Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science

| Kathleen Swed Modified on April 28, 2022

Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science
Are you ready to find a school that's aligned with your interests?

By pursuing a computer science bachelor's degree online, students prepare for careers as software developers, system analysts, and network administrators. A bachelor's in computer science provides a solid foundation for success in a rapidly evolving, in-demand field.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects computer and information technology jobs to grow 13% between 2020 and 2030. This rate is much higher than the national average, which is 8%.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects computer and information technology jobs to grow 13% between 2020 and 2030.

With an online computer science program, learners can attend a reputable program from any location. Additionally, distance learners often benefit from flexible schedules and lower tuition costs.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Program

Online and on-campus degrees share many similarities. The curriculum for distance programs often mirrors in-person classes. The same professors typically teach both courses. Distance learners can access most, if not all, of the same resources as on-campus students.

However, online programs differ from their on-campus counterparts in several key ways. The sections below describe differences such as coursework, format, and cost.

Top Online Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

How Is an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Different From an On-Campus Program?

The experience differs for online vs on-campus students. For example, in-person learners can participate in on-campus activities such as sporting events, which typically exclude online students.

However, some online programs allow students to accelerate their graduation by taking more courses simultaneously. In contrast, on-campus learners often face more restrictions about course loads.

Some public schools allow online students to pay in-state rates regardless of where they live. Other schools may offer special tuition just for online students. Additionally, some institutions charge higher fees for out-of-state or online students, so prospective enrollees should research costs before applying to a program.

The table below compares online computer science bachelor's degrees with on-campus programs.

Comparing Online and On-Campus Bachelor's in Computer Science Degrees

On-Campus Online
Total Credits 120 120
Course Delivery and Schedule Classes meet in person at predetermined times. Classes typically meet one of two ways: asynchronously, where learners complete assignments and view lectures on a flexible schedule; or synchronously, with real-time meetings using webcams or other technology. Some programs combine the two styles. Others include some in-person hybrid elements.
General Education Requirements Writing and composition; math; cultural diversity; physical or biological science; arts and humanities; world history Writing and composition; math; cultural diversity; physical or biological science; arts and humanities; world history
Typical Time to Completion Four years Four years or fewer, depending on course load
Admission Requirements 2.0-3.0 minimum GPA; ACT or SAT scores 2.0-3.0 minimum GPA; ACT or SAT scores
Prerequisites Calculus, finite math, discrete math, and/or statistics. Some schools require previous programming experience. Calculus, finite math, discrete math, and/or statistics. Some schools require previous programming experience.
Tuition $330-$1,690+ per credit $228-$476+ per credit

How Is an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Different From a Bootcamp?

Aspiring tech professionals might consider the differences between a bootcamp program and an online bachelor's degree.

Bootcamps typically focus on one aspect of computer science, such as web development. These programs take place over the course of weeks or months. Computer science degrees cover a broader set of topics than bootcamps. Additionally, bachelor's students can often specialize their degree to specific career interests. A typical bachelor's degree takes four years to complete, resulting in an academic credential.

Though universities and colleges usually offer career services, bootcamps tend to focus more on career support. However, bachelor's programs also offer extracurricular activities and networking events that bootcamps do not usually provide.

Delivery Formats for Online Computer Science Degrees

Distance learners can choose from several program structures. For example, some schools offer computer science bachelor's programs fully online. Others follow a hybrid format with occasional in-person classes or immersions.

In online learning environments, courses are synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous courses require live attendance through webcam or other learning technologies. However, asynchronous courses do not require real-time participation, offering more flexibility for students with work or family obligations.

Prospective distance learners should consider their unique learning styles when choosing an online degree. Regardless of instructional mode, all online students need good time management skills and self-discipline.

Top Online Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Accreditation for Online Computer Science Degrees

When pursuing an online bachelor's degree, students should always choose an accredited school.

Regional and national accreditors assess the institution as a whole. Accreditation ensures that the school follows academic excellence standards. National accreditors review for-profit and vocational institutions, while regional accreditors evaluate public and private schools. Generally, institutions and employers prefer regionally accredited degrees, which maintain more rigorous standards.

Prospective students might also consider an online computer science program with ABET accreditation. While not a requirement, programmatic accreditation verifies that a particular program prepares students for industry careers.

How Much Will an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Cost?

Online tuition for bachelor's in computer science can range from $228-$476 per credit, however prices vary widely. Many factors contribute to the cost of tuition. In-state students usually pay lower tuition at public universities than their out-of-state peers. However, some public schools allow distance learners to pay in-state tuition even if they live elsewhere.

Private institutions may also charge flat rates to all online students. However, private school tuition typically runs higher than public school rates.

Online tuition for bachelor's in computer science can range from $228-$476 per credit, however prices vary widely.

Degree-seekers should remember that costs extend beyond tuition alone. Computer science students need certain technology resources — such as internet access, specific hardware, and software programs — to complete their studies. They will also need books and materials.

Computer science students should begin the search for financial aid by filling out a FAFSA. Applicants are considered for federal aid, including grants, work-study opportunities, and low-interest loans. Additionally, degree-seekers can also apply for scholarships through professional associations and local organizations.

Why Get Your Bachelor's in Computer Science Online?

Online education comes with several benefits, including flexible scheduling. Students can access the same computer science bachelor's programs online as they can in person. Below, we consider the pros and cons of pursuing an online degree.

Pros and Cons

  • Flexibility: Distance learners can study full time or part time. They can choose from several course delivery options, including synchronous, asynchronous, fully online, and hybrid styles.
  • Location: Online students can pursue a degree that fits their situation and career goals without having to relocate.
  • Cost: Online tuition can be lower than tuition for in-person classes.
  • Campus Life: Students who enjoy lively campus activities like sports and social events may want to consider pursuing an in-person degree.
  • Networking Opportunities: Most online programs work hard to connect learners with peers and professional contacts like alumni. However, on-campus students may find it easier to find opportunities to form these relationships.
  • Time Management: While students pursuing any degree need to manage their time, online students must take particular care to make time for their studies while being self-motivated.

Learn more about computer science careers

Selecting Your Online Computer Science Program

Prospective students researching online computer science bachelor's degrees should decide what program attributes they want to prioritize.

Some degree-seekers might prefer schools that devote significant resources to their online degrees. Some online-focused schools offer numerous programs, online access to student groups, and a dedicated distance learning office.

Prospective students should also think about classroom preferences. Before enrolling, learners can ask counselors about class sizes and the learning formats. Some students like large classrooms, while others prefer smaller learning environments.

Depending on the learner's career goals, they might consider a school with a prestigious reputation. This prestige may help graduates to land more competitive jobs after graduation. Students might also seek out schools with strong career services and an accessible alumni network.

Prospective students can use the Common App to streamline the college admissions process. The service allows students to apply to multiple schools with one application.

Best Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Programs

Below, readers can explore the ranking to find the best online computer science degrees. This list of accredited programs provides a good starting point for researching computer science programs.

  1. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $9180

    For more than four decades, FIU has operated as the first and only public research university in Miami. The university offers dozens of on-campus and online degrees to its community of nearly 59,000 enrollees.

    Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science

    With multiple start dates each year and an interactive, asynchronous class format, FIU's online bachelor's in computer science provides maximum flexibility for working professionals looking to advance their careers.

    Unlike a bachelor of science, FIU's bachelor of arts program does not heavily emphasize mathematics and science. However, the 120-credit program still requires key computer science areas like programming, database management, and professional and technical writing.

    Students can complement their computer science education with a second online degree in a specialized field like digital media, business, or economics.

    Applying to FIU

    First-year FIU applicants must submit official high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer applicants must provide official college transcripts and, if in possession of fewer than 60 credits, high school transcripts and test scores. A $30 application fee applies.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Tuition: $229/credit (in state); $346/credit (out of state)
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  2. Colorado State University Global Campus
    Location

    Aurora, CO

    CSU-Global, founded in 2007, is the first and only 100% online, fully accredited public university in the nation. Approximately 12,700 students take advantage of CSU-Global's commitment to excellent academics and innovative delivery technology.

    Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

    The bachelor's in computer science at CSU-Global prepares graduates for technology positions in public, private, nonprofit, and government entities. The 120-credit curriculum aligns with the criteria for professional programming certifications from Oracle, Java, and the C++ Institute.

    Computer science students complete core courses in calculus, information systems analysis and design, software engineering, and principles of cybersecurity. A capstone course includes a software design and development project exploring debugging and testing strategies.

    CSU-Global offers two dozen specialization options for this degree. Popular choices include organizational leadership, project management, and healthcare management.

    Applying to CSU-Global

    Admission requirements vary by applicant age, work experience, and prior education. Applicants may need to supply official high school transcripts (or an equivalent), college transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and resumes.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $350/credit
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  3. Oregon State University
    Location

    Corvallis, OR

    Tuition

    $18625

    Headquartered in Corvallis, Oregon State educates more than 31,000 students annually. The university's top-ranked e-campus blends 21st-century technology with more than 150 years of academic excellence.

    Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

    Computer science students at Oregon State engage with faculty who possess practical expertise in the field. The 180-credit program prepares graduates for computer science careers as network engineers, software developers, and business intelligence analysts.

    Coursework explores programming fundamentals, databases, cryptography, and computer forensics. The program also features an applied computer science option focused on security issues. Each enrollee completes a three-term capstone course sequence and senior design project.

    Oregon State offers the opportunity to network with industry professionals and employers through the biannual computer science career showcase held in Portland. Attendance is optional, but qualified students may receive travel scholarships to attend.

    Applying to Oregon State

    A first-year applicant with fewer than 24 college credits receives consideration based on high school transcripts, coursework difficulty, class rank, a personal statement, and an essay. OSU prefers transfer candidates minimum 2.25 GPAs.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: NWCCU
    Tuition: $371/credit
    Required Credits: 180 credits
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  4. Regis University
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Regis is a Jesuit Catholic university with a commitment to service learning and a proud history dating back to 1877. Each year, nearly 7,000 students attend online and across three Denver campuses.

    Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

    Regis offers an accelerated, ABET-accredited bachelor's in computer science designed to fit the scheduling needs of working professionals. Students can complete their degree entirely online or by attending on-campus evening courses in Denver.

    The 120-credit degree plan consists of core foundation courses, upper-division computer science and mathematics classes, and electives. If desired, online students may complete local internships in computer science. The program culminates with a senior capstone in software project design.

    Graduates exit the Regis program as proficient software developers with a comprehensive knowledge of theory and practice.

    Applying to Regis

    An applicant must possess a high school diploma, transferable college credit, or evidence of work experience. Regis requires each candidate to submit official transcripts, a resume, and a personal statement essay.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: HLC, ABET
    Tuition: $555/credit
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus

  5. DePaul University
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    DePaul enrolls 22,000 students as the nation's largest Catholic university. Its location in the heart of Chicago enables 60% of students to complete an internship before graduation.

    Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

    Available entirely online or on campus, the DePaul bachelor's in computer science combines aspects of mathematics, science, and engineering to prepare students for interdisciplinary opportunities in a growing field.

    The 192-credit program requires coursework in technical writing, data structures, and design and analysis of algorithms. Students may select software development or game systems concentrations.

    Over 90% of recent program alumni secure employment, continue their education, or are not actively seeking employment within six months of graduation. Graduate employers include GitHub, Abbott Laboratories, Microsoft, and JP Morgan Chase.

    Applying to DePaul

    First-year applicants must submit official high school transcripts. Letters of recommendation and ACT or SAT test scores are optional. Each candidate transferring from another school should provide college transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.0 GPA.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $13,517/semester
    Required Credits: 192 credits
    Program Length: 4 years
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus

  6. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Liberty operates a campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, and a major online presence, with over 450 programs available to learners around the world. Approximately 85,000 students attend the evangelical Christian university.

    Bachelor of Science in Computational Mathematics - Computer Science

    Liberty's online bachelor's in computational mathematics offers a computer science specialization designed to train students in programming, data structures, and information security. Graduates enter the workforce prepared to design software and develop solutions for various computing challenges.

    The 120-credit program covers subjects like calculus and analytic geometry, mathematical modeling, and probability. Liberty also requires students to take survey courses on Christian theology and the Bible.

    Liberty offers a generous transfer credit policy, allowing learners to apply up to 90 prior college credits toward their degree.

    Applying to Liberty

    For admission in good standing, online applicants must demonstrate a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. Liberty requires each candidate to supply official college transcripts and a high school self-certification form.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Tuition: $390/credit
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Program Length: 3.5 years
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  7. Lewis University
    Location

    Romeoville, IL

    Lewis is a Catholic university located 35 miles southwest of Chicago. The university's diverse student body of 6,400 enjoys a low 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and a welcoming learning environment.

    Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science / Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

    The accelerated online bachelor's in computer science at Lewis prepares graduates to work with programming languages, networking, and big data. Courses in the 128-credit program include object-oriented programming, computer organization, discrete mathematics, and legal and ethical issues in computing.

    Lewis requires coursework in theology and Christian ethics as part of the general education core. To fulfill the program's capstone sequence requirement, each enrollee can complete a computer science internship, scholarly research project, or capstone project in computer infrastructure or software systems.

    Students with prior experience in coding and software programming may qualify for prior learning assessment credit.

    Applying to Lewis

    Each first-year candidate must provide official high school transcripts. ACT or SAT scores, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation are optional. Transfer applicants must submit official transcripts from all colleges attended.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $17,631/semester
    Required Credits: 128 credits
    Delivery Format: 100% online

  8. University of Illinois at Springfield
    Location

    Springfield, IL

    Tuition

    $10733

    UIS comprises a diverse student and faculty community of varying ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. Nearly 4,300 learners attend the public institution each year to pursue its 30 bachelor's degrees, 20 master's degrees, and 1,450 online majors.

    Bachelor Science in Computer Science

    The UIS Computer Science Department offers its bachelor's degree online and on campus. The 120-credit program helps students develop proficiency in programming, software testing and analysis, and elementary computer architecture and organization.

    A final software engineering project serves as the degree's capstone and requires students to participate in all phases of the software lifecycle, including design, documentation, and implementation. Online learners can pursue local internship placements to gain real-world experience and course credit.

    UIS computer science graduates pursue advanced degrees and careers in business, industry, government, and education.

    Applying to UIS

    Each applicant must demonstrate a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA; submit a statement of purpose; and complete necessary prerequisites in Java, mathematics, and statistics.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $308/credit
    Required Credits:120 credits
    Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous and asynchronous)

  9. Point Park University
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    As Pittsburgh's only downtown university, Point Park offers a dynamic, urban education experience for approximately 4,000 students. The private university also emphasizes online learning through 35 remote degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

    Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Science

    The university's applied bachelor's in computer science prioritizes career preparedness and academic flexibility. After the program, graduates pursue in-demand opportunities as network architects, computer programmers, and systems analysts.

    The 121-credit degree offers a general track and three concentrations: software development, big data and analytics, and networking and security. Major core courses include server management, business analytics, and data structures.

    Point Park accepts up to 90 transfer credits and allows students to earn up to 18 credits toward their degrees through prior learning assessment and experiential learning credit opportunities.

    Applying to Point Park

    Admission to the computer science program requires satisfactory transcripts from high school or college. College transcripts must demonstrate a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and at least 12 credits of coursework. Point Park may request additional materials on a case-by-case basis.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: MSCHE
    Tuition: $499/credit
    Required Credits: 121 credits
    Program Length: 2-4 years
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  10. Davenport University
    Location

    Grand Rapids, MI

    For more than 150 years, a career-focused, experiential curriculum has helped Davenport stand out among other universities in Michigan. Davenport enrolls nearly 6,500 students each year and offers more than 35 online degrees.

    Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

    Davenport's 120-credit online bachelor's in computer science offers small class sizes and interaction with industry-expert faculty. Required courses include concepts of program languages, computer vision, and biometric fundamentals.

    Students can select from three different program tracks: artificial intelligence, computer theory and algorithms, or gaming and simulation. The gaming and simulation track requires some in-person attendance for practical gaming lab learning, but all other courses can be completed entirely online.

    Each enrollee must complete an internship or field experience before graduation. The program also requires a final computer science capstone project to demonstrate proficiency in the major.

    Applying to Davenport

    First-time undergraduate applicants must provide official high school transcripts showing a minimum 2.0 GPA and qualifying ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER test scores. Transfer students must provide high school transcripts, college transcripts, and, in some cases, ACT or SAT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $815/credit (in state); $544/credit (out of state)
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Delivery Format: Online (asynchronous) with some in-person requirements or on campus

Questions About Online Computer Science Programs

How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree in computer science online?

Usually, students take about four years of full-time study to complete the 120 credits needed for a bachelor's in computer science. However, some programs may allow students to expedite the process.

Is computer science hard?

Like most disciplines, computer science requires commitment and study. Students with skills or interests in math and programming languages may find the subject easier to master.

How much is an online degree in computer science?

The cost of an online computer science degree varies depending on the school's location, public or private status, and prestige. Generally, students can expect to find tuition that ranges from $228-$476 per credit.

Is a computer science degree worth it?

With a computer science degree, graduates qualify for high-demand jobs in software engineering, web development, and network systems. The BLS reports a median annual salary of $91,250 across all computer and information technology occupations in 2020.


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