Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Software Engineering

Rankings, Salaries & Courses

Updated on: 1/30/2020
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Software engineers develop the algorithms used in designing, applying, and maintaining computer applications and software. Their work provides the structure for various operating, navigation, and network distribution systems that run smartphones, cars, and businesses. Software engineers create the instructions that tell a computer how to perform specific functions. Software engineers who work for small employers may take on programming responsibilities such as writing code, while professionals in large companies often supervise the work of computer programmers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of roughly 175,000 jobs in the computer software engineering field from 2008-2018. Because practically every industry requires computer software professionals, graduates with a bachelor's degree in software engineering can pursue jobs in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, design, aeronautics, and construction.

This guide provides an overview of the software engineering field and covers topics including occupation and salary outlook, coursework, and financial aid and scholarships.

Best Online Bachelor's Programs in Software Engineering

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Best Online Software Engineering Programs

Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors

Data Sources: Eligibility Criteria:
  • Each college must be accredited
  • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
  • Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
  • Each college must have at least one online program 1
  • Each college must have a maximum four-year tuition of $25,000 or a maximum two-year tuition of $5,000
Ranking Factors:
  • Affordability
  • Quality
  • Flexibility
  • Program

Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.

2-Year Schools

Many schools offer on-campus and online software engineering degrees. Because of the variety of options, choosing the software engineering program that best fits your needs can be overwhelming. The list below can help prospective students narrow down their options. When creating the list, we considered factors including tuition, variety of online coursework, and available online and on-campus resources.

Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Altierus Career College Tampa, Florida $12,729 3% 75% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Alterius Career College offers a 12-month Computer Information Technology diploma program which is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Graduates will gain the skills needed to install, troubleshoot and administer both hardware and software. They will also comprehend the professional, legal, ethical and security concerns that impact IT administration. This program is hybrid, requiring 1 day a week at the campus in either Norcross, GA or Houston Bissonnet, TX. Additional coursework offered through TestOut® lab simulations will provide students with real world experience and training. The curriculum requires a total of 240 lecture hours and 80 lab hours in the following classes: Computer Networking Fundamentals, IT Helpdesk Support, Computer Hardware Concepts, Computer Ethics, Intro to Linux/Unix, Network Infrastructure and A+: PC Operating Systems The curriculum also includes employer-desired certification preparation and a voucher for the CompTIA A+ exam. New programs start every 5 weeks, allowing a student to begin when it suits their life and schedule. When on campus, students will have access to resources such as the library resource center and computers, tutoring and bookstore.

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2 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, Illinois $9,493 85% 52% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The Department of Computer Science at University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) offers an online Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science for aspiring software engineers. Bachelor's and master's degrees are offered on-campus and online, should a student wish to continue their graduate studies at this same institution. UIS offers 1,681 majors online and computer science is among the top enrolled programs. The program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Computer science is the core of the 120 hour curriculum, with 36 credit hours in courses such as Data Structures and Algorithms, Foundations of Computer Science and Programming Languages. All online learners must complete 30 hours of 300-400 level courses at UIS. To further UIS' spirit of educating public servants and leaders, students are required to view a minimum of 4 ECCE (Engaged Citizenship Common Experience) speakers series events which encourage students to be active and engaged citizens. Applicants must complete a provided statement of purpose form, have a minimum 2.0 GPA , 2 semesters of Java Programming Experience and 1 semester of each of the following: Statistics, Calculus and Discrete or Finite Math. If students don't meet these requirements they are able to take them at UIS. International students and students with extensive work experience may have different admission requirements. Before registering, students should contact their advisor to map out their course of study and determine which 12 hours of electives (3 courses) they would like, based on their area of interest.

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3 Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia $15,105 88% 55% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Liberty University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology through the School of Business. The program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Liberty is well versed with online education as it has had distance learning programs since the mid 1980's. There are 4 concentrations to choose from depending on where you would like to take your career: Application and Database Development, Data Networking and Security, Gaming Design, and Web and Mobile Programming. Each concentration will take 120 total hours and typically 4 years to complete and half of major and related courses must be taken at Liberty. You must have a 2.0 GPA and a grade of C for all upper level courses in your major. Courses at Liberty are eight weeks long and there are eight different start dates each year. Students can log in when they choose, offering a great degree of flexibility to schedule their course work around their life. Liberty is an evangelical university and they "Train Champions for Christ." 12 credit hours are required in classes such as Survey of Old & New Testament and Christian Life & Biblical Worldview. Online students can become immersed in the university culture by joining the social media community Yammer. Yammer provides the potential to network with other students, faculty, staff, and alumni. In addition, students have access to webinars and tutorials to help them navigate the registration process, student resources, dropping and adding courses, and other administrative functions.

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4 Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska $6,840 62% 32% 3 No No Yes

Bellevue University's Bachelor of Science in Software Development is designed for someone who is currently a computer programmer and/or lacks the necessary credentials and experience needed to take their career to the next level. Bellevue works with area businesses, experts in the field and IT employers to gain a solid understanding of what employers are looking for, thereby confirming that graduates have the skills needed to excel in this field. The program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The project management coursework allows for certification in the CompTIA Project+. Online learners have the opportunity to participate in online forums with their peers, access online tutoring and have access to support tools, library resources and tech support services. Students will learn programming by practicing with applications such as Java and Ruby on Rails. Applicants must have one of the following to apply to this program: Associate degree, 1 year of computer programming experience or a minimum of 60 semester hours with a minimum grade of C- from an accredited institution of higher learning. A student must complete 36 credit hour requirements in the major. Credits may be earned at Bellevue or another institution. Potential classes include Business Telecommunications and Information Security and Database Connectivity. To obtain a Bachelor's Degree, a student must also take general education classes and electives for a total of 127 credits. In addition, all Bellevue students must complete the Kirkpatrick signature series which is a total of 9 credits that focuses on US specific topics such as citizenship and American democracy. Bellevue University is an open admissions school, therefore, contact an admissions counselor to see if you have the solid understanding of computing necessary to enroll in this program.

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5 Troy University Troy, Alabama $7,224 57% 39% 1 Yes Yes Yes

At Troy University, you can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Science degree entirely online or in a hybrid format. Whether you wish to prepare yourself with useful technological skills to enter the workforce, or plan to continue your education in graduate school, Troy has a highly diverse computer science program for you. Even with a large student body of over 18,000, Troy offers a synchronous cohort learning program with small classes, various science organizations, weekly study groups, and other beneficial organized online or in-person learning activities. Unlike many other computer science programs, Troy often requires students to work in groups to complete projects. These special team-based projects include training and exploration in video game design, cell phone apps, web applications and graphic design in digital media. You will need 120 credit hours to complete this bachelor's degree, including general studies courses, the major and minor core curricula and the appropriate electives. Most full-time students can complete the degree in about 4 years. Graduates of Troy's applied computer science program move on to careers such as software engineers, business intelligence analysts, database administrators, web developers, information security analysts and data warehousing specialists. For incoming students with previous college credit, the Academic Evaluation Center will determine if any or all of your credit can transfer toward your B.S. degree at Troy. You may also earn academic credit through Credit by Examination, including DANTES, CLEP general and subject exams, the International Baccalaureate exam, and Advanced International Certificate of Education exams. You can also earn credit for previous learning experience including military service, state recognized police and corrections academies, and certificates or coursework recognized by the American Council on Education.

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6 University of Florida Gainesville, Florida $4,477 29% 88% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The University of Florida's 100% online bachelor's degree in computer science is a great way for any budding software engineer to get their start. The program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. UF online students pay a special online tuition price. This is a 120-credit program that should take a student about 4 years to complete, assuming they're taking a full course load. Full-time attendance is None, however. Students are free to complete the program at their own pace, taking as few as 3 credits per semester and even taking 1 semester off entirely without penalty. Like campus-based students, online students at the University of Florida work closely with advisors to tailor their college experience and are eligible for an array of financial aid options including loans, grants and scholarships. Before applying, applicants must meet UF Online's prerequisites, which include a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and acceptable SAT or ACT scores. To graduate, students must maintain a C average while completing all 120 required credits. Graduates of this program have gone on to careers spanning the technological spectrum. All students are encouraged to delve into how to solve computational problems paving the way to careers including computer programmer, computer systems analyst, and information systems manager.

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7 University of Wisconsin-Stout Menomonie, Wisconsin $7,014 18% 55% 2 Yes Yes Yes

The University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information and Communication Technologies. This program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is in collaboration with Wisconsin Technical Colleges. This is 1 of 15 online programs offered at UW-Stout, a polytechnic university with a career-focused mission. Of the total 9,600 students enrolled, 2,000 are online students learning in 49 states and 20 countries around the globe. Each online student at UW-Stout has an advisor and program director. Additinally, online learners have free online tutoring and a writing lab where they can receive valuable feedback. In order to graduate from this program, a student needs 120 credits: 32 of which must be from UW-Stout. The credits are broken down as follows: 40 credit in general education, 25 in professional studies, 15-24 in the elective track or minor (online minors include computer networking systems and design, web technology, and enterprise technology), and 40 credits in technical specialty or transfer. It is estimated that over 99% of online learners in the programs transfer in prior credit. An A.A.S. or A.S degree in a field related to the major is desirable. Effective fall 2018, there will be an information security management minor available as well.

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8 Park University Parkville, Missouri $11,730 49% 27% 1 Yes Yes Yes

For those looking to become a software engineer, Park University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems. Park University is a private, liberal arts, four-year school and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Park's degree program provides the potential to work in a variety of sectors including government, nonprofit and business. Students must select one of the following minors: business administration/management, geographical information systems, graphic design, leadership, organizational communication and statistics. This degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours to graduate (at least 36 credit hours must be upper-division, 300 or 400-level) and a cumulative GPA of 2.0. A student is required to earn a minimum of 30 credit hours at Park; including 63 hours of degree-specific core curriculum courses and 39 business core courses. Most students complete the degree in 4 years, but for those with a tighter time table, there are accelerated 8-week terms available. Students are offered 5 start dates throughout the year, allowing them to fit it into their individual schedule. Park University has a strong military commitment, as illustrated by the discounted tuition rate for those currently serving and transfer credit for prior military training and experience. Park University's Zero Textbook Cost program provides students studying online free electronic textbooks. Park's Academic Support Center is free and open to all, offering subject and area tutoring, writing help, online writing resources and the step up mentoring program which allows students to work one on one with a mentor.

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9 Murray State University Murray, Kentucky $7,296 71% 53% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Murray State University and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) have partnered to offer a 100% online Bachelor of Science in Business Computer Information Systems. KCTCS offers all of the lower-level requirements for the degrees and the degree is then finished online through Murray State. This program is Accredited by AACSB-International: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The Computer Information Systems program is two-fold as it is a business degree and a technology degree. Students have a wide range of career possibilities including managing projects, creating new software, training users and designing systems. The emphasis is on both people and machines as team work and people skills are encouraged. Potential careers include e-commerce developer, systems analyst, technical sales and computer operations manager in a wide range of industries including insurance, education, and service industries. Total hours of study at Murray State is 42 which includes 20 hours of business core courses including Principles of Finance, Fundamentals of Operations, and Strategic Management. 13 hours of Computer Information Systems Courses including Topics in Information Systems, E-Business Programming, and Advanced Database Management Systems. Murray requires 9 hours of Computer Information Systems Electives including Systems Planning and Enterprise Resource Planning. Finally, Murray requires a 2.0 Cumulative GA to graduate.

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10 Davenport University Grand Rapids, Michigan $17,544 93% 41% 3 Yes Yes Yes

Founded in 1866, Davenport University is a private, not-for-profit university with online degree programs and multiple campuses throughout Michigan. As an online or on-campus student, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. With this degree you are prepared to work with and adapt to new progressive technologies and use them to solve real-world problems. You will take foundational courses in algorithmic and applied theoretical methods and focus on areas such as computer vision, artificial intelligence, modeling and simulation. If you have a desire to create and write software and work independently or with a team, a degree in computer science from Davenport may be a good fit for you. Davenport graduates move on to work at notable companies in the computing industry, including Google, Apple and Microsoft. Additionally, this degree prepares you for specialized work in finance, telecommunications, education, and the automotive industry. Students at Davenport choose between concentrations in artificial intelligence, computer architecture and algorithms and gaming simulation. You must complete 120 credit hours to graduate, which takes most full-time students 4 years to complete. To be extra competitive in the job market, some Davenport students also pick up the recommended, but None, minor in mathematics. Additional degrees in the computer science field are also available online through Davenport, including Bachelor's of Science degrees in Digital Forensics, Technology Project Management, Cyber Defense, Network Management and Security and Computer Information Systems. Transfer students may earn university credit through prior experiential learning, certification programs such as the College-Level Examination (CLEP), DANTES, Credit by Exam programs and military experience. Davenport also accepts transfer credits from accredited programs which they evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

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11 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, Nebraska $7,790 49% 50% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The University of Nebraska Omaha strives to have its graduates transform and improve the quality of life locally, nationally and globally. The opportunities for students to advance themselves and contribute to the world are boundless through UNO's online learning opportunities. For students wishing to enter a career in software engineering, UNO offers the online bachelor's in management information systems within the College of Information Science & Technology. The program focuses both on the day-to-day business operations that involve information systems as well as the big picture and future of data management and technology. With the ever-evolving state of technology, the program seeks to give students the skills and tools needed to adapt to that changing environment. To complete the degree, students must complete 120 credit hours, which include general education requirements. Students should note that not all general education requirements may be taken online and 30 of the final 36 degree requirement courses must be taken at UNO. Transfer credits, however, may be accepted from a regionally accredited collegiate institution. The program provides students with a suggested course sequence to stay on track, including courses in information security, web development, file structures for information systems, business data communications and managing in a digital world. The university also offers the same academic and career support and resources for distance learners as they do for on-campus students. Additionally, the faculty who teach online courses are the same as those who teach on-campus courses, assuring the same high-quality education.

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12 Dakota State University Madison, South Dakota $4,297 76% 43% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Students who graduate from the software development program at Dakota State University will walk away with an associate of science degree and the skills needed to pursue entry-level work as programmer analysts, software developers, software engineers, application developers or database programmers. Other students may choose to put their associate degrees toward the pursuit of a bachelor's degree. Those who do opt to work toward a four-year degree can consider concentrations like computer science, cyber operations or network and security administration. The Dakota State University campus has been in operation since 1881, and distance learners will receive online instruction from the same professors who instruct students face-to-face. Those standards have earned the university's programs recognition from the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Each class contains fewer than 25 students and distance learners will receive hands-on ""virtual experience"" with the tools professionals use in the field. The program teaches students how to develop and design software programs and apps, as well as how to test and deliver the work the produce. Students who are unsure if distance learning is right for them are encouraged to take the school's online readiness quiz. More than three out of four DSU students receive financial aid, with the average student receiving an award of more than $10,000. The school itself offers a variety of scholarships. Online learners receive access to the same student resources as those who attend classes on campus, including counseling, advisement, career services and library services."

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13 George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia $4,530 29% 70% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Colorado Christian University Lakewood, Colorado $15,683 99% 41% 1 Yes Yes Yes

There are 2 possible concentrations for the computer information technology program at Colorado Christian University, both of which result in a bachelor of science degree. The database management emphasis is geared toward students pursuing a career in IT. Students will concentrate on developing strong and marketable skills through the study of software and application design, network system design, management and analysis and security. The other option is the networking emphasis, which prepares students to work at the network level while collaborating with data and software engineers. Either way, successful graduates will emerge with what the school states is among the most marketable degrees in the computer and IT industries. The program can be taken entirely online. Like their on-campus counterparts, distance learners will take courses that typically last 5 weeks. They'll also receive weekly assignments that they are free to complete on their own schedules. Distance learners will be fully connected through the Blackboard learning management system, which they'll use to log into their courses from any computer, as well as to engage in discussions with classmates, view presentations, communicate with instructors, submit assignments and review grades. The school's policy allows the transfer of up to 90 credits toward a bachelor's degree and there's also a prior learning program that awards as many as 75 credits. The school offers financial aid assistance as well as scholarships like the Student Achievement Award. Just like the subject matter delivered in person to on-campus students, online courses are taught from the Christian worldview, and in order to be considered for acceptance, all students must provide a strong faith-related recommendation with their applications.

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15 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, Utah $5,780 1% 19% 3 No No Yes

Western Governors University was founded in 1997 specifically to meet the growing need of expanding access to higher education. From there, the university has grown into one of the most prominent institutions, offering distance and online learning nationwide. Additionally, WGU prides itself on being the first university where all bachelor's and master's degrees are competency-based, meaning that students progress through their coursework as soon as they've demonstrated mastery of the material. This student-paced model is extremely valuable for online learners as it empowers students to learn at the pace most comfortable to them. In some cases, students may progress faster than in a traditional institution. This model is particularly valuable in the Bachelor of Science Software Development program. To graduate, students complete 34 courses in the program. Students with previous experience or coursework in the subject can work with enrollment counselors to determine which required courses can be cleared. All coursework is completed 100% online, and students are expected to complete at least 12 competency units each 6-month term. Some examples of courses needed to complete the degree include IT fundamentals, scripting and programming, web development, software and operating systems. Some general education credits may be required as well. The capstone requirement for the degree is uniquely designed for students to put their academic coursework into practice. Through this final project, students will develop a software application that solves a problem of their choosing. Beyond the capstone, the coursework in the software development program is designed to be applied in the real world immediately, so while students work toward their degree, they should be able to apply their skills in their current positions.

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16 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, Florida $22,400 100% 43% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Saint Leo University is a well-established, century-old Catholic liberal arts institution that welcomes people of all faiths. Over the past 40 years, Saint Leo University has focused heavily on bringing high-quality education to military students and their family members. Saint Leo is able to do this even more so through their Saint Leo WorldWide program with expanded online education opportunities and nearly 40 education centers established around the U.S. The availability of online learning makes technology degrees even more accessible, in particular, Saint Leo's Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree program for students wishing to enter the field of software engineering. To graduate, students are required to complete 120 credit hours, of which 42 are general education requirements called "university explorations." Examples of courses required for the major include computer systems, network theory and design, introduction to internet applications, operating systems and various advanced math courses. For the information assurance specialization, students take courses such as disaster recovery, computer forensics and management of information security. Numerous professional development opportunities are available for students in this field through the university's internship program where students have received assistance with placements. Past students have interned with Verizon, Pasco County Sheriff's Department and Tech Data Corporation. Because of Saint Leo's vast experience in online learning, there are strong Saint Leo WorldWide student advising and career services. Prospective students should connect directly with the dedicated enrollment counseling staff to discuss the program.

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17 National University La Jolla, California $13,016 4% 50% 1 Yes Yes No

As a veteran founded, nonprofit institution, National University was established with the goal to provide exceptional education to adult learners. With over 2 decades of experience offering online courses and generous military tuition discounts, NU is ideal for students wishing to apply their life experiences to a career in software engineering or computer science. The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is designed specifically to provide an academic foundation while also offering assignments with real-world application. The program coursework includes programming, data structures and algorithms, computer architecture, computer communication networks and software engineering as well as foundational courses in math, statistics and the natural sciences. To graduate, students must complete at least 180 quarter units, including a minimum of 70.5 units of general education requirements and 76.5 units at the upper-level division. While most courses may be taken completely online, the senior project courses must be taken on the La Jolla, CA, campus. The program is designed to help graduates actively pursue diverse career paths, be effective communicators and team members, participate in ongoing education to continue to apply their technology skills in the field, and contribute to their community and professions. Bachelor's students with a 3.0 grade-point average and a desire to pursue a graduate degree in computer science may also participate in the transition program that provides a more direct pathway to the Master of Science in Computer Science.

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18 Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon $8,715 67% 67% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Celebrating 150 years of providing education, Oregon State University operates as a public research institution with more than 30,000 enrolled learners. The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science offers a fully online bachelor of science in professional computer science for students who have already completed a baccalaureate degree in an unrelated discipline. Rather than spending 4 full years working towards a second bachelor's degree, Oregon State's program allows distance learners to complete 60 credits and graduate. Learning tracks include 1-, 1.5-, 2-, 3- and 4-year plans to fit the needs of any student's schedule. Unique coursework includes computer architecture and assembly language, intro to usability engineering, analysis of algorithms and open source software development. The school even provides a nod to Harry Potter fans with a Defense Against the Dark Arts class that focuses on teaching students how to approach web security and anti-malware design. In terms of support, the department provides twice yearly career showcases that bring together industry leaders and recruiters alongside students to create networking opportunities. Students can also participate in active social media channels and connect with successful alumni willing to share advice and provide mentorship. Because all applicants to this program must already possess a bachelor's degree, they do not need to submit SAT/ACT scores. They do, however, need a GPA of at least 2.75. All online students – regardless of where they live – pay the same distance learning rate of $487 per credit.

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19 Pennsylvania State University-Worldwide University Park, Pennsylvania $16,952 35% 87% 1 Yes Yes Yes

For more than 2 decades, Pennsylvania State University in Philadelphia has provided online degrees to students around the world in addition to offerings at the 24 brick-and-mortar campuses. The school now serves nearly 100,000 learners annually at all academic levels. The institution provides a fully online bachelor of science in software engineering for students who want to build core skills and knowledge that will propel them into a career or graduate school. Courses degree seekers can expect to take while at Penn State include discrete mathematics for computer science, object-oriented software design and construction, software architecture and calculus with analytic geometry I and II. In their final semester, learners complete a software engineering project requiring them to take part in a group senior design project under the supervision of a faculty adviser. In addition to submitting the project, the group must provide a technical defense. Further setting itself apart from other programs, Penn State's software engineering program maintains accreditation through the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Upon graduation, program alumni have found work as software engineers and developers, quality assurance professionals, information security analysts, and project managers. Students looking for assistance can receive resume support, interview prep and a job board through the career services office. To receive consideration, applicants must have at least a 2.0 GPA and complete a number of prerequisite courses. Regardless of whether a student lives in Pennsylvania or elsewhere, all distance learners pay $555 per credit."

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20 Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia $6,330 65% 55% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia maintains the distinction of being one of the United States' largest suppliers of online education, ensuring students who choose this path receive the support and resources needed to thrive. Individuals interested in pursuing a software engineering career can complete a bachelor of computer science from the comfort of their homes without ever visiting campus. Offered as both a degree completion path and a full degree, students from varied academic backgrounds can find what they need to succeed. Students must complete at least 30 of the 120 required credits at ODU to qualify for graduation. The coursework covered within departmental requirements includes introduction to software engineering, problem solving and programming, operating systems and computational methods and software. While internships aren't required, the school does provide opportunities for degree seekers to gain work experience while still enrolled. No requirement exists for a capstone project and/or practicum. Approximately 97% of online students said they enjoyed their experience at ODU, helped in part by the fact that distance learning classes mirror those taught on campus and degree seekers can take part in both synchronous and asynchronous courses. The institution also provides support through the career services office, library, and academic advising departments. To receive admissions consideration, applicants need to demonstrate a GPA of 3.3 or above. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. If learners live in Virginia, they pay $352 per credit; those living elsewhere pay $389 per credit.

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21 Fort Hays State University Hays, Kansas $3,789 73% 44% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Since 1902, Fort Hays State University has provided degrees to students in Kansas and beyond the state's borders. Within online learning offerings, FHSU offers a bachelor of science or arts in information networking and telecommunications with a concentration in web and mobile application development. Regardless of whether degree seekers elect to pursue a bachelor of science or arts, each program requires 124 credits – 39 of which focus on the core curriculum. Classes in this section include research methods in informatics, intro to web development and foundations of informatics. Some of the concentration classes include front- and back-end web development, laws of cyberspace and beginning video/audio production. Students must also complete a 3-credit capstone seminar in the final semester. Upon graduation, newly minted alumni are qualified to sit for the Certified Web Designer Apprentice or Oracle Certified Associate certificates. FHSU's department of informatics maintains relationships with leading technology and computer science organizations, with alumni going on to jobs as electronic journalists, analytics managers, mobile app designers and e-commerce specialists. The departmental website also includes many resources on finding relevant internships and jobs, as well as information about some of the professional organizations students can join. Regardless of where a student resides, FHSU charges the same online tuition rate of $218.67 per credit. To be considered for admission, applicants must have at least a 2.0 GPA from high school and/or previous college credits and ACT/SAT scores of 21/1080."

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22 California State University-Monterey Bay Seaside, California $5,472 45% 48% 1 Yes Yes Yes

As one of the 23 campuses comprising the California State University System, the CSU Monterey Bay location may be smaller than others but still enjoys significant institutional funding as a member. The School of Computing and Design offers a fully online bachelor of science in computer science as a degree completion program for those interested in software engineering. This allows individuals who already undertook an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field to complete all program requirements in 24 months. Classes are taught in 8-week blocks, with students completing only one class each block. All told, degree seekers understake 11 courses, with topics ranging from internet programming and software engineering to design and analysis of algorithms. In addition to classwork, all students participate in a directed group capstone during the final block. This requires the completion of an expansive capstone assignment as well as the creation of a portfolio that can be used when applying to jobs. Unlike other programs in this ranking, CSUMB uses a cohort system whereby learners start the program at the same time and progress through courses together and in sequence. In addition to building rapport with their peers, the small cohort (25-35 learners) also makes it easier to develop professional relationships with professors. Applicants must have at least 60 credits on their transcripts at the time of applying, all of which require a ""C"" grade or better. They must have an overall GPA of 2.0 and have already taken pre-calculus, intro to data structures and problem solving/programming before enrolling. Due to pending authorizations, CSUMB cannot accept students from Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon or Utah."

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23 East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina $4,365 42% 61% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Based in Greenville, North Carolina, East Carolina University is a public research institution and serves approximately 30,000 students through campus-based and online education programs. The bachelor of science in software engineering at ECU exists as a hybrid offering, meaning some classes can be completed via distance learning while others must be taken at the main campus. Of the 120 credits required to graduate, learners take 42 credits in core topics such as discrete structures for software engineers, advanced data structures and algorithms, linear algebra for software engineers and software construction. Students also take 9 credits in one of the 2 available concentrations: data science or mobile and web development. While the school doesn't require an internship, students must complete 2 separate capstone projects during their senior year. Courses taught online exist in both synchronous and asynchronous formats, meaning learners may need to sign-in at specific times for some classes. While ECU doesn't have specific admissions requirements, the school maintains a 70% acceptance rate. SAT scores range between 1050-1200, ACT scores range between 20-24, and the average high school GPA was 3.59 for the previous incoming class. Applications must be submitted by December 15 if a student hopes to compete for an institutional and/or departmental scholarship. All other applications should be received by March 1. Both while at ECU and as alumni, students receive ample career support and resources to help find the right path. Online students also benefit from a comprehensive online library and the opportunity to join several distance learning student clubs and organizations.

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24 Granite State College Concord, New Hampshire $7,200 6% 21% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Operating as a member of the University System of New Hampshire, Granite State University serves students in both Concord and further afield thanks to an expansive online learning department. The institution's BS in Information Technology exists fully online for students who want to maximize their flexibility while earning a degree. The school offers paths for both first-time learners and transfer students alike. Granite State is well-known for catering to students with previous college experience; the latest data available shows that nearly 85% of all GSC students transferred to the school. Those who gained relevant experience in a previous career or while serving with the military can earn academic credit. All told, degree seekers need 120 credits on their transcript to graduate. Some of the core curriculum topics include programming fundamentals, human computer interaction, best practices in information technology and data management systems. Granite State's program has no requirements for capstone projects and/or internships. Online students in New Hampshire pay $314 per credit while those further afield pay $355. Individuals needing further help to offset the cost of their education can apply to the numerous merit and need based scholarships, as well as a few career specific options. The institution provides extensive career counseling services to current students and alumni and employs faculty with both academic and industry credentials. Granite State accepts applications on a rolling basis, with admission guaranteed to any student who completed all the requirements of high school or passed a test demonstrating high school subject proficiency."

School website
25 Broward College Fort Lauderdale, Florida $1,944 12% - 1 Yes Yes Yes

Founded in 1959 as a public community college, today Broward College in Ft. Lauderdale provides a range of 4-year programs to complement existing associate degrees. Among those bachelor's degrees exists programs in information technology and technology management -- both of which can be completed fully online. Applicants must already possess an associate degree or at least 60 existing credits to apply and a GPA of 2.0 or above. They must supply official transcripts from any school previously attended, but ACT/SAT grades don't need to be sent. Some of the degree specific classes include data analytics technologies, Cloud essentials and storage, information management and statistics. All learners complete either an extended capstone project or semester-long internship before graduating. To assist current students and graduates alike seeking internships and employment opportunities, Broward maintains partnerships with Cisco, Microsoft IT Academy and the National Center for Women & Information Technology. The school is also an authorized training partner for Certified Internet Web Professional training. Students looking to complete their degree more quickly can take advantage of the accelerated pace or competency-based learning option which allows students to demonstrate existing knowledge and bypass certain courses. Students can also receive assistance from the career services office when gearing up for a job hunt. While Broward College does not provide any computer science/information technology specific scholarships, it does offer a number of general scholarships to which online students can apply. Those living in Florida pay $122.90 per credit while learners outside the state pay $243.40 per credit."

School website
26 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, Maryland $6,816 11% 10% 1 No No Yes School website
27 New Mexico State University-Main Campus Las Cruces, New Mexico $4,956 61% 51% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
28 Baker College Flint, Michigan $9,000 80% 18% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, New York $17,772 83% 32% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
30 Miami Dade College Miami, Florida $1,983 23% - 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
31 Colorado State University-Global Campus Greenwood Village, Colorado $8,400 - - 1 No No Yes School website
32 University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, Maine $6,510 40% 15% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
33 Virginia International University Fairfax, Virginia $9,408 - - 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Limestone College Gaffney, South Carolina $23,900 97% 29% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
35 Franklin University Columbus, Ohio $11,856 - 16% 2 No No Yes School website
36 Brandman University Irvine, California $12,000 - - 1 No No Yes School website
37 Peirce College Philadelphia, Pennsylvania $13,872 94% - 1 No No Yes School website
38 Hodges University Naples, Florida $13,200 20% 25% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
39 City University of Seattle Seattle, Washington $16,748 - - 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
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 $2,280 73% 25% 2 Yes No Yes School website
2 Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, Indiana $4,055 11% 11% 10 Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Garden City Community College Garden City, Kansas $1,824 44% 31% 1 Yes No Yes School website
4 Lone Star College System The Woodlands, Texas $2,736 10% 8% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
5 Metropolitan Community College Omaha, Nebraska $2,625 31% 13% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
6 Central Community College Grand Island, Nebraska $2,520 34% 32% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Lamar Community College Lamar, Colorado $3,288 66% 42% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Pitt Community College Winterville, North Carolina $1,824 16% 10% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
9 North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park, Minnesota $3,922 3% 13% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Collin County Community College District McKinney, Texas $2,460 3% 13% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Sheridan College Sheridan, Wyoming $2,136 54% 30% 1 Yes No Yes School website
12 Sinclair Community College Dayton, Ohio $3,169 44% 16% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
13 Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, North Carolina $2,128 4% 13% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Central Texas College Killeen, Texas $2,940 19% 9% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Stark State College North Canton, Ohio $2,796 19% 7% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
16 San Joaquin Delta College Stockton, California $1,104 - 31% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
17 Clark State Community College Springfield, Ohio $2,912 37% 13% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
18 Cerro Coso Community College Ridgecrest, California $1,288 1% 25% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
19 Mesa Community College Mesa, Arizona $2,064 25% 13% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
20 Southwestern Community College Sylva, North Carolina $2,128 9% 30% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
21 Minnesota State College Southeast Winona, Minnesota $4,969 - 26% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
22 Jefferson State Community College Birmingham, Alabama $3,510 15% 8% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
23 Cincinnati State Cincinnati, Ohio $3,567 19% 12% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, Minnesota $4,824 7% 34% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
25 Calhoun Community College Tanner, Alabama $3,510 21% 15% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
26 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, Wisconsin $3,965 12% 46% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Southeast Technical Institute Sioux Falls, South Dakota $2,834 17% 44% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
28 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, Wisconsin $4,171 17% 59% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Murray State College Tishomingo, Oklahoma $3,584 70% 30% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
30 Finger Lakes Community College Canandaigua, New York $4,368 4% 24% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
31 Bristol Community College Fall River, Massachusetts $576 1% 21% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, Virginia $4,890 19% 23% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
33 SUNY Ulster Stone Ridge, New York $4,330 25% 31% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Trident Technical College Charleston, South Carolina $4,461 2% 11% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
35 Northern Essex Community College Haverhill, Massachusetts $600 5% 20% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
36 Ocean County College Toms River, New Jersey $4,050 1% 34% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
37 Rappahannock Community College Glenns, Virginia $4,133 25% 28% 1 Yes No Yes School website
38 Quinsigamond Community College Worcester, Massachusetts $576 7% 17% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Roane State Community College Harriman, Tennessee $3,744 7% 18% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
40 Front Range Community College Westminster, Colorado $3,288 7% 20% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
41 Arapahoe Community College Littleton, Colorado $3,288 18% 20% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
42 Clovis Community College Clovis, New Mexico $1,008 8% 40% 3 No No Yes School website
43 San Bernardino Valley College San Bernardino, California $8,000 45% 19% 3 No Yes Yes School website
44 Forsyth Technical Community College Winston-Salem, North Carolina $1,906 - 15% 7 No Yes Yes School website
45 Odessa College Odessa, Texas $3,144 29% 20% 1 No Yes Yes School website
46 Trinity Valley Community College Athens, Texas $1,080 35% 21% 3 No Yes Yes School website
47 Rio Salado College Tempe, Arizona $2,064 1% 4% 1 No Yes Yes School website
48 Mt San Antonio College Walnut, California $1,288 - 32% 2 No Yes Yes School website
49 Bladen Community College Dublin, North Carolina $2,128 7% 11% 2 No No Yes School website
50 Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte, North Carolina $2,432 2% 13% 1 No Yes Yes School website

How Much Can You Make in a Software Engineering Career?

Although no degree can guarantee a job or a specific salary, a bachelor's in software engineering can enhance professional opportunities. Graduates can pursue a variety of positions, including information systems manager, systems analyst, and security specialist. Additionally, software engineering professionals can work in almost any industry. After earning an on-campus or online software engineering degree, graduates enter a growing field; according to the BLS, employment for software engineers increased 34% from 2008-2018.

The table below includes descriptions of common career paths for software engineering graduates, along with salary expectations and projected job growth.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +30.7%
Job Description

Software developers design the underlying systems that control the different functions of an electronic device or a computer program. They develop, implement, and maintain application systems, and they document every aspect of software development for troubleshooting purposes and/or future upgrades. Software developers often direct and supervise computer programmers in creating code. However, software developers sometimes write code themselves, especially when working for smaller companies.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +12%
Job Description

Some companies refer to computer and information systems managers as IT project managers, or simply IT managers. These professionals help define the technological needs and objectives of a company and develop the systems that meet those objectives. They may also review the integrity of an organization's digital infrastructure and make recommendations to preserve or enhance the system's security.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +9.1%
Job Description

Most computer systems analysts work in the nexus of business and technology. They apply current or emerging technologies to business processes to improve functionality and increase profitability. Computer systems analysts help select new computer or IT systems for a company and often customize these systems to meet the company's specific needs. They also train and teach personnel using new systems.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +28.5%
Job Description

An information security analyst's typical responsibilities include monitoring networks for security breaches, installing firewalls and data encryption programs, and conducting penetration testing to find vulnerable areas. They also research IT security applications and trends and assess their relevance to a company's security objectives.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +11%
Job Description

A database administrator ensures that an organization's information is secure, up-to-date, and accurate. Database administrators organize data for stakeholders, modify database structures to improve efficiency, update permissions, and back up databases. Some database administrators are responsible for the physical and technical aspects of an entire database, while others deal with specific applications.

Sources: BLS 2018

Job growth and salaries vary greatly between states and industries. According to the BLS, the states with the highest employment levels for applications software developers are California, Texas, Washington, New York, and New Jersey. The annual mean salaries for software developers in these states range from $103,390-$131,430, and Washington professionals earn the highest salaries. The computer systems design industry employs the highest concentration of software developers, followed by the software publishing industry.

What Courses Can Be Taken for an Online Software Engineering Degree?

Students earning an online bachelor's degree in software engineering typically complete the same courses as on-campus students. However, because each school provides a curriculum geared toward specific academic objectives, systems engineering coursework varies by school. Along with major coursework, learners generally take courses in related disciplines, such as computer science, applied statistics, and calculus. The courses below are common to most software engineering programs. Students should contact their prospective school for specific course requirements.

Algorithmic Foundations for Software Systems

Students gain in-depth knowledge about algorithmic design theories, matrix algorithms, and fundamental data structures. They complete programming assignments to learn how to implement and test algorithms.

Computer Graphics

In this introductory course, students learn about current topics and emerging trends in computer graphics, such as geometric modeling, image synthesis, interactive techniques, and object-modeling techniques.

Data Engineering

Students explore the role of data in the design and development of computer and information systems. They study topics such as database design, data access and security, and the languages used in data definition and description.

Distributed Information System Security

This course focuses on engineering techniques commonly used to secure a networked information system environment. Students learn about evolving security threats and countermeasures to address them.

Mobile Computing

Students examine the impact of mobile computing on software development and design. Students learn how the increasing demand for mobile applications influences and complicates the field of software engineering.

How to Choose the Best Online Software Engineering Program

Students pursuing a software engineering bachelor's degree online should consider several factors. Program cost is an important consideration for most students. Other key aspects of a program include accreditation status, graduation and retention rates, and course and project requirements. The following section answers five common questions about online software engineering degrees.

Is the Quality of an Online Bachelor's Degree in Software Engineering the Same as an On-Campus Degree?

Online software engineering courses typically have the same rigor and requirements as their on-campus counterparts. Because digital learning is quickly becoming integral to the educational landscape, schools design and develop online courses that provide the same challenges and learning opportunities as on-campus classes.

Should I Look for a Specific Curriculum Focus?

Most undergraduate programs offer a variety of courses, which cover key aspects of the software engineering field. This provides students with the general skills and knowledge they need for various professional roles and settings. Broad curricula also provide a foundation for future studies. Students interested in a certain specialization area should enroll in relevant courses.

What Kind of Culminating Experience Is Required for an Online Bachelor's Degree in Software Engineering?

Some programs require a practicum, while others culminate in a capstone project. Most schools provide this information online. If a program offers ideal coursework but not the culminating experience of your choice, ask whether students can pursue their preference. Some schools allow students who present concrete and convincing requests to pursue alternate projects.

How Long Will It Take to Complete a Software Engineering Bachelor's Degree Online?

Like most on-campus undergraduate programs, an online bachelor's in software engineering typically requires about 120 credits and takes four years of full-time enrollment to complete. Students can accelerate completion time by choosing a program with asynchronous classes and several start dates per year.

How Easy (Or Difficult) Is It to Transfer Software Engineering Credits From One School to Another?

Each school has a unique transfer policy, so students should check their school's website and contact the school directly for more information. Typically, transferring credits is easier when the earned credits are from an accredited institution. In the U.S., the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology is the most widely recognized accrediting body for software engineering programs.

Scholarships & Financial Aid for Software Engineering Programs

Many students take out private or federal student loans to help pay for college. Payments for some private student loans begin even while the student is in school. Because there is high demand for professionals in STEM fields, there are several scholarship programs for students pursuing STEM degrees. The list below is an ideal starting place for students researching software engineering scholarships.

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

This scholarship program awards up to $7,500 to junior and senior undergraduate students. However, the program does not accept applications directly from students. Only accredited two- and four-year institutions with a Goldwater campus representative can nominate candidates for the scholarship. Nominees must be full-time STEM students, have at least a 3.0 GPA, and be U.S. citizens or noncitizen permanent residents.

Delphix Technology Scholarship

This scholarship is reserved for female college students enrolled full time in an accredited college or university. Applicants must be pursuing a technical degree in an area such as computer science, information technology, or software engineering. Applicants participate in a coding competition and submit a software project. Students must demonstrate financial need to be eligible for this $5,000 scholarship.

Generation Google Scholarship

This $10,000 scholarship is open to African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, and female high school seniors. Applicants must show proof of acceptance to or enrollment in a computer science, software engineering, or related program at an accredited U.S. college or university. Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from a STEM teacher. Recipients can participate in Google's Computer Science Summer Institute.

National Space Club and Foundation Keynote Scholarship

The recipient of this $10,000 scholarship gives the keynote address at the National Space Club and Foundation's Goddard Memorial Dinner. The scholarship program is open to high school seniors as well as college and graduate students who plan to pursue a career in a STEM field. Recipients can only apply the award toward tuition; the foundation delivers the funds directly to the recipient's institution.

Northrop Grumman Engineering Scholarships

Graduating high school seniors who plan to major in a STEM field can apply for one of several scholarships from Northrop Grumman, each worth $10,000. Applicants must reside in a state in which Northrop Grumman has a significant presence (California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Utah, or Virginia). Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and a composite SAT score of at least 1700.

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