Updated on June 13, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
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University Headquarters (HQ) is an industry-leading, independent educational organization that provides independent college rankings using a proprietary formula to create first class unbiased rankings. The team at University HQ strives to provide accurate and trustworthy rankings that highlights the best computer science programs.

Compare Popular Online Computer Science Programs

Before you enter school and declare your computer science major, it's a good idea to know what this field requires of its graduates, what education and skills you'll need, and what career opportunities you might find in the field.

Once you graduate with a bachelor's degree, you’ll be ready to get to work for prospective employers in the computer science or information technology (IT) field. This might be in software engineering or software development, web development, data analysis or data science, network security, full stack development, and more. Everything you do will be related to computers and technology, including online or cloud technology. You might be the one figuring out what’s gone wrong when a glitch slows everything down or makes it come to a dead halt, or you could create the system itself using various programming languages and complex computer architecture or data structures.

Many computer science graduates can find work as a database administrator or in online or web development. With experience in computer programming languages, they can find jobs as software developers; a software developer will create database management systems or other software systems for computers. Professionals with computer science degrees are in high demand in fields ranging from information technology to business and management, especially those with experience in machine learning, software development, computer and information research, artificial intelligence, programming languages, web development, and more. And a bachelor's in computer science is the usual entry point into the field, whether you earn an in-person or online degree.

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How to Earn an Online Degree in Computer Science

You’ll have a wide menu of choices when it comes to an IT career: you could work as an IT consultant, computer forensic investigator, cloud architect, health IT specialist, web developer, mobile application developer, vendor manager, software engineer or software developer, data modeler, or a geospatial professional.

Each of these computer science careers requires not only that you know all the info there is to know about the computer information systems (CIS) industry, but also that you keep up to date with new technology. While you can start down this career path without a full bachelor's in computer science degree, it may be unwise to skip the academics where you can learn everything you need to on these topics in two to four years. An on-campus or online bachelor's degree in computer science may prepare and give them a leg up in the field by providing computer science graduates with the education they require and the skills they need, whether they go into a career in machine learning, software engineering or software systems engineering, software development or full stack development, or other computer science careers.

First, you should understand what computer science is. Often, you won’t just be doing programming work once you complete a computer science major. Instead, you’ll learn about design techniques, the analysis and design of algorithms, how to use programming languages, artificial intelligence, software engineering, network security, and many other specialties.

In your major, you may turn your attention to information technology and science and how to structure, represent, manage, store, retrieve, and transfer information electronically, either encrypted and sent online or ent through an intranet. Make sure you explore each specialty before you decide on a specialization for your major, especially if you’re not sure where you want to work.

Typical Online Requirements

As a computer science major, your math requirements will be heavy (including calculus). You’ll also take classes on programming languages, and courses in discrete structures, data structures, data science, and computer systems.

Because so many of your classes rely on math prerequisites, you’ll need to take each semester’s classes in a particular order or you may end up lost. Listen carefully to your advisor, because some classes will count for other areas and you won’t be allowed to take more than a specified number of classes in a certain area. Even so, much of your work will already be happening in a virtual environment, so choosing to earn a computer science degree online is definitely an option. Online computer science degrees and single courses provide online students with the same outcomes as traditional students who opt for a bachelor's degree in computer science.

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Typical Computer Science Certifications Needed/Available

A specific certification in a procedure or software engineering lets potential employers know you have the skills they are seeking. However, these are not the same as an online bachelor's in computer science as they generally do not offer college credits. Many of these certifications are taught through online courses and then you take an exam, which may also be online or in-person, to prove you know the material. Some of the ones that are most in demand include:

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate or CCNA
  • Network+
  • CompTIA A+ Technician
  • Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer or MCSE
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional or CISSP

Look through the lists of certifications available and decide which ones most interest you, best fit with your career goals, or are most easily accessible through local or online courses. There are a huge number available for computer science graduates with an in-person or online computer science degree at the bachelor's level or a master's degree from a college or university, and some you can earn without completing any computer sciene degree programs at all. These certifications can improve your median salary.

Academic Standards

The academic standards for an in-person or online bachelor's computer science degree are especially high in the math department. If you are going to become a successful computer science professional, you need to take all the required math classes and demonstrate proficiency in them. You’ll develop a strong reasoning ability, as well as the problem solving and analytical skills that will allow you to approach questions and problems in your major and in your daily work.

If you choose to, you can go on to graduate school and continue studying computer science to increase your degree level, work in government, or teach at the secondary level. By earning another degree, you can also expand into business and management if you are interested in a leadership position.

Exam and Experience Needed for Online Computer Science Majors

science_majors_exam Even new computer science graduates should be able to find employment in the field of their choice, as long as they pass their courses consistently. Once you graduate, you’ll be able to help create and improve computer hardware and software or design new computer architecture to improve the efficiency of hardware—this may eventually result in technological efficiencies and advances.

Depending on the specialization you choose, you'll want to seek certifications for these specialties.

Popular Computer Science Major Concentrations

  • A computer information systems (CIS) professional is an IT professional responsible for providing support and expertise to organizations in the management, design, development, implementation, and maintenance of computer networks and systems. They use their knowledge of hardware, software, databases and networks to ensure that information technology infrastructure works efficiently. They have experience with many different programming languages such as HTML, Java, Javascript, PHP or Python.
  • As a computer engineering professional, you are responsible for researching, designing, developing and testing new computer systems and their components (processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers). You create the schematics for the system to be built, then test the hardware. You also analyze the test results and make any needed modifications.
  • Computer programming is the process of designing, writing, testing, and maintaining computer software. It involves using a programming language to write instructions that tell a computer what tasks to perform. Programming languages can be used for a wide range of applications, from developing websites and mobile apps to creating complex algorithms for scientific research. Programming requires logical thinking and problem-solving skills as programmers need to identify issues in code and debug programs to ensure they function correctly. They also need to constantly adapt their skills as new technologies and programming languages emerge. Some core skills for programmers include knowledge of databases, networks, security protocols, data structures, algorithms and mathematical concepts.
  • Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting computer systems, networks, and digital information from unauthorized access or attacks. It involves a combination of technology, processes, and policies that work together to safeguard against cyber threats. Effective cybersecurity measures include using strong passwords, regularly updating software and hardware systems with security patches and fixes, implementing firewalls and antivirus software programs, conducting regular security audits and risk assessments, providing employee training on safe online practices, and having incident response plans in place for when a breach occurs.
  • Database administration refers to the process of managing and maintaining a database system. This involves tasks such as installing, configuring, monitoring, and optimizing databases to ensure optimal performance. A database administrator (DBA) is responsible for ensuring that data is stored efficiently, securely, and accurately. One key aspect of database administration is security management. DBAs must ensure that sensitive data is protected from unauthorized access or theft. They also need to create backup and recovery plans in case of data loss or corruption.
  • Database management is the process of maintaining and organizing data effectively using software. It includes tasks such as creating, updating, and deleting records in a database, as well as ensuring data accuracy and completeness. Database management systems (DBMS) are used to handle these tasks. Typically database managers manage a team of database administrators and DBMS have built-in security features that allow administrators to control access to sensitive information. This helps prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data, protecting against theft or damage.
  • Data science helps professionals to find relationships and patterns embedded in data. Computer science professionals who specialize in data science principles assist other professionals in finding the data, analyzing it, then converting it into usable information for the company.
  • Game designing is the process of creating games, whether they are video games, board games, or card games. It involves a combination of skills such as concept development, storytelling, programming, game mechanics design and testing. Game designers must have a thorough understanding of their target audience to create gameplay experiences that will capture the player’s attention and keep them engaged.
  • Geographic information systems (GIS) is a technology that enables the collection, processing, analysis, and visualization of geospatial data. GIS systems use maps to represent spatial information, which can be combined with other types of data such as demographics and socioeconomic data to make informed decisions. GIS has become an essential tool in many fields such as environmental management, urban planning, disaster response, agriculture, forestry management and public health.
  • Information technology (IT) is a term that refers to the use of computer-based technology to manage and process data. It involves the application of computers, software, networking, and other related technologies to create, store, transmit, and retrieve information. IT has become an essential part of every business today as it enables them to automate tasks and processes for increased efficiency.
  • Network administration refers to the management and maintenance of computer networks, both local and wide area. It involves configuring, installing, monitoring, and troubleshooting network components such as routers, switches, firewalls, servers, and other devices. Network administrators are responsible for ensuring that a network operates efficiently and securely by implementing policies that regulate access to data resources.
  • Software development is the process of designing, creating, testing, and maintaining software. It involves a variety of activities such as gathering requirements from clients, designing software architecture and algorithms, coding, debugging, testing, documenting the code, and deploying it to production servers. Software development can be done by individual developers or teams of developers working together on a project. The goal of software development is to create high-quality software that meets user needs while being reliable and scalable.
  • Software engineering powers all our electronic devices, such as music players, microwave ovens, cellphones, personal computers, tablets, e-readers and even huge mainframe computers that government organizations rely on. Software engineering relies on algorithms that inform the device about all the various procedures they should perform.
  • Web development refers to the process of creating and maintaining websites. This includes a variety of tasks such as web design, content creation, coding, and website optimization. Web developers work with clients to determine their needs and create a website that meets those requirements. Web development can be divided into two main categories: front-end development and back-end development. Front-end developers are responsible for creating the user-facing portion of the website using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Back-end developers handle the server-side programming that enables websites to interact with databases and other applications.

Associate Degree in Computer Science Online

At the online associate level, the classes you’ll take are more basic than those at a higher level, whether you take your courses online or in-person. You’ll take your general education courses, as students seeking their undergraduate degree will, and you’ll take a few of the computer systems and programming classes you will need to gain an entry-level position in the computer science field. Many of these associate degrees in computer science are available through online learning platforms, making them a very flexible way to get into the field.

Online associate degree sample courses

  • English Composition
  • Calculus, I
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Logic
  • English Composition, II
  • Calculus, II
  • Approved elective
  • Computer Science, I (or approved elective)
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Public Speaking
  • Interpersonal Speaking
  • Computer Science, I
  • Approved elective
  • Physics: Calculus-Based, I - with Lab
  • Art Appreciation
  • General Psychology
  • Western Civilization, and additional classes

Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science Online, with concentration

At the online bachelor’s level, you’ll take similar classes (on-campus or online) - with the option of progressing toward a master's. Though the classes are similar, they will be more numerous and will lean more heavily into the math arena. Once you graduate with an online bachelor's in computer science, you’ll have a wider range of jobs you’ll be able to walk into than you would have with just an online associate’s.

General Education:

  • Interpersonal Communication or Speech Communications
  • Introductory Written Communication
  • Professional Written Communication
  • Modern American History: 1950-21st Century
  • College Algebra for Technical Programs
  • Introduction to Ethics
  • Introductory Psychology

Core Courses:

  • Computer Architecture
  • Problem Solving in Computer Science
  • Principles of Programming Languages
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Python Programming
  • SQL Programming
  • Java Programming
  • C++ Programming
  • Fundamentals of Data Structures
  • Introduction to Database Systems
  • Computer Algorithms
  • Mobile Programming
  • Introduction to Parallel Computing
  • Principles of Operating Systems
  • Software Engineering
  • Foundations of Big Data Analysis
  • Computer Science Team Project, I
  • Computer Science Team Project, II
  • Introduction to Computer Security
  • Fundamentals of Networking
  • Fundamentals of Computer Forensics via Criminal Justice
  • Applications of Discrete Mathematics for Computer Systems and IT
  • Data Driven Statistics for Computer Systems and IT
  • Concentration:44 credits from Computer Science Credits (Also as electives)

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Master's Degree in Computer Science Online, with concentrations

1st Master’s Plan:

  • 32 credit hours of approved graduate courses
  • At least two credit hours of CS Colloquium
  • At least 26 of the 32 hours must be in courses offered by Computer Science Department at 500 level or higher
  • Complete minimum of two courses from following categories with a grade of B- or higher:
    • Mathematical Methods
    • Empirical Methods
    • Engineering/System Building Methods
  • Completion of 6-9 credit hours of Thesis credit, with a maximum of 9 credit hours of thesis and independent research, combined
  • Defense of the Thesis

2nd Master’s Plan:

  • 32 credit hours of approved graduate courses
  • At least 2 credit hours of Colloquium
  • In addition to Colloquium, at least 24 of the 32 credit hours must be in courses offered by Computer Science Department at the 500 level or higher
  • Completion of a minimum of two courses from each category below, with a grade of B- or higher:
    • Mathematical Methods
    • Empirical Methods
    • Engineering/System Building Methods
  • No final exam will be required.

Concentrations: Entrepreneurship and Technology Management

Online associates, Bachelors, Masters Cost Range for Each

Online Associate of Science in Computer Science $265/credit hour (less for members of the military, veterans or family members of the military.)
Online Bachelor’s degrees $215.55/credit hour, in-state $721.10/credit hour, out-of-state (both main campus)
Graduate Degrees, Engineering and Computer Science $2,101 (12 hours or more); $1,401 (6-11 hours); $700 ($1-5 hours); $350 (0 hours)

Career Options for Computer Science Majors

At any level (associate’s, bachelor’s, or masters), a computer science degree is lucrative. This career field is much in demand as companies all across the U.S. continue embracing technology and moving more and more of their operations to computers, servers, and the cloud.

At the associate’s level, you can easily earn more than $36,000; at the bachelor’s level, close to $54,999; and at the computer science master’s level, a little more than $96,000.

Computer Science Careers and Salary

Computer support specialists are becoming more and more important with every year that passes. They provide support to businesses and governments and aid organizations and users. For governments and worldwide companies, they provide computer network support and give technical assistance.

Computer science professionals in different occupations earn salaries at differing rates. For instance, computer support specialists earn $46,232 as a median annual salary while computer and information research analysts earn much more at $118,370.

The difference in annual pay comes from the computer science concentrations each professional chose while in college. Computer support specialists provide technical help and advice for individuals and organizations. Computer and information research scientists go much deeper in their knowledge and the work they do. They invent and design new types of computing technology. In addition, they develop new and innovative uses for technology that already exists. They also solve complex problems in computing for several areas, such as medicine, business, government, and science.

What are the highest paying computer science jobs?

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CS Career Options

  • Computer Network Architects help design and build data communication networks (local area networks and wide area networks). The connections may be small or large, such as cloud infrastructure to aid multiple customers. They are expected to hold bachelor’s degrees before they are hired for these positions.
  • Computer Programmers write the code that helps to interpret what we want to do, such as research or logging into social media and interacting with others. When software developers and engineers send them program designs for specific apps or software, programmers take those designs and convert them into instructions a computer will reliably follow.
  • Computer Systems Analysts (or architects) carefully examine a company’s current computer systems so they can recommend and design solutions to aid the company in becoming more efficient. They are required to bring IT and business together. This means they have to communicate closely with and understand the needs of the company and understand the limitations the company and IT bring to the equation.
  • Information Systems Analysts are tasked with planning security measures, then carrying them out so that an organization’s networks and systems are protected. As the number of networks and cyberattacks increase, the work of the systems analyst grows, keeping them constantly busy. Cyberattacks may originate from foreign countries, compromising a company’s secrets or the electric grid.
  • Web Developers can do their work once they have earned an online associate degree. They help to design and create new websites, monitoring the look of the new sites they have created. Developers monitor the technical performance of websites, such as load speed and capacity. They may also create site content.

CS Salaries by Career

Careers Entry-Level Median Annual Salary Mid-Career Median Annual Salary Late-Career Median Annual Salary
Computer Network Architects $82,500 $109,100 $132,300
Computer Programmers $55,600 $70,200 $86,000
Computer Systems Analysts $56,100 $71,200 $85,300
Data Engineer $77,100 $104,400 $116,300
Data Architect $68,700 $108,400 $131,600
Information Security Analyst $59,700 $82,100 $101,700
Security Engineer $71,600 $100,600 $116,000
Information Systems Analysts $57,000 $70,800 $80,100
Game Designer $51,900 $76,000 $98,600
Web Developers $50,600 $66,700 $77,200
Data Scientist, IT $85,500 $108,800 $136,400
Mobile Applications Developer $60,800 $87,700 $108,000
Systems Administrator $51,400 $63,900 $75,600

Important Questions to Ask (FAQ)

How Long Does an Online Program in Computer Science Take?

Your path to graduation is personal and individual. While someone else may graduate later, even though they started school when you did, they may have had other academic commitments to satisfy. Others may be able to finish their programs sooner than you because they don’t have to deal with Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) or work during their college years.

To figure out how long it will take you to graduate, you can first look at how many credits are required. This is usually a set amount depending on what degree you are hoping to earn; around 120 for a bachelor's degree, such as a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Arts (BA), and 60 for a master's degree. If you take 30 credits per year, you’ll graduate in about four years. If you can take more classes, this will shorten the time you’re in school. Don’t forget to seek information from your assigned advisor. Doing so means you’re less likely to miss a required class, which could delay your graduation.

How Much Does an Online Degree in Computer Science Cost?

Colleges and universities generally charge per credit hour. Multiply the cost by the number of credits you’re taking for your total semester’s financial commitment. Program fees may not be included in the stated tuition rate. If a university charges $331 per credit hour, multiply this by 12 or 15 (the number of credits you’re taking per semester). For 12 credit hours, this is $3,972; for 15 credit hours, it’s $4,965.

The College Board’s Trends in Higher Education Series reported that the average cost of a four-year public program was $9,970 if taken in-state. It was as much as #35,260 if taken at a private university or college. And be aware that, even if you are comfortable with the per credit hour cost of the program you are looking at, there will be other costs for fees, textbooks, and room and board if you live on campus.

CS Sample Coursework

Before you declare a computer science major, you should have an idea of what kind of timeframe you’re looking at. If you are trying to earn an online associate degree, you will only need to finish about 60 credit hours over 2 years. However, if you are going for your online bachelor's you will need to complete 120 credit hours over four years. And, if you want to attain a master’s degree as well, you will have to finish your online bachelor's first and then spend around 2 years completing 60 more credit hours. Either degree will put you in good standing to enter the field of computer science careers, though a higher degree level will give you more opportunity and access to more jobs.

Some of the courses you’ll take throughout our college career will include:

  • Chemistry, 101
  • Introduction to Computing Environments
  • Calculus, I
  • Introduction to Computing (Java)
  • Physics for Engineers and Scientists, I-Lab
  • Fundamentals of Economics
  • Discrete Mathematics for CSC
  • Calculus, III
  • Physics for Scientists and Engineers
  • C and Software Tools
  • Elementary Linear Algebra
  • Basic Science Elective
  • Automata, Grammars, and Computability
  • Probability & Statistics for Engineers
  • Ethics in Computing
  • Communication for Engineers and Tech
  • Cybersecurity

Does the Online School have the Computer Science Major(s) You’re Considering?

Before you choose which school to enroll in, you need to determine if they have the major you are interested in. Since you’re interested in computer science, you can call the school’s admission office, where staff can answer your questions. If the schools do have computer science majors, find out if there are any specializations available and what their options are for online learning. Request an undergraduate catalog, which contains all the information you’ll need.

How Many Students Graduated “On Time,” in Four Years?

students_graduated_time If you’re concerned about the specific graduation rate at each school you’re most interested in, the Office of Institutional Research at each university should have that information. Nationwide, only 41% of university students finish within the four year timetable. The remaining 59% tend to stay in school for five years or more.

This can get very expensive. Students have to pay for additional terms of tuition. Universities and colleges may also penalize students who are taking too long to graduate. So, you need to have a plan that enables you to graduate within four years. See an advisor for your major every semester. Take the classes that they tell you are required. Try to take more than just the 12 minimum full-time credits per semester—instead, take 15; if you don’t have to work more than 10 to 15 hours a week, try to take 18 credits.

Take summer classes to get ahead (or catch up if you fail a class).

Don’t change majors too often. If you’re not sure of your major, take just your general education credits and try a few majors you’re interested in—take an introductory class for each major and find the one that fits you best.

What Kind of Accreditation Does the Online Program Hold? How is it Regarded in the Field?

“Accreditation” simply means that an outside agency has reviewed a university or its computer science major in painstaking detail. As a result, the program and/or university have been found to be of the highest quality. Faculty will be assessed as well.

Computer science programs are accredited by the Computing Accrediting Commission (CAC). CAC is overseen by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). When you see either accreditation given to a university’s computer science program, you know you’ll get the highest quality education available. If neither of these types of accreditation exist in any of the schools you are looking to attend, at least try to find somewhere with regional accreditation. This is not program specific but means that the whole school has been accredited by agencies approved by the US Department of Education.

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Software, Technology & Skills Needed

As a computer science major, you need computer interest and skills to work in this field. You’ll also be required to own the technology and software needed to complete course assignments (this may be included in textbook costs).

The skills you need include business strategy and organizational leadership. You’ll also need the ability and aptitude to help you develop several technical skills: Project management, communication, problem solving and critical thinking, and analysis.

You’ll need to learn about distributed systems and data integration. Your skills should allow you to understand and learn operating systems management and graphic applications. Networking can also be vital in computer science, so you’ll need the know-how to meet-and-greet when you get the chance to meet others in your field. Security, mobile technology, and operating systems management are also vital for computer science professionals. If you have a background in programming languages and technology, this will help as you begin your educational work.


  • School of Engineering Scholarships
    Covers several scholarships for students in the School of Engineering—including computer science students. These are internal scholarships for the School of Engineering and include SOE Summer Undergraduate Scholarships and National Science Foundation scholarships. (Funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation.)

  • Mark Nesiba Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Women in Computing
    This scholarship is open to women only. Students who are applying for this scholarship must be majoring in computer science with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Although it isn’t mandatory, the scholarship department prefers that students be Hispanic. Women who apply should qualify for financial aid after filling out and submitting their FAFSA.

Professional Organizations

  • ACM
  • IEEE
  • IET

Association for Computing Machinery

Association for Computing Machinery

ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. It works to deliver resources that help to advance computing as a science and profession to incoming students and professionals. Members have access to its premier Digital Library.


IEEE Computer Society (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is the parent corporation)

IEEE Computer Society (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is the parent corporation)

One of the world’s largest and most advanced membership organizations for computer science and technology professionals. Members receive vetted information, career development sources and networking opportunities. IEEE Computer Society sponsors more than 200 technical conferences each year (including an industry-oriented “Rock Stars” series of events worldwide).


Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Billed as an engineering institution with more than 168,000 members in 150 countries, IET can boast that it is the most multi-disciplinary organization created. This organization has realized that engineering has become a highly diversified field in this century. It works to create a better world by informing, influencing, and inspiring its members, who are technicians and engineers.

Choosing an Online Accredited College

Accredited universities, whether you’re studying on campus, an online bachelor's in computer science degree, or in a hybrid program, seek accreditation so they can ensure the faculty they hire to teach their students will be of the highest quality. They also want to be sure that the programs are as well-created as possible, so that students will benefit from the latest and most reliable information as they learn about their chosen field.

As you weigh your options, speak to the admissions offices of each university you’re considering. Include a question about the school’s accreditation status, who has accredited it and whether the computer science program you’re considering is accredited.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits computer science, engineering, and engineering technology programs. When you find that the program is ABET-accredited, you’ll know you’re entering a high-quality program. If this accreditation is not available, consider looking for regional accreditation provided by a Department of Education -approved accrediting agency.

Online vs. On-Campus vs. Hybrid

As a computer science major, you may want to be able to take classes online. Before you make your final decision on this topic, understand that each format will give you different experiences, even though you’ll still be expected to meet all deadlines.

Traditional learning, rather than earning an online degree, makes it easier for you to interact with professors and fellow students. You’ll learn through lectures, discussions, and labs. You’ll know when assignments are due and tests are scheduled. You’ll receive immediate feedback from your instructors and fellow students.

Opting for computer science online programs means you’ll be working alone joined to everyone only by your internet connection. You can log in at any time you want, either to listen to a lecture or complete an assignment or quiz; ditto with forum participation. However, you will still have deadlines, usually weekly.

With hybrid courses, you’ll get a mix of both worlds. That is why this option is known as “blended”. While your on-campus class sessions may only occur once or twice in the term, you’ll still meet other students and your instructors. Most online bachelors in computer science degrees don't have any requirement for on-campus courses, so you'll need to set this up yourself if you want a blended experience. Computer science degree online courses can be mixed into the usual on-campus program to allow you more flexibiity or to allow you to take more than the usual credit hours in a semester.

Top 10 Best Computer Science Degree Programs


Stanford University

Stanford University has the best computer science programs in the US, along with being one of the best universities in the world. It features a range of degree options, from bachelor’s to PhD. The department also offers computer science minors for individuals with almost any type of major to ensure the most well-rounded education possible. The university also provides students with opportunities in research, events, internships, and job search assistance.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $52,479
    • Out-of-State: $52,479
  • Rank: #1
  • Total Enrollment: 17,249
  • Graduation Rate: 94%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 606

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

The University of Washington at Seattle is frequently ranked amongst the top computer science programs in the country with roughly 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students participating in programs each year. The computer science and engineering school received $39 million in research grants and contracts in 2019 that help them provide students with various hands-on training and research experiences. Program participants also have access to the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering featuring concentrations in software, aerospace, global health, life sciences, and more.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $18,198
    • Out-of-State: $32,439
  • Rank: #2
  • Total Enrollment: 47,576
  • Graduation Rate: 84%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 363

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University has a prestigious School of Computer Science, offering computer science degrees along with several interdisciplinary majors such as music, technology, and computational biology. Students can also choose from eight different minors, as well as the option to double major in computer science and another major outside of the program. Artificial intelligence is also a growing program within the school and you can continue your education with an online master’s degree or a PhD program, all at Carnegie Mellon University.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $45,037
    • Out-of-State: $45,037
  • Rank: #3
  • Total Enrollment: 14,180
  • Graduation Rate: 90%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 229

University of California-Davis

The University of California at Davis (UC Davis) offers a dedicated Department of Computer Science with two undergraduate majors and minors each, graduate programs and PhDs. Students can major in computer science or computer science and engineering. They can minor in computer science and computational biology. The department also allows non-major students to take a variety of computer science courses. Students and graduates are also privy to an extensive and active alumni network and outstanding research opportunities.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,442
    • Out-of-State: $26,544
  • Rank: #4
  • Total Enrollment: 38,634
  • Graduation Rate: 87%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 331

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University of California-San Diego

The University of California at San Diego provides a range of computer science options, from bachelor’s degrees to online master’s degrees including options in computer science, computer and software engineering, specialization in bioinformatics, and a minor in computer science. Students can even pursue dual degrees to save time and money. The department offers a virtual advising center for all undergraduate students. Roughly 800 students actively participate in MS and PhD programs within the computer science department at any given time.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,442
    • Out-of-State: $26,544
  • Rank: #5
  • Total Enrollment: 38,736
  • Graduation Rate: 87%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 678

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University has a renowned computer science department with a variety of focal areas including general computer science, robotics, graphics, vision, natural language processing, video game design, big data, systems and networking, information security, and more. Graduates are often recruited by Intel, Apple, Google, or Microsoft. They also offer various computer science minors, dual degrees, and online master’s degrees along with coordinating programs with the engineering department.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $55,350
    • Out-of-State: $55,350
  • Rank: #6
  • Total Enrollment: 27,079
  • Graduation Rate: 93%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 331

Hobart William Smith Colleges

The Hobart William Smith Colleges Department of Mathematics and Computer Science provides innovative teaching methodologies, including independent learning options. The programs offer off-campus studies, honors programs, research opportunities, and graduate programs. All courses and programs center around the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Computer science program participants at Hobart William Smith Colleges also go on to secure prominent internships at top organizations such as financial institutions, pharmacies, research programs, art galleries, IT corporations, and more.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $13,958
    • Out-of-State: $13,958
  • Rank: #7
  • Total Enrollment: 2,070
  • Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 17

University of California-Berkeley

The University of California at Berkeley features top-ranking computer science programs in information science, information security, technology, software engineering and software development, and more. The university works to formulate strong community connections so that students are able to collaborate on real projects for the ultimate in hands-on experiences that far exceed those available at most other colleges and universities. Students will also be able to complete professional and research graduate degrees, as well as participate in state-of-the-art research centers and labs on campus.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,442
    • Out-of-State: $26,544
  • Rank: #8
  • Total Enrollment: 43,185
  • Graduation Rate: 93%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 633

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides a few computer science undergraduate degrees and minors. The college also offers a software engineering certificate and several fifth-year master’s degree programs for students in computer science. Students can also pursue a variety of computer science master’s degree programs not associated with the fifth-year programs as well as a PhD. Mathematics, statistics, and technical skills will have a strong focus in all programs.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $14,997
    • Out-of-State: $28,404
  • Rank: #9
  • Total Enrollment: 51,605
  • Graduation Rate: 85%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 800

University of California-Los Angeles

The University of California at Los Angeles has a highly desirable computer science department with over 1,300 undergraduate students and over 375 graduate students. One of the most attractive features of the department is the 30-plus research labs and centers all program participants have access to for more hands-on experiences. Students can select a focus in systems hardware or general computer science. The computer science programs are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,442
    • Out-of-State: $26,544
  • Rank: #10
  • Total Enrollment: 44,371
  • Graduation Rate: 92%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 399

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I earn my degree in computer science online?

As much of what you’ll learn in computer science is already taught in a virtual format, moving that learning into an online learning environment isn’t just easy, it’s practically unnecessary. In short, yes. You can earn several types of computer science, information technology, and cyber security degrees online. There are also huge numbers of certifications available through online learning. These include those in information security, software development, software engineering, data structures and distributed systems, programming languages, and much more.

Is a computer science bachelor's degree worth it?

Considering that the need for specialists with experience in computer science (aka computer science degrees) is expected to increase for the next decade or more, and the fact that there are at least a half million unfilled positions within the cyber security and computer science across the world, this is the perfect time to get into this field. And, as many of these jobs pay above average incomes, even for those with below average formal education, I think you’ll find that this field is more than worth it.

How much do computer science majors make?

In order to give you an idea of what you could make throughout your career, here are the average incomes for those with the three most common level of degree.

  • Associate Computer Science Degree – $67,000/year
  • Bachelor’s Computer Science Degree – $91,000/year
  • Master’s Computer Science Degree - $107,000/year

Does the College Have Post-Graduate Job Placement Help and Assistance?

If your university offers career and/or placement services, you’ll be able to take advantage of both as a student or graduate. You can receive career counseling, career assessments, and resume reviews, where you’ll learn how to spruce your resume up.

Why You Need to Consider How the Rating/Accreditation Can Affect Your Future Salary

College rankings are only as important as the criteria they evaluate. These evaluations can’t be quantified because the value of a school is so individual to each student.

Choosing an accredited university can have good or bad implications for your future. If you take the time to learn about the university’s accreditation, you’ll learn more about whether you’re attending a true educational institution or a “diploma mill.”

Financial aid won’t be provided if your school isn’t accredited. Your future salary also relies on this status. Future employers will ask for your official transcripts. They do so as they are checking out your background. If you did attend an accredited institution, you may be offered a higher salary.

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