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Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Computer Science

Rankings, Salaries & Courses

Updated on: 12/07/2018
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In today’s tech-savvy society, every industry is impacted by computers and digital technology. Employers demand highly qualified, innovative professionals who are ready to meet contemporary computer science demands and address emerging dilemmas. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that computer-related job opportunities will increase by 13% through 2026, while computer science professionals should anticipate a 19% growth rate.

An online computer science degree focuses on the theory and application of software design and computer programming. Students learn to analyze algorithms and data structures that assist with solving communication or technological problems. Additionally, most computer science bachelor’s students graduate with a professional portfolio due to the hands-on nature of the program. This guide covers vetted programs, strategies for choosing the most suitable program, potential occupations, earning potential, funding options, and strategies for offsetting tuition through scholarships.

Best Online Computer Science Programs 2018-2019

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Below is a current list of the best online computer science degrees offered. Similar to on-campus schools, online universities vary in both quality and accreditation. A good computer science program contains coursework that develops the professional skills needed to gain employment upon graduation. Important factors for selecting a school include information such as graduation rate data, cost of tuition, student services, and program-specific resources. With these factors in mind, the listed programs have been vetted through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Independence University Salt Lake City, Utah$18,02179%-100%1Yes Yes No School website
2 Brigham Young University-Idaho Rexburg, Idaho$2,00933%96%53%1No Yes Yes School website
3 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, Illinois$9,49370%65%52%3Yes Yes Yes School website
4 Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia$23,80088%24%55%2Yes Yes Yes School website
5 Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska$6,84062%-32%7Yes No Yes School website
6 Park University Parkville, Missouri$11,73049%85%27%2Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Davenport University Grand Rapids, Michigan$17,54493%78%41%7Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Dakota State University Madison, South Dakota$4,29776%83%43%4Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Pennsylvania State University-Worldwide University Park, Pennsylvania$16,95235%56%87%2Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, Kentucky$9,00061%91%40%2Yes Yes Yes School website
11 National University La Jolla, California$13,0164%-50%2Yes Yes Yes School website
12 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, Utah$5,7801%-19%7No No Yes School website
13 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, Maryland$6,81611%-10%3Yes No Yes School website
14 George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia$8,20429%81%70%1Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, Louisiana$5,18049%62%40%1Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Fort Hays State University Hays, Kansas$3,78973%91%44%2No Yes Yes School website
17 Georgia Southwestern State University Americus, Georgia$3,88636%68%36%1Yes Yes Yes School website
18 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, Florida$20,760100%70%43%3Yes Yes Yes School website
19 Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia$6,33065%85%55%1Yes Yes Yes School website
20 California State University-Monterey Bay Seaside, California$5,47245%35%48%1No Yes Yes School website
21 Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon$8,71567%77%67%1No Yes Yes School website
22 Wilmington University New Castle, Delaware$10,6203%-31%1Yes Yes Yes School website
23 Baker College Flint, Michigan$9,00080%-18%5Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, New York$17,77283%78%32%3Yes Yes Yes School website
25 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Milwaukee, Wisconsin$8,09116%73%48%1No Yes Yes School website
26 Austin Peay State University Clarksville, Tennessee$6,21623%89%40%1Yes No Yes School website
27 Virginia International University Fairfax, Virginia$9,408-25%-1No Yes Yes School website
28 Franklin University Columbus, Ohio$11,856--16%4Yes No Yes School website
29 University of Houston-Victoria Victoria, Texas$4,57685%48%-2No Yes Yes School website
30 Brandman University Irvine, California$12,000-81%-1Yes No Yes School website
31 Hodges University Naples, Florida$13,20020%60%25%5No Yes Yes School website
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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Western Nebraska Community College Scottsbluff, Nebraska$2,28073%25%2Yes No Yes School website
2 Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, Indiana$4,05511%11%20Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Western Texas College Snyder, Texas$2,08844%43%3Yes Yes Yes School website
4 Garden City Community College Garden City, Kansas$1,82444%31%1Yes No Yes School website
5 Collin County Community College District McKinney, Texas$2,4603%13%7Yes Yes Yes School website
6 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, Georgia$2,136-23%9Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, Mississippi$2,80042%28%4Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Central Texas College Killeen, Texas$2,94019%9%11Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Santa Fe Community College Santa Fe, New Mexico$1,77016%16%1Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Metropolitan Community College Omaha, Nebraska$2,62531%13%2Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Hinds Community College Raymond, Mississippi$2,64025%18%5Yes Yes Yes School website
12 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, Wyoming$2,13642%22%8Yes No Yes School website
13 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, Wyoming$2,13672%38%2Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Lone Star College System The Woodlands, Texas$2,73610%8%4Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Sinclair Community College Dayton, Ohio$3,16944%16%6Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Sheridan College Sheridan, Wyoming$2,13654%30%2Yes No Yes School website
17 National Park College Hot Springs, Arkansas$2,94027%32%4Yes Yes Yes School website
18 North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park, Minnesota$3,9223%13%3Yes Yes Yes School website
19 State Fair Community College Sedalia, Missouri$3,60020%22%1Yes Yes Yes School website
20 Pitt Community College Winterville, North Carolina$1,82416%10%4Yes Yes Yes School website
21 Stark State College North Canton, Ohio$2,79619%7%6Yes Yes Yes School website
22 Tulsa Community College Tulsa, Oklahoma$2,32744%14%4Yes Yes Yes School website
23 Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, Michigan$3,72016%15%1Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Irvine Valley College Irvine, California$1,104-44%2Yes Yes Yes School website
25 Mesa Community College Mesa, Arizona$2,06425%13%4Yes Yes Yes School website
26 Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, Georgia$2,136-45%1Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, Minnesota$4,8247%34%9Yes Yes Yes School website
28 South Piedmont Community College Polkton, North Carolina$1,728-16%2Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, North Carolina$2,4322%16%8Yes Yes Yes School website
30 Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville, Georgia$2,136-21%1Yes Yes Yes School website
31 York County Community College Wells, Maine$2,76043%19%1Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Carl Albert State College Poteau, Oklahoma$2,17735%34%1Yes Yes Yes School website
33 Clark State Community College Springfield, Ohio$2,91237%13%2Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Minnesota State College Southeast Winona, Minnesota$4,969-26%5Yes Yes Yes School website
35 Southwestern Community College Sylva, North Carolina$2,1289%30%2Yes Yes Yes School website
36 Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville, North Carolina$2,4322%12%4Yes Yes Yes School website
37 Saint Louis Community College Saint Louis, Missouri$4,0803%10%1Yes Yes Yes School website
38 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, Wisconsin$3,911-35%4Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Yavapai College Prescott, Arizona$2,28020%27%1Yes No Yes School website
40 Spokane Community College Spokane, Washington$2,68812%24%2Yes Yes Yes School website
41 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, Wisconsin$3,96512%46%2Yes Yes Yes School website
42 Cincinnati State Cincinnati, Ohio$3,56719%12%1Yes Yes Yes School website
43 Western Piedmont Community College Morganton, North Carolina$2,43210%22%2Yes No Yes School website
44 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, Minnesota$4,8745%22%1Yes No Yes School website
45 Columbus State Community College Columbus, Ohio$3,8087%15%2Yes Yes Yes School website
46 Southeast Technical Institute Sioux Falls, South Dakota$2,83417%44%1Yes Yes Yes School website
47 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, Wisconsin$4,17117%59%1Yes Yes Yes School website
48 Piedmont Technical College Greenwood, South Carolina$4,6688%18%1Yes Yes Yes School website
49 Murray State College Tishomingo, Oklahoma$3,58470%30%1Yes Yes Yes School website
50 Massasoit Community College Brockton, Massachusetts$57621%16%2Yes Yes Yes School website

How Much Can You Make in a Computer Science Career?

According to the BLS, through 2026 computer-related occupational opportunities are expanding much faster than average, and often carry considerable median salaries. This suggests that earning an online computer science degree is the first step toward qualifying for an array of lucrative careers. In order to accurately project earning potential, students should examine which field or specialty interests them. While no degree can guarantee job placement or a specific salary, this degree does ensure students possess the pertinent skills needed for common computer science-related positions. Below is a list of common computer science careers.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +19%
Job Description

Computer and information research scientists are hands-on with all computer-related functions. These professionals are subject matter experts who influence the IT goals of their organization and are responsible for executing the goals they set. Graduates holding this degree could eventually be on track to become chief information officers or chief technology officers.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +5%
Job Description

These engineers are expert researchers who also design and develop computer systems. Typical responsibilities include developing computer equipment schematics, testing designs, analyzing results, and keeping equipment up to date. In some roles, professionals may oversee computer hardware manufacturing. This role requires effective communication and collaboration with other engineers to ensure hardware components are compatible with the latest software.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +6%
Job Description

Computer network architects focus on the design of LAN and WAN communication networks. These networks range in both size and capability, which means that professionals may be hired directly into large organizations or may work for a company that services many small organizations. Duties include presenting communication network plans to upper management, upgrading hardware, and researching new technologies that support the organization or clients.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +9%
Job Description

In this role, analysts create a bridge between business and information technology. Professionals also examine current computer systems to identify ways they could be improved. Analysts are responsible for calculating the cost and benefit analyses for all upgrades. Other job roles include customizing new systems and overseeing their installation. Management responsibilities often require professionals to monitor projects and personnel working on the project to ensure its success.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +12%
Job Description

Computer and information systems managers, also known as IT managers, plan and execute computer-related initiatives. Organizations rely on their expert knowledge to determine computer system goals. Other duties include staying abreast of recent technological developments, ensuring network security, conducting cost-benefit analyses, and negotiating services with vendors. Because most managers do not perform all of these duties, professionals must have good communication and collaborative skills to work with other managers.

Sources: BLS 2018

Job outlook and salary projections for professionals who graduate with an online bachelor’s degree in computer science certainly vary by education level, but students should also consider geographic location. According to the BLS, the top paying states include New York, Washington, and New Mexico, and the highest employment levels include California, Virginia, and Maryland. Still, job roles make a difference. Scientific research and development services, software publishers, and federal executive branch roles hold the highest concentration of employment.

What Courses Can be Taken for an Online Computer Science Degree?

A bachelor’s degree in computer science satisfies general education requirements in addition to foundational knowledge and theories. However, coursework offered tends to differ because universities have their own standards for developing curricula. Some computer science programs are more developed than others, allowing them to offer more elective options than other, more limited programs. Students should consider the expectation of accrediting agencies in this field, as they set the minimum standards for what programs should offer.

Operating Systems

Students examine current problems associated with operation system designs and implementation processes. This course provides historical perspectives and focuses on process management, memory management, and file systems.

Fundamentals of Computer Programming

This course begins with computer organization principles and basic programming concepts. Students explore issues including embedded systems and parallelism. By the end of the course, students should be able to write basic computer programs using iterative and conditional structures.

Programming Databases

This course familiarizes students with the design and implementation processes of database management systems. Through case studies and commercial database systems, students explore topics including storage models, data models, and query language.

Introduction to Algorithms

This introductory course exposes students to the analysis and design methods of computer algorithms. By the end of this course, students should be able to analyze asymptotic performances, apply design paradigms of analysis, and synthesize efficient algorithms.

Artificial Intelligence

This course examines challenges associated with developing computer systems that can handle cognitive tasks, including natural language processing, reasoning, representation, and learning. Students develop valuable problem-solving, planning, and decision-making skills through hands-on projects.

How to Choose the Best Online Computer Science Program

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing a computer science bachelor’s degree online. For instance, reputable accrediting agencies help to ensure programs meet pertinent academic standards. Additionally, students should consider what fees may be incurred by the program outside of tuition costs, such as internship or clinical fees. Students who want an advanced degree might consider what other programs their school offers. This section addresses common questions about a bachelor’s in computer science.

How Much Does It Cost for an Online Computer Science Degree?

There are multiple factors that can influence the cost of a bachelor’s degree in computer science. For instance, online programs through prestigious universities or brick-and-mortar schools in general may cost more than programs that are 100% online. Students should also consider residency requirements. Many online programs still charge out-of-state tuition. Generally speaking, students should expect to pay at least $30,000.

What Are Online Computer Science Classes Like?

Online programs are commonly offered asynchronously, which means students are provided a syllabus in the beginning of the semester that outlines all due dates. Each week, students have a combination of assignments, exams, projects, or discussion board prompts to complete on a certain day. Students are typically able to engage with professors and classmates for help or collaboration. Some courses may require additional programs or field experience.

Are There Concentration Areas That Could Give Me a Competitive Advantage?

While there is no guarantee that concentration areas lead to higher pay or secure job placement, students should review the job outlook for potential career paths and identify what additional skills could increase their marketability. However, many schools do offer degree concentrations for computer science, which include data mining, embedded systems, bioengineering, genomics, and game animation.

What Accrediting Agencies Should I Look for When Choosing a Good Computer Science Program?

Over 85% of schools in the U.S. are regionally accredited. Therefore, students should look for one of the six regional accrediting agencies for overall school quality. However, computer science students should also consider programs vetted by the Computing Accreditation Commission, which is a branch of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

What Professional Organizations Can I Join That Offers Support and Resources to Computer Science Students?

While there are multiple professional computer science organizations that offer student-level memberships, students may want to consider the IEEE Computer Society, which has existed since 1946 and has over 60,000 members across the globe. Also, the Computing Research Association (CRA) focuses on intellectual and ethical integrity of the computer science field. The CRA also offers awards to undergraduate students.

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Computer Science Programs

Paying for tuition is a primary concern for students considering an online computer science degree. Students typically regard FAFSA grants and loans as the primary source for funding their education. Federal grants are a great option since they do not have to be repaid. However, loans must be repaid and collect interest, meaning you can ultimately pay significantly more than what you borrowed. In addition to grants, students should consider applying for scholarships. There are multiple foundations and professional organizations that set aside funds to help students pay for their tuition.

Richard E. Merwin Scholarship

The Richard E. Merwin Scholarship sets aside $40,000 each year for students who are active volunteer leaders. Students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and be in the last two years of their undergraduate program in a computer-related program to qualify. Application deadlines are the end of April and September each year. Additionally, students must be enrolled full-time and be in good academic standing. Awards are $1,000 or more.

Lance Stafford Larson Student Award

The Lance Stafford Larson Student Award encourages students to develop exceptional communication skills in the field of computer science. Students must submit a 20-page paper that examines a computer related subject and can apply each year before October 31. The first place award is $500.

Upsilon Pi Epsilon Honor Society

This honor society encourages students in the computing discipline to reach academic excellence. This award is offered through Upsilon Pi Epsilon and the IEEE Computer Society. Each year, a maximum of $1,000 is awarded to four students who have at least a 3.0 GPA. Recipients also receive a free one-year periodical subscription. Applicants should be completing their bachelor’s degree and must be enrolled full-time at an accredited university.

The Women Techmakers Scholars Program

Formerly known as the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Program, the Women Techmakers Scholars Program strives to promote gender equality in computer science. This award is given to candidates who display academic excellence and leadership qualities. The best candidates should have created some level of impact in the female tech community. Students should be enrolled full-time at an accredited university. Awards range from $5,000 to $10,000, and winners are invited to the annual Google Scholars’ Retreat.

Wayne Black Scholarship

Each year, the Energy Telecommunications and Electrical Association awards the Wayne Black Scholarship Award to a student pursuing a degree in a computer science-related field. Desirable candidates should display an affinity for technology, academic excellence, and leadership qualities. Applicants must be undergraduate students enrolled full time at an accredited university, and must submit a one-page biography and a five-page essay. This award is $5,000.