10 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

The best online computer science degrees provide practical technical training, flexible course options, and strong career outcomes after graduation.
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Updated August 23, 2023

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Are you ready to discover your college program?

An online computer science degree gives you the skills to pursue a high-paying career in information technology. This degree builds broad knowledge in areas such as programming, cybersecurity, and software engineering.

Earning your bachelor's degree in computer science online gives you great flexibility, letting you take courses when it best suits your schedule. You may even be able to work full time while you take classes.

The best online colleges for computer science combine strong academics, convenience, and top-notch professional outcomes. Our ranking methodology considers three key factors: academics, affordability, and online enrollment.

Featured Computer Science Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Top Computer Science Degrees Online

Read About Our Methodology Here

#1 10 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

Western Governors University

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online

Avg. Cost per 6-Month Term: $3,625

Credits to Graduate: 120 competency units 

WGU's online BS in computer science uses an educational model emphasizing personalized learning and affordability. You must complete 35 courses to earn your degree, but students with prior computer science experience can demonstrate what they know to earn their degree even faster.

The curriculum teaches core skills such as network security, web development, and software engineering. You'll also showcase your technical expertise through a capstone project. Additionally, this program prepares you to pursue industry certifications like CompTIA. 

About 71% of students in this program earn their BS in just over two years by using prior experience and/or transferring credits. Admission requires a high school diploma (or equivalent) and transcripts.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,380
Out-of-state
$6,380
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,500
Out-of-state
$7,500
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
147,866
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#2 10 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Manchester, NH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit: $320

Credits to Graduate: 120

SNHU's online BS in computer science offers four 12-credit concentrations: data analysis, information security, software engineering, and STEM project management.

You'll learn core skills in programming, software security, and full-stack development regardless of your concentration. You may opt to use your 12 credits for major electives rather than a concentration. You can also choose between a capstone project and a software engineering internship.

Students can transfer up to 90 credits into this bachelor's program. To apply, you must submit all transcripts and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,600
Out-of-state
$9,600
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,810
Out-of-state
$18,810
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
134,345
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#3 10 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

Colorado State University-Global Campus

  • Aurora, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online

Avg. Cost per Credit: $350

Credits to Graduate: 120

CSU Global's online bachelor's in computer science program targets both seasoned professionals and students with no prior computer science experience. All classes in this program use an asynchronous format.

You'll learn core computer science skills like programming, software engineering, and database management. You can also use certificates and specializations to build your degree plan. Popular specializations include organizational leadership and project management. The program also offers interdisciplinary concentrations, like healthcare management.

You may transfer up to 90 credits toward this degree. CSU Global locks in student tuition to ensure affordability. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,400
Out-of-state
$8,400
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,000
Out-of-state
$9,000
Retention Rate
47%
Admission Rate
98%
Students Enrolled
12,578
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 10 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies

  • Fayette, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit: $270

Credits to Graduate: 120

CMU is a private liberal arts college that offers an online bachelor's in computer science, blending classroom learning with real-world experience. In this program, you'll study key subjects like networking, database systems and SQL, and data structures and algorithms. You'll also learn how to program with Java or Python.

You can pursue specialized training in subfields like web design and mobile app development. The program's internship component provides hands-on experience on campus in Missouri or with local employers. Admission requires a minimum 2.5-2.75 GPA and, for some applicants, SAT or ACT scores.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,950
Out-of-state
$5,950
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,075
Out-of-state
$6,075
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
100%
Students Enrolled
3,429
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 10 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

Auburn University

  • Auburn, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit: $541

Credits to Graduate: 120

Auburn's online computer science degree is geared toward students who've already earned some college credit. You can apply your credits to fulfill the program's general education and other requirements.

The computer science major provides training in areas such as algorithms, operating systems, and mobile app development. You'll also complete a course on ethics that covers privacy and property rights issues.

All students can receive free tutoring from peers. Students without enough transfer credits can meet with an advisor to develop a degree plan. Applicants must have at least 30 college credits and submit all undergraduate transcripts.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,080
Out-of-state
$30,240
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,080
Out-of-state
$30,240
Retention Rate
92%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
30,737
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 10 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

Maryville University of Saint Louis

  • Saint Louis, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit: $525

Credits to Graduate: 128

A key feature of Maryville's online BS in computer science is customization. You'll learn core skills like programming and database applications, as well as how to deploy state-of-the-art technology like Amazon Web Services and IBM Watson. You can also pursue in-demand certifications in areas such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and data science.

The Smarthinking tutoring service provides 24/7 academic support. You'll also have access to personal counseling and a life coach team. Maryville is a transfer-friendly institution. To apply, you must have a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$24,766
Out-of-state
$24,766
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,346
Out-of-state
$14,346
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
10,979
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
83% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 10 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

Oregon State University

  • Corvallis, OR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit: $403

Credits to Graduate: 180

In Oregon State's online computer science program, you'll learn fundamental technical skills like programming and software engineering. You can choose to complete an optional applied computer science specialization to prepare you for cybersecurity work.

The university offers a comprehensive catalog of minors that may interest computer science students, such as innovation and entrepreneurship and user experience research.

Students can showcase their engineering design and project management expertise through a senior project. You may opt for a 100% online or hybrid learning format. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,846
Out-of-state
$29,445
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,257
Out-of-state
$26,109
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
32,312
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#8 10 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

Johnson & Wales University-Online

  • Providence, RI
  • 4 years
  • Online

Avg. Cost per Credit: $495

Credits to Graduate: 121

Based in Rhode Island, JWU offers an online BS in computer science that teaches technical skills while helping students hone their problem-solving and project management proficiencies.

Technical training covers key areas like programming, network protocols, and systems modeling and simulation. In this program, you'll apply your software development expertise to a design project. You'll also get hands-on experience by completing an internship or a project for a partnering organization.

Some courses last just eight weeks in an accelerated format. All online computer science students pay the same tuition, regardless of where they live. You must have some college credit or at least two years of work experience for admission.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,365
Out-of-state
$13,365
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,148
Out-of-state
$14,148
Retention Rate
50%
Admission Rate
36%
Students Enrolled
2,152
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#9 10 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

National University

  • La Jolla, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit: $442

Credits to Graduate: 180

NU's online bachelor's in computer science emphasizes workplace preparation. The program teaches you how to program using Java and C++. You'll also develop database, algorithm, and digital logic design proficiency.

A software development concentration prepares you to design, test, and manage secure software systems. You'll also get to showcase your software engineering expertise through a senior project.

NU is a military-friendly school with four-week courses and a generous transfer credit policy. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate and placement testing for some first-year applicants.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,320
Out-of-state
$13,320
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,480
Out-of-state
$15,480
Retention Rate
45%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
18,070
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#10 10 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

  • Platteville, WI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit: $525

Credits to Graduate: 120

UW-Platteville's online BS in applied computing entails coursework in programming, database management, and web development. You'll learn how to develop an information systems strategy to help achieve an organization's goals. You'll also explore the legal and ethical responsibilities of IT professionals. All students get to apply what they learn to a project for a client.

The university accepts up to 72 transfer credits. Admission requires a high school diploma or HSED/GED certificate for first-year students, while transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,418
Out-of-state
$14,693
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,640
Out-of-state
$16,771
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
7,547
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Why Get a Computer Science Degree Online?

Computer Science Bachelor's Degree vs. Certificate

Computer science degrees and certificates both build specialized skills that can get you a job in the IT field. In general, the major differences between these two types of programs come down to time, cost, and level of specialization.

A bachelor's degree takes much longer to complete than a certificate program, which means you'll pay more tuition. In a bachelor's program, you'll gain advanced computer science skills while also completing general education courses.

A certificate is cheaper and faster to earn, but you'll typically gain more specific knowledge that may lead to more limited career options.

In general, a certificate will get you into a job faster, but those jobs might offer lower pay. A bachelor's degree will take longer but likely offer higher salary potential.

Bachelor's Degree

  • Four years to complete
  • Often costs tens of thousands of dollars
  • Includes general education coursework
  • Higher salary potential

Certificate Program

  • One year or less to complete
  • More affordable tuition
  • Only specialized courses
  • Limited employment opportunities

Computer Science Bachelor's Degree Courses

An online computer science bachelor's degree helps you build broad knowledge in IT concepts such as programming, network security, and database systems.

When taking computer science courses, you'll also gain general communication, teamwork, and project management skills.

Algorithms

Algorithms play a major role in computer science, factoring into everything from search engines to social networks. This course gives you an overview of algorithmic design, implementation, and analysis. You may also learn how algorithms work to solve other computer problems in diverse areas, such as linguistics and statistics.

Database Systems

Databases store information, making them a crucial component of computing. This course introduces you to the fundamental functions and capabilities of database systems, including storage, indexing, and query optimization. You may also learn about database application development and security mechanisms for safeguarding data.

Software Engineering

Software engineering includes many stages: planning, design, and implementation. This course gives you an overview of major project stages and basic skills such as coding, structured analysis, and project design. These courses often include individual or team projects, giving you practical experience in software design.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity courses cover major approaches and tools for securing computer networks and digital data. This class introduces you to the fundamentals of digital security, such as encryption and coding for secure systems. You may also study cryptography, which focuses on theoretical approaches to encryption.

Fundamentals of Computing

Most programs include an introductory course that briefs you on the major elements of computer science, including hardware, programming languages, operating systems, and applications. This course may also give you an overview of the history of computing and computer science.

How to Choose an Online Computer Science Program

Computer science is a diverse field — different programs give you different career options. Before you choose an online computer science degree, think about these five major steps.

  1. 1

    Outline Your Goals

    Before narrowing down your program options, consider what you want to get from your computer science degree. You may have a specific career or salary level in mind or a particular timeline to earn your degree.

    Alternatively, you may want a program that gives you the freedom to explore different areas of study before fully committing yourself to a specialization.

  2. 2

    Determine Your Budget

    If you're like most students, tuition cost is a major concern when it comes to choosing an online computer science bachelor's degree. Outside of tuition, online programs can often create a different set of budget considerations. You may be able to save on some expenses, such as parking and transportation, while spending more on others, such as online student fees and specific technology.
  3. 3

    Compare Online Programs

    Even if they cover similar course topics, online computer science degrees can vary widely in terms of program format, length, and graduate outcomes. Be sure to consider which factors are most important to you when you start looking at programs. Careful research and comparison can help you determine the online computer science degree that best meets your needs.
  4. 4

    Confirm Accreditation

    When researching online computer science degrees, always make sure a school holds proper accreditation. A college without accreditation may not adequately prepare you for a career in the IT field, and your credits may not be accepted by graduate programs.

    Always make sure your school holds accreditation from an accrediting agency that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and/or the U.S. Department of Education.

  5. 5

    Connect With Faculty, Students, and Alumni

    A school's program page can only tell you so much. Before you commit to a computer science program, try to connect with people involved in the program to ask questions. Consider asking faculty what distinguishes their program from others, ask current students about their course experiences, and ask alumni about their professional outcomes.

Computer Science Salary and Career Outlook

In general, a computer science bachelor's degree prepares you for high-paying careers with strong job growth potential. The annual median salary in the field is $85,000, and many jobs boast median six-figure salaries.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects all jobs in information technology will grow 15% between 2021-2031 — much faster than the national average.

10 Popular Computer Science Jobs
Job Median Annual Salary (May 2021) Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)
Computer and Information Systems Managers $159,010 16%
Computer and Information Research Scientists $131,490 21%
Computer Network Architects $120,520 4%
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers $109,020 25%
Information Security Analysts $102,600 35%
Database Administrators and Architects $101,000 9%
Computer Systems Analysts $99,270 9%
Computer Programmers $93,000 -10%
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $80,600 3%
Web Developers and Digital Designers $78,300 23%

Source: BLS

Frequently Asked Questions About Computer Science Degrees

Are online computer science degrees worth it?

An online computer science degree gives you professional training and high salary potential, which makes the degree a good choice if you're looking to enter the IT field. An online program can also give you the flexibility to maintain your current job while you take classes, letting you earn a degree without affecting your income.

Which computer science degree is the best?

Ultimately, the best computer science degree is the one that matches your professional interests and goals. Choosing an in-demand specialization such as software development or information security may help you find a job more easily and earn a higher overall salary.

Is computer science a hard major?

A computer science degree builds high-level knowledge of information technology theories and practices, and coursework is typically challenging. A natural inclination for technology and math will serve you well if you plan to pursue this field of study. You can also take advantage of academic tutoring and other support services at most colleges.

What are the highest-paying computer science majors?

Most computer science degrees can lead to top jobs, but some of the highest-paying specializations include IT management, network architecture, and software development. Other strong majors include network security and database administration.

Is computer science a lot of math?

Computer science degrees usually include many math courses, such as calculus and linear algebra. If you're interested in an IT career but don't enjoy working with numbers, a major like computer information systems focuses on more practical applications of computer science technology for business and management.


All rankings and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by the TBS Rankings Team.


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