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.

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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.

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Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree Rankings

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1University of Massachusetts - LowellLowell$$$$$1 University Ave
Lowell, MA 01854-5104
(978) 934-4000

UMass Lowell is the second-largest public institution in Massachusetts, serving more than 17,000 students. The college offers over 100 undergraduate majors, including an online bachelor's degree in computer science. Students learn to design and use computer applications, with an emphasis on both hardware and software computing. Courses also cover the math and science topics that form the foundation of the discipline. The program offers concentrations in bio-cheminformatics and data science. The bio-cheminformatics track focuses on designing and implementing computer applications related to biology and chemistry, while the data science track focuses on analyzing and using large data streams to extract useful patterns. UMass Lowell also offers a combination BS/MS degree that allows students to earn both degrees within five years.

2University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboro$$$$$1400 Spring Garden St
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
(336) 334-5000

A public liberal arts and research university, UNCG was founded in 1891 and currently serves nearly 20,000 students. The school offers a bachelor’s of computer science degree online, and the program helps students develop their skills in programming languages, computer platforms, data analysis, math, and more. The program also covers computer ethics and professional competencies, both of which prepare students for the working world. UNCG also helps computer science students locate part time jobs in the field, which helps them build a resume and make professional connections. The school offers an accelerated BS-MS program, which allows students to apply certain undergraduate credits towards a master’s degree.

3University of Illinois at SpringfieldSpringfield$$$$$One University Plaza
Springfield, IL 62703-5407
(217) 206-6600

UIS’s campus is about 200 miles southwest of Chicago and 100 miles northeast of St. Louis. The school is one of the only public liberal arts colleges in the state and one of the newest members of the University of Illinois system, joining in 1995. Students in the school’s online computer science bachelor's degree program are taught to apply problem solving skills to computer systems. Courses cover programming, software testing, computer architecture, operating systems, and more. The degree concludes with a software engineering project that requires distance learners to engage in all stages of the software development process. UIS offers a range of advanced computing resources to students, including a network configuration laboratory and a Sun fileserver. Students can also earn credit through industry work opportunities.

4Oregon State UniversityCorvallis$$$$$1500 S.W. Jefferson
Corvallis, OR 97331
(541) 737-0123

OSU has an enrollment of over 30,000 students, and more than half of them are enrolled in at least one online course. OSU is highly respected for its distance education programs, and U.S. News & World Report ranks the school’s online bachelor’s programs among the top 10 in the nation. The college offers a post-baccalaureate degree that allows students to combine their online bachelor's in computer science with a previous bachelor’s degree, allowing them to build a versatile skill set. The program offers one-year, two-year, three-year, and four-year tracks, depending on how quickly students want to graduate. OSU offers flexible start dates throughout the year; students only take required courses for computer science, and do not need to satisfy other requirements. The degree is applicable to a range of industries, including entertainment, medicine, and business.

5George Mason UniversityFairfax$$$$$4400 University Dr
Fairfax, VA 22030-4444
(703) 993-1000

With an enrollment of over 33,000 students, George Mason is the largest public university in Virginia. Students in the school’s online bachelor's in computer science program gain a foundational understanding of computer science concepts along with professional preparation for employment in the field. Core topics include theories of computation, data storage and management, network communication, and software design. The school offers a double major in computer science and computer engineering, along with several accelerated BS-MS pathways.

6University of Florida - OnlineGainesville$$$$$341 Tigert Hall 300 SW 13th St
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-1202

UF is a senior member of the state university system and is a respected public college. The university serves more than 29,000 students through 16 academic colleges, and also features a substantial distance education program. UF’s online computer science bachelor's degree features a liberal arts foundation, and the program requires students to pass courses in the humanities, social sciences, and foreign languages. Core classes cover computer organization, software engineering, programming languages, and database systems, along with foundational coursework in math, science, and statistics. Most applicants have already completed an associate degree; students with some college experience should already have taken classes in analytic geometry and physics. Applicants are also required to have earned a 2.50 GPA in their previous classes.

7Kennesaw State UniversityKennesaw$$$$$1000 Chastain Rd
Kennesaw, GA 30144-5591
(770) 423-6000

KSU operates two campuses in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Students in KSU’s online computer science bachelor's degree are taught the fundamentals of the field, along with information technology applications, including software development, computer systems architecture, and data communications. Classes also cover operating systems, database systems, software engineering, and mathematics in a computer science context. Students can earn a certification in mathematical foundations of computing along with their degree, which adds to their professional marketability upon graduation. Graduates of the program leave school prepared for positions as information technology specialists, network administrators, programmer analysts, software engineers, and more.

8George Washington UniversityWashington$$$$$2121 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
(202) 994-1000

The largest higher education institution in the District of Columbia, GWU serves more than 26,000 students. The school’s online bachelor's of computer science provides general education in mathematics and science, communication, and computer science fundamentals. In the program, students can choose from either a technical specialization — such as artificial intelligence, data science, or software engineering — or a non-technical specialization, like technology and law, business, or project management. Regardless of your concentration, the program culminates in an eight-credit design project that mimics standard commercial software development practices. Students can also earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a five-year program. GWU reports that 87% of program graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.

9Liberty UniversityLynchburg$$$$$1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(434) 582-2000

The largest private, nonprofit university in the United States, Liberty educates over 100,000 people per year. Liberty’s online bachelor's in computer science program allows students to pursue either a general track or one of four specialized concentrations, including offerings in cyber security, information security, software engineering, and web and mobile programming. Students in all tracks gain the skills needed to develop and maintain computer networks, applications, and systems, while learning to address technical and ethical challenges from a Christian perspective. Liberty offers a range of internships to help computer science students apply their learning in a professional environment at a major technology company. The school arranges internships with prominent organizations throughout the world.

10The University of West FloridaPensacola$$$$$11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514-5750
(850) 474-2000

Founded in 1963 in Pensacola, UWF serves more than 13,000 students. Dedicated to progressive education, the school’s values include collaboration, distinctiveness, and innovation. UWF’s computer science program is nationally renowned, and the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated the school as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. Students earning their computer science bachelor's degree online can take classes along one of five tracks, including computer information systems, computer science, cybersecurity, software engineering, and information technology. All programs include core studies in programming languages, data structures, software engineering, and other fundamental competencies.

11Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo$$$$$33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
(352) 588-8200

A private, Catholic university, Saint Leo was established in 1889 by the Order of Saint Benedict of Florida. Students in Saint Leo’s online computer science program learn how to design, develop, and manage computer systems, including hardware, software, and systems integration services. The program also covers artificial intelligence, internet applications, computer forensics, and information security. Distance learners can pursue a specialization in information assurance, which emphasizes the importance of network security and forensics. Enrolled students can participate in a range of internship programs, where they’ll gain practical experience and prepare for professionals careers as software engineers, web developers, systems analysts, and network administrators.

12University of Maryland - College ParkCollege Park$$$$$
College Park, MD 20742
(301) 405-1000

UMD is the flagship school of the University of Maryland System, and is home to more than 37,000 students who study in more than 100 undergraduate programs. Maryland’s online computer science program emphasizes the theory, development, design, and application of computer programs and software systems. Graduates leave school prepared to devise solutions to common computing problems in a range of professional positions. Courses cover network security, numerical analysis, bioinformatics, and computing theory, along with programming languages and software engineering. In addition to its online bachelor’s degree in computer science, UMD offers a combined BS/MS program, which allows students to earn their undergraduate and graduate degrees in just five years.

13Regis UniversityDenver$$$$$3333 Regis Blvd
Denver, CO 80221-1099
(800) 388-23662111

Regis is a nationally renowned Jesuit college located in Denver. The school’s computer science program is widely considered one of the top programs of its kind throughout the country, and the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security have ranked the college as a National Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education since 2007. Grounded in theoretical study, the program teaches students to model and create efficient solutions to modern computing problems. Students are taught to work in an ethical and socially responsible manner. Software development is an important facet of the curriculum, and students learn how to use multiple programming languages and platforms.

14Florida Institute of TechnologyMelbourne$$$$$150 West University Blvd
Melbourne, FL 32901
(321) 674-8000

FIT promotes undergraduate research, and about 10% of students receive funding through school research grants. Students earning their computer science bachelor's degree online at FIT develop fundamental skills in algorithmic thinking, and are taught to design, develop, and test computer software and information systems. Students can choose from several subfield specializations, including operating systems, human-computer interaction, graphics, computer architecture, and artificial intelligence. FIT also allows students to participate in its ProTrack program, a five-year bachelor’s degree that incorporates online courses and computer science job training, which gives graduates the equivalent of one full year of professional work experience — experience that students can put on their resume as they enter the job market.

15Fort Hays State UniversityHays$$$$$600 Park St
Hays, KS 67601-4099
(785) 628-4000

FHSU is a top Midwestern university that has emphasized accessible education since its founding in 1902. The school is home to more than 13,000 students, and more than 8,000 of them take classes online. FHSU offers online courses through its Virtual College, a distance education platform that is intended specifically for adult learners. The school’s online bachelor's in computer science is one of the best and most affordable programs of its kind in the region, and is a recent addition to Fort Hays’s online offerings. Foundational courses cover programing languages, operating systems, software engineering, and systems architecture. Graduates leave school prepared to work in a variety of professional environments, and have a detailed understanding of how to develop, improve, and troubleshoot software programs.

16University of Maryland - University CollegeAdelphi$$$$$3501 University Blvd East
Adelphi, MD 20783-8010
(301) 985-7000

UMUC operates one of the largest distance education programs in the world, serving more than 90,000 students. UMUC’s computer science program covers a variety of major topics in the field, including programming, algorithm optimization, and relevant math and science concepts. Students learn to effectively design and use software applications, computer architecture, data, and systems, preparing them for a range of careers in the industry. Distance learners must also take classes that review current trends in the field, and a course in object-oriented and concurrent programming. For students interested in further professional development, the degree also prepares students for industry standard certifications, including the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert and Oracle Certified Java Programmer. To graduate, students must complete 38 credits of computer science courses, along with general education requirements and 41 credits of elective coursework.

17University of North TexasDenton$$$$$1501 W.Chestnut Ave.
Denton, TX 76203-1277
(940) 565-2000

With an enrollment of more than 36,000 students, UNT is one of the largest universities in Texas and in the entire country. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science online at UNT take a variety courses. They will be introduced to basic and advanced computer science principles, along with material that covers data structures, algorithms, systems programming, and assembly languages. Additional courses are also available in specialized topics like graphics, game programming, networking, and artificial intelligence. The program emphasizes communication, collaboration, and ethical awareness, all of which prepares graduates for work in a diverse field. Students must earn a 2.75 GPA on all advanced computer science courses in order to graduate.

18Towson UniversityTowson$$$$$8000 York Rd
Towson, MD 21252-0001
(410) 704-2000

Based on a suburban campus about eight miles north of Baltimore, Towson is the second-largest school in the University System of Maryland. The school offers a computer science degree, along with related programs in information systems and information technology. Distance learners can take courses across several tracks and pursue a variety specializations to suit their professional interests. The degree allows students to specialize in security or double major in mathematics, while the information systems degree allows students to specialize in business, e-government, interface design, or systems. Towson offers small classes and personal attention from its renowned faculty members, and local students will enjoy graduating into Baltimore’s metropolitan job market.

19University of Nebraska at OmahaOmaha$$$$$6001 Dodge St
Omaha, NE 68182-0225
(402) 554-2800

The largest urban university in the state of Nebraska, UNO has an enrollment of more than 15,000 students. Serving as an access point for higher education for more than a century, UNO ranks as one of the most affordable colleges in Nebraska, and the school has also earned praise for its friendliness to veterans. Students pursuing their computer science bachelor's degree online through UNO learn to design and implement computing and programming systems to meet a range of organizational needs. The program includes general courses in theory and application along with a few concentration options, including information systems, networking, telecommunications, mainframe computing, data engineering, and software development. Students can also take upper level courses in specialized subjects, such as video game design, security administration, cryptography, and multimedia systems.

20University of Wisconsin - StoutMenomonie$$$$$712 S. Broadway St.
Menomonie, WI 54751
(715) 232-1431

Part of the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Stout is specially designated as the state’s polytechnic institute, offering training programs in technology and industry. UW-Stout offers a degree in applied mathematics and computer science, with six available concentrations, including actuarial science, business management, information assurance and cybersecurity, mathematics education, software development, and an interdisciplinary program. All six tracks include foundational courses in computer science along with a curriculum that helps students develop strong analytical skills and collaborative abilities. Students can access a range of academic services online, including library resources for mathematics, computer science, and statistics.

21Georgia Southern UniversityStatesboro$$$$$Brannen Hall, Room 2015, 2670 Southern Drive
Statesboro, GA 30460-8126
(912) 478-5391

GSU is home to over 20,000 students, and offers comprehensive education through more than 120 degree programs. The school’s online computer science program provides distance learners with a nuanced understanding of the programming, data structural, and mathematical skills necessary to solve complex computing problems. The program includes relevant computer science courses along with general classes in communications, social sciences, the humanities, and global engagement. Students can also choose from relevant electives in a variety of areas, including animation, optical networks, game programming, and broadband networks.

22Old Dominion UniversityNorfolk$$$$$5115 Hampton Blvd
Norfolk, VA 23529
(757) 683-3000

ODU is also one of the top online colleges in Virginia, and 96% of students are satisfied with the school’s online education platform. Its online computer science degree is particularly strong, and offers students several options to tailor the curriculum to suit their interests. Distance learners can take classes in one of six concentrations, including databases, cybersecurity, game programming, networking, systems programming, and web programming. Students will get significant laboratory experience and learn the fundamentals of the field. Additionally, lab work exposes students to both the experimental and design aspects of computer science, emphasizing the creativity and productivity they’ll need as professionals.

23LeTourneau UniversityLongview$$$$$2100 S Mobberly Ave
Longview, TX 75607-7001
(903) 233-3000

Established in 1946 as a technical college, LeTourneau has become a small, four-year nondenominational Christian university. LeTourneau’s online computer science program emphasizes software development, allowing students to concentrate in one of two tracks: game development or network security. The game development track helps students build the programming skills and software necessary to create video games, giving distance learners an overview of graphics, modeling, design, programming, and engineering practices. Students can also participate in game-related internship programs. The network security concentration teaches students to create and manage secure digital networks, protecting organizations from cybercrime and unauthorized intrusion. The program includes courses in networking, information security, and database management.

24DePaul UniversityChicago$$$$$1 E Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 362-8000

With over 23,000 students, DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the United States. DePaul’s School of Computing makes use of the latest developments in emerging technologies, from artificial intelligence and visual computing to multimedia networking. Combining elements of math, science, and engineering, the computer science program teaches students to structure, repair, and modify complex computer systems, helping distance learners build a fundamental knowledge of algorithms, programming, and data systems. The computer science offering at DePaul is a transfer program, with admission open only to students who have already earned 45 quarter or 30 semester hours of transferable credits from another school. Transfer students must also have at least one previous semester of training, in either Java or C++. Online students can typically graduate within three years.

25Dakota State UniversityMadison$$$$$820 N Washington Ave
Madison, SD 57042-1799
(605) 256-5111

DSU maintains a strong academic focus on technology programs. The college emphasizes the integration of technology in all aspects of education, and it offers a variety of robust online degrees. The online computer science program at DSU equips students with the tools they need to build computer systems and applications, devising solutions for several fields, including networking and security. Courses cover fundamental topics like algorithms, database management, and mathematics, along with more specialized topics in parallel computing, assembly languages, and language processing. Interested students can get a jump on graduate education through the school’s accelerated 4+1 program, which allows undergraduates to earn credit toward an MS in applied computer science or other related degree. DSU emphasizes professional preparedness, and 94% of graduates are able to find a job soon after they leave school.

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.

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Computer Science Master’s Degree Rankings

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1Stanford UniversityStanford$$$$$
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.

2Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew 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.

3Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore$$$$$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.

4Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlanta$$$$$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.

5Boston UniversityBoston$$$$$
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 353-2000

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.

6North Carolina State University at RaleighRaleigh$$$$$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.

7Illinois Institute of TechnologyChicago$$$$$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.

8University of Minnesota - Twin CitiesMinneapolis$$$$$100 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0213
(612) 625-5000

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.

9Northeastern UniversityBoston$$$$$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.

10University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign$$$$$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.

11DePaul UniversityChicago$$$$$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.

12Syracuse UniversitySyracuse$$$$$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.

13New Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewark$$$$$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.

14University of Illinois at SpringfieldSpringfield$$$$$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.

15University of South FloridaTampa$$$$$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.

16Polytechnic 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.

17Purdue UniversityWest 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.

18Nova Southeastern UniversityFort 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.

19Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester$$$$$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.

20Marquette UniversityMilwaukee$$$$$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.

21Iowa State UniversityAmes$$$$$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.

22University of Hawaii at ManoaHonolulu$$$$$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.

23University of Houston - VictoriaVictoria$$$$$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.

24Lewis UniversityRomeoville$$$$$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.

25Marist CollegePoughkeepsie$$$$$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?