Online Computer Science Degrees

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Is an Online Computer Science Degree Right for Me?

While most students may find that they excel in a traditional classroom environment, others may discover that they are best suited for online learning. In making this decision, prospective students should carefully consider several different factors.

To begin, those who enroll in an online computer science degree program should understand that they may never need to set foot on the physical campus. For those who are employed full-time, in the military, have children, or don’t live near a campus, this can be highly beneficial, as these students can obtain a degree from a reputable school without having to relocate or commute.

For others, however, online learning may prove to be difficult; in particular, those who thrive on frequent face-to-face interactions with peers and professors (both inside and outside the classroom) may find that online degree programs lack the level of interactivity, structure, and support necessary for them to succeed.

Also, while students in online programs are given a school calendar and a schedule to which they must adhere, they will often have more freedom and flexibility regarding completing course sections and related assignments. Again, while some may find this appealing, others may not perform as well without adhering to a more rigid schedule. Prospective students should evaluate their study habits and support requirements before making a final decision.

List of Online Computer Science Degree Programs

Filter by state :
School City State Website Undergrad Graduate Grads
University of Southern California

Los Angeles

CA 1111
Oregon State University


OR 633
Columbia University in the City of New York

New York

NY 624
Stanford University


CA 622
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


IL 589
North Carolina State University at Raleigh


NC 501
University of Illinois at Springfield


IL 469
Purdue University-Main Campus

West Lafayette

IN 417
Illinois Institute of Technology


IL 400
Stevens Institute of Technology


NJ 371
University of Massachusetts-Amherst


MA 364
University of Colorado Boulder


CO 359
Boston University


MA 273
Kennesaw State University


GA 247
DePaul University


IL 211
University of Bridgeport


CT 164
Colorado Technical University-Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs

CO 163
California State University-Monterey Bay


CA 131
Drexel University


PA 130
Grantham University


KS 100
National University

La Jolla

CA 99
Lewis University


IL 95
Virginia International University


VA 88
Monroe College


NY 82
Wentworth Institute of Technology


MA 80
Southern Methodist University


TX 77
University of Louisiana at Lafayette


LA 76
Rasmussen College-Florida


FL 74
Regis University


CO 71
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


WI 68
Trident University International


CA 62
South Texas College


TX 61
University of Memphis


TN 52
East Carolina University


NC 51
Southern University and A & M College

Baton Rouge

LA 49
University of Idaho


ID 44
Hofstra University


NY 41
North American University


TX 38
North Hennepin Community College

Brooklyn Park

MN 37
Franklin University


OH 34
Davenport University

Grand Rapids

MI 34
Naval Postgraduate School


CA 34
Hawaii Pacific University


HI 32
Central Penn College


PA 29
Saint Leo University

Saint Leo

FL 25
Montgomery County Community College

Blue Bell

PA 25
Concordia University-Wisconsin


WI 23
University of Management and Technology


VA 22
Baker College


MI 20
Ivy Tech Community College


IN 19
Georgia Southwestern State University


GA 19
Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla


PR 17
Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Fajardo


PR 16
Lake Area Technical Institute


SD 15
Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies


MO 15
Copiah-Lincoln Community College


MS 14
Lake Superior State University

Sault Ste Marie

MI 11
Gardner-Webb University

Boiling Springs

NC 11
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology


PA 10
Southern New Hampshire University


NH 10
Blinn College


TX 10
Charleston Southern University


SC 8
Concordia University Texas


TX 8
Rasmussen College-Minnesota

St. Cloud

MN 5
Laramie County Community College


WY 5
New Jersey Institute of Technology


NJ 5
University of Houston-Victoria


TX 4
Rasmussen College-Illinois


IL 3
Missouri University of Science and Technology


MO 3
Georgia Southern University


GA 3
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

North Dartmouth

MA 2
American Sentinel University


CO 2
Aspen University


CO 2
Rasmussen College-North Dakota


ND 1
Rasmussen College-Wisconsin

Green Bay

WI 1
City University of Seattle


WA 1

Admissions Requirements for Online Computer Science
Degree Programs (What to Expect)

Students wishing to enroll in an online computer science degree program must first meet several admissions standards before being offered admittance. At each degree level, institutions share a number of these standards. While they differ slightly from one university to the next, understanding admissions commonalities should help the prospective CS student better comprehend what to expect before completing the application process.

To begin, students who are applying for programs that offer undergraduate degrees should expect to show proof of SAT scores, along with copies of a high school diploma or GED. Furthermore, these same students may be required to write a personal essay on a topic selected by the institution of choice, along with multiple letters of recommendation from authority figures who can attest to the student’s academic abilities. Also, students may be asked to submit more personal information, such as their academic goals and why they are specifically interested in enrolling in a particular program.

The application for enrollment in a graduate program may be similar; however, rather than SAT scores, prospective graduate students will typically be asked to show proof of scores obtained on the GRE (graduate record examination, which even has a subject test for computer science to test for subject proficiency), or another similar standardized test.

Additionally, students applying for admissions in a graduate program will also be asked to submit copies of undergraduate diplomas and transcripts, as well as letters of recommendation completed by past professors or teaching assistants, employers or supervisors, or anyone else who may have a professional or personal relationship with the applicant and who can shed light on his or her capabilities. These students may also be asked to write a personal essay, as well as submit prior research or other related documents.

Prospective students must submit their applications on or before a specific deadline if they wish to be considered for admissions. Generally, for a program that starts in the fall, the deadline for application submissions will be around January; the deadline for spring-start programs will typically be in late fall. Of course, this ultimately depends on the individual institution, so it is important to confirm the date with program representatives early in the application process.

Program Accreditation

During the application process, prospective students may also wish to consider whether or not the institution to which they are applying is accredited. In general, computer science programs may receive accreditation through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), which is widely regarded as the national accrediting agency for programs focusing on science and technology. CSAB, Inc., formerly known as the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board, Inc., is a member organization focused on computing and computer science.

Educational institutions are not required to undergo the accreditation process; however, doing so, which involves a process of peer approval, leads to a mark of approval from a nationwide set of professional computing and engineering organizations.

A degree from an accredited institution is not necessary to receive future employment in the field of computer science; however, upon completion of the program, it may help the graduate obtain gainful employment. To be sure, CSAB, Inc. specifically states that a degree from an ABET-accredited program “verifies that the quality of the educational experience [the student] received meets the standards of the profession,” and that it “increases and enhances employment opportunities.” It also “establishes eligibility for many federal student loans, grants, and/or scholarships.”

Here, it is important to note that several highly respected institutions are not ABET-accredited. As such, this should not be a final determining factor, unless the student wishes to take it for the Patent Bar in the future, as a degree from an ABET-accredited institution is required for this pursuit.

To clarify further, individuals with ABET-accredited computer science degrees are eligible to sit for the Patent Bar to become licensed patent agents, allowing them to represent others in patent court. Because those who sit for the Patent Bar are expected to "possess the scientific and technical training necessary to provide valuable service to patent applicants," the United States Patent and Trademark Office stipulates that a degree from an ABET-accredited program is a prerequisite.

Curriculum & Specialization in Computer Science Programs

Students enrolled in an online computer science degree program will likely take similar courses, no matter their institution of choice. Specifically, such students may be required to take courses on basic programming, math and statistics, software and systems engineering, and other related courses. Undergraduate students may need to satisfy additional elective requirements, while graduate students may have more flexibility in their coursework, and the ability to specialize further.

Often, students of computer science may be able to pursue certain specialties or even obtain certificates during their studies. To be sure, students of computer science may choose to specialize in artificial intelligence, security, systems, real-world computing, and several other fields.

Highly Regarded Online Computer Science Programs

Today, many well-respected institutions nationwide currently offer online computer science degrees. Here’s a closer look at ten of those.

1Columbia University

Through Columbia University, students can pursue a master’s in computer science entirely online. Students may also specialize in computational biology, computer security, software systems, or other fields, and may pursue several additional certifications as well. Emphasizing both experimental computer technology and theoretical computer science, this online program is ideal for professionals wanting to deepen and broaden their understanding of computer science.

Comprising 30 credits, the program includes courses such as operating systems; network security; computational genomics; computer graphics; computer animation; advanced software engineering; networking laboratory; biometrics; computer vision; and introduction to quantum computing; among others. These courses are just a general overview of the courses offered in different concentration tracks. All concentrations have different courses available.

Admission requirements for the program include an undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field, a minimum GPA of 3.3, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a current resume, a personal-professional statement, and TOEFL or IELTS scores for students who have not earned a degree from an institution in which the instructional language was English.

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: To be completed within five years

2University of Illinois - Springfield

Students at the University of Illinois at Springfield can obtain an undergraduate or graduate degree in computer science. The University of Illinois at Springfield also partners with several community colleges, allowing students there to transition to the University of Illinois after meeting certain requirements. These online computer science programs have the same requirements as on-campus programs, allowing students to participate actively in diverse, interactive, and dynamic online learning.

Graduate admission requirements include a completed application, an undergraduate degree in computer science or a stipulated prerequisite, a minimum grade point average of 2.7, and English language proficiency for students whose native language is not English. Undergraduate admission requirements include submission of the statement of purpose form, two semesters of Java programming experience, one semester of each of the following: calculus, discrete or finite math, and statistics, a completed application form, and official transcripts from every college or university attended.

The BS in computer science requires 120 credits, including courses such as computer organization; data structures & algorithms; foundations of computer science; introduction to networks; systems programming languages; and windows network administration; among others.

The master’s degree program in computer science is made up of 32 credit hours involving courses such as applied statistics; programming languages; introduction to operating systems; computer programming concepts; and computer organization; among others.

  • Location: Springfield, IL
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Varies (generally two years for the master’s and four years for the bachelor’s)

3University of Idaho

Students at the University of Idaho may pursue an online master’s degree in computer science. A degree from this institution helps students understand advanced computer concepts and applications in science, business, engineering, and the everyday world. Offered with a thesis or non-thesis option, this degree program prepares students to learn about the foundations of computer science application and theory. They'll also gain a detailed understanding of the limitations of this field and will also learn to apply inspired and methodical approaches to overcoming these obstacles.

The major admission requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a closely related field from an accredited institution, a minimum overall grade point average of 3.0, three letters of recommendation, transcripts, and TOEFL scores for international students.

Made up of 30 credits, the program helps students acquire methodological skills for resolving important problems and tackling challenging new projects. Sample some of the coursework: Computational thinking and problem-solving; computer organization and architecture; programming languages; computer operating systems; system software; and computer graphics.

On successful completion of the program, graduates can take up roles such as computer systems analysts, computer programmers, information security analysts, computer science teachers, software quality assurance analysts, and computer network support specialists.

  • Location: Moscow, ID
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years

4University of Southern California

The University of Southern California allows students to complete a master’s degree program in computer science online. This intensive program provides preparation in the techniques and concepts related to the designing, application, and programming of computing systems. Students receive an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals and current issues in computer engineering and computer science.

Students may complete the general MS in computer science program or can choose a specialization from the following: data science, computer security, and software engineering.

Consisting of 28 credits, the program includes courses such as analysis of algorithms; operating systems; security systems; software management & economics; applied cryptography; computer networking; requirements engineering; analysis of algorithms; and software engineering, among others.

To get accepted into the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or be in the process of completing a bachelor's degree in computer science or its equivalent from a regionally accredited university, official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, a current resume, a personal statement, and TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students whose first language is not English.

At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities such as software engineers, computer scientists, data scientists, machine learning engineers, software development engineers, digital analysts, and associate graphics programmers, among many others.

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Full-time (1.5 to two years); part-time (2.5 to three years)

5University of Minnesota

As one of the most respected institutions in the Midwest, the University of Minnesota offers an online MSCS (master of science in computer science) program offering courses across a wide spectrum of applied and theoretical computer science, combined with research opportunities in nearly all areas of the field. There are three tracks available in this degree: Plan A, which is a thesis-based degree; Plan B, which is a project-based degree; and Plan C, which is a coursework-only degree.

Applicants to the program must have a four-year or equivalent undergraduate degree from an accredited university, a minimum grade point average of 3.25, a substantial background in computer science & engineering is preferred, and TOEFL scores for international students. Application requirements include a statement of purpose, unofficial transcripts uploaded directly to the admissions application, three letters of recommendation, and a current resume. GRE test scores are not required for admission.

Consisting of 31 credits, the program includes courses such as modern cryptography; animation and planning in games; an introduction to compilers; wireless and sensor networks; analysis of numerical algorithms; and computational aspects of matrix theory, among others.

Computer science graduates have found jobs at General Mills, IBM, Google, Amazon, Apple, Inc., Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Thomson Reuters, Oracle, and Medtronic.

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years

6Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University’s College of Sciences (Department of Computer Science) offers an online master of science degree, which is ideal for students with a solid computer science background. The program's faculty includes experienced faculty members who are leaders in areas such as cloud computing, data science, web science, computational biology, mobile computing, machine learning, and more.

Admission requirements for the program include an official or unofficial transcript from the institution where students completed their bachelor's degree, a strong background in computer science, a good background in linear algebra, calculus, probability & statistics, and discrete mathematics, and TOEFL scores for international students. GRE scores are required but can be waived if students have industry experience.

There are three computer science options: the courses-only option (34 credits), the project option (34 credits), and the thesis option (31 credits). The curriculum includes cybersecurity fundamentals, memory analysis and forensics, topics in computer science, computer architecture, web server design, database concepts, computer graphics, and cryptography for cybersecurity.

Graduates of the program will be well-equipped to work as computer systems analysts, computer programmers, web developers, database administrators, computer network architects, and web administrators. Besides the master’s, ODU also offers an ABET-accredited online bachelor of science in computer science program consisting of 120 credits.

  • Location: Norfolk, VA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Less than two years

7Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers an online master of computer science (MCS) program, which is offered through Arizona State University’s School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence. The program provides students with a detailed understanding of advanced topics such as AI, big data, and cybersecurity while strengthening their skill set through real-world projects. This program is ideal for students who wish to expand their computation or computer science knowledge.

Students in this program can choose from two available concentrations: Cybersecurity and Big Data Systems. The program comprises 30 credits, including courses such as foundations of algorithms; knowledge representation and reasoning; distributed and multiprocessor operating systems; mobile computing; applied cryptography; information assurance and security; software security; and advanced computer network security.

To get accepted into the program, applicants must have a bachelor's or master's degree in computer engineering, computer science, or a closely related area from a regionally accredited institution, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0, two semesters of advanced math in Calculus I and II, official transcripts, statement of purpose or resume, three letters of recommendation, and English proficiency scores for international students.

The program opens several opportunities for graduates. They can take up roles such as computer network analysts, computer programmers, computer software quality engineers, corporate web developers, computer science professors, database administrators, and computer scientists.

  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 1.5 to three years

8Kansas State University

Kansas State University offers an online master’s degree in computer science, preparing students for advanced positions in the computer science industry. Students can choose an area of focus for customizing the program according to their career and academic goals. Core focus areas include high-assurance software engineering, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence & data science, and cyber-physical systems.

Applicants to the program must have a bachelor's degree in computer science from an ABET-accredited institution, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, a personal statement, three professional or academic references, and unofficial transcripts, among others. GRE scores are only required if the bachelor's degree is not from an ABET-accredited institution.

Comprising 30 to 33 credits, the program includes courses such as programming languages; software specification; advanced operating systems; operating system practices; advanced computer architecture; software engineering; principles of artificial intelligence; analysis of algorithms; and database management systems.

The program opens up opportunities for graduates in agriculture, energy, information technology, communications, engineering, social media, national defense, healthcare, and more.

  • Location: Manhattan, KS
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years

9Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology offers an online master’s program in computer science, providing students with a curriculum that is aligned with high-demand areas such as web programming, software development, cloud computing, mobile systems and applications, enterprise software design, and human-computer interaction. The program is dedicated to helping students obtain employment or continue their education according to their personal goals and career objectives.

Admission requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 from an accredited institution, official college transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a current resume, a statement of purpose, and TOEFL/ or IELTS scores for international students.

The program consists of 30 credits. As part of the program, students will delve into topics such as introduction to java programming; data structures; computer organization & programming; systems programming; algorithms; introduction to operating systems; database management systems; mobile systems and applications; and web programming.

Upon completion, students will be able to professionally and effectively communicate computer science designs, solutions, and concepts, and implement solutions to a computing problem using appropriate programming languages. Graduates can take up roles such as computer systems analysts, database administrators, programmers, software developers, web developers, and software quality assurance testers.

  • Location: Hoboken, NJ
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Five terms

10Boston University

The online master of science in computer information systems offered at Boston University prepares students for IT leadership positions in all sectors. This program is ideal for those who wish to combine knowledge of organizational and managerial issues with technical competence in information systems. Students here will have the option to choose from seven available concentrations: computer networks, health informatics, data analytics, IT project management, database management & business intelligence, web application development, and security.

The program's faculty includes industry leaders who are hands-on in developing applications, fighting cybercrime, and building networks for the world’s top companies.

Made up of 40 credits, the program includes five core courses, one required course, and four electives or concentration courses. Sample some of the coursework: business data communication and networks; database design and implementation for business; information systems analysis & design; IT strategy and management; and information structures with Java.

The major admission requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree in any field of study from a regionally accredited college or university, a completed application for graduate admission, college transcripts, a current resume, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and official English proficiency exam results for international students.

The program opens up several opportunities for graduates. They can take up roles such as software developers, web developers, information security analysts, database administrators, computer systems analysts, computer programmers, and IT managers, among others.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 1.5 to two years

Campus Visitation Requirements for Online Computer Science Programs

Visitation requirements for a program in online computer science will ultimately depend on the institution. In some cases, a student may be required to arrive on campus a handful of times throughout the year; in others, the student may never need to set foot on campus at all.

At the University of Southern California, for example, students may pursue a degree from any location throughout the globe, and may never need to visit the school in person.

Other Considerations for Selecting the Right CS Program

Beyond what has been mentioned above, there are a few other important factors that prospective students should consider before choosing a program. For example, students may wish to research post-graduation employment placement resources available at their institution of choice, as this may prove beneficial in the search for a job.

Furthermore, students interested in a graduate degree may also wish to ask the admissions officer if the switch between a master’s to a doctorate is possible, something that many graduate students consider during their studies.

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