Below are the best software engineering programs in the nation that can be completed from the comfort of your own home. You can continue working while also advancing your education (and therefore your career).
What kind of online software engineering degree should you get?
If you find yourself in a situation that makes going back to school or enrolling for the first time either logistically or financially problematic, then getting an online degree can be a great option for you. Online undergraduate programs in software engineering are an affordable, accessible, and flexible way to earn your BS in software engineering.
Despite the stigma online programs once held, they have mostly shed those stereotypes and have increasingly solid reputations, in large part because online programs are developed and taught by the same faculty who teach the traditional, on-campus courses. And in most cases, the diploma looks exactly the same as those garnered by “traditional students,” yet it was obtained at half the price.
How much money does one make with an online software engineering degree?
In the next few years, the employment of software engineers is projected to increase by a huge 22 percent. Furthermore, those engineers will make, on average, an annual salary of $100,690, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And these numbers reflect just those engineers who have a Bachelor’s of Science degree. Both employment rate and salary go up exponentially for those with advanced degrees. So if you’re committed to getting a degree, expand your horizon by looking at our list of the top online colleges.
What can you do with an online software engineering degree?
Naturally, graduates from these programs have gone on to become software engineers for a range of companies and across industries. But the opportunities don’t stop there. In fact, this is a highly versatile degree.
But don’t just take it from us. Look at the stats! Graduates from these programs have secured careers as:
- Computer and Information Systems Managers
- Sales Engineers
- Chief Technology Officers
- Video Game Designer
- and much more
What are the requirements for an online software engineering degree?
Because these are bachelor degrees you will have to allocate at least the first year or so to completing some general education coursework. But once those credits are fulfilled you will jump into the major. This will first entail foundational classes that will introduce you to software engineering fundamentals.
In your final years you will take highly technical and specialized coursework in software engineering. It will also be expected that, before graduation, you participate in either a capstone research project or internship, sometimes even both. We’ve been sure to note which programs have which requirements.
What are the best online Bachelor’s of Science in Software Engineering degree programs?
Below are the Best Online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering degree programs in the country. Here at College Choice we’ve collated and compared the academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability, and average annual salary of early career software engineering from online programs across the country to create a definitive ranking of the nation’s fifteen best.
We first chose programs with the most renowned academic reputation according to U.S. News & World Report, and from those pared the list down to those with high retention rates—a reflection of student satisfaction.
Then, we ordered them by weighting reputation and retention rates with tuition price and the averages of early career salaries (care of PayScale) to arrive at a list marked by thorough research and extensive data aggregation.
Best Online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering
Western Governors University
College Choice Score: 100
Tuition per Credit Hour: $240
Based in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah, Western Governors University (WGU) is both private and a non-profit university accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Schools. Hands down, WGU’s online Bachelor’s of Science in Software Development is the best in the country. With a 100 percent retention rate (a signal of student satisfaction) a respectable average early career salary for graduates, a low credit-hour cost, and a well-ranked program, WGU tops our list.
This program is also specifically modeled to be completed in step with the student’s ability and competencies. This means that as a WGU student you will progress through the program at your own pace. The curriculum covers the breadth of IT fundamentals, including:
- Web Development
- Networks and Security
- Operating Systems
- Data Management, and more
All of the nearly 80,000 WGU students are online, taking part in the competency-based learning model—that is, students proceed through their degree by demonstrating they have acquired certain knowledge, skill, or ability—in one of the four colleges: business, information technology, education, and the health professions. Known not only for its innovative teaching model, WGU’s tuition rates are among the most competitive in the country.
Brigham Young University - Idaho
College Choice Score: 96.25
Tuition per Credit Hour: $163
Brigham Young University is mostly known for being owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is also known for its online learning platform, which is huge, with a long history of serving its adult learners.
There is no rush to complete the BYU degree, as they allow up to eight years to finish, but students also have the option to accelerate toward the graduation date by taking classes year around. This flexibility, paired with the lowest credit hour rate, makes Brigham Young’s software engineering programs one of the best. Like many of their programs, this Bachelor’s of Science in Software Engineering can be taken entirely online and includes a course load that covers everything from the fundamentals of data structures and digital systems to more complex research, including advanced engineering, security, and technical communication. Indeed, courses include:
- Project Management
- Mobile Applications
- Database Design
- And more
BYU boasts a solid reputation among AWRU, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, QS World University Rankings, The Princeton Review, and Washington Monthly, where it is ranked as among the best universities in the country and world. This is due in large part to the number of research initiatives taken on by BYU and subsequent awards earned. For example, BYU has graduated over forty Fulbright scholars, ten Rhodes scholars, and more. BYU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Kennesaw State University
College Choice Score: 89.5
Tuition per Credit Hour: $277
Kennesaw State University, part of the University System of Georgia, is located in Kennesaw, Georgia and offers over fifty degrees in business, education, sports management, engineering, nursing, physical science, and criminal justice. KSU offers a number of online degrees as well as hybrid programs.
Specifically for students who already have an Associate of Applied Science degree from a member institution of the Technical College System of Georgia, this online Bachelor of Applied Science degree is in information technology, offered through its College of Computing & Software Engineering. Students at Kennesaw State University learn how to identify and evaluated current, trending, and emerging technologies; they are able to implement IT solutions in an organizational environment; and, perhaps most emphasized by the curriculum, they are able to select, design, integrate, and administer software solutions. KSU graduates have found work as:
- Computer Simulation and Game Designers
- Computer Programmers
- E-commerce Programmers
- Information Security Specialists, and more
The university, in attempts to make education accessible and affordable, is now received a reputation for being one of the best schools in the countries for vets, and, likewise, it is considered one of the top “up-and-coming” universities in the nation. Kennesaw State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Arizona State University
College Choice Score: 84.85
Tuition per Credit Hour: $633
Arizona State University is known for many things: being one of the largest universities in the country with an enrollment of over 80,000 students, for its commitment to sustainability efforts, and for its large online learning platform that seeks to give students a nearly identical learning experience to one they would receive on campus. Arizona State is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Through the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University you can earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Software Engineering from a program that specifically stresses project-driven course work. ASU online students learn by doing through a discovery-based curriculum that combines engineering, computing, project leadership, and software construction to deliver an education that fully prepares its students to design and engineer innovative systems, including mechanical and electrical components. Thus, graduates of ASU’s program have found themselves:
- Creating innovative new video games
- Designing web applications
- Working with embedded systems developing distributed applications
- Managing teams of people, and more
ASU is also nationally and globally ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, the Wall Street Journal, and more. It is consistently praised for its research contributions. And it is ranked first among the “Most Innovative Universities” in the nation.
Southern New Hampshire University
College Choice Score: 82
Tuition per Credit Hour: $320
Nestled between Manchester and Hooksett in New Hampshire, Southern New Hampshire University offers many areas of study to its nearly 65,000 students, only a small portion of whom study on campus while the 60,000 online students study from afar. SNHU is comprised of five colleges and schools.
This Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technologies degree offers a software development concentration that trains students on developing effective systems design and maintenance solutions as well as preparing them to be leaders in global, social, and ethical settings. Furthermore, students gain the skills to be able to communicate effectively, as they are taught how to utilize oral, print, and multimedia strategies in connecting with diverse audiences. Classes include:
- Software Development in Distributed Systems
- Mobile Application Design
- Interactive Scripting
- Cyberlaws and Ethics, and more
Southern New Hampshire University partners closely with many national and global organizations in an effort to promote student networking and relationship. For this reason, among many others, SNHU is known for its innovative and student-centric approach to education. The university is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
College Choice Score: 79.75
Tuition per Credit Hour: $410
Bellevue University is based in Bellevue, Nebraska. It is home to approximately 7,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students. The university offers numerous degrees at all academic levels and is known for its accelerated, cohort-based, and online classes.
Through Bellevue University’s online Bachelor’s of Science in Software Development, students learn how to not just develop software applications and web-based applications, but also how to effectively apply analysis and design concepts to best strategize business performance and relationships. The Bellevue program accomplishes this through a curriculum that stresses successful writing and verbal communications skills, leadership and management, and critical thinking through courses such as:
- Project Management
- Server Scripting
- Advanced Networking, and more
Additionally, Bellevue University requires three very unique courses that sets its students apart from the crowd: American vision and values, tradition and change, and freedom and responsibility. In fact, its online colleges and degrees are considered among the top ten best in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Bellevue is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
College Choice Score: 79.08
Tuition per Credit Hour: $641
Located in beautiful Burlington, Vermont, Champlain College is a private college of approximately 2,000 undergraduates. Despite its size, Champlain offers degrees in nearly 100 areas of study, from digital forensics to electronic game programming. Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Champlain is a highly ranked university with many awards and accolades to its name.
At Champlain College you earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Software Development degree. Champlain will train you on a variety of software languages, help you gain practical experience (specifically in cybersecurity and mobile devices), and develop your programming, systems analysis, interpersonal, and business skills. And, if you so choose, you can add a certification of specialization to further hone your skills and to make your resume stand out. Those specializations are in:
- Java Programming
- C++ Programming
- Visual C#
- In addition to a general software development concentration.
Champlain differentiates itself through its unique, “upside down” approach to education, meaning students are allowed to take in-depth and higher-level courses in their first few semesters, as a way to acquaint themselves with their majors. Finally, at Champlain you can expect a dynamic learning experience, as they emphasize hands-on learning through the utilization of cloud-based virtual laboratories.
University of Maryland University College
College Choice Score: 70
Tuition per Credit Hour: $391
The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is a public institution based in Adelphi, Maryland that serves nearly 100,000 students worldwide through its distance learning program. With 120 programs of study across all academic levels, UMUC online is one of the largest providers of distance education in the nation.
If you’re looking for a degree that specifically trains students on issues of security, the Bachelor’s of Science in Software Development and Security degree through the online learning platform at the University of Maryland University College will fully prepare you. UMUC online students are taught how to plan and manage all phases of a secure software development project while also being able to identify and respond to threats and attacks to minimize risk and protect privacy. This program is ideal for those seeking jobs:
- Security Analysts
- Security Managers
- Application and Software Architects
- Information Security Officers, and more
UMUC offers specific programming and support to active and former military, making a name for itself as one of the country’s “Best for Vets” colleges. UMUC, a member of the University System of Maryland, is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Colorado Technical University
College Choice Score: 66.88
Tuition per Credit Hour: $325
Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Colorado Technical University offers dozens of bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in business, technology, engineering, criminal justice, finance, health, and computer science. All classes are offered online, but CTU gives students the option of creating a hybrid learning experience by attending some classes on campus.
The online Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology degree program at Colorado State University allows students to specifically specialize in Software Systems Engineering. Students are guided through software design and development, database systems, and they are taught at least one programming language. The CTU curriculum includes courses such as:
- Structured Query Language
- Website Development
- Programming Logic
- Spreadsheet Applications, and more
Graduates of CTU have gone on to work as application developers, network security engineers, software developers, systems analysts, and test engineers. Most of CTU students (over 90 percent) are online learners and the online programs—especially its IT, criminal justice, and business programs—offered by CTU are consistently ranked as among the best by U.S. News & World Report.
Full Sail University
College Choice Score: 65
Tuition per Credit Hour: $467
Based in Winter Park, Florida, Full Sail University is a for-profit institution of higher learning accredited by the Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Over 15,000 students study at Full Sail, working towards degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. Full Sail specializes in accelerated programs, allowing students to attain their degrees in up to half the amount of time of typical programs, and they have been offering online education for many years. Full Sail University offers degrees in everything from art and design to music, recording, technology, gaming, and media.
Full Sail University offers a fully online Bachelor’s of Science in Software Development degree that stresses an analytical as well as practical approach to understanding how technology, especially software, affects our daily lived experiences. Students are guided through the ins and outs of design, development, and implementation of software, including its uses for:
- Business solutions
- Entertainment outlets
- Analyzing consumer markets, and much more
Classes are completely online, but Full Sail makes sure its students are well-supported by connecting them with other students, faculty and staff, and by pairing them with career development advisors and services. Finally, in addition to offering competitive tuition rates, Full Sail makes scholarship and financial aid opportunities available to their students.
College Choice Score: 63.75
Tuition per Credit Hour: $345
Herzing University is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, it has an additional eleven campuses located throughout the country, plus a renowned online learning platform. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The online undergraduate software development program at Herzing University prepares its students to become programmers, software or internet developers, database or website developers, or web page coordinators. Whatever your vocational goal, this degree can help you get there. Also, Herzing gives its students the opportunity to specialize in one of two areas: computer applications or computer systems. It is important to note that Herzing requires both a senior capstone project as well as an internship. The curriculum covers:
- Computer Networks
- Object-oriented Programming
- Business Systems Analysis
- Mobile Applications Development, and more
Herzing University strives to provide accessible and flexible education to working adults through its career-focused education model. Across all academic levels, Herzing awards degrees in many areas, but is most known for its programs in public safety, business, information technology, legal studies, healthcare, and nursing.
College Choice Score: 61
Tuition per Credit Hour: $265
Specializing specifically in online education, Grantham University is a for-profit university accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. Grantham offers nearly fifty online degree programs, notably in the fields of business, the arts and sciences, engineering, computer science, nursing, and the health sciences. Over 17,000 students attend Grantham, a majority of whom are undergraduates who come from all fifty states and over 100 countries worldwide.
If you’re looking for a program that supplements its software development education with courses covering hardware development, then this degree may be for you; this Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Engineering Technology degree trains students on designing and evaluating both hardware and software systems. Online software engineering classes at Grantham University include:
- Programming Essentials
- Circuits Lab
- Digital electronics
- Advanced Microprocessors, and more
Upon graduation you will be ready for an array of careers, as you will be able to apply the knowledge, techniques, skills, and strategies gained at Grantham to define and overcome any technical problems you’ll face in your career. Similarly, many students are active and retired military, as Grantham has a reputation for being a good school for vets.
Eastern Florida State College
College Choice Score: 60
Tuition per Credit Hour: $318
Eastern Florida State College is a member institution of the Florida College system and is a public, state school with four campuses located throughout the state. With over 100 degree and certificate programs, including those with special emphasis on professional and technical education, EFSC enrolls over 25,000 students, many of whom take part in the school’s online education program.
Graduates from Eastern Florida State College’s (EFSC) online Bachelor’s of Science in Program and Software Development have found work as computer support specialists, software developers, database administrators, and web developers. This is because EFSC’s program stresses the importance of data structures and modern programming languages, which is in huge demand in today’s job market. The curriculum, designed for working students, covers:
- Operational Management
- Decision Making in Software Design
- Internet Programming
- Emerging Information Technologies, and more
EFSC also expects its students to complete an internship and the capstone course, Network Management for Information Professionals. It has connections to the aerospace program at the Kennedy Space Center and is known for its technical and STEM related programs. Eastern Florida State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
College Choice Score: 58.25
Tuition per Credit Hour: $319
A for-profit higher education institution owned and operated by the Strayer Education organization, Strayer University provides online education to approximately 40,000 students. Strayer also has nearly eighty campuses nationwide, through which it works specifically with working adults who want to enhance their careers by advancing their education.
At Strayer University you can earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Systems degree with a concentration in software engineering management that is completely online. Key courses at Strayer include project design, agile project management, software architecture, systems analysis, networking security, and IT project management. This program ensures you will be able to:
- Analyze and explain software methodologies
- Demonstrate an ability to design and implement a system process model
- Compare various testing approaches to software development, and more
And you will be fully prepared by Strayer to take the CompTia Network and ISC2 Certification exams, making this an affordable, flexible, and practical education choice for advancing your career. Strayer University’s most popular and renowned programs are accounting, criminal justice, health services administration, information technology, business administration, education, and public administration.