Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. x
Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Southern New Hampshire University

Bachelor Degrees
Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Grantham University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Grantham University

Bachelor Degrees
Grantham University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Strayer University

Bachelor Degrees
Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Purdue University Global

Bachelor Degrees
Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Saint Leo University

Bachelor Degrees
Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Full Sail University

Bachelor Degrees
Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Post University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Post University

Bachelor Degrees
Post University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Capella University

Bachelor Degrees
Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Grand Canyon University

Bachelor Degrees
Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Florida Tech University Online responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Florida Tech University Online

Bachelor Degrees
Florida Tech University Online responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Best Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree Programs

If you're considering an online computer science bachelor's degree program, there are several factors to consider. This article discusses top schools with online programs, degree completion time, certifications and careers.

Best Online Computer Science Bachelor's Degree Programs

There are several things to consider when you're choosing an online computer science bachelor's degree program. Costs, length, flexibility, and focus areas are all important factors. Below are some of the best schools with online bachelor's programs in computer science.

1. Davenport University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Grand Rapids, MI $18,414 97%

Davenport University has an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program that consists of 120 credit hours. Students are required to complete core courses and then choose one of three concentration options: gaming and simulation, artificial intelligence, or computer architecture and algorithms. Students can also add a minor in mathematics, and earn one of several certifications. The program takes four years of full-time study to complete and has an in-state tuition fee of $777 per credit hour (total tuition of $93,240).

2. Dakota State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Madison, SD $9,276 95%

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program at Dakota State University can be completed entirely online in four years. Students will complete 121 credit hours of coursework and can choose a concentration in software engineering or artificial intelligence/machine learning. DSU also offers the BS in Computer Science as a 4+1 program which enables students to earn both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in five years. With a per-credit tuition fee of just over $251, the total tuition for the 4-year B.S. at Dakota State University is $30,413.

3. Regis University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Denver, CO $36,810 99%

The BS in Computer Science program at Regis University is the only online program of its kind accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. The program consists of 128 credit hours and has concentrations available in computer science, information technology, and computer information systems. Students can choose to add a minor in mathematics (additional 11 credit hours) or pursue a BS/MS together (152 credit hours total). The undergraduate tuition fee is $530 per credit hour, so students can earn a BS for $67,840 or both a BS and MS for $80,560 in tuition.

4. Limestone College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Gaffney, SC $25,025 99%

Limestone College offers 8-week courses and six terms per year, enabling students to complete their degrees faster and in a more flexible format. Students at Limestone can earn a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with one of three concentrations: programming, computer and information systems security, or information technology. The degree consists of 120 credit hours and has a total tuition cost of $52,920.

5. Fort Hays State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Hays, KS $5,130 98%

Fort Hays State University has a 120-credit-hour Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program that can be completed entirely online. Students take a variety of general and focused courses on topics such as programming, software engineering, and computer graphics. Undergraduate students have a tuition rate of $175.80 per credit hour. The BS in Computer Science at Fort Hays State University has a total tuition cost of $21,096 (in-state), making it one of the most affordable on our list. The school also offers discounted tuition rates to qualifying students from Ohio, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY $19,042 97%
7 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO $12,532 64%
8 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH $31,136 75%

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics; tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Online Computer Science Degree Overview

Computer science is a broad field and there are diverse online degree programs available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In general, these degree programs aim to equip students with the programming, design, and troubleshooting skills needed to work various jobs involved in information technology. Despite being offered in online formats, most of these programs still provide students with real-world and hands-on experiences through projects and activities.

While most undergraduate degree programs in computer science can be completed fully online, some graduate-level degree programs may have some limited in-person requirements. Coursework for these programs can incorporate several different areas of learning, including software engineering, information technology, programming, and artificial intelligence. Depending on the program, students may finish with a final project of some sort, such as a capstone, portfolio, or dissertation. Learn more about some of the different degree options available in computer science and some of their common features below.

Online Associate Degrees in Computer Science

Online associate degree programs in computer science are widely available and are commonly offered as Associate of Science (AS) degrees. These degree programs are designed to be completed in 2 years, but often accept transfer credit, which may allow students to complete the degree faster. Many of these programs are also easily transferred to a 4-year institution for students wishing to continue their studies. For those who want to enter the job market, associate degree programs in the field help prepare students for entry-level positions.

Coursework for these associate degree programs in computer science usually requires between 60 and 64 credits. Students take general education courses, core computer science courses, and/or electives. Most of these programs include hands-on training in a variety of programming languages and writing programs, including JavaScript, C++, and Python. Some of these programs may conclude with a practicum and/or help students build a digital portfolio of their work throughout the program to demonstrate their skills to potential employers.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Computer Science

Online bachelor's degree programs in computer science can usually be completed through 100% online coursework. Many programs allow students to select a degree concentration to better prepare them for their career interests. Some common degree concentration areas are:

  • Information Technology
  • Systems Security
  • Programming
  • Software Engineering
  • Gaming
  • Artificial Intelligence

Coursework in online programs is normally completed through a learning portal, often provided through a third-party website. In these portals, students may complete and submit assignments, take exams, and communicate with each other and teachers. Some programs may offer asynchronous learning, which allows students to log in and complete assignments when it is convenient for them. Other programs may consist of some degree of synchronous components such as scheduled lectures and video conferences.

Online Master's Degrees in Computer Science

Online master's degree programs in computer science are usually available as Master of Science (MS) or Master of Computer Science (MCS) degrees. Most of these programs can be completed fully online and may be intended as a professional terminal degree. The time to completion and format of the program varies by school, as some programs may be part-time and completed in 3 to 5 years, while others may be self-paced and allow students to finish in as few as 1 to 2 years.

These programs may range between 32 and 45 credits and are usually non-thesis programs. However, some programs may offer a thesis option and students still typically complete a variety of hands-on, collaborative projects to apply the skills they are learning. Coursework generally consists of core computer science courses, major electives, and/or additional graduate courses that may be pulled from areas like data science, software engineering, or artificial intelligence.

Online Doctoral Degrees in Computer Science

Online doctoral degrees in computer science are offered as Doctor of Computer Science (DCS), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and Doctor of Science (DSc) degrees. These programs are usually designed for students wishing to work in academia and/or research-based careers in their particular area of expertise. Although most coursework can be completed online, some programs may have in-person residency requirements and/or in-person symposium experiences. Some online doctoral programs can be completed in as few as 3 years and most programs offer multiple start dates for flexibility.

Students in these programs can customize their curriculum to meet their individual interests and research areas. These programs may range between 60 and 100 credits and offer various concentration areas to help students focus their studies. Most programs include writing projects and intensive research projects to give students hands-on research experiences in the field. Students are typically required to finish the program with a dissertation.

Computer Science Specializations/Concentrations

Concentrations or areas of specialization within computer science are intended to help students further focus their studies in a particular aspect of the field to better prepare for specific careers. For example, someone interested in working a job as an information security analyst may pursue a concentration in cybersecurity to learn more about ways to protect information available online. Concentration areas are usually available for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students typically take courses in their given area of concentration in addition to their core computer science classes. Although not an exhaustive list, some available concentration areas for computer science programs include:

  • Computing systems
  • Networks and security
  • Human-centered computing
  • Data analytics
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Software development
  • Data science
  • User experience
  • Blockchain
  • Big data

Common Courses for Computer Science Degrees

While courses may vary with degree concentration (if applicable), many computer science programs share foundational and general courses. Some common courses found in computer science programs are listed below.

  • Composition - Composition courses introduce students to fundamental research and writing practices.
  • Algebra - Students expand their understanding of algebra and functions such as linear transformations and matrices.
  • Programming - These courses explore programming languages like Java, Python, C++ and R.
  • Calculus - Students explore topics such as derivatives, definite integrals, limits and continuity.
  • Communication - Topics covered include interpersonal communication and public speaking.
  • Intro to Computer Science - These courses teach students essential concepts such as operating systems, networking, hardware, and computer systems.
  • C# - Students learn about C# programming and topics such as expressions, data types, and event-driven programming.
  • Visual Programming - These courses focus on developing skills and methods that enable machines to analyze and represent images and videos.
  • Internet Programming - Students explore topics such as website programming, HTML and Java.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science?

Traditionally, online (or on-campus) bachelor's degree programs in computer science take around 4 years to complete. However, there are several factors that could affect students' time to degree completion, including ways that could potentially allow them to earn their degree faster than 4 years. For example, some programs allow students to transfer in credit from previous coursework and count toward their degree program, which could allow them to finish their degree faster. There are also several online computer science programs that are considered accelerated because students can earn credit for prior experience programming software or coding and/or for any professional certifications and licenses students have already earned in the field.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Degrees

Accreditation is the method used to ensure that colleges, universities, and/or specific degree programs are providing students with a quality education. Many institutions that offer computer science degree programs are regionally accredited by organizations such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or the Higher Learning Commission. This accreditation can potentially affect students' ability to apply for financial aid, obtain professional licensures, and/or transfer credit to other institutions. Employers may also want students to have a degree from an accredited institution.

In addition to the regional level of accreditation, some programs, including computer science, may have additional program-specific accreditation. This level of accreditation helps ensure that the institution is providing a quality academic program that has met subject-specific guidelines for excellence. Several computer science programs are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET works for improvement and innovation in technical education and helps ensure that graduates of accredited programs are ready to apply their skills in the real world.

Computer Science Licensure & Certification

A bachelor's degree in computer science is extremely important in pursuing a computer-related career, but certifications can give candidates an edge. Technology is vast and constantly evolving, and employers may prefer candidates who have a certificate articulating their technical skills beyond their degree. Listed below are a few types of certifications.

  • MCPD - The Microsoft Certified Professional Developer certification shows that an individual can effectively create and manage software using certain Microsoft programs.
  • A+ - This certification articulates proficiency in computer and technical support.
  • MCITP - Microsoft Certified IT Professional certification shows that an individual is proficient in various Microsoft programs.
  • CISSP - This certification is recognized internationally for recognizing expertise in security.
  • Linux+ - The Linux+ certification is the best way to show employers and clients your advanced understanding of Linux technologies.
  • MCTS - Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist certification shows proficiency in troubleshooting, maintaining, and installing Microsoft technologies.
  • Security+ - This certification is often helpful for security careers, as it shows that individuals are well-versed in organizational security and infrastructure practices.

What Can You Do with a BS in Computer Science?

Earning a bachelor's degree in computer science can lead to a variety of technology careers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects all computer and information technology positions to grow 12% between 2018 and 2028. Below are several careers that computer science graduates often pursue.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators oversee the computer systems within an organization. They may work with wide area networks and/or local area networks, intranets, and other computer communications. They make sure that organizational email and data stores run properly, and may also work with network architects to create and assess network models.

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists help individuals and organizations with technical issues and operations. They may perform maintenance, troubleshoot programs, and test networks. User support specialists work with customers who are having computer problems, while network specialists troubleshoot organizational networks.

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts review the procedures and systems within an organization and create solutions that may increase efficiency. Many of these analysts work with specific types of computer systems such as financial or engineering computer systems. Their duties may include researching technologies, running technical tests, and training users on new or revised processes.

Database Administrators

Database administrators (DBAs) organize and store data, as well as ensure it is available to the appropriate users. They may make sure that data is secure from unauthorized users, back up data, and test software for efficiency. Database administrators may work with physical and/or technical data as system DBAs, or work with the language and application side of data as application DBAs.

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts devise and implement security methods to ensure the safety of computer networks and systems within an organization. They monitor networks, install various software, run cyber-attack tests, research up to date IT trends, and recommend enhancements when appropriate. Cybersecurity is a constantly growing and evolving field, and information security analysts are expected to grow significantly more than the average role.

Software Developers

Software developers create computer and other programs or systems. They may identify software needs, design models, run tests, and oversee the development of the designed software or program. Software developers often work with computer programmers through the development and revision stages of projects, and oversee the overall development of programs.

Web Developers

Web developers are responsible for creating websites. They may choose and create website appearance, technical attributes, and site content. Some developers may work with specific functions or parts of websites while others may handle every aspect of website development. Specialized web developers may work as back-end developers, handling technical aspects, front-end developers, managing site appearance, or webmasters, who maintain and update websites.

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers work with software developers to write and test computer code that enables programs to run correctly. Essentially, they take the program designs from software developers and use programming language to tell a computer what to do. They also test new programs and applications to make sure that they're running as intended. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that these roles will decline from 2018 to 2028 because some employers are hiring programmers in other countries. The additional costs of overseas employees can offset salary savings, so some companies will maintain positions for programmers in the United States.

Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects create and build networks such as intranets, wide area networks, and local area networks. They may also upgrade necessary hardware and software, research newer technologies, and troubleshoot poorly performing networks.

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers, or IT managers, oversee and direct the computer and technical activities within an organization. They may manage IT employees, assess organizational technical efficiency, propose upgrades and budgets, and delegate tasks as needed. Some of these managers may work as chief technology officers, IT directors, chief information officers, or IT security managers.

Computer Hardware Engineers

Computer hardware engineers create, build, and test computer systems, networks, routers, processors, and circuit boards. Many of these engineers create the devices that are used in other products. For example, the computer systems that may be installed in a television or medical device. Computer hardware engineers may design as well as revise and research products and components, and oversee computer hardware manufacturing.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $82,050 5%
Computer Support Specialist $53,470 10%
Computer Systems Analysts $88,740 9%
Database Administrators $90,070 9%
Information Security Analysts $98,350 32%
Software Developers $105,590 21%
Web Developers $69,430 13%
Computer Programmers $84,280 -7%
Computer Network Architects $109,020 5%
Computer and Information Systems Managers $142,530 11%
Computer Hardware Engineers $114,600 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager

Students interested in becoming a computer and information systems manager, including positions like IT directors, chief technology officers, chief information officers, and IT security managers, need to earn at least a bachelor's degree. Usually, this degree needs to be in computer or information science. Some of these professionals may go on to earn a graduate degree, which may also be required or preferred by some employers. Students may earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or another advanced degree in the computer science field. It is also important for aspiring computer and information systems managers to have some prior work experience. Usually, the more advanced the management position, the more prior work experience is required. It is also beneficial for these managers to have some experience working in the specific industry of their job, such as healthcare or information security.

In addition to formal education and work experience, computer and information systems managers need to have great analytical and decision-making skills as they make plans and oversee the various computer systems of their organization. Since these managers generally oversee staff members and a range of projects, it is also important for them to have great communication and organizational skills to keep everything and everyone running smoothly. Finally, leadership and business skills will help these managers make the best decisions for their organization and guide their staff to reach these goals.

Computer Science Associations & Organizations

  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) - One of the world's largest computing organizations, the ACM promotes high standards and careers in networking. With almost 100,000 members across the globe, it connects computer professionals from various fields and regions. Regular membership costs $99 per year but students can purchase a membership for $19.
  • IEEE Computer Society - IEEE gives access to thousands of documents and periodicals, offers certifications, and hosts various events and conferences. The organization emphasizes innovation and leadership in technology. A basic student membership is $40 per year and a professional membership starts at $157 per year.
  • Association for Women in Computing (AWC) - AWC is a part of ICCP (computer organization for companies) and is focused on advancing women in computing roles. Members work in various fields including systems analysis, consulting, programming, and internet development. Membership varies based on membership type but can range between $25 and $100 per year.
  • Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) - IET has over 168,000 members in 150 countries. Members can utilize available venues and facilities, network with other members, and attend various events. Students can become members for £20-£50, and standard membership is £20 to £192 (per year).
  • Associate for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) - This organization focuses on understanding and advancing the intelligence and behaviors of machines. Students can purchase a one-year membership for $75, while regular membership can be purchased for $145. Members can attend conferences, become published, and even earn scholarships and grants.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information for Computer Science Degrees

Paying for a degree can be a challenge, but there are several different financial aid and scholarship options available to computer science students. Like any other student, computer science majors should first apply for federal financial aid using the FAFSA to see what types of loans, grants, and aid they qualify for. National and/or institutional scholarships are another great option for students. Computer science students should also check with their specific school and computer science program to see what kinds of scholarships they may qualify for. Scholarships do not have to be paid back and students may be able to qualify for computer science-related scholarships as first-time freshmen and/or throughout their studies. Here are a few examples of school-specific scholarships available to computer science students.

  • Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Award for Excellence- This scholarship is available to computer science and engineering students at the University of Washington. The awards vary in amount but may award students up to $5,000 based on merit.
  • Joseph Barkmeier and Ann Tice Computer Science Scholarship- Although this scholarship is open to all students, preference is given to MCS students and/or students with a connection to states in the Midwest. Each year the scholarship awards 2 students with the amount of $2,500.
  • Brendan Iribe Endowed Scholarship- Available to undergraduate computer science students at the University of Maryland, two scholarships are awarded annually by donations from Brendan Iribe, the co-founder of Oculus, VR, Inc. Each year a student is chosen who demonstrates great financial aid, while the other scholarship is awarded to someone in an under-represented population in the field to promote diversity.