Online Computer Science Degrees

Computer science is a broad discipline encompassing the development and evaluation of computing systems and software programs, as well as the algorithms used to construct these technologies. Professional computer scientists have a strong background in STEM subjects, and those who work as data analysts may also need a background in business-related fields like finance or economics.

Successful professionals in the field are detail-oriented multi-taskers who have excellent written and oral communication skills, and are prepared to work independently or in teams. They should be proficient in JavaScript and other programming language concepts, with knowledge of various operating systems.

Computing today has applications across virtually every industry, from business and education to engineering and architecture, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the field will grow substantially in the next eight years.

Many students choose to earn their computer science degree online. This comprehensive guide shows prospective students popular career pathways when pursuing this degree, and helps them explore their online computer science degree options.

Meet our expert

Read More

Chris Hood Computer Science

“The flexibility is one of the best features of going to school online.”

Jump to a Section


Online Computer Science Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $13,264 16.3% 2 years $39,900 $59,000 10.3%
Bachelor's $18,071 11.04% 4 years $68,750 $112,000 4.5%
Master's $19,775 7.67% 1+ years $83,200 $123,200 3.35%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

Entry-level web developers and systems specialists can often qualify for employment with an associate degree or a professional certificate. A bachelor’s degree will be required for database administrators, system analysts, and more advanced positions in the field. Some professionals, including computer and information research scientists, generally require applicants to hold an advanced degree. To meet the growing demand of virtual students, online computer science degree programs are currently offered at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

The education level of professional computer scientists directly corresponds with their expected annual earnings and unemployment rate. Before applying for jobs, students should research their target field and determine which degree best matches their career ambitions. In the course of their research, many students will find that earning a computer science degree online will help them cut costs associated with living and learning on-campus.

Online Computer Science Degrees


Online Associate’s Degree in Computer Science

Although an associate program is largely seen as an academic stepping stone toward a more advanced online computer science degree, graduates can enter the workforce and launch successful careers with a two-year credential. Computer support specialists, web developers, and computer programmers often qualify for professional roles with an associate degree or a professional certificate. A 2012-13 survey survey from the National Center for Education Statistics also found that 4% of two-year learners studied computer and information sciences and support services, making this the sixth most popular area of study for associate-level students during that academic year. The rising popularity of computer science online degree programs has contributed to this growing trend.


    Students learn about information technology systems and the algorithms that power them. Fundamental topics include Principles of Programming and Data Management, as well as Applied Mathematics, Introductory Coding, and Computing Ethics


    Associate programs are usually broad in scope. Most students earn degrees in computer science, or general science with a computer science specialization. Specific areas of computer science are usually explored in online computer science bachelor degree and master’s degree programs.


    Computer Support Specialists, Web Developers, and Computer Programmers


    $50,380 for computer support specialists, $63,490 for web developers, and $77,550 for computer programmers


    For 2014-2024, 12% increase for computer support specialists and 27% increase for web developers

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

Students who earn an online computer science bachelor degree can expect above-average salaries, high employment rates, and a variety of professional opportunities in different employment sectors. Most entry-level positions in the field require a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent four-year program. Comprehensive bachelor’s programs touch on elements of computing hardware, software, and network administration. Specialized pathways also include courses dedicated to the student’s area of focus.


    Information Systems, Data Programming and Organization, Object-oriented Design, and The Social Impact of Computing Technology


    Computer science is one of the top bachelor’s degrees in terms of employment opportunities, salary expectations, and overall popularity. Computer scientists may pursue a degree in a specialized area of their field, such as management information systems (MIS) or software engineering.


    Computer Systems Analysts, Database Administrators, Information Security Analysts, Network and Computer Systems Administrators, and Software Developers


    $82,710 for computer systems analysts, $80,280 for database administrators, $88,890 for information security analysts, $75,790 for network and computer systems administrators, and $97,990 for software developers


    For 2014-2024, 21% increase for computer systems analysts, 11% increase for database administrators, 18% increase for information security analysts, 8% increase for network and computer systems administrators, and 17% for software developers

Online Computer Science Degrees
For the 2016 rankings, has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

Download Seal

PNG (web) EPS (print)

Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree Rankings

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description

University of Illinois at Springfield

Springfield$$$$$One University Plaza
Springfield, IL 62703-5407
(217) 206-6600

Students in UIS's CS program can pursue concentrations in software engineering or information systems security. Those interested in coding and software should pursue the software engineering concentration, while distance learners who want to work with networks and security administration should follow the information systems curriculum. In the program, students completing a computer science online degree have an opportunity to take several unique courses. Examples include:

  • Internet in American Life
  • Robo Ethics
  • A Capstone in Systems Security or Software Engineering

UIS requires online computer science degree students to complete 120 credits to graduate, at least 30 of which must be taken at UIS. To be accepted to the program, students must pass prerequisite math and computer science classes and have two semesters of Java programming experience.

UIS uses Blackboard to host all online lectures and course materials. The school provides online best practice recommendations and offers a tutorial to help students acclimate to the online format. Classes become available at 12:01 AM on the first day of the semester. Some exams must be monitored by a proctor; instructors will provide students with directions regarding remote assessments.


Regis University

Denver$$$$$3333 Regis Blvd
Denver, CO 80221-1099
(800) 388-23662111

Regis offers their online bachelors degree in computer science in an accelerated format. Students can take asynchronous classes at their own pace, and they're also allowed to a pursue a combined bachelor's and master's degree; the master's program requires students to complete an additional 24 credits on top of the 128 needed for their undergraduate degree. Distance learners may also earn certificates in information system security and e-security.

The curriculum incorporates Jesuit values, teaching students to use their technical and software skills in an ethical manner. Courses are taught in a semester format. Students take classes in eight-week blocks, with two blocks per semester. Part-time students take one course at a time, while full-time students can sign up for more. Students may begin taking classes during any eight week block. Regis uses WorldClass and Angel to facilitate their online program: here students can view lectures and access distance materials and discussion forums.


Oregon State University

Corvallis$$$$$1500 S.W. Jefferson
Corvallis, OR 97331
(541) 737-0123

Part of OSU's renowned engineering department, the post-baccalaureate CS program helps professionals with a bachelor's degree add another dimension to their resume. In the program, students take 60 credits of CS classes, and can graduate in anywhere from one to four years. No CS experience is required; the only prerequisites are college algebra and a 2.25 undergraduate GPA. The program is only open to students holding a bachelor's degree.

The curriculum provides training in all aspects of CS. There are 13 mandatory courses in the program, which can be broken into five categories of learning:

  • Programming fundamentals and software engineering
  • Computer systems and networking
  • Databases
  • Usability
  • Mobile and web development

Courses for the online computer science degree are taught asynchronously through Blackboard and Canvas, platforms that can be accessed through students' My EECS portal. Distance learners are provided with several online resources, including academic advisors, career services and digital library materials.


National University

La Jolla$$$$$11255 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
(800) 628-8648

National provides CS students with a detailed curriculum encompassing all aspects of the field. Distance learners take courses in:

  • Object oriented programming
  • Data structures and algorithms
  • Operating systems
  • Computer communication networks
  • Software engineering
  • Computer architecture

The school's renowned faculty emphasizes both technical and design skills, helping prepare well-rounded graduates for the field. As part of the program, students must complete 17 major courses, including two project-based offerings. Distance learners must complete the degree within four years and are not permitted to take a break lasting longer than 12 months.

All courses to obtain a computer science degree online are hosted on Blackboard. Students can use Blackboard to access discussion forums, their grades, distance learning materials and web resource tools.


Southern University and A&M College

Baton Rouge$$$$$3rd Floor, J.S. Clark Adm. Building, P.O. Box 9374
Baton Rouge, LA 70813
(225) 771-4500

Southern's online bachelors degree in computer science program appeals to students from all backgrounds, and the university welcomes adult learners, recent high school graduates and transfer students alike. Distance learners are taught the fundamentals of the discipline, and build their knowledge from the ground up. Core concepts include:

  • Software engineering
  • Computer organization
  • Database systems
  • Management information systems
  • Operating systems

Students can pursue degrees with an information systems option or a scientific option. The school also offers concentrations in robotics, video game programming and web development, e-business and supply chain management. Distance learners must pass two introductory CS classes and two math courses before they can be admitted into the department. The school uses Blackboard to host all course content and web materials.


Franklin University

Columbus$$$$$201 S Grant Ave
Columbus, OH 43215-5399
(614) 797-4700

Industry leaders and experienced online faculty members design Franklin's robust CS course offerings, which introduce students to core concepts throughout the discipline. The curriculum covers object-oriented design, computer architecture, web application development, database management and quality assurance. Classes emphasize practical skills, and feature hands-on homework assignments that allow students to develop skills matching their academic and professional interests. Students learn Java, C, Scheme and Prolog, along with several client/server development technologies. As part of the curriculum, computer science online degree students have the opportunity to design their very own web app and to complete a capstone project.

To graduate, online computer science degree students must complete all general requirements, along with 20 credits of upper division courses, with a minimum GPA of 2.25. Students may transfer credit from other schools, but they must complete at least 40 credits at Franklin. The school uses Blackboard to host all online course information; students may also access the platform on their phones through the school's Blackboard app.


Central Methodist University - College of Graduate and Extended Studies

Fayette$$$$$411 Central Methodist Square
Fayette, MO 65248-1198
(660) 248-6392

CMU offers their CS major as a degree completion program. Students take classes in eight-week terms; full-time students typically sign up for two or three courses, though distance learners can sign up for fewer classes if they desire. As part of the curriculum, CMU offers several innovative courses, including:

  • Game programming
  • Scientific computer programming
  • Database Systems and SQL

Students must complete 124 total credits to graduate. They must also produce a senior thesis and finish a capstone project.

Distance learners can access all online lectures and auxiliary course materials through their myCMU page. Here, they'll find financial aid information, course registration and other digital resources. They can also apply for a CMU email address.


Baker College of Flint

Flint$$$$$1050 West Bristol Road
Flint, MI 48507-5508
(810) 766-4000

Baker's CS program trains the next generation of computer applications engineers, systems engineers, computer analysts and database administrators. The well-rounded program requires students to complete seven math courses and 20 discipline-specific classes. As part of the curriculum, students must take an internship or complete a work experience project through the school. Graduates will leave Baker with a detailed understanding of software development, internet communications and database administration.

Baker uses Blackboard to host all online courses and their attendant materials. Students also have their own MyBaker portal where they can access additional online resources. These include a digital campus bookstore, registration software and tech support. Blackboard tutorials are available through the school's My Help web app.


City University of Seattle

Seattle$$$$$521 Wall Street, Suite 100
Seattle, WA 98121
(800) 426-5596

Students pursuing an online bachelors degree in computer science from City University are exposed to several programming languages, including C++ and C#. As part of the curriculum, students are required to emphasize in a subfield of CS, and complete a capstone project highlighting skills they develop in their emphasis. Options include:

  • Programming
  • Software Engineering
  • Information Security

Distance learners can complete a computer science degree online in as little as two years. Prerequisites include three math and four laboratory science classes. To be eligible for the program, students must have at least a high school diploma. The school uses the Blackboard learning management system to host all online course content. Students can access their online course materials two days prior to the start of each term.


Stevens-Henager College - Murray

Murray$$$$$383 W Vine St
Murray, UT 84123-5671
(801) 281-7620

Stevens-Henager offers students two computer science degree online programs, each of which takes approximately 36 months for students to graduate. The CS degree with a networking and systems administration security emphasis prepares distance learners for careers as data administrators and security analysts. Core classes feature material in server administration, security concepts and network communications.

The other option is a CS degree with an emphasis in web and mobile application development. Here, students train to become programmers, software developers and web developers. Students focus on learning programming languages and how to incorporate functionality and aesthetics in app development.

Online Master’s Degree in Computer Science

Students in a master’s program study advanced computer science topics at a more granular level than undergraduates. They may focus their studies on machine learning, artificial intelligence, algorithmic structures, or other similarly nuanced subfields in the discipline.


    Master’s computer science students build on the foundational knowledge and skills they have gained in online computer science bachelor degree programs. Courses cover advanced concepts related to algorithms, data organization, and information technology. Online master’s programs often include a capstone or thesis project as well.


    Computer and Information Systems Managers, Network Architects, and Computer Hardware Engineers


    $127,640 for computer and information systems managers, $98,430 for network architects, and $108,430 for computer hardware engineers


    For 2014-2024, 15% increase for computer and information systems managers, 9% increase for network architects, and 3% for computer hardware engineers

Online Computer Science Degrees
For the 2016 rankings, has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

Download Seal

PNG (web) EPS (print)

Computer Science Master’s Degree Rankings

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305
(650) 723-2300

Stanford's online master's computer science requires completion of at least 45 units. These consist of general requirements, seminars and an area of specialization. General courses cover mathematical and theoretical foundations, computer systems and artificial intelligence and applications. Students take at least one 500-level seminar which exposes students to research. Twenty-one units are fulfilled in one of the ten specialization areas; students have ten options, including: Artificial Intelligence, Computer and Network Security, Real-World Computing or Software Theory.

Completion of the program typically takes three years, though students must graduate within five years of starting the program. All courses are offered online and are accessed through Stanford's OpenEd learning platform, Lagunita, or through newly-implemented Canvas LMS.


Columbia University in the City of New York

New York$$$$$West 116 St and Broadway
New York, NY 10027
(212) 854-1754

During their first semester, students of the online master's in computer science program choose one of eight areas of concentration for their degree, including: Foundations of Computer Science, Computer Security, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. Students may also create a personalized track by selecting coursework based on specific requirements and approval by an advisor.

Master's candidates complete a minimum of 30 credits of coursework, including a core breadth requirement that requires students to take one class from each group: systems, theory and artificial intelligence and applications. Core curriculum emphasizes theoretical computer science and mathematics and experimental computer technology. In-depth courses available include studies of artificial intelligence, computer architecture, databases, computer communications and computer-aided digital design. All coursework is accessed asynchronously through the Canvas learning platform.


Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore$$$$$525 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
(410) 955-4766

Students enrolled in the online master's degree in computer science program have several options for their course of study. Online learners can choose the Telecommunications and Networking concentration or one of ten focus tracks, including: Bioinformatics, Cybersecurity, Data Science and Cloud Computing, Human-Computer Interaction and Visualization and Theory.
Degree completion requires ten courses, and students must complete coursework within five years. The curriculum consists of three foundation courses, five courses from the chosen concentration and two electives. Core curriculum emphasizes mastery of algorithm tools and methods, data structures and application strategies. All courses are offered online and are accessed through the Blackboard learning management system.


Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta$$$$$225 North Ave
Atlanta, GA 30332-0530
(404) 894-2000

Georgia Institute of Technology is proud to offer the first accredited Master of Science in Computer Science students can earn entirely through Massive Open Online Course delivery format. Students access online resources through the BuzzPort online learning portal, but their CS classes are presented on the Udacity MOOC platform. Admission to the program requires a bachelor's degree in computer science or related field and a minimum GPA of 3.0

Students may choose to follow one of four specialization tracks: Computational Perception & Robotics, Computing Systems, Interactive Intelligence or Machine Learning. For degree completion, students take core courses plus 15 to 18 hours of their chosen concentration courses. Sample foundation courses include: Advanced Operating Systems, Computer Networks and Machine Learning.


Boston University

, MA
() -

The Master of Science in Computer Information Systems degree can be completed online in less than two years. All coursework is completed accessed through the Blackboard learning management system.

Students are required to complete 10 courses, six core and four elective, for a total of 40 credit hours. Electives are chosen to follow one of seven available concentration areas, including: Database Management & Business Intelligence, Health Informatics, IT Project Management and Web Application Development. Elective options include database security, data mining, enterprise architecture and ecommerce. Graduates of the online master's in computer science program leave with a broad base of knowledge from core coursework and an in-depth concentration specialty.


North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Raleigh$$$$$2101 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27695-7001
(919) 515-2011

The online master's computer science program requires the fulfillment of 31 credit hours, which consist of nine credits in core coursework, a one-credit orientation and 21 credits of computer science electives. Core curriculum covers theory and systems, while electives offer a broad base of knowledge for computer science graduates.

The asynchronous components of online classes are accessed through Moodle. On-campus lectures are recorded and later uploaded to the course site. These videos can be accessed at any time, though online learners must adhere to due dates and deadlines. Through Blackboard Collaborate, students have an opportunity to hold live discussions with their classmates and instructors.


Illinois Institute of Technology

Chicago$$$$$3300 S Federal St
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 567-3000

All coursework for the online master's in computer science at IIT is accessed through the Blackboard learning platform. Students in pursuit of a graduate-level computer science degree have two options: the Master of Science in Computer Science or the Master of Computer Science. The MSCS gives graduates the skills they need to continue to a PhD program or conduct research in computer science. The program requires 32 credit hours of coursework, and master's candidates have the option of culminating their degree with a master's thesis or project, or through coursework alone.

The MCS gives graduates the option of taking three specialization tracks online: Networking and Communications, Database Systems or Software Engineering. This degree, including a specialization, requires 30-33 credit hours to qualify for graduation; students have the option of completing a master's project in order to earn their degrees. Those who are not accepted into the MSCS program are considered for the MCS.


University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

, MN
() -

Students can choose between a Master of Computer Science and a Master of Science in Computer Science degree. The MCS is a professional degree that is earned through the completion coursework; candidates are not required to complete a master's project. The MSCS includes research components necessary to most PhD programs. Both degrees require 31 credits of coursework; topics and research areas of the faculty include algorithms, databases and data mining, networking and computer security.

Online courses for the online computer science master's degree are hosted on and accessed through the Moodle learning management system. Some courses may require synchronous events such as presentations and exams; local proctors will be coordinated for exams, making travel to campus unnecessary.


Northeastern University

Boston$$$$$360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115-5005
(617) 373-2000

Students pursuing an online Master of Science in Computer Science at Northeastern can choose from a variety of options to focus their studies. Available concentrations include artificial intelligence, graphics, programming languages, database management, theory and security. Core curriculum emphasizes computing and application domains. All courses are offered online and accessed through Blackboard.

Admission to the online master's computer science program requires knowledge or coursework in a computer language, data structures, computer organization, calculus and discrete mathematics. For those without a computer science background, the school offers an ALIGN program that tailors studies to help students gain the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a master's degree in computer science.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign$$$$$601 E John Street
Champaign, IL 61820-5711
(217) 333-1000

The online computer science master's program is a professional degree that does not require students to write a thesis. Instead, master's candidates complete 32 credit hours of coursework. The program was designed for working professionals to advance in their fields. Students have five years to fulfill graduation requirements, but they may graduate in three semesters by taking a full-time courseload.

Online classes are hosted on one of two learning management systems: Illinois Compass 2g or Moodle. Students new to online learning can familiarize themselves with the learning platforms through guides, videos and tutorials. Online learners have access to a number of tools, including Collaborate, Elluminate and Wimba Voice, to help them through their programs.


DePaul University

Chicago$$$$$1 E Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 362-8000

Students of the Master of Science in Computer Science choose one of seven areas to add a concentration to their degrees; topics include: Software Engineering, Multimedia and Artificial Intelligence. Students also have the option to complete a capstone course, write an master's thesis, participate in an internship or develop a research project as part of their studies. Available research areas include: artificial intelligence, data mining, technology education, and algorithmic analysis.

Completion of the program requires the fulfillment of 52 credit hours, including six introductory courses that act as prerequisites for the rest of the program. These requirements may be waived if students took equivalent courses as an undergraduate, have professional experience in the area or they pass a Graduate Assessment Exam. Online classes are accessed through the Desire2Learn portal.


Syracuse University

Syracuse$$$$$900 South Crouse Ave.
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-1870

Graduates of the master's in computer science program have a solid knowledge base in security and assurance, computer architecture, advanced programming and artificial intelligence. Curriculum emphasizes analytical, critical thinking and mathematical skills and focuses on new system designs and the latest technology. All coursework is delivered online, and can be accessed either live or recorded through Blackboard.

The Master of Science in Computer Science requires 30 credit hours for completion. The curriculum consists of 12 credits from core courses and 18 credits from electives. Up to six credits may be transferred from previous graduate studies. The degree can be earned in as little as 20 months.


New Jersey Institute of Technology

Newark$$$$$University Heights
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 596-3000

The online Master of Science in Computer Science from NJIT can be earned in less than two years. Students complete coursework online through Moodle. Classes are delivered in an asynchronous format, allowing students to complete work on their own schedule. Curriculum emphasizes theoretical computing concepts, knowledge application, the development of skills in programming, computing systems and algorithms.

Students can choose from three specialty tracks for their studies: Databases and Data Mining, Networking and Generalist. All tracks require 30 credits for completion; these consist of 12 credits in core courses, 9 credits in the chosen specialty and 9 credits of additional electives. The Generalist track allows students to complete the 12 credits in core courses and choose 18 credits in electives.


University of Illinois at Springfield

Springfield$$$$$One University Plaza
Springfield, IL 62703-5407
(217) 206-6600

The online Master of Science in Computer Science curriculum provides a solid foundation in software knowledge and applications. Prospective students should have an undergraduate degree in a field related to computer sciences that allowed them to complete program prerequisites, including: Computer Programming Concepts, Computer Organization and Programming Languages.

All courses are offered online through Blackboard. Completion of the degree requires 32 credit hours that consist of: four 500-level courses, three 400-level or 500-level courses and a graduate research seminar. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA for successful completion of the degree.


University of South Florida

Tampa$$$$$4202 East Fowler Ave
Tampa, FL 33620-9951
(813) 974-2011

USF offers online learners thesis and non-thesis options for earning their online computer science master's degree. Both tracks require 30 credits for completion. For the thesis option, students complete nine credit hours of core courses, 15 credits of electives and six credits of thesis. Those choosing the non-thesis track complete nine credit hours of core courses and 21 credits of electives.
Elective options include a broad-range of courses including: Advanced Robotic Systems, Data Mining, Computer Graphics and Computer Vision. USF also offers a selection of research areas including algorithms, artificial intelligence, image processing, robotics and programming languages. All courses are accessed online through Canvas.


Polytechnic Institute of New York University

, NY
() -

The computer engineering master's program is a professional degree that gives graduates the skills to work with systems design, computer architecture, hardware and software integration and testing. Students gain experience in fields such as embedded systems design, computer architecture and computer networks. All coursework is accessed online through NYU Classes, powered by Sakai.

Completion of the degree requires 30 credits. A six-credit thesis option is available, which replaces an advanced project and one other elective course. The thesis can be completed in the electrical and computer engineering department or computer science department. For graduation, students must also maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.


Purdue University

West Lafayette$$$$$Hovde Hall of Administration
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2040
(765) 494-4600

The computer science master's degree offers students the option of a thesis or non-thesis track. Completion of the program requires 10 three-credit courses or eight courses and a thesis. The degree is typically earned in three or four semesters. All courses are accessed online through the Blackboard learning management system.

Along with taking courses in areas such as algorithms, data mining and software engineering, all students must fulfill an ethics and communication requirement. During the fall semester of their first year, students participate in a research seminar that culminates in the responsible conduct of research test. Through the program, while taking their classes or working on their thesis, students' communication skills are assessed by their instructors or thesis committee.


Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale$$$$$3301 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
(954) 262-7300

The Master of Science in Computer Science degree program includes six concentration options, including: Database, Security and Real-World Computing. Completion of the degree consists of 36 credits made up of four core courses, three or more courses in the chosen concentration and the rest in electives. Core curriculum covers software engineering, programming languages, operating systems and algorithms. Students who wish to complete a thesis replace two elective courses with thesis credits.

The program is designed for students with undergraduate studies in the areas of computer science, engineering, physics or mathematics. Those without one of backgrounds may be required to take additional courses. All coursework is completed online over the Blackboard learning management system.


Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester$$$$$1 Lomb Memorial Dr
Rochester, NY 14623-5603
(585) 475-2411

The Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction prepares students to address human, technological and organizational concerns while designing and implementing software applications. Curriculum integrates technical concerns of computing with ideas from psychology, sociology and other fields to make technology more user-friendly.

The degree consists of 30 credit hours in courses that include research methods, usability testing and information and interaction design. Students and instructors interact with each other and online class materials through the myCourses learning management system. Online learners have access to academic resources, including a writing lab, tutoring and proctoring services.


Marquette University

Milwaukee$$$$$1250 W Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 288-7710

Marquette University offers a unique program for students desiring to pursue a master's in computer science. The Integrated Practicum curriculum path allows students to work part-time at job assignments while completing their degrees. This dual-path option creates a more affordable path and builds skills in the field and in the classroom. Participating employers hire students part-time while they continue to pursue their studies full-time.

All courses are accessed online through the Desire2Learn portal. The curriculum covers topics that include: information security, software quality assurance and software project management. Through the Integrated Practicum, emphasis is placed on the development of best business practices and learning the latest technology. Students may specialize in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense or Big Data and Data Analytics.


Iowa State University

Ames$$$$$3410 Beardshear Hall
Ames, IA 50011-2030
(515) 294-5836

The human-computer interaction master's program requires a total of 30 course credits; nine credits earned in core courses that include: Computational Perception, Design and Ethics and The cognitive Psychology of Human Computer Interaction. Master's candidates must also complete a capstone course and project; students are required to present their capstone results in person.

Curriculum is closely tied to research and virtual reality applications. With much of the required credit hours coming from electives, students have freedom to customize their studies. Coursework is completed online through ELO Collaborative Technology Services, which uses recorded lectures, live chat-rooms and streaming media technology to present class materials and interaction.


University of Hawaii at Manoa

Honolulu$$$$$2500 Campus Road, Hawaii Hall
Honolulu, HI 96822-2217
(808) 956-8111

The Master of Science in Computer Science program at University of Hawaii at Manoa is a 31-credit program that can be completed in less than three years part-time. All courses may not be available online every semester. Due to these limitations, UHM recommends students pursuing online studies be able to attend some on-campus courses. For online coursework, students access classes through their MyUH portal.

Curriculum focuses on developing skills for designing, implementing and evaluating software technology. Delivery of coursework relies heavily on collaboration and apprenticeship with other students and faculty members. Students must complete a thesis project as part of their studies.


University of Houston - Victoria

Victoria$$$$$3007 N. Ben Wilson
Victoria, TX 77901
(877) 970-4848

Students pursuing their master's in computer science online at UH Victoria have a wide range of options for areas of focus. Electives are available in digital gaming and simulation, robotics, artificial intelligence and systems engineering; the majority of graduation requirements comes from elective courses. An additional twelve credits are acquired through core courses including network and design and computer architecture. Students also have the option of completing a 6-credit thesis.

Curriculum of the program focuses on the theoretical and engineering aspects of computer science. All classes are offered online and are accessed through the Blackboard learning management system. The Student Success Center provides students with services to help them through their educations, including tutoring and a writing center.


Lewis University

Romeoville$$$$$One University Parkway
Romeoville, IL 60446-2200
(815) 838-0500

Students in the MS in Data Science with Computer Science Concentration program design and develop computing systems and learn how to manage big data. Curriculum emphasizes software writing, creation of large-scale data storage systems and building large-scale data platforms for a variety of environments. Graduates are equipped with the skills to design front-end systems, write algorithms and decipher large quantities of data.

All coursework is completed online and is accessed through the Blackboard learning management system. Completion of the concentration involves four core courses, three elective courses and a capstone experience. The computer science electives include: Semantic Web, Distributed Computing Systems, Pervasive Application Development and Concepts of Statistics. Prerequisites are a bachelor's degree, minimum GPA of 3.0 and a minimum of 24 credit hours earned in the MS-DS program.


Marist College

Poughkeepsie$$$$$3399 North Rd
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
(845) 575-3000

Graduate students in the Master of Science in Information Systems program have two degree tracks to choose from: Information Systems Management (ISM) or Information Technology Management (ITM) . Both tracks require the completion of 18 credits in core MSIS classes; these six classes include: Systems & Information Concepts in Organizations, Data Communications and Systems Design. The ISM track combines foundational business courses with technological knowledge; graduates are instilled with the base knowledge needed to become chief information officers. The ITM track is for students who are interested in problem solving and working with businesses and organizations to resolve computer-based issues.

Online courses are hosted on the school's learning platform iLearn; classes were developed using the Sakai online class open-source code. Online learners can click through a sample online course to familiarize themselves with the learning platform, or they can participate in an online training orientation.

Online Doctorate Degree in Computer Science

Prospective computer and information research scientists must complete a doctoral degree; terminal programs also prepare graduates for college-level teaching positions in the field. Although doctoral degrees are traditionally offered in residential programs, some schools offer computer science degree online programs for doctoral students.


    Doctoral programs in computer science are grounded in theory and academic research. Most culminate in a lengthy, research-based dissertation; students will be required to deliver a thesis proposal outlining the finer points of their dissertation.


    In addition to computer and information research scientists, those who plan to teach computer science at the postsecondary level are generally required to earn a doctoral degree.


    $108,360 for computer and information research scientists and $70,790 for postsecondary teachers


    For 2014-2024, 11% increase for computer and information research scientists and 13% for postsecondary teachers

Online Computer Science Choose Your Career

Average Computer Science Salaries


Computer Support Specialist

Salary: $50,380
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
12% 766,900 Associates Various certifications available, not required

Computer support specialists offer IT assistance and services to other employees in a range of organizational settings. Potential employers include private companies, nonprofits, government agencies, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions. Some specialists are employed on in-house IT teams, while others provide support as part of a third-party operation. Entry-level support specialists may join the workforce with an associate degree, or even just by having significant computer experience.

Information Security Analyst

Salary: $88,890
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
18% 82,900 Bachelor's Various certifications available, not required

Information security analysts protect the computers and online networks of private companies, organizations, and government agencies. They primarily monitor information systems for suspicious activity and use different programs — such as firewalls and encryption software — to maintain security. Analysts may also develop information security plans and work with company leaders to increase system efficiency. Many candidates enter the job field with a bachelor’s degree in general computer science, although a growing number of today’s schools offer specialized computer science programs dedicated to information security.

Web Developer

Salary: $63,490
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
27% 148,500 Associates Various certifications available, not required

Web developers are the tech-savvy minds behind websites and online applications. They use coding to build and optimize the various technical and aesthetic properties of a site, such as search functions, online checkout tools, multimedia, and other features that drive online traffic. These professionals typically work on a team, and may specialize in a certain area of web development, including site layout or graphics integration. Unlike many other careers in computer science, most web developers can enter the workforce with an associate degree or an equivalent professional certificate. The BLS projects that this sector will grow 27% through 2024, making it one of the fastest growing fields in computer science.

Database Administrator

Salary: $80,280
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
11% 120,000 Bachelor's Various certifications available, not required

Companies, private organizations, and government agencies rely on database administrators (DBAs) to organize and monitor financial records, employee profiles, and other sensitive information. These professionals also work to improve security and efficiency through testing, regular evaluation, and routine modifications. Evolving technologies and an increased demand for secure electronic recordkeeping are expected to drive employment growth in this sector. The number of database administration positions are projected to rise by 11% over the next eight years. DBAs may be employed in-house at larger firms or organizations, but an increasing number of these professionals are finding work at third-party companies that specialize in database services.

Software Developer

Salary: $97,990
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
17% 1,114,000 Bachelor's Various certifications available, not required

Software developers are responsible for designing computing programs, apps, and support systems. They meet with clients to discuss technological needs, and then develop software that addresses these demands. Once complete, developer specs and instructions are used as a reference point during the programming/coding process. With more than 1.1 million working professionals, software development represents one of the largest fields in computer science. The BLS also projects approximately 190,000 new positions by 2024.

Online Computer Science Degree in Action

Chris Hood Computer Science

Chris Hood has been working in tech for over 20 years and has developed technology for several prominent brands, including Fox, Disney, Universal, Electronic Arts, Reebok, Monster, and many more.

Hood holds a bachelor’s degree, which he obtained online from the University of Phoenix, and an MBA earned through an online program at Indiana Wesleyan.

He currently teaches computer science courses online for Southern New Hampshire University and Colorado Tech University. In his free time he is a seasoned CTO and digital transformation consultant.

Why did you pursue your computer science degree online?

Online degrees are a great way to get an education while maintaining a professional (and personal) life. The flexibility is one of the best features of going to school online. As a student and a teacher, I am able to log on when I'm available, do what I need to do, and log off to continue my day. In school I was able to get most of my work done late at night or early in the morning, confirming the motto "you can go to school in your pajamas!"

What were the biggest advantages for you as you studied online?

An online degree in technology has additional advantages. By default, we work with computers. Depending on a student's area of focus, you'll be sitting in front of a computer for most of your professional career. Not only does going to school online increase some of those basic computer skills, it also helps you analyze software through the different tools you'll use during the degree program.

What were the challenges or obstacles you faced as an online student?

Personally, I never had any obstacles. My students, however, usually complain about a system not working, or not being able to log in correctly. Other students complain about the lack of interaction, or frustrations working with other students in team projects online, especially when trying to coordinate times to discuss assignments. For me these are ideal learning opportunities. The reality is, this is the life in computer science. Professionally we often are asked to troubleshoot connection issues, or system problems. We often are placed on geographically dispersed teams, where communication skills and schedules are challenging. If anything, the online environment prepares students for the real world scenarios today's tech teams face more than ever.

How did the online format help prepare you for your career?

Some students also believe that going to school on a campus supplies them with endless networking opportunities through face-to-face participation in campus groups. Online schools do the exact same thing. In fact, networking, building relationships, and lasting friendships are just as powerful when pursuing an online degree.

Online Computer Science Professional Requirements

Today’s computer science online degree programs offer a comprehensive curriculum designed to fully prepare students for the workforce. Although most computer science careers do not require professional certification, extra credentials help candidates compete in the workforce and improve their overall job security. The following section explores some of the most popular certification options for graduates from online computer science degree programs.

CRISC Certification

The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) currently offers a Certification in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) credential. Geared toward IT and business professionals, the CRISC tackles the fundamentals of risk management and compliance. Specific areas of discussion include current methods of identifying, assessing, mitigating, and reporting risk. ISACA members who register early will be assessed an exam fee of $450; non-members must pay $635. CRISC exams are offered in June and December. CRISC enrollees must have at least three years of experience working with IT risk and information systems management.

Is it required?


How long will it take?

Four hours

CISM Certification

Also available through ISACA, the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) program studies methods of designing, implementing, and monitoring digital security services for different clients. CISM enrollees learn different strategies and methods related to information security governance, compliance, development, and management. ISACA members who register early will be assessed an exam fee of $450; non-members must pay $635. CISM exams are offered in June, September, and December. Candidates for this certificate must have at least five years of experience working with IT security management.

Is it required?


How long will it take?

Four hours

MCSE Certification

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) credential educates IT professionals using a specialized curriculum. There are currently eight different MCSE programs available, including Server Infrastructure, Private Cloud, Enterprise Devices and Apps, Data Platform, Business Intelligence, Messaging, Communication, and SharePoint. Each program requires students to complete either four or five online exams related to the specialization. Students will be assessed a $150 fee for each exam. Comprehensive, optional online courses are available for each exam. Exam content and duration will vary; most exams contain 20-40 questions, and may require anywhere from 45 to 150 minutes to complete.

Is it required?


How long will it take?

Each optional exam training course requires a five-day commitment

Security+ Certification

The CompTia Security+ certification tests knowledge and skills most commonly used by information security professionals and network administrators. Key areas of focus include compliance, security threats, host security, identity management, and encryption. The test costs $311.

Is it required?


How long will it take?

90 minutes

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Certification

The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert credential is geared toward professionals in different sectors of IT. The CCIE is currently offered in six niche fields: Routing and Switching, Collaboration, Data Center, Security, Service Provider, and Wireless. Additionally, the Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) is available for computer engineers and developers. Test format and duration will vary by certification. Most include written and lab/practicum components. Each written exam requires two hours to complete, while the labs require up to eight hours per session.

Is it required?


How long will it take?