A bachelor’s in computer science qualifies graduates for profitable career options in several fields.
Computer scientist employment is on the rise, thanks to an increasing global demand for reliable computer programs and applications.
An online bachelor’s in computer science meets the minimum education requirement for entry-level jobs in computer programming, software and web development, and network administration.
Jobs in computer programming, support, and research can lead to long-term, lucrative employment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that computer and information technology professionals earned a median annual wage of $88,240 as of 2019. The BLS also projects an 11% increase in these occupations from 2019-2029.
The following sections highlight some of the nation’s best online bachelor’s in computer science programs.
2021’s Top 10 Best Online Computer Science Schools
The study of computer science explores computing machines and systems. Computer scientists design, develop, and implement computer programs and applications. They possess proficiency in computer coding and testing, tracking new software from conception to implementation.
Though the fields share similarities, IT and computer science differ in some significant ways. IT encompasses a broader set of technology components, such as cloud computing, data storage, and hardware. Computer science involves more back-end, behind-the-scenes work in programming languages, computing theory, and app content creation.
Aspiring computer scientists study algorithms, methods of computation, and hardware and software functions. Computer science degree-holders find employment in IT, math, and engineering roles, among others. Professionals commonly specialize in software engineering, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, visual graphics, and gaming.
The National Center for Education Statistics recently highlighted the growing popularity of college programs in computer and information sciences, with bachelor’s programs increasing by 51% in this major from 2011-2017. Students with acute problem-solving and analytical skills excel in computer science careers.
Why Get an Online Computer Science Bachelor’s?
Earning an online bachelor’s in computer science yields many benefits for graduates. Along with providing a strong return-on-investment (ROI), adaptable job skills, and steady job growth, computer science bachelor’s degrees offer broader skills than specialized programs. This makes an online bachelor’s in computer science more popular than alternatives like graduate degrees or coding bootcamps, which sometimes offer a faster and cheaper path to graduation.
Most computer science careers require at least a bachelor’s degree, and subsequent employment typically yields a salary of more than double the cost of an undergraduate program. Computer and information research scientists earned a mean wage of $127,460 as of 2019, allowing them to easily pay back their student loan debts and continue to save.
Reliable Career Skills
Graduates can adapt the skills learned in a bachelor’s in computer science degrees to nearly any job in IT. Since this degree meets the minimum education requirements for most entry-level jobs, students develop the coding, programming, and data science skills most desired by employers.
Tech Job Growth
Though individual occupations vary, BLS data indicates an 11% projected employment growth rate for computer and IT jobs from 2019-2029. Students who complete general computer science programs find employment in software, programming, or web development fields.
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.
The Top Online Bachelor’s in Computer Science Schools of 2021
Explore our 2021 ranking of the 15 best bachelor’s in computer science programs you can earn from the comfort of your home. Learn more about how we rank schools and programs by visiting the link below.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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
What To Expect From Bachelor’s in Computer Science Programs
The requirements for a bachelor’s in computer science may vary by school and type. For example, schools commonly offer BS or BA degrees in computer science, which may be housed within IT or engineering departments. Though rare, some colleges may offer math-focused undergraduate computer science degrees.
Most bachelor’s in computer science require four years of full-time study, though many online bachelor’s in computer science offer accelerated paths to graduation. Bachelor’s degrees usually allow applicants to apply transfer credits from prior college coursework and life or work experience toward early graduation.
The typical online bachelor’s in computer science requires 120 semester credits. While not always required, some programs include an internship or field experience. Many programs enable students to earn a BS or BA and industry or vendor certificate in a specific language, like Python or Ruby. A bachelor’s in computer science typically culminates in a capstone requirement, such as a final project proposal.
Online bachelor’s in computer science programs may deliver courses synchronously, with set class times and live video sessions, or asynchronously, with flexible, pre-recorded learning options. Most online computer science programs do not require students to set foot on campus for in-person sessions.
Most schools require the same criteria for admission into a bachelor’s in computer science. Some bachelor’s programs in computer science accept students with no prior experience, while others prefer applicants with associate degrees. Computer science programs commonly require calculus prerequisites as well. Transfer students may need to demonstrate prior coursework in math and physics.
Though requirements vary, most schools prefer applicants with GPAs of at least 2.5, cumulatively or specifically in math, science, computer science, and engineering. Schools routinely include SAT or ACT requirements, especially for recent high school graduates. Each applicant typically needs to submit a resume, personal statement, and letter of recommendation.
Schools increasingly require students to apply online rather than mail their applications. More than 800 colleges and universities process applications online through Common App, the most popular service of its kind in the U.S. and Europe. This service allows each candidate to send multiple applications at once.
Degree and Concentration Options
Many online computer science programs enable students to customize their course of study. Schools most commonly offer a bachelor of science in computer science, though some offer BAs and bachelor of business administration degrees in the subject. A school usually features a BS or BA in computer science through its engineering, IT, or natural science departments.
An online bachelor’s in computer science also offers dynamic and innovative concentrations. Programs typically include core requirements in computer programming, systems, and theory, with concentrations in big data, computer systems, cybersecurity, game development, machine learning, and more.
While the BA and BS may offer some of the same concentrations, BAs tend to emphasize liberal arts core coursework in problem-solving, communication, and analytics. Some schools offer an accelerated BS-to-MS in computer science to award both degrees in roughly five years.
Popular Computer Science Courses
Most online bachelor’s in computer science include core, elective, and concentration courses, usually culminating in a capstone project. While not always required, students should consider pursuing internships.
As one of the building blocks of computer science, algorithm expertise is critical for aspiring IT professionals. This course explores searching, sorting, pattern-matching, and graph-computing algorithms. Other topics include backtracking, dynamic programming, and greedy method processes. This course may require prerequisites in math and computer science.
Enrollees explore math concepts specific to computing and IT, such as predicates and quantifiers, propositional logic, proofs, and sets. Most courses in this subject include prerequisites in math and basic computer science. Other topics include functions, applications, and discrete probability.
This course introduces students to network programming through code optimization, virtual memory and memory management, system-level I/O, and synchronization. Degree-seekers explore the broad concept of computer systems through the acute study of apps and base-level computing functions. Prerequisites may include programming and data structures.
Most online bachelor’s in computer science programs include in-person field requirements. Students typically seek out practicum experiences in their preferred areas of expertise. Computer science practicums enable learners to hone their skills in software development, advanced language features, debugging and testing, and code management.
A bachelor’s in computer science degree typically requires a capstone course. Some programs require students to participate in a professional development seminar, while others may require a final project or senior portfolio. A capstone typically includes career guidance and graduation preparation.
How Much Will a Bachelor’s in Computer Science Cost?
Learners can expect many factors to affect the cost of earning an online bachelor’s in computer science. Each school typically sets its tuition rates depending on public vs. private status, and many institutions differentiate between in-state and out-of-state tuition rates. Online students often enjoy set or in-state tuition rates as a primary benefit of distance education.
Most college students could not complete bachelor’s in computer science degrees without financial aid. Candidates can determine their eligibility for financial aid by completing FAFSA forms. Enrollees may qualify for institutional scholarships, work-study, or employer reimbursement programs.
They may also qualify for federal scholarships, grants, and loans. Most applicants exhaust scholarship and grant opportunities first, which do not require repayment, then pursue loans, which they must repay.
As companies outsource computer programming jobs to pay lower wages outside the U.S., the BLS projects job growth to decline in this occupation from 2019-2029. However, employers favor candidates with bachelor’s degrees and broad experience in computer languages. While computer programmers do not earn the highest salary among IT professionals, their median annual salary more than doubles the median annual salary for all occupations nationwide.
Computer and information systems managers enjoy a projected job growth of 10% from 2019-2029 and earn a top median salary in IT at $146,360. Though candidates who earn bachelor’s in computer science degrees qualify for entry-level positions in IT management, employers prefer experienced professionals and seek candidates with advanced degrees for top positions, such as chief information officer (CIO) or chief technology officer (CTO).
Graduates of online bachelor’s in computer science programs can pursue specialized work in the field. The jobs below represent some of the most popular jobs for candidates with bachelor’s degrees, with room for advancement and higher earnings through graduate study. Students commonly enter the field as computer programmers and work their way up to positions as computer and information systems managers.
Computer programmer responsibilities sometimes overlap with software developers. Computer programmers primarily write and test code. They often specialize in one or more computer languages, like Java or C++. Employers may prefer candidates with specialized experience in healthcare or accounting. Most computer programmers hold bachelor’s degrees in computer science or IT.
Also referred to as IT managers or project managers, computer and information systems managers direct and oversee organizations’ IT operations. This occupation includes top-ranking executive positions such as CIO, CTO, and IT director. Most candidates hold years of experience and bachelor’s degrees.
Computer hardware engineers design, develop, and test computer hardware components. This unique position requires training in computer engineering, similar to electrical engineering, but with a strong emphasis on computer science. Most hardware engineers earn bachelor’s degrees in computer engineering or computer science.
Computer network architects build networks, including intranets, LANs, and WANs, for data communication. Some professionals focus on coupling small businesses through intranet systems, while others join multiple entities through global, cloud-based network systems. Many computer network architects gain field experience as network and computer systems administrators.
As an increasingly crucial position in nearly every field and industry, network and computer systems administrators oversee daily computerized operations within an organization. They install and provide support for computer networks, servers, and desktop and mobile equipment. Most professionals hold bachelor’s degrees in computer or information science.
Our ranked list offers a sensible way to begin your search for the best online bachelor’s in computer science, but candidates should consider several other factors in their research, such as accreditation. Schools may earn national or regional accreditation, though the latter carries more prestige.
Some bachelor’s in computer science degrees hold additional programmatic accreditation from an agency such as ABET. The following list includes some of the key considerations for students pursuing computer science programs.
Many students strongly consider schools that offer discounted or in-state tuition for online learners.
Future Education Opportunities
Most schools offer dual degrees and favor bachelor’s degree graduates for automatic enrollment in in-house master’s programs.
Required Admission Materials
Some colleges require a candidate to possess an associate degree and at least two years of work experience for admission, along with SAT or ACT scores.
With specialized choices like artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, concentrations can play a major role in the selection process.
Some students seek out a more intimate learning environment, while others prefer large classroom settings.
Many schools known for their computer science programs include high-profile staff and alumni. Consider which professors specialize in your desired area of expertise.
University Resources/Career Services
Many online bachelor’s in computer science programs offer supplemental resources, including vendor certification, career services, and computing centers.
Why You Should Get Your Degree Online
Students can choose from several paths to earn their bachelor’s in computer science degrees. With more than one-third of all college students in 2018 enrolled in at least one online course, more learners continue to pursue virtual computer science programs. Earning an online bachelor’s in computer science can lead to lucrative computer science careers, and many offer in-state tuition rates, accelerated schedules, and flexible enrollment formats.
Many IT jobs require a candidate to possess only a bachelor’s in computer science. However, online programs also offer soft skills specific to this industry. Regardless of specialization, an online computer science degree develops programming and computing skills while stressing the communication, management, and problem-solving skills desired by employers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get a bachelor's in computer science online?
Yes. Many schools offer online bachelor’s in computer science programs. Distance learners can study from anywhere and often enjoy flexible enrollment options, in-state tuition, and accelerated paths to graduation.
What can you do with a bachelor's in computer science?
A bachelor’s in computer science meets the minimum education requirement for many IT occupations. Computer and information systems managers are among the top earners, with a median salary exceeding $146,000 as of 2019.
Is computer science a good career?
Computer science careers offer lucrative salaries and longevity in IT, engineering, and management. The BLS projects an 11% growth in computer and IT jobs from 2019-2029, much faster than the average of all occupations.
Bachelor's programs in computer science (CS) cover the theoretical and mathematical underpinnings of computing. Schools offer various degree titles, including bachelor of arts in computer science, bachelor of applied science...