$2,28020%27% 1 Yes No Yes School website
40 Spokane Community College Spokane, Washington$2,68812%24% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
41 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, Wisconsin$3,96512%46% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
42 Cincinnati State Cincinnati, Ohio$3,56719%12% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
43 Western Piedmont Community College Morganton, North Carolina$2,43210%22% 2 Yes No Yes School website
44 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, Minnesota$4,8745%22% 1 Yes No Yes School website
45 Columbus State Community College Columbus, Ohio$3,8087%15% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
46 Southeast Technical Institute Sioux Falls, South Dakota$2,83417%44% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
47 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, Wisconsin$4,17117%59% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
48 Piedmont Technical College Greenwood, South Carolina$4,6688%18% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
49 Murray State College Tishomingo, Oklahoma$3,58470%30% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
50 Massasoit Community College Brockton, Massachusetts$57621%16% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website

The Online Computer Science Degree Timeline

The education path for the computer science profession encompasses the entire spectrum of degree level options, from two-year associate degrees to multi-year doctoral degrees and even post-doctoral programs. Finding the right subject area and degree level very much depends on an individual's specific professional goals and lifestyle expectations, not to mention the academic and financial resources available to that individual. What follows is a timeline of degree choices for computer science students, from the shortest to the longest in duration, along with a look at some of the most important decisions that will have to be made along the way.

Two-Year Degree Online (Associate)

Online associate degrees in computer science provide students with a relatively broad and generalized introduction to the field, covering subjects such as computer architecture and systems, data structures, database design and, most importantly, programming in a wide variety of computer languages. Additionally, as with most other associate degree programs, students will need to successfully complete a substantial general education requirement including classes geared to provide a strong foundation in communications, language, history, the humanities, and quantitative and scientific knowledge and skills.

A computer science associate degree serves two general functions. First, it prepares students for transfer to a four-year bachelor's degree program. Second, it prepares graduates for entry-level computer-related jobs. Computer science students may find it difficult to break into the employment market with an associate degree as more and more employers demand that their employees enter with at least a bachelor's degree-level education. Those with an associate degree that do break in will likely have a better chance of landing a non-programming position such as computer technician, or systems, network or storage administrator.

Miami Dade College
  • Enrollment: 100,855
  • Tuition: $3,366
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Associate in Computer Programming And Analysis - Business
Broward College
  • Enrollment: 62,796
  • Tuition: $2,494
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Associate of Science in Computer Systems Support
  • Associate of Science in Office Administration - Office Software Specialist
College of Southern Nevada
  • Enrollment: 56,364
  • Tuition: $2,700
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Nevada
  • Associate of Applied Science - Computer Information Technology
Weber State University
  • Enrollment: 31,833
  • Tuition: $4,761
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Utah
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Science
Seminole State College of Florida
  • Enrollment: 27,663
  • Tuition: $3,131
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Associate of Science Major in Computer Programming And Analysis
Troy University
  • Enrollment: 25,182
  • Tuition: $6,844
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Alabama
  • Associate of Science in Computer Science
  • Associate of Science in General Education - Computer Science
University of Massachusetts
  • Enrollment: 24,820
  • Tuition: $13,230
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Associate of Science in Information Technology

Four-Year Degree Online (Bachelor’s)

As hinted above, a bachelor's degree is the primary entry-level requirement for most computer science-related occupations. Fortunately, many traditional colleges and fully online schools offer online bachelor's programs in computer science. Distance education bachelor's degree programs usually require a four-year commitment, although some three-year accelerated programs exist, as well. Traditional and online bachelor's degree programs in computer science offer quite similar programs of study with core coursework in a number of subjects including:

Computer architecture: Computer architecture courses provide a strong foundation in the organization and architecture of computer systems hardware, processor design, memory systems, hardware implementations and virtual memory, input/output control and devices and other architectural issues.

Data structures and algorithms: Typically teaches the fundamentals of algorithm design, programming strategies, data structures (arrays, lists, stacks, etc.), searching, queues, sorting, graphs and much more.

Operating systems: Bachelor's level courses offer an introduction to operating systems with specific training in areas like virtual memory, system calls, threads, kernel and user mode, context switches, interrupts, interprocess communication, interface between software and hardware and many others.

Programming languages: Provides a solid introduction to the theory, design and implementation of programming languages. Topics include formal semantics of languages, high-order functions, laziness, continuations, functional, imperative and object-oriented paradigms and more.

Bachelor's degree students in computer science should also expect to successfully complete courses in subjects such as chemistry, calculus, physics, logic and others.

Arizona State University
  • Enrollment: 65,501
  • Tuition: $9,724
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Arizona
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Internet And Web Development
  • Bachelor of Science in Graphic Information Technology- Webtechnologies
Liberty University
  • Enrollment: 57,635
  • Tuition: $19,968
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Virginia
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Application And Database Development
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Data Networking And Security
University of Maryland
  • Enrollment: 44,009
  • Tuition: $6,384
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Maryland
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks And Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
University of Minnesota
  • Enrollment: 43,535
  • Tuition: $13,459
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Minnesota
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Management
Pennsylvania State University
  • Enrollment: 41,614
  • Tuition: $16,444
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Bachelor of Science in Security And Risk Analysis - Information And Cyber Security
University of Texas Arlington
  • Enrollment: 35,165
  • Tuition: $8,878
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Texas
  • Bachelor of Applied Technology in Computer Information Technology (BAT-CIT)
Western Governors University
  • Enrollment: 34,271
  • Tuition: $6,070
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Utah
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology—Network Administration

How to Identify a Quality Online Computer Science Program

Distance learning in computer science is as prevalent as any field out there. With literally hundreds of different programs on all degree levels offered by dozens of schools, finding the right one to fit an individual's unique needs can be a daunting task. No matter what the specific interests a student may have, there are a number of factors to be considered in all circumstances. Here are a few:

1. It has full accreditation

Accreditation is the method by which education institutions are vetted for the quality of their academics. There are two primary forms of accreditation that students need to be mindful of when vetting online computer science programs: regional and programmatic. Regional accreditation is administered by six U.S. Department of Education-recognized independent agencies. Programmatic accreditation is typically handled by private non-profit professional organizations. Several organizations accredit computer-related degree programs, chief among them the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Prospective computer science students are advised to be very careful when considering any distance learning degree program that is not fully accredited by both of the above-mentioned agencies.

2. It has great resources

Distance learning degree programs offer a tremendous opportunity to individuals for whom attending an on-site program is out of the question. That does not mean, however, that online students should be denied any of the support services commonly found on traditional college campuses. Outside-of-class services often make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful education experience, so their availability should be one of the many determining factors in choosing an online degree program. Resources to look for include career, personal and financial aid counseling, accessibility to library materials, ease of communication with instructors and staff, technical support, and an effective complaint resolution process

3. Graduates succeed

There a several methods employed to measure the quality of college degree programs, many of which center around graduate success rates. The question is: Just exactly how can the success of a graduate be measure in a way that has real meaning? Many schools and other organizations keep track of graduate success by calculating rates of job offers, employment in the field, average and median beginning salaries, employment retention and even student debt default. The ratio of lifetime income to total degree cost is also a popular measuring method. Prospective computer science students would be wise to seek out such data for the programs they are considering before signing up.

Professional Certification in Computer Science

The term "professional certification" refers to a designation earned by an individual, usually regarding his or her occupational field, indicating a particular expertise or qualification. These certifications are typically conferred by professional societies and organizations or private certifiers and vendors. Their purpose is to raise the standards of conduct and increase the public's level of confidence in individuals practicing within a specific profession.

Certifications in the computer science field are plentiful due to the nature of the profession and the almost endless number of technologies that exist. There are three primary categories of certifications in the computer science and technology field:

Vender Specific

Vender specific certifications are meant to relate to the technologies, products and platforms created by specific developers and indicate that the holder possesses skills and knowledge unique to those items. Most major corporations involved in the development and manufacture of computer-related products sponsor their own in-house programs for awarding certifications. A few examples include:

  • Apple Inc.: Apple Certification Program
  • Cisco Systems: Cisco Careers Certifications
  • Hewlett-Packard: HP ExpertONE
  • Google: Google Apps Certification
  • Microsoft Corporation: Microsoft Certified Professional

Vender Neutral

Vender neutral certifications concern the knowledge and practices of a specific area of development like cyber-security or information technology, including:

  • Certified Migration Expert (CME) sponsored by MigrationX.
  • Linux Professional Institute's Junior Level, Advanced Level and Senior Level certifications.
  • MEF Carrier Ethernet Certified Professional sponsored by Metro Ethernet Forum.
  • Certified Network Professional program sponsored by the Network Professional Association.

General Certification

Less popular than vendor specific and vender neutral certifications, general certifications are sponsored by a small number of professional organizations, chief among them the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

Interview with an Online CS Grad

Doing research and gathering as much information as possible is essential for finding a quality online degree program. Nothing beats personal experience, however. Students entering the distance education process for the first time will find it very helpful to speak with current students and recent graduates of online degree programs.

The following is a brief interview with Alex Bowers Schoen, a first-year student enrolled in the online M.S. in Computer Science online program at Georgia Tech.

I grew up in Eastern Tennessee. I went to college at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terra Haute, Indiana and graduated from there in 2003 with a B.S. in Computer Science and Software Engineering. I then worked at several startups both in Terra Haute and Atlanta. I'm now working as a software engineer.

Why did you decide to go with an online master's degree program?

It had to do a lot with working and my family. I was dating my current husband while he was working on his master's and Ph.D. and seeing the amount of time and stress that traditional programs can put on a person and family, I wanted something that would fit a little better into my life. I didn't want anybody to miss out on something because I was completing my degree.

When I saw the online Master's of Computer Science program at Georgia Tech, I thought that would fit in really well. It's designed for a person to take just one or two classes at a time, it's online, it was a good quality school and it was also really exciting to participate in something that was new.

Did you consider any other online schools other than Georgia Tech?

I did not. I liked how close Georgia Tech was if I did switch to full-time.

What were your biggest concerns with taking on an entire degree program online?

What the classes themselves would be like and how projects would be facilitated. I was concerned that classes wouldn't be designed for online would instead be in-person classes that they were forcing people to take online.

Can you give us an idea, in real-time terms, how you fit in your coursework?

If there's a lecture or two to watch for the week, I usually try to watch that during my lunch hour at work or sometimes after work at home before bed. For assignments, it depends on the assignment. If it's a group assignment, I like to at least touch base with my group members early in the week. I usually don't have a lot of time to work on the assignment itself until the weekend.

How exactly do you speak with your group?

We meet all kinds of ways. Sometimes we will do Google Chat to quickly check in and see what's going on. We use the Basecamp application to keep a running dialogue going. Sometimes we'll use video conferencing for bigger meetings because it's just easier to talk to people face-to-face. For full class discussions, we're encouraged to use Piazza.

How about communicating with your instructor?

They like us to directly message them through Piazza. That way any of the instructors or PA's can reply to us if we directly message them or we can post things to the whole class to share answers that others may be interested in.

What do you think have been the most beneficial qualities to online study?

That I can fit the lectures in with running around in my life, that I don't have to adjust my whole life to the class. Plus I don't have to drive to downtown Atlanta, which I try to avoid as much as possible. That and I can go to class in my pajamas.

What have been the most challenging aspects to online learning?

Not seeing other people too much. Not being able to informally chat about what's going on in class. Sometimes it's nice to know that there are real people taking the class, doing the same things and having the same challenges that you are.

Have you taken advantage of any of the out-of-class support services like counseling?

I've seen that they are available but I have not utilized them beyond getting my student ID and using student discounts.

On last question: If someone came to you who was considering an online degree program, what would be your advice to them?

Do it. I mean if it's going to take three to six years and you don't go for it, you'll still be three to six years older. Might as well take a class at a time, see if you like it. Then maybe you'll be three to six years older and you'll have a degree.

Online Computer Science Programs & Info

Computer Science Degree Search Tool

With the consistent job growth of computer science occupations, many potential students are considering a career in the field. As student demand for more online learning options rise, universities and colleges across the nation are meeting these requests with new programs and an increase in areas of specialization. Students should also consider other facets of the college experience when deciding on a program, such as flexibility of learning environments, support services, access to faculty and the availability of financial assistance. Search for the right school to fit your criteria for an online computer science degree program below.