Online Computer Science Degrees 2021

An online computer science degree focuses on the theory and application of software design and computer programming.

October 29, 2021

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Computer Science Degrees 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Computer technology fuels the growth of diverse businesses and industries nationwide. Graduates of accredited computer science programs often choose from well-paying career opportunities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information research scientists earn a median salary of $122,840 per year, which is much higher than the median salary of $39,810 for all occupations. Computer and information research scientist represents one of the many positions available to computer science degree-holders.

The BLS projects employment for computer and information technology professionals to increase 11% from 2019-2029, which translates to more than 500,000 new jobs. This guide explores common requirements and benefits of earning a computer science bachelor's degree online.

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Questions for Computer Science Students

true Q. Is a computer science degree worth it?

A bachelor's degree in computer science often leads to high-paying careers with ample opportunities for growth and advancement. Graduates can pursue roles in various professional arenas.

true Q. What kinds of jobs can you get with a computer science degree?

Professionals with a computer science degree can pursue roles including systems analyst, web developer, software tester, and database administrator.

true Q. Does computer science pay well?

According to BLS data, computer and technology professionals earn a median annual salary of $88,240, which is much higher than the median salary for all occupations.

true Q. What is the difference between computer science and information technology?

Computer scientists develop and design the software programs and hardware configurations that information technology professionals use and maintain. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Why Get a Degree in Computer Science?

Students can earn a computer science bachelor's degree online from some of the most prestigious private and public institutions in the nation. Online learning can offer many advantages, including flexibility and affordability.

Computer science majors often secure financial assistance from sources including their college or university, software and technology companies, nonprofits, and state and federal agencies. Financial aid helps make earning a computer science degree more affordable and allows learners to minimize debt.

How Much Does a Computer Science Degree Cost?

Several factors influence the cost of earning an online computer science degree. Although many schools charge online and on-campus students the same tuition rates, distance learners often save money on costs associated with housing and transportation.

Many online computer science programs follow an accelerated format, offering courses in six-week or eight-week terms. Students in these accelerated programs typically graduate faster than their on-campus peers, allowing them to quickly enter the workforce and begin earning an income.

In addition to tuition costs, online students should consider the cost of a computer and internet service when budgeting for school. Some institutions provide online learners with a laptop, the cost of which is typically included in the tuition rate.

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do Computer Science Majors Make?

Computer and mathematical occupations include software developers, network security analysts, database administrators, and user support specialists. According to BLS data, companies providing computer systems design and development services hired the most computer and mathematical professionals in 2017. Software publishers paid these professionals the highest average salary of $103,160 per year.

The highest-paying states for computer and mathematical professionals include Washington, California, Virginia, and New Jersey. Professionals in the District of Columbia earn the second-highest average salary of $106,790 per year.

Professionals in the field can improve their career prospects and earning potential by earning an advanced degree and receiving specialized training.

Courses in Computer Science

A bachelor's degree in computer science typically requires about 120 credits, including approximately 60 credits of major coursework. Foundational courses cover topics such as human-computer interaction design, programming languages, operating systems, and algorithms and data structures. Many computer science programs offer concentrations in areas such as computer networking, health informatics, and software development.

Online computer science degrees usually feature the same curricula and requirements as on-campus programs in the field. Colleges and universities develop curricula based on specific academic goals, so available courses vary by computer science program. However, most students in the field take the following classes.

Certifications and Licensure for Computer Science

Computer science and information technology professionals do not need a state license to practice. However, professionals in the field can earn industry-recognized certifications to demonstrate expertise with specific products and niche areas.

The International Information System Security Certification Consortium administers this certification. The credential is ideal for security analysts, systems administrators, and network security engineers. Candidates must pass an exam covering seven security domains, including cryptography, network and communications security, and access controls. This credential demonstrates that the holder can design, maintain, and troubleshoot wired and wireless networks. Candidates need at least nine months of networking experience and CompTIA A+ certification. Candidates must pass a test evaluating their knowledge of cloud computing best practices, hardware and visualization techniques, and critical security concepts. Candidates for this certification from the IEEE Computer Society must have completed at least two years of college coursework in computer science or a related field and two years of relevant work experience. The certification exam tests knowledge in software design, testing, construction, and requirements.

Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Programs 2021

  1. Independence University

    Salt Lake City, UT



    Undergraduate students can earn a bachelor of science degree in software and mobile applications development completely online. The program takes 36 months to complete and is designed with a focus on post-graduation employment in the tech field. That means there are few or no electives that don't directly pertain to employable skills. Students will learn the latest technologies and techniques involved in software development and programming, software security and testing, software development, application development and systems analysis. They'll also receive instruction in operating systems, the development of mobile apps, web page programming, web server programming, database programming and employment-specific skills like entrepreneurship and workstation administration. Previous graduates have landed positions like IT entrepreneur, mobile app developer, software engineer, software developer and computer programmer. Among the major employers and partners affiliated with Independence University are LegalShield, Liz Reynolds, Cengage Learning, Columbus Community Hospital, Brand Makers and the American Red Cross. Students receive a tablet and laptop to use for school, both of which they keep after graduation, and all books and supplies are included with the cost of tuition. There are no hidden or extra fees. Non-tuition benefits include tutoring before graduation and refresher courses and career services after graduation. Those seeking financial aid can receive help in doing so and scholarship money is available. The school offers monthly starts, so applicants don't have to wait for the arrival of a new semester, and in many cases, they can transfer in previously earned credits.

  2. Brigham Young University-Idaho

    Rexburg, ID



    The computer information technology program at Brigham Young University-Idaho is a 120-credit program that can be completed 100% online. Upon completion, graduates will be qualified to pursue work as network engineers and architects, IT managers, database administrators, computer systems administrators, webmasters, web developers, computer and information systems managers, computer software engineers and developers. The skills students learn, which are in high demand in both public and private organizations of all sizes, include the design, development and management of systems used by corporations, government entities, nonprofits and small businesses.The curriculum includes mostly core and major courses and culminates in either a senior project or an internship as well as a senior practicum. In all, there are 40 credits of foundation courses, 51 credits of major courses and 29 credits of electives. Concentrations or minors from the business department are available for those who choose. Online classes have the same learning outcomes as those taught on campus, and students can expect a comparable level of interaction with instructors and classmates. Students who have not received at least 15 credit hours of on-campus instruction must complete the PathwayConnect program to be accepted into the program. Financial aid is available, as is help with applying for aid. There are also several scholarship programs, including BYU academic scholarships, talent scholarships, general scholarships, internship scholarships and scholarships based on recommendation or nomination. There are also more than 20 outside scholarships not offered by BYU. Distance learners enjoy the same services as their peers on campus, including academic advising, tutoring, counseling and career services. The university is affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  3. University of Illinois at Springfield

    Springfield, IL



    Upon completion of the computer science bachelor's degree program at the University of Illinois at Springfield, graduates will be prepared to pursue graduate studies in a variety of related fields of study. Those planning to enter the workforce right away will have the knowledge of both core theories and fundamental skills needed to enter the job market immediately after completing the program. The program's core requirements provide the foundation for computer science knowledge, but elective choices vary by student and are chosen under the guidance of an academic adviser. In order to be considered for the program, applicants must have completed at least 30 semester hours of credits with a GPA of at least 2.0. Those credits must include two semesters of Java programming, as well as a semester each of statistics, calculus and finite or discrete math. There are prerequisite courses that can satisfy those requirements for students who don't have the appropriate academic background. Both the requirements and academic intensity are the same for distance learners as for on-campus students, but online learners will use the Blackboard learning management system to communicate with peers and professors, receive and submit assignments, participate in discussions, receive updates, check grades and view presentations and lectures. Prospective students who are unsure if online learning is right for them are invited to take the school's online learning assessment test before they commit. All three U of I schools contribute to the combined U of I distance learning program, and the degree earned online is identical to the one students would have received had they taken traditional classes on campus.

  4. Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA



    The bachelor of science in computer science cybersecurity program at Liberty University is delivered through the School of Business. It stands out from other computer science programs by concentrating on protecting data, defending systems and identifying and repelling cyberattacks in the corporate and government spheres. The program, which is based on the longer-running "residential" program that's taught on campus at Liberty, includes instruction not just in computer science, but in information systems and sciences, as well as programming, problem solving and algorithms. Upon completion of the program, potential careers include network security administrator, security software developer, security engineer, security analyst and cryptographer. On average, the 121-credit-hour program takes 3.5 years to complete, but as many as 75 percent of credits can be transferred in from qualifying schools. Students will use the Blackboard learning management system for most of their coursework and the instructors are the same faculty members as those who teach on campus. The program boasts supplementary accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. Although the program is meant for transfer students, applicants are required to complete a high school self-certification form to be considered for the program. Distance learners have access to a range of services, including more than 750,000 journals, peer-reviewed articles and e-books, as well as the online writing center and access to the physical library any time they want. It's important to note that distance learners are charged a range of fees, including a technology fee, that do not apply to on-campus students and that are not included in tuition.

  5. Bellevue University

    Bellevue, NE



    There are 2 possible tracks for the computer information systems degree program at Bellevue University. The BAS program requires 120 credit hours to complete and the BS track is a 127-credit-hour program. With the exception of credit requirements, the programs are the same. The BAS track was developed for corporate students, while the BS path is designed for students planning careers in the computer information systems market.No matter which track students choose, they'll leave the program prepared to design computer-based processes, systems, components and programs and then implement and evaluate their work. They'll also learn how to identify and analyze problems in order to develop computer-based solutions. The goal of the program is to prepare students with marketable skills that enable them to keep a business or other organization's systems running smoothly and according to the organization's goals. The 3 central areas of study are management of information systems, computer programming and database and information systems. Among the possible career choices for graduates entering the workforce are software developers and programmers, computer network architects, computer systems analysts, database administrators and network and computer systems administrators. All of those careers average 6-figure salaries or close to it. Distance learners have access to career services and academic advising, same as students who attend classes on campus, as well as library services, tutoring, labs and the writing center. In many cases, transfer students can apply credits they've earned elsewhere to their degree at Bellevue, and there are also opportunities to gain credit through prior learning experience.

  6. Park University

    Parkville, MO



    Students who successfully complete the information and computer science program at Park University will be prepared to move onto graduate school or immediately enter the workforce in a variety of tech- and business-related fields. There are 5 specialty areas for students to choose from, including data management, information technology, networking and security, software development and computer science. Students are able to select more than 1 specialty if they choose, and those who opt for the networking and security specialty will take CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA) coursework in preparation for the CCNA certification exam. Depending on the chosen specialty, the program takes 46-58 hours to complete. The program is regularly updated to keep pace with changing technology and techniques, and it is designed specifically to prepare students for real-world careers, including database analyst, web programmer, information technology project manager, software engineer and applications programmer. The school also works to help place interested program participants in regional internships. Staff is on hand to help with financial aid applications, and the school also offers several scholarships, including endowed scholarships, freshman academic scholarships, competitive freshman scholarships, scholarships for transfer students and a range of other specialized scholarships. Online courses, which run for 8-week terms in an accelerated format, start 5 times a year, which means students don't have to put off enrollment to the beginning of a new semester. Distance courses are accredited by the online-learning assessment agency Quality Matters. Discounts and special programs are available for military personnel and other qualified applicants, and distance learners have access to the same student services as on-campus students, including tutoring, library services, writing services, academic advising and counseling.

  7. Davenport University

    Grand Rapids, MI



    Students who complete the computer science BS program at Davenport University will be qualified to enter the workforce in a variety of exciting fields, including gaming, artificial intelligence, computer vision and language design, robotics and autonomous systems. Graduates of the program report landing jobs with organizations like Google, Microsoft and Apple, as well as in the health care, telecommunications, finance and automotive industries. The average computer scientists, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited by Davenport, earns $77,550 a year. Davenport graduates report an employment rate of 91%.

    Upon entering the program, students can choose one of of four optional specializations: gaming and simulation, artificial intelligence, mathematical modeling and computer architecture and algorithms. No matter the path, financial aid is available - in fact, more than 95% of Davenport students receive financial assistance. Financial advisers can guide students through the process of securing grants, scholarships and loans, as well as Davenport institutional scholarships, Davenport Foundation scholarships and several other awards offered by the school. In total, Davenport offers more than $15 million in scholarship money a year.

    The school accepts transfer credits from colleges, community colleges and in some cases even high schools. Students starting college as freshman can begin to earn credit while they're still in high school, thanks to statewide articulation agreements with career centers, tech centers and high schools, as well as through the college's dual enrollment program. High school students can even earn credit through participation in AP and IB programs, as well as through specialized testing.

  8. Dakota State University

    Madison, SD



    Students who graduate from the Dakota State University computer science program will emerge with a bachelor of science degree and the skills needed to begin work as programmers, analysts, software engineers, penetration testers, software developers and tech startup entrepreneurs. Throughout their course of study, students will work with cutting-edge software and technology like DSUnix, Solaris, Irix and Linux, while also enjoying access to the security, anti-hacking and networking tools available through the Information Assurance Lab. Every professor who teaches the computer science program at Dakota State University has a PhD in computer science. The school puts a heavy focus on tech and related education. For example, DSU maintains an honors program called the Center of Excellence in Computer Information Systems. The program enables deserving students to become leaders in both the design and application of IT tools as they're used in education, business, government and industry. There are also several clubs and organizations, which are open to distance learners as well as on-campus students, including the Gaming Club, Computer Club, programming contests and LAN parties. Financial aid exists specifically for computer science students. Distance learners will complete most of their coursework through Desire2Learn (D2L), which is a course management system that gives them access to lecture notes, assignments and exams. Online students can set their own schedules and they'll have the opportunity to work with their student peers in a virtual classroom. Transfer students can apply qualifying credits from qualifying schools to their degrees, and distance learners enjoy the same student services as their on-campus counterparts, including career services, library services, academic advising and counseling.

  9. Pennsylvania State University

    University Park, PA



    The Penn State World Campus' bachelor of science in software engineering program requires 126 credits to complete and combines design projects, experience in software development and classroom study. The program focuses on computing skills, engineering principles, software construction and project leadership. Students will learn to use modern technologies to develop software for embedded systems, web applications and mobile applications. Coursework is challenging, and includes subjects like object-oriented methodology, computer programming, software security, software design and software validation and verification. Senior year includes a capstone course series that was designed with input from the industry. The senior capstone enables participants to plan, create, implement and manage their own software systems. The capstone project, like the entirety of the program, is collaborative and requires cooperation between classmates and instructors. Upon graduation, students will be qualified for positions as sales engineers, computer systems analysts, project managers, user interface designers, software developers, systems administrators, software testing engineers and video game designers. Online learners are not required to log on at a specific time, but they are required to complete weekly discussions, assignments, readings and even some group work. Students will communicate with instructors and each other through email, video conferencing, phone calls, bulletin boards and social media. The school offers help with financial aid, both for new students and transfer students, as well as tuition assistance for unemployed students and a range of special programs for military personnel. Penn State also offers and supports several scholarship programs and maintains a web page dedicated specifically to scholarships, eligibility requirements and application details.

  10. Northern Kentucky University

    Highland Heights, KY



    At Northern Kentucky University, students looking for flexibility in their academic schedule can choose from a variety of program formats to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science. Part-time, full-time, accelerated, hybrid and online options exist for the majority of coursework. All students begin their studies with an introduction to informatics, including topics of networks and data communication, elementary programming and web development. Following this, classes explore object-oriented programming, data structures and algorithms, operating systems and theory of computation. There are a number of math courses necessary for completion, and as a result, many students opt for a minor in mathematics. Aside from these requirements, students are able to choose from concentrations in artificial intelligence, computer graphics or computer security. Overall, an average of 4 years is spent satisfying 60-63 credit hours. In order to graduate, a minimum 2.0 GPA is required. There are a number of on-campus and online services to assist students in their academic journey. The Student Success Center is host to the Veteran Resource Station, health and wellness opportunities, counseling supports, the International Education Center and TRIO-Student Support Services, which aid first-generation college enrollees. The Department of Computer Science also offers field-specific resources, including career advising for the tech industry, student organizations, on-campus competitions, internship opportunities, and a virtual co-op program. In order to be admitted to this program, students must fill out the school's online application, submit ACT scores of 18 and higher or an SAT equivalent, as well as have successfully completed Kentucky's pre-college curriculum.

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