Top Online Online Computer Science Degree Programs

What is a Computer Science Degree?

Computer science degree programs cover the theory and technologies behind computers. That includes how hardware and software is designed, built, and used to achieve goals. You could study skill areas like programming. And, you may learn how technology is used in different settings, like a business.

Earning a computer science degree could help you prepare for diverse career paths. These include occupations in the growing computer and information technology field. This industry may have demand in areas like cloud computing and information security. You could touch on these topics and more in a computer science program.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Computer Science

Master of Business Administration - Applied Computer Science

Master of Science (M.S.) in Computer Science

The B.S. in Computer Science covers an overview of the field, with an eye toward technology problem-solving. You’ll study everything from programming to professional ethics.

The M.S. is designed to help you pursue a deeper knowledge of core areas of computer science. You could pursue a general track, or choose one of four concentrations, like Data Science.

The MBA covers business concepts, along with technology trends and skill areas. You’ll explore how computer science helps businesses achieve their goals while enhancing your managerial knowledge.

Courses include:

  • Operating Systems
  • Computer Architecture
  • Mobile & Smart Computing

Courses include:

  • Modern Operating Systems
  • Systems Engineering Methods
  • Database Systems

Courses include:

  • Managerial Decision-Making
  • Programming Languages
  • Computer Graphics

No specific program accreditation

No specific program accreditation

The MBA program is accredited by ACBSP.

Online Computer Science Degree Programs

Online computer science programs may cover an end-to-end overview of computing technology. They could also help students prepare for more specific goals – like mobile app development, or keeping information systems safe.

The curriculum will also vary by degree level. You can find undergraduate, Master’s, and doctorate programs in computer science.

Online Bachelor’s in Computer Science Programs

At the Bachelor’s level, you’ll study the foundations of this multidisciplinary field. That might include everything from software engineering to cybersecurity. Most programs place a strong focus on math. And often, you’ll learn how to code in different programming languages – like Python, Java, and C++.

Computer science professionals could work in a range of industries. So, you may learn how to solve computing problems in different settings. These could include anything from game design to enterprise computing.

Two main types of Bachelor’s in Computer Science program include:

  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science. A BS program tends to focus more on the sciences and applied mathematics. This education path may be ideal for science or engineering goals that involve computer science.
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Computer Science. A BA program focuses more on the humanities and social sciences. If your goals in computer science revolve around making human connections and solving social problems, this path may interest you.

That said, the differences between these two programs may mostly apply to your foundational courses. Your coursework in computer science could include:

  • Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Computation Theory
  • Computer Programming
  • Systems Architecture
  • Software Design
  • Computer Platform Technologies

Many programs also include coursework in professional development, plus general education courses like English Composition.

Online Master’s in Computer Science Programs

An online Master’s in Computer Science program could help students deepen their knowledge in a particular area. For example, you could take advanced courses in a concentration. Potential concentrations include data science, network security, or software engineering.

You could also expand your knowledge of core concepts, exploring both theory and practice. Most programs include further study of algorithms and data structures, programming languages, and computer systems.

You could also take courses like:

  • Machine Learning
  • Cloud Computing
  • Computational Geometry
  • Security Engineering
  • Object-Oriented Design and Programming
  • Computer Graphics

The Master of Science (MS) is a common program at the graduate level. But you may find other paths. For instance, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Computer Science program covers computing technology in a business context.

Online Doctorate in Computer Science

At the doctoral level, computer science programs tend to place emphasis on research. You may focus on solving problems and applying theory within your field. And, you’ll learn how to analyze and draw conclusions from qualitative and quantitative data.

Two common types of computer science doctoral program include:

  • PhD in Computer Science. A PhD is a research degree. So, candidates not only build expertise in the field of computer science, but they study research methods. Depending on the program, a lot of your time may be devoted to research activity and writing an original dissertation.
  • Doctor of Computer Science (DCS). A Doctor of Computer Science is an applied degree. So, you may focus less on original research and more on applying theory to problems in your field. These could include everything from resolving systems design flaws to improving business processes.

Courses you could take at the doctoral level may include:

  • Analytics for Big Data
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Futuring and Innovation
  • Cybersecurity Management
  • Principles of Research Methods and Design

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Computer Science Degree Program?

A Bachelor’s in computer science typically takes four years to earn, for full-time students. You’ll need to complete about 120 credits, more or less.

Earning a Master’s in computer science usually takes at least two years. These programs are often 30 to 36 credits long, though some are longer.

Earning a doctorate in computer science may take between three and seven years. In addition to about 60 credits of coursework, you’ll usually need to complete a dissertation.

Computer Science Degree Programs That Could be Completed in Less Than 24 Months

School

Degree Level

# of Credits Required

Start Dates

Minimum Months to Complete

Colorado Technical University

Master’s

48

Multiple

18 months

Rasmussen College

Bachelor’s (degree completion)

90

Multiple

18 months

Northcentral University

Master’s

30

52 (weekly starts)

23 months

The Average Cost of a Computer Science Degree Program

According to NCES, the average cost of attending a public, four-year school was $19,189 per year at last check. Private and for-profit schools cost $39,529 per year. You could find schools that cost more or less than these averages. Compare tuition costs for these online schools offering computer science programs:

School

Degree Level

# of Credits Required

Cost Per Credit

Total Tuition Cost

Trident University International

Bachelor’s

120

$405

$48,600

Regent University

Bachelor’s

120

$395 (online, full time)

$47,400

Colorado Technical University

Doctorate

100

$598

$59,800

Top Schools for Computer Science Degrees

According to NCES, 773 institutions offered computer science programs. From those schools, 35,329 degrees were awarded to students. The majority (56.8%) of these were Bachelor’s degrees.

School

2016 Degrees awarded

2018/19 Tuition* (Out of State Unless **)

University of Central Missouri

1,058

$14,442

University of Southern California

848

$56,225**

University of California-San Diego

574

$43,159

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

546

$31,664

University of Illinois at Springfield

543

$21,338

Arizona State University-Tempe

529

$28,336

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

513

$51,832**

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

508

$20,287

Cornell University

488

$55,188**

Stanford University

484

$51,354**

*Estimated for full-time, beginning undergraduate students

Choosing an Accredited Computer Science Degree Program

Accredited computer science degree programs have to uphold certain quality standards. So, you may want to pursue a degree that holds accreditation.

ABET accredits a variety of STEM programs, including Bachelor’s programs in computing. ABET accreditation helps ensure programs meet global standards. They look at factors like educational quality and program outcomes.

Even if your program is not accredited, it’s important to look for an accredited college or university. In fact, if you plan to apply for federal financial aid, accreditation is required. (Financial aid may be available for those who qualify.)

Getting a Job with a Computer Science Degree

Per the most recent census data, there were 1.85 million computer science graduates in the workforce. As a whole, the computer and information technology field is growing. Jobs are projected to grow 13% by 2026, faster than average for all occupations.

Computer science remains a male-dominated field, with 79% men to 21% women. And, the average age of a degree-holder in this field was about 40 years old.=

Top Salaries by State for Software Developers

This salary information is for Software Developers, Applications. Data may vary for other kinds of Software Developers.

State

Employment

Annual Mean Wage

Washington

53,860

$131,790

California

148,550

$127,950

New York

52,640

$116,830

Virginia

38,110

$113,690

District of Columbia

2,520

$112,510

Jobs You can get with a 
Computer Science Degree

Once you have a cyber security degree, you may pursue a wide range of potential careers.

Software Developer

Software Developers design applications and computer systems. That involves everything from analyzing user needs to fixing bugs and performing upgrades. Developers can work in different industries. But, the largest number worked in computer systems design and related services.

Median Salary: $105,590 per year

Job Growth Through 2026: 24% (Much faster than average)

Typical Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s degree


Computer Programmer

Computer Programmers write code for computer applications and software. They also test programs for errors in the code. Programmers need to know different programming languages, like C++ and Java. In some cases, their duties may overlap with those of Software Developers.

Median Salary: $84,280 per year

Job Growth Through 2026: -7%

Typical Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s degree


Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and Information Systems Managers plan and manage IT within an organization. (They’re often called IT Managers.) Some duties include analyzing businesses’ technology needs and ensuring network security. They can work in many industries.

Median Salary: $142,530 per year

Job Growth Through 2026: 12% (Faster than average)

Typical Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s degree

All Salary and Job Outlook information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics