Though we might not always realize it, we enjoy handiwork of software engineers every single day.
From the graphics on an Xbox game to the GPS on our phones to the tracking system on our Amazon packages, software engineers have a part in essentially every step of a software system—design, development, troubleshooting, implementation, and management.
As more and more of our industries are going digital and requiring computer software for their products and workflow, the demand for software engineers continues to rise.
If you’re looking into getting a degree in software engineering, have you thought about getting your degree online? We’ve even ranked the best online software engineering degrees. Take a look!
College undergraduates who pursue software engineering are almost guaranteed a job right out of college, with a projected job growth rate of 17 percent from 2014 to 2024.
Although the demand for software engineers is high, the financial reward is also quite high. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for software engineers is an impressive $98,260. Even more, first-year graduates can expect to make $50,000 to $70,000 right out of college!
Typically, software engineers work in one of two capacities—as an applications software developer or a systems software developer. In the former, engineers are at the front-end of the product, developing a specific software (like a word processor or an app or a game).
A systems software developer, however, works on the bigger picture and helps organize all of the moving parts of a computer system so that they work efficiently and smoothly.
Here are some jobs that fit perfectly with a BS in Software Engineering, and can apply to almost any work sector, from health care to renewable energy to entertainment:
- Software and Systems Architect
- Software and System Engineer
- Software Programmer, Developer, and Tester
- Requirements Engineer
- Project Leader
- Senior Computer Applications Engineer
If you’re a student who loves numbers and has a knack for seeing how tiny details fit into the bigger picture, a BS in Software Engineering at any of the schools on our list is a great route for you to take. You’re not only securing your financial future, but you also are choosing to join an exciting a cutting-edge field that has virtually endless options.
Top 10 Best Software Engineering Degrees
||University of California, Irvine
||Stevens Institute of Technology
||California Polytechnic State University
||San Luis Obispo, CA
||Iowa State University
||Michigan Technological University
||Milwaukee School of Engineering
||The University of Texas at Dallas
||Auburn University, AL
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What Are the Best Software Engineering Bachelor Programs in the Country?
Below, you’ll find the twenty best Software Engineering programs in the country. Here at College Choice we’ve collated and compared the academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability, and average annual salary of graduates from software engineering programs across the country to create a definitive ranking of the nation’s twenty best.
We first chose programs with the most renowned academic reputation and from those pared the list down to those with high retention rates—a reflection of student satisfaction—added those with the most economical accessibility, and finally we included the averages of early career salaries (care of PayScale) to arrive at a list marked by thorough research and extensive data aggregation.
Our figures come from the university and colleges’ websites as well as nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
See our rankings methodology page.
University of California, Irvine
Founded in 1965, the University of California Irvine is a public, land-grant research institution that’s home to over 33,000 students. Popularly known as UC Irvine, both students and staff members consider this a Public Ivy. Of the university’s nearly 200 degrees offered within its 15 schools, students may now pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
Offered through the university’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, this program is intended for both those who have no software engineering experience and those who have some programming experience. Depending on your course of study, required courses may include:
- Human Computer Interaction
- Project in Ubiquitous Computing
- Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science
- Data Structure Implementation and Analysis
- Programming in Multitasking Operating Systems
Interested in pursuing a minor? The Bren School offers the following minors: Bioinformatics, Digital Information Systems, Health Informatics, Informatics, Information and Computer Science, and Statistics.
Students at the University of California Irvine will benefit not only from the program’s comprehensive curriculum but also from the university’s proximity to major tech hubs, including Silicon Valley. With plenty of hands-on experience, undergraduates will complete a three-quarter capstone course to develop a real system for a real client.
Stevens Institute of Technology
Located in Hoboken, NJ, Stevens Institute of Technology is a private university that’s home to more than 7,000 students. The school offers over 35 undergraduate majors, nearly 60 master’s programs, and several doctoral degrees. Students may pursue a Bachelor of Engineering in Software Engineering, offered jointly through the School of Systems and Enterprises, and the School of Engineering and Science.
This is a 141-credit program that can be completed in four years. Required courses may include:
- Circuits and Systems
- Software Design Evolution
- Object Based Software Development
- Software Testing and Quality Assurance
- Agile Methods for Software Development
The school’s close proximity to New York City makes it easy to gain hands-on experience in the field prior to graduating. Undergraduates in this program have landed internships at prestigious companies, including Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins, and Citigroup.
Stevens Institute of Technology allows undergraduates to apply to an accelerated program in which they can start earning credits towards a master’s degree in conjunction with their bachelor’s. Popular careers for graduates include software programmer, software and system engineer, and other related professions.
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA
Located along the central coast region of California, Cal Polytechnic State University is comprised of six colleges, offering 65 bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 master’s degrees. Cal Poly opened its doors in 1903 and is now home to over 21,000 students. Interested in technology and programming? Check out the university’s Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
Offered through Cal Poly’s College of Engineering, undergraduate students in this program must complete at least 60 credits of upper-division courses. Required courses may include:
- Ethics, Science, and Technology
- Methods of Proof in Mathematics
- Design and Analysis of Algorithms
- Individual Software Design and Development
- User-Centered Interface Design and Development
Students in this program will have access to a variety of resources, including career services, tech support, a health center, and more.
California Polytechnic State University has been ranked among the nation’s Top Universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report. Cal Poly also tied for No. 1 for both lists of the Most Innovative Schools and the Top Public Schools in the U.S. The school’s Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education also offers a unique Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Student Participation in STEM Program.
Located in Iowa’s central city of Ames, Iowa State is a public flagship land- and space-grant research university. With more than ten schools and colleges offering a variety of unique degree programs, ISU is home to mascot Cy the Cardinal and more than 36,000 students. Interested in software engineering? Iowa State now offers a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering.
Offered through the university’s Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, students in this program will gain hands-on experience through various research activities and internships. Required courses may include:
- Engineering Economic Analysis
- Design and Analysis of Algorithms
- Software Construction and User Interfaces
- Computer Organization and Assembly Level Programming
- Elementary Differential Equations and Laplace Transforms
This curriculum places an emphasis on software engineering principles, process, and practice. Elective courses are also available in computer engineering and computer science.
While a co-op or internship is optional in this program, many undergraduates opt for some outside experience prior to graduating. Iowa State has been ranked among the Best Value Schools and Top Public Schools by U.S. News & World Report.
Michigan Technological University
Founded in 1885, Michigan Tech is a public research university that was founded in 1885 and is located in the state’s Upper Peninsula. Home to just over 7,000 students, MTU’s mission is centered around innovation and research. In fact, the MTU is home to over 20 major research centers. Check out the university’s Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
Offered through the university’s College of Computing, students in this undergraduate program may pursue an accelerated master’s in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, or Data Science. The master’s can be earned in just one year following the bachelor’s. Undergraduate students may have to fulfill the following course requirements:
- Data Structures
- Compiler Design and Optimization
- Software Processes and Management
- Model-Driven Software Development
- Ethical and Social Aspects of Computing
In addition, all students will have the opportunity to participate in the university’s Enterprise Program. Michigan Tech offers 24 unique Enterprise teams where members work on real projects, with real clients. With assistance from faculty, teams may collaborate to invent products, provide services, and more!
Michigan Technological University offers two unique Enterprise teams for those in the Software Engineering major. The Husky Game Development team allows students to design and develop games for businesses, educational purposes, and for fun. The Humane Interface Design Enterprise is for those looking to design, develop, and evaluate interfaces to make work more efficient and manageable.
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Milwaukee School of Engineering is a private university and has an enrollment of just under 3,000 students. Founded in 1903, this school promotes six core values to its faculty members and students that include collaboration and innovation. When you’re not busy cheering on mascot Roscoe Raider, you may work towards a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
Steeped in computer science, this program integrates both classroom and lab activities and assignments. Required courses may include:
- Electromagnetism and Optics
- Mobile Application Development
- Differential Equations for Engineers
- Software Requirements and Specification
- Software Engineering Tools and Practices
- Ethics for Professional Managers and Engineers
In addition, all undergraduate students will complete a senior design sequence, in which you’ll work in teams to complete a major project. Many students in this program also pursue outside internships in addition to coursework. Elective courses will allow students to dive deeper into topics like image processing, information security, artificial intelligence, and more.
Milwaukee School of Engineering has been ranked among the Top 10 Best Regional Universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. The school also stands along the Top 10 Best Value Colleges and Top 10 Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.
The University of Texas at Dallas
Founded in 1969, the University of Texas at Dallas boasts an enrollment of over 26,000 students and is home to eight schools, each offering a variety of unique degree programs. From science and business to the arts and engineering, UT Dallas offers over 140 degrees. Check out the university’s Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
Offered through the university’s Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, this program is rooted in mathematics. With a computer science core, undergraduate students can expect to take the following courses:
- Discrete Mathematics for Computing
- Professional and Technical Communication
- Data Structures and Introduction to Algorithmic Analysis
- Social Issues and Ethics in Computer Science and Engineering
- Software Testing, Verification, Validation, and Quality Assurance
Many undergraduates choose to pursue internships as well. In fact, students have gone on to intern at many prestigious companies, including IBM, Texas Instruments, AT&T, Cisco, and more. UT Dallas also offers a fast track BS/MS option for interested students.
The University of Texas at Dallas offers many unique areas of research as well. With dedicated, state-of-the-art laboratories, students may pursue further studies in everything from medical imaging and wireless networking to organic electronics, cybersecurity, and more.
Founded in the early 1890s, Drexel is a private research university located in Philadelphia and is one of the nation’s 15 largest private universities. Home to mascot Mario the Magnificent as well as over 25,000 students, Drexel heavily promotes student-learning outside of the classroom through co-ops and internships. Check out Drexel’s Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
Offered through Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics, this degree program is ideal for those who love problem-solving and want to learn how to write and implement code. Required courses may include:
- Software Verification and Validation
- Human-Centered Design Process and Methods
- Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science
- Introduction to Software Engineering and Development
- Computer Networks: Theory, Applications, and Programming
All students must earn at least 186.5 credits to earn their degree, including three writing-intensive courses to be completed freshman year. Undergraduates have the opportunity to complete one co-op experience if they study for four years at Drexel. Additionally, you can opt for three co-ops over the course of five years, or two co-ops if you choose the accelerated 5-year degree BS/MS plan.
All students have access to Drexel University’s Steinbright Career Development Center. Graduates of this program have gone on to become software engineers, as well as software architects, software project team leaders, and more.
Auburn University, AL
Founded in the 1850s in Alabama, Auburn University is home to nearly 30,000 students and mascot Aubie the Tiger. Students may choose from a variety of degrees offered across the university’s 13 schools and colleges. Interested in computers and engineering? Check out the university’s Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
Offered through Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, students in this program are expected to complete at least 120 credit hours. Required courses may include:
- Computer Ethics
- Digital Logic Circuits
- Computer Architecture
- Software Modeling and Design
- Computer Organization and Assembly Language Programming
Additionally, all undergraduates must complete either a literature sequence or a history sequence. A senior design project is also required of students who wish to earn their bachelor’s degree.
Auburn University offers many unique, state-of-the-art research centers for students to take advantage of. These include the Alabama Center for Paper and Bioresource Engineering, Wireless Engineering Research Center, Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, and more. Students may also choose to participate in a co-op program or internship to gain more hands-on experience prior to graduating.
Founded in the early 1800s, Miami University, despite its name, is actually located in Ohio – not Florida! This public research university is named after the Native American nation ‘Miami Tribe’ and is now home to nearly 20,000 students. With more than 120 unique areas of study, students have plenty to choose from – check out the university’s Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
This undergraduate degree is offered through Miami University’s College of Engineering and Computing. Courses in this degree are very collaborative and students will work in teams to build designs and more. Areas of specialization include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Scientific Systems
- Computer Security
- E-business Systems
Many students choose to double major in computer science and software engineering. Even as a double-major, the university’s career services office makes it easy to find internships that offer more hands-on experiences.
Miami University’s Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering offers plenty of classrooms, labs, and learning spaces for students to take advantage of. These include 24/7 lab areas within student commons and the HIVE – Huge Immersive Virtual Environment. There are also labs specifically for building and experimenting with software and hardware systems, plus spaces for group meetings and to work on team projects.
Rochester Institute of Technology
The Rochester Institute of Technology is a private university located in upstate New York. Ranked among the world’s top technical universities, and with campuses in China, Croatia, and Dubai, RIT is home to over 18,000 students. RIT offers a rigorous Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering through its B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.
This program requires all undergraduates to participate in a co-op experience of at least 40 weeks. A co-op may be completed during a student’s third or fourth year. In addition to that, required courses may include:
- Analysis of Algorithms
- Software Evolution and Reengineering
- Software Design for Computing Systems
- Software Process and Project Management
- Human-Centered Requirements and Design
All students must complete at least 127 credit hours to earn their degree. The coursework revolves around four main themes: engineering design, software product development, teamwork, and communication. In addition to the co-op and coursework, undergraduate students will tap into the ‘teamwork’ theme by completing a senior project with four or five other students.
Named a Top 50 Best Value School by U.S. News & World Report, the Rochester Institute of Technology is an excellent choice for those starting their careers. Graduates have gone on to pursue jobs as software testers, database developers, web developers, and more.
San Jose State University
San José State University was founded in 1857 as a public research university, making it the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast. The university now offers over 145 unique areas of study to its more than 30,000 students. The university’s School of Engineering is also home to one of the best software engineering degrees in the country.
The Bachelor of Science degree at San José State University is a four-year program made up of 120 credits. Required courses may include:
- Differential Equations and Linear Algebra
- Computer Organization and Architecture
- Global and Social Issues in Engineering
- Computer and Human Interaction
- Enterprise Software Platforms
All undergraduate students must complete a senior project as well.
San José State University is home to the Engineering Student Success Center that provides general education advising services for those taking courses in the College of Engineering. The university has been ranked among the nation’s Best Regional Universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report. SJSU also ranks among the nation’s 5 Top Public Schools by U.S. News & World Report.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, FL
Located in Daytona Beach, FL, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a private school that was founded in 1931. Known for its aviation and aerospace programs, Embry-Riddle is home to award-winning faculty members and over 6,000 students. Looking for hands-on experience and access to state-of-the-art facilities? Check out the university’s Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
This program is offered at both the university’s Daytona campus and its Prescott, AZ, campus. Courses are offered through the Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering Department housed within the university’s College of Engineering. Requirements may include:
- Data Structures and Analysis of Algorithms
- Organization of Programming Languages
- Analysis and Design of Software Systems
- Software Quality Assurance
- Files and Database Systems
Undergraduates must complete at least 127 credit hours to earn this degree, including a final team project. On a full-time schedule, students can graduate in just eight semesters. Applicants should have a stronghold in the areas of mathematics, science, and especially physics.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus offers a cybersecurity engineering lab, a digital systems lab, and a real-time systems lab for students to utilize. Experiment with everything from aviation/aerospace applications to video game and smartphone application designs.
Florida Institute of Technology
The Florida Institute of Technology, located in Melbourne, FL, places a strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and aviation. Founded in 1958, the Institute is now home to over 6,000 students. If you’re looking to combine science and engineering, you may want to check out Florida Tech’s top-ranked Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
Students enrolled in this program will have access to Florida Tech’s state-of-the-art labs, housed within the F.W. Olin Engineering Complex. Required courses may include:
- Computer Organization and Machine Programming
- Scientific and Technical Communication
- Software Maintenance and Evolution
- Programming Language Concepts
- Human-Computer Interaction
During their senior year, all students will complete a collaborative design project with their peers to conceptualize, design, and present a software application. This design will be presented to both industry leaders and potential employers. Graduates of this program have gone on to land jobs at Google, NASA, Microsoft, and many other prestigious companies.
The Florida Institute of Technology also offers plenty of ways to get involved outside of the classroom. In fact, students may join the computer science honor society, Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the Computer Gaming Society, and more. Florida Tech is a designated Tier 1 Best National University in U.S. News & World Report.
Robert Morris University
Moon Township, PA
Founded in the early 1920s, Robert Morris is a private, doctoral university located in Moon, PA. Home to just over 5,000 students, Robert Morris University offers a variety of degree programs across its four schools. Interested students may earn a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a concentration in Software Engineering at RMU.
Offered through the university’s School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science, students in this program must complete a university core in addition to specialized courses and electives. Requirements may include:
- Engineering Statistics
- Linux System Administration
- Circuits and Electromagnetics
- Software Design and Construction
- Distributed Systems Implementation
Students must complete at 126 credits in order to graduate. Robert Morris University is also home to The Learning Factory. This is an industrial-grade facility where students can gain hands-on experience by designing, testing, and manufacturing processes and equipment. Additionally, all students must complete an internship or co-op experience.
Every undergraduate student at Robert Morris University is assigned an academic advisor as well as a counselor in the Center for Student Success. Plus, RMU offers scholarships ranging from $1,000 per year up to full tuition. In fact, 90% of RMU students receive some financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, and loans.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Founded in 1869, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is home to more than 26,000 students as well as mascots Lil’ Red and Herbie Husker. The university offers over 150 unique majors across its ten colleges and centers. Interested in computers and engineering? Check out the university’s Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
All students in this 124-credit program will gain hands-on experience by completing two senior design capstone courses. Additionally, required courses may include:
- Computer Systems Engineering
- Unix Programming Environment
- Computer Problem Solving Essentials
- Data Modeling for Systems Development
- Data Structures and Algorithms for Informatics
- Software Development for Smart-Mobile Systems
Applicants should be well-versed in both mathematics and science. Undergraduates in this program will not be eligible to pursue a minor. This program is intended for those looking to pursue careers as software engineers, software architects, programmers, and other related professions.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been consistently ranked among the top third of all national universities, both public and private. Additionally, the university has been highly ranked for overall value, graduation rate, and access by U.S. News & World Report.
Arizona State University-Tempe
Arizona State University-Tempe was founded in the mid-1880s and has since grown to boast a total enrollment of over 70,000 students! Home to beloved mascot Sparky the Sun Devil, ASU takes its motto of “one university in many places” seriously by offering a multi-campus system. Check out ASU’s Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
Offered through the university’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, this degree is offered both on-campus and online. Students in this program will learn-by-doing in a very hands-on environment, led by faculty members with real-world experience. Requirements may include:
- Computer Architecture
- Embedded C Programming
- Web Application Programming
- Embedded Interfaces: Sensors and Actuators
- Web-Based Applications and Mobile Systems
Your courses may vary based on which focus area you choose. These include Web and Mobile Applications or Embedded Systems.
Tied for the top spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Most Innovative Schools, Arizona State University-Tempe is consistently highly ranked. In fact, the university has also been named a Best Value School and Top Public School. ASU offers more than 600 unique degree programs across its 15 schools and colleges.
Montana Tech of the University of Montana
Montana Tech is located in Butte and is a division of the University of Montana. Home to over 2,500 students as well as mascot Charlie Oredigger, this public university is one of the state’s top STEM universities. Montana Tech’s Department of Computer Science offers a comprehensive Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
Coursework in this program will vary depending on your career goals and area of specialization. Students in this program may choose from one of six concentration areas, including:
- Technical Communications
- Electronic Control Systems
- Engineering Applications
- Statistical Applications
- Business Applications
- Game Development
This well-rounded degree program prepares students to work with various software and design programs, as well as working with people within the industry itself. A full year of this program is dedicated to data structures and analysis of algorithms.
Students at Montana Tech will have the opportunity to participate in a campus-wide Techxpo. At this event, students may display their research and design projects. Montana Tech of the University of Montana has been ranked among the Top 5 Best Regional Colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report. It’s also a Top Public School and Best Value School, according to U.S. News & World Report.
University of Michigan-Dearborn
The University of Michigan-Dearborn is a public school that’s one of two regional University of Michigan campuses. Over 9,000 students attend the Dearborn campus, which is located in the Detroit-metro area. One of over 70 unique major programs to choose from, the university offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering.
This degree program is offered through the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. This 120-credit program may include the following courses:
- Data Structures
- Software Engineering Tools
- Computer Org. and Assembly Languages
- Software Architecture and Design Patterns
- Computer Networks and Distributed Systems
In addition to coursework, students are encouraged to join one of the many organizations on campus to meet those with similar interests. A popular choice for many students is Upsilon Pi Epsilon, also known as the Association for Computing Machinery. Graduates of this program have gone on to land jobs at SOAR Tech, Ford Motor Company, Google, and other prestigious companies.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn offers its students a variety of exciting research and internship opportunities as well. U.S. News & World Report included this university in its ranking of the nation’s Top 40 Regional Universities in the Midwest. It also tied for the No. 5 spot on the list of Top Public Schools.
The University of West Florida
Founded in the 1960s in Pensacola, FL, the University of West Florida is home to mascot Argie the Argonaut and over 12,000 students. In addition to its more than 150 student clubs and organizations, the university offers more than 45 undergraduate degrees. Interested in computers and engineering? Check out UWF’s unique Bachelor of Science degree in Software Design and Development.
This 120-credit program is offered through the university’s Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. Required courses may include:
- Java Programming
- Operating Systems
- Discrete Structures
- Client Side Programming
- Software Engineering Management
Graduates of this program will have the skills to successfully develop high-quality software that meets real-world client needs. Popular professions for graduates of this program include network manager, software consultant, data analyst, programmer, and more.
The University of West Florida has been ranked among the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs by U.S. News & World Report. The university has also partnered with Complete Florida, which assists students who plan on going back to school online. Each student is paired with a personal coach to help them along the journey, all the way to graduation day.