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Online Colleges for Computer Science

From computer programming and software development to opportunities at help desks and support lines, computer science professionals are a mandatory fixture in modern life. Computer science focuses on the theory behind computers and the essential logic statements that make up computer software, and a degree in this field can prepare graduates for creating websites as web developers, applications and mobile apps as software developers, or network protocol technologies as computer scientists. Whether you prefer the technical aspect of developing and maintaining computers and software, or the human interaction of systems support, you can find an aspect of the industry that fits your needs.

Best Online Colleges for Computer Programming

Our list of the top 10 best online colleges for computer science was compiled from data primarily provided through the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). In making this list, we used many different data points to rank the best online programs in computer science from U.S. colleges and universities. You can read more about the methodology we used to create this list at the bottom of this page.

1

South Texas College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,330
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
21
Accredited
School Type
4-year

South Texas College online offers more than 500 classes and 18 fully online degree paths, including an Associate of Science in computer science that requires 62 credit hours to complete. The program at South Texas College is primarily designed for students who plan on earning a bachelor's degree in computer sciences or computer software engineering. However, it's also a good fit for students seeking entry-level positions in either of these fields. South Texas College also offers a fully online bachelor's degree program in computer information and technologies for students who wish to continue their educational journey through STC online. The college lands our number-one spot based on ranking twelfth for low cost of in-state tuition and third for percentage of computer science degrees awarded in 2015, out of 102 analyzed schools. That the college has an open admissions policy (meaning that it accepts all candidates with a high school diploma or a GED certificate who apply) just makes it look even better.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

3201 W. Pecan Blvd.
McAllen, TX 78502-9701
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2

Hazard Community and Technical College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,528
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
24
Accredited
School Type
2-year

Hazard Community and Technical College served a total of 3,238 students in the fall of 2015. HCTC offers many different associate degree paths in computer and information technologies, including:

  • Applications
  • Computer science
  • Information security
  • Internet technologies
  • Network administration
  • Computer programming

HCTC's Associate in Applied Science in computer science is structured to provide students with a background in technical concepts such as advanced data structures, computational complexity and proof structures. The degree path requires between 62 and 64 total credit hours to complete, including 29 credit hours in the core requirements and 21 in computer science classes. HCTC ranks second in our list based on favorable rankings for cost of in-state tuition and number of computer science degrees pursued by students at the college in 2015.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

One Community College Drive
Hazard, KY 41701-2402
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3

Hopkinsville Community College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,528
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
25
Accredited
School Type
2-year

Hopkinsville Community College primarily serves residents of south central Kentucky, although students throughout the state and beyond attend the college through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The Associate in Applied Science in computer science requires between 62 and 64 credit hours to complete. Students must complete a total of 29 credit hours in core classes and another 21 credit hours in computer science classwork. The degree aims to prepare students either for entry level work in technical computing positions or to extend their education by transferring to a four-year university. Although the degree can be completed fully online, the college notes that certain instructors may require students to take proctored exams. Hopkinsville Community College ranks third on our list based on its favorable cost of in-state tuition, as well as its rank of fourth out of 102 schools for number of computer science degrees awarded by the college in 2015.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

720 North Dr.
Hopkinsville, KY 42240
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4

Dakota State University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$4,170
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
25
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Dakota State University's fully online B.A. in computer science program is taught by professors who all have Ph.D.s in computer science. The program requires a total of 120 credit hours to complete, and can be useful for students pursuing a career in:

  • Software engineers
  • Computer programmers or analysts
  • Software developers
  • Systems administration

Students who wish to further their education past the baccalaureate level can pursue a Master of Science in Applied Computer Science from DSU, which can be completed with just one additional year of study. The university is ranked fourth due to all-around positive scores in all areas of our metric, including tuition, graduation, admissions and more.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

820 N. Washington Ave.
Madison, SD 57042-1799
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5

Metropolitan Community College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,520
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
21
Accredited
School Type
2-year

Metropolitan Community College was founded in 1974, when it served a mere 2,430 students. The college has come a long way since then: it served a total of 22,413 students in the 2016-17 school year. MCC's Associate of Science in computer science is a transfer degree designed for students who intend to go on and earn bachelor's degrees in computer science, as well as those seeking entry-level positions in the field of computer programming. Bellevue University in Bellevue and University of Nebraska at Omaha, both member institutions of Transfer Nebraska, accept the transfer degree from Metropolitan Community College. The program emphasizes study in logic C, C++, VB and Java. Students must complete between 103 and 104.5 credit hours of coursework, including 60.5 credit hours in major requirements and between 42.5 and 44 credit hours in general education classes. MCC lands in the fifth spot in our rankings based largely on tuition, where it ranked No.16 out of 102 schools analyzed, although it also scored respectably in terms of the number of computer science degrees it awarded in 2015.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

30 & Fort St.
Omaha, NE 68111-1610
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6

Weber State University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$4,455
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
12
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Founded in 1889, Weber State University has served generations of Utah-based students. Although 92 percent of the more than 26,000 annual students at Weber State University reside in Utah, the university serves students from all 50 states through its online college. WSU offers 10 fully online degrees, including an Associate of Applied Science in computer science. It also offers a Bachelor of Integrated Studies with an emphasis in computer science (along with two other concentrations). The A.A. degree path instructs students in math and physics, as well as the engineering and scientific principles of computing, emphasizing the complex relationship between software, hardware and system components. The associate degree requires 63 credit hours to complete, including 40 credit hours of study in computer science courses.

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Location:

3848 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT 84408
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7

Southern New Hampshire University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$30,006
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
109
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Southern New Hampshire University serves about 3,000 students each year from its campus in Manchester. However, the university serves more than 75,000 students each year from its online campus. The university's fully online Bachelor of Science in computer science degree requires 121 total credit hours to complete. Student must complete 45 credits in general education courses, as well as nine credit hours in elective courses. The rest of the curriculum focuses on study of computer sciences, including:

  • Operating environments and system architecture
  • Computing languages
  • Software testing and development platforms
  • Quality assurance

Students who complete the degree should have the educational foundation to design and develop highly detailed computing solutions using algorithmic principles to meet industry-specific goals. SNHU ranked seventh for admissions and 11th for graduations in our analysis, easily explaining its presence in this list.

Accreditation:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

Location:

2500 N. River Road
Manchester, NH 03106-1045
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8

University of Advancing Technology

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$20,700
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
10
Accredited
School Type
4-year

UAT is a technology-centric university located in Tempe, Arizona that offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in computer science degree program. The program focuses on developing student's skills in new program languages, software engineering paradigms and computing system architectures. Working collaboratively, students are expected to design, build and identify issues with software engineering systems. The curriculum is meant to build a solid foundation in all cycles of software development processes and life cycles. All told, the program requires 120 total credit hours to complete, including 36 credit hours in the course major. University of Advancing Technology also offers a master's in computer science for students who wish to further their education past the baccalaureate level. UAT is the leader of 102 schools in our evaluation for the number of computer science degrees awarded in 2015.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

2625 W. Baseline Road
Tempe, AZ 85283
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9

Western Nebraska Community College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,196
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
7
Accredited
School Type
2-year

Western Nebraska Community College serves residents of the Nebraska Panhandle through campuses in Alliance, Scottsbluff and Sidney. However, the college has students in nearly 30 states and 30 different countries through its online campus. WNCC offers a fully online Associate of Science in computer science degree. Coursework is designed to provide students with a foundation in the principles and practices of algorithmic design, computer operating systems and programming/programming languages. Although not labeled as a transfer degree, Western Nebraska Community College emphasizes that the A.S. degree in computer science can help students pursue a bachelor's degree in cyber security, information technology, computer information systems or related fields. WNCC lands in the ninth spot on our top 10 list of best online colleges for computer science degrees based on highly favorable ranking for cost of in-state tuition: it was 10th out of 102 total institutions.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

1601 E. 27th St.
Scottsbluff, NE 69361-1899
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10

University of Maryland-University College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$6,696
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
106
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Students who complete the Bachelor of Science in computer science degree at University of Maryland University College are able to design, plan and optimize hardware and software systems for both private and government entities. The program focuses on algorithm enhancement and optimization, programming, and computer theory and science. Specifically, the degree path prepares students for work in the field using the following programming languages and tools:

  • C++
  • Java
  • MATLAB
  • OpenGL
  • Octave

Coursework also includes study in computer architecture, signal and image processing, and data analysis and structures. The computer science degree from UMUC requires 120 total credit hours to complete. A minimum of 30 credits must be completed at UMUC, including half the credits earned in the student's chosen major and minor. Students who complete their entire degree requirements from University of Maryland University College must complete 34 credits in general education classes, 35 credit hours in the program major, and 26 credits in elective classes.

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Location:

3501 University Blvd.
East Adelphi, MD 20783-8010
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Sources and Methodologies

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor's) in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on five criteria:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  5. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015

Sources:

Associate of Science in Computer Science, South Texas College, https://academicaffairs.southtexascollege.edu/degreeplans/current/associates/AS-COSC.pdf

Computer Science Degree, South Texas College, https://www.southtexascollege.edu/online/programs/computer-science.php

Associate in Applied Science Degree, Computer Science, Hazard Community and Technical College, https://elearning.kctcs.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/LBT%20Advising%20Guides/AAS/Computer%20%26%20Information%20Technologies/AAS%20-%20Computer%20%26%20Information%20Technologies%20-%20Computer%20Science%20Track.pdf

Computer Science Track, Hopkinsville Community College, https://elearning.kctcs.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/LBT%20Advising%20Guides/Computer%20%26%20Information%20Technologies/Computer_Information_Technologies3.html

Computer Science B.S., Dakota State University, http://dsu.edu/academics/degrees-and-programs/computer-science-bs

Plan of Study, Computer Science, Dakota State University, http://dsu.edu/assets/uploads/resources/ComputerScience-MAP.pdf

MCC's History, Metropolitan Community College, http://mccneb.smartcatalogiq.com/en/2013-2014/Course-Catalog/The-College/MCCS-History

MCC At a Glance, Metropolitan Community College, http://mcckc.edu/what-drives-us/

About WSU, Weber State University, http://www.weber.edu/AboutWSU/

Computer Science A.A.S., Weber State University, http://catalog.weber.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=11&poid=5063

About SNHU, Southern New Hampshire University, http://www.snhu.edu/about-us

B.S. in Computer Science, Southern New Hampshire University, http://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/bachelors/bs-in-computer-science

Computer Science program overview, Western Nebraska Community College, http://www.wncc.edu/programs-study/computer-science

Computer Science Bachelor's Degree, University of Maryland University College, https://www.umuc.edu/academic-programs/bachelors-degrees/computer-science-major.cfm

BS in Computer Science, University of Maryland University College, https://www.umuc.edu/documents/upload/computer-science-major-worksheet-2016-17.pdf

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Sources and Methodologies