Best Software Engineering Degrees

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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.

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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

Rank School Location
1 University of California, Irvine Irvine, CA
2 Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ
3 California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, CA
4 Iowa State University Ames, IA
5 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
6 Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee, WI
7 The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX
8 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
9 Auburn University Auburn University, AL
10 Miami University Hamilton, OH

What Are the Best Software Engineering Bachelor Programs in the Country?

Best Software Engineering Badge

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.

2020 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of California, Irvine
    Location

    Irvine, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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. 

    Program Features

    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.

    Notables

    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. 

  2. Stevens Institute of Technology
    Location

    Hoboken, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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.

    Notables

    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.

  3. California Polytechnic State University
    Location

    San Luis Obispo, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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. 

    Program Features

    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. 

    Notables

    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. 

  4. Iowa State University
    Location

    Ames, IA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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. 

    Program Features

    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. 

    Notables

    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.

  5. Michigan Technological University
    Location

    Houghton, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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. 

    Program Features

    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!

    Notables

    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.

  6. Milwaukee School of Engineering
    Location

    Milwaukee, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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.

    Notables

    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. 

  7. The University of Texas at Dallas
    Location

    Richardson, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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. 

    Program Features

    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.

    Notables

    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. 

  8. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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. 

    Notables

    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. 

  9. Auburn University
    Location

    Auburn University, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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.

    Notables

    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. 

  10. Miami University
    Location

    Hamilton, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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:

    • Bioinformatics
    • 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.

    Notables

    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.

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