Online Computer-Related Graduate Degrees

At the graduate level, you can find online master's degree programs related to computers, though online Ph.D. programs are much less common. Learn about the types of master's degrees available and what you'd study as an online student. Get more info on the limited online doctoral options. Check the job outlook and typical salary for several advanced positions in the computer industry. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Computer-Related Graduate Degrees Are Available Online?

If your interests lie in network security, you could enroll in a master's degree program in information security. If you're looking for a degree program that covers all aspects of computer technology, including its internal structure and organization, you might consider a master's degree program in computer science or information technology. Each of these areas of study is offered at the master's and doctoral degree level; however, online doctoral degree programs are less common.

Program Levels Master's degree, doctorate
Common Courses Master's: Cryptography, network security, computer programming, operating systems, IT management
Other Requirements Thesis (master's) or final project (doctorate) may be required
Possible Careers Computer programmer, software engineer, computer and information systems manager, computer systems analyst
Median Salary (2018)$88,740 for computer systems analysts*
Job Outlook (2018-2028)9% growth for computer systems analysts*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect in a Master's Degree Program?

The field of information security is concerned with protecting computer systems, including any form of data contained within them. Information security professionals work to help businesses, organizations and government agencies protect private information, such as financial records, account numbers, passwords and classified documents. A master's degree program in information security is typically a 2-year program that covers topics such as databases, cryptography, network security and computer programming.

The curriculum in a master's degree program in computer science comprises software and hardware, computer architecture, operating systems and programming. You'll learn to design, maintain and secure networks; manage complex databases; implement software systems; and analyze object-oriented systems.

Information technology (IT) programs frequently are designed with the option to choose a concentration area, such as IT management and software development. Generally consisting of the same credit requirements as in the above programs, the curriculum covers topics such as information security, IT management, computing technologies and system infrastructure. Some master's degree programs are offered with a thesis and non-thesis option. A thesis option will require that you complete a graduate research project, while a non-thesis option will require that you take comprehensive exams.

What Doctoral Degree Programs Are Available?

There are some online doctoral degree programs in computer science, information technology and information systems, but because of the rigorous academic requirements and student-to-faculty interaction in doctoral degree programs, they are rare. A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in any of the above areas consists of courses, seminars, research work and intensive preparation for the doctoral dissertation, a final research project in which you would demonstrate to scholars your competency and mastery of your subject.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a degree in computer science is adequate preparation for a job as a software engineer or computer programmer. A degree in computer science or information science could qualify you for a position as a computer and information systems manager or computer systems analyst. In 2018, the BLS reported that applications software developers earned a median salary of $103,620, while systems software developers earned $110,000, computer and information systems managers earned $142,530 and computer systems analysts earned $88,740.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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