This exciting degree is a safe bet for talented individuals with skills in coding, technology, mathematics, and applied sciences. While there are no guarantees when it comes to earning a master’s degree, one in computer programming is a smart investment.
With a degree in computer programming, you could work in a variety of careers, such as software application, computer systems analysis, web development, and even network systems administration. You aren’t limited to jobs in the field of information technology, either – computing professionals can be found in every industry in every nation.
Better yet, most master’s degrees in computer programming allow you to specialize in an area of interest, giving you even more flexibility in designing your career path. An online degree is the best way to earn your degree, as you can work in the format that bests suit you, as well as on your own time.
What kind of computer programming Master’s should you get?
There is no one variable to what makes a master’s degree the “best” of its kind. Good computer programming degrees will expose you to integrated academic research, high employment outcomes, and plenty of opportunities for students to interact with each other, faculty, support staff, and future employers.
Even better, some degrees even come with an extremely low price tag. If paying for college is a concern for you, make sure you check out our ranking of the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Computer Programming.
How much money do people make with a computer programming degree?
While an undergraduate degree and some experience in computer programming is usually all you need to earn a high salary (starting around $45,000 and ranging to upwards of $79,000 per year), if you have a master’s degree, you’ll earn even more.
The average national salary for computer science professionals is over $114,000 per year. This high wage is affected by a number of factors, such as what industry you work in and how much experience you have in a particular set of skills.
What can you do with a degree in computer programming?
The range of job opportunities for individuals with master’s degrees in computer programming is limitless. This high-paying industry has graduates in every industry from medicine to music to business, with most going on to program software and networks for large industries.
You might also go on to found your own start-up, or to work doing academic research in computing. Regardless, if you have a degree in computer science, you are sure to find a job. These careers are expected to grow by over 28 percent by 2020.
What are the requirements for a degree in computer programming?
Some universities may require you to have an undergraduate degree in a related topic, such as computer science, engineering, or an applied science. However, many programs make it possible for you to begin a master’s degree in computer programming even if you have an unrelated degree, provided that you take a few preparatory prerequisite courses and are skilled in subjects such as mathematics and technology.
Once you are enrolled, you will take classes in a variety of topics to expand your communication and technical skills, as well as your theoretical understandings of the discipline. You’ll explore topics such as programming languages, big data, artificial intelligence, and bioinformatics, with your exact list of courses varying depending on whether you choose to concentrate in a specific area.
What are the best computer programming degrees?
The best computer programming degrees will set you up for a lifetime of career advancement and increased earning potential. Look for a program that will provide you with plenty of hands-on experiences, including research, internships, cooperative learning experiences, and group projects. A degree doesn’t have to be expensive, but the best will provide plenty of opportunities for scholarships, fellowships, and other ways of paying for your degrees.
An online degree in computer programming is ideal for many cost-conscious and busy working adults. Online programs often provide plenty of room for collaboration, networking, and research, but makes it easier (and less expensive) for you to attend classes and earn a degree.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $16,695
Stanford University’s Master of Science in Computer Programming is the best in the country, offering students a degree that is marketable to potential employers, as well as affordable. Students receive a broad foundation in computer science while also specializing an individual career-focused specialty. This program can be completed entirely online, either full- or part-time. Most part-time students take around three or four years to complete the program.
In this program, students will take courses in a broad array of subjects, all falling within three specific content areas, including AI and Applications, Computer Systems, and Mathematical and Theoretical Foundations. Students may also choose to specialize and diversify their studies in one of several concentrations, such as Real-World Computing or Biocomputation. Other required classes include:
- Database Systems Principles
- Distributed Systems
- Machine Learning
- Natural Language Processing with Deep Learning
- Probabilistic Graphical Models: Principles and Techniques
- Introduction to Robotics
- Artificial Intelligence: Principles and Techniques
The program is offered through the Stanford Center for Professional Development, making it possible for students from all over the country to enroll in Stanford courses. Classes are taught by world-class instructors and can be completed while at work or other locations. As a result, each Computer Science class is comprised of a diverse community of engaged learners.
College Choice Score: 97.88
Average Net Price: $22,973
The online Master’s in Computer Science at Columbia University is a 30-credit program designed for students particularly interested in Software Systems. The program acknowledges the integral role that software plays in real-world computing applications, and allows students to develop a thorough and practical understanding of those applications. The fully online program is incredibly affordable, starting at just $1,936 per credit hour for a high-caliber, rewarding program.
While students must take several courses covering the breadth of computer science, as well as the theory behind computer science applications, the remainder of students’ credit hours consist of elective track courses. Required and elective courses include:
- Programming Languages and Translators
- Operating Systems
- Advanced Software Engineering
- Database System Implementation
- Fundamentals of Large-Scale Distributed Systems
- Compilers and Interpreters
- Programming and Problem-Solving
This top-ranked program is identical to the award-winning program offered on campus. However, this program’s flexibility offers nontraditional students a path to degree completion that they might not otherwise have. As a result, the online version of the program has received numerous accolades, including those as a Best Online Program and a Best Online Program for Veterans, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Georgia Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 97.60
Average Net Price: $13,340
Georgia Institute of Technology offers a top-ranked degree at a rock-bottom price. The program is offered in an exclusive partnership with Udacity and AT&T, allowing students to earn an accredited degree at a fraction of the normal price. The entire degree costs less than $7,000 and allows individuals to become computing professionals from anywhere in the world, making it ideal for working professionals. With a total enrollment of over 6,000 students, the program represents over one hundred countries.
Thirty total credits are required for completion, but fifteen to eighteen of those hours are free electives that allow students to interact with specialized course material. Offered through Udacity, students have access to other high-tech companies such as Google and Autodesk. Required classes include:
- Computer Networks
- Intro to High-Performance Computing
- Software Development Process
- Software Architecture and Design
- Database systems Concepts and Design
- Embedded Systems Optimization
- Intro to Cyber Physical Systems Security
The online Master of Science in Computer Science at Georgia Institute of Technology is incredible hands-on and collaborative, attracting a wide range of computing professionals who bring to the table unique experiences and career goals. This helps students enhance their professional networks and build lifelong relationships. Over 2,500 different companies are represented in the program’s enrollment, giving students the opportunity to collaborate with multiple industries.
University of Southern California
College Choice Score: 96.13
Average Net Price: $32,932
The exemplary Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Southern California provides students with intensive preparations in the fundamentals, current issues, and future predictions in the field of computer science and engineering. Students may pursue a variety of careers upon graduation, including those in architecture, communications, or even bioinformatics. The program is offered entirely online through a series of live and on-demand lectures.
The Master of Science in Computer Science is offered with several concentrations, including those in Computer Security, Data Science, Scientists and Engineers, and Software Engineering. An alternative graduate certificate in Software Architecture is also available. For the stand-alone major, students are required to take classes such as:
- Foundations of Artificial Intelligence
- Web Technologies
- Database Systems
- Analysis of Algorithms
- Direct Research
- Computer Science Research Colloquium
The University of Southern California has offered distance learning programs since 1972, long before the Internet even existed. The university offers convenience and flexibility, while at the same time maintaining an academic caliber identical to that offered on campus. Students have access to the extensive university libraries, as well as an active, engaging career center and an extremely low tuition rate. Billed at the same rate as on-campus programs, this affordable program is an excellent alternative for those with hectic, inflexible schedules.
North Carolina State University
College Choice Score: 93.88
Average Net Price: $13,066
The terminal professional degree in Computer Science at North Carolina State University is designed for students residing within the United States or serving in military assignments abroad. The program requires only coursework, exempting students from thesis or comprehensive examinations. While this program can be attempted with just one or two classes a semester, other students opt to complete it more quickly. A combined Bachelors-Masters is available, as is a PhD study program. Courses are streamed in video format over the Internet, giving students access to the exact program that is offered on campus.
Though not required for degree completion, many graduates of this program will leave the program having undertaken multiple internships. These are typically arranged full-time, during the summer, or part-time, during the academic year, and give students access to a range of potential career partnerships. Besides internship completion, students will take a variety of courses leading to thirty-one graduate credits. Coursework falls into two categories, Theory and Systems, with required classes including:
- Computation Applied Logic
- Compiler Construction
- Graph Theory
- Performance Evaluation
- Software Engineering
- Artificial Intelligence
- Database Systems
With over sixty-five percent of the faculty in the Computer Science department consisting of tenured faculty, students can rest assured that they are obtaining the highest quality of education at North Carolina State. Both faculty and students benefit from outstanding research facilities housed on the campus and online campus, as well as in the Research Triangle where North Carolina state is housed. Students receive exclusive access to strong multidisciplinary ties with a number of universities, industry, government agencies, and laboratories, such as the Oakridge National Laboratory and Duke University. These connections help students receive a top-notch education and a leg up on future job competition.
Stevens Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 92.60
Average Net Price: $37,168
Stevens Institute of Technology’s School of Engineering offers five master’s degree programs entirely online, providing multidisciplinary, design-based education at a fraction of the cost and hassle of on-campus programs. In addition to a Master’s in Computer Science, the university also offers graduate degrees in Artificial Intelligence for Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Engineering, Construction Management, and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing. These programs are self-contained and highly focused, each led by an award-winning faculty member with academic or industry experience.
The computer science program trains students on the fundamental laws, principles, design, and use of and surrounding computers. Students will graduate with extensive knowledge in topics such as programming languages, software engineering, cloud computing, and much more, taking classes such as:
- Mobile Systems and Applications
- Principles of Programming Languages
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Enterprise and Cloud Computing
- Distributed Systems
- Advanced Algorithm Design and Implementation
Founded in 1870 by the group of innovators who facilitated the development of modern railroad track and steam ferries, Stevens Institute has always prided itself on being at the forefront of invention. With an alumni network of over 40,000 individuals, graduates from any degree program at Stevens have exclusive access to a collaborative, influential professional network. Over three hundred companies recruit on campus every year, ensuring over 96 percent of graduates secure a career outcome within six months of graduation.
College Choice Score: 92.28
Average Net Price: $31,539
Boston University’s online Master’s in Computer Information Systems was established in 2004, and was one of the first fully online programs of its kind to prepare students directly for leadership roles in any sector. The program is designed for students who hope to obtain fast-growing, high-paying careers, and can be completed in as little as eighteen months. Seven concentrations are available, allowing students to customize their degree paths as they work towards leadership positions.
Forty total credits are required for completion of this degree, with each class taught by one of thirteen distinguished, experienced faculty members. These faculty members are industry leaders, working in industries such as network development, applications, and cybercrime prevention. Online programs at Boston University give students access to a leading-edge technical education rooted in tradition and excellence. Required courses include:
- Business Data Communication and Networks
- Database Design and Implementation for Business
- Information Systems Analysis and Design
- IT Strategy and Management
- Information Structures with Java
- Quantitative Methods for Information Systems
This program has a long-standing tradition of providing exceptional education, with numerous accolades and top rankings to back up its reputation. In 2018, the program ranked #6 among the Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs, according to U.S. News and World Report. The program is also one of the few in the country to be certified by the Committee on National Security Systems, as well as the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
Johns Hopkins University
College Choice Score: 91.54
Average Net Price: $27,352
The Master of Science in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins is offered through the Engineering for Professionals field, giving students exclusive access to the most cutting-edge training and state-of-the-art facilities – all delivered entirely online. Students work with other computer professionals, scientists, and engineers as they receive course material through a range of instructional strategies and engage with various elements of information systems, including theory, analysis, and design.
In addition to the stand-alone Computer Science program, students may also opt to pursue the Bioinformatics Joint Program, offered jointly by the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering. Regardless of the program pursued, students should complete the degree within five years, including the addition of a track, such as Cybersecurity or Data Communications. Regardless of the track chosen, students must take core courses in subjects such as:
- Foundations of Software Engineering
- Foundations of Algorithms
- Foundations of Computer Architecture
- Discrete Mathematics
- Molecular Biology for Computer Scientists
- Computer Organization
- Introduction to Programming Using Java
This program is offered with three different pathways to completion, including an online, on-site, or hybrid program. The online program is offered through advanced Coursera technology, allowing students to interact in a real-time and asynchronous manner with instructors and other students. With a long-standing history of graduating successful industry professionals, the School of Engineering, in which the Computer Science program is housed, is ranked among the best by U.S. News and World Report.
College Choice Score: 86.67
Average Net Price: $11,693
Purdue University offers a range of Master’s degrees through its online School of Engineering, including those in Industrial Engineering, Interdisciplinary Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and, of course, Computer Science. Students in this well-rounded program take a broad range of classes to develop their skills in Computer Science. Purdue graduates are top-notch, and leave campus with valuable industry connections.
This highly flexible program requires students to first meet with an academic advisor to create a plan of study. This plan of study is designed to help each student meet his or her educational needs and career goals. The degree program may be stopped and started as needed, allowing students to maintain a successful balance between work, school, and other personal commitments. Thirty total credits are required. Students may pursue classes in the following topic areas, among many others:
- Information Retrieval
- Software Engineering
- Information Security and Assurance
- Data Mining
- Graphics and Visualization
- Computational Science and Engineering
Online programs at Purdue are convenient and flexible, offering a quality program that is accredited by ABET and other accrediting bodies. With 22 faculty members nominated to the National Academy of Engineering, including the first female nominee, the university has won countless awards for graduate education. These include multiple recognitions from U.S. News and World Report for top honors in Computer Science, Online Engineering, Industrial Engineering, and overall quality of graduate programs.
University of West Georgia
College Choice Score: 86.46
Average Net Price: $14,285
The professional program in Applied Computer Science at the University of West Georgia is designed for individuals who hold previous undergraduate degrees in any discipline. It provides students with the knowledge and skills in computer science that are necessary for careers in computing and software development. The program is taught by qualified faculty with backgrounds in both teaching and actual industry practice.
Courses in this program are taught through a variety of strategies, including a range of web-based technologies. Students undertake extensive training in program construction, software development, and database systems, and even undertake two independently-guided project experiences to give them the teamwork and skills integration experiences necessary to be successful in a professional environment. Delivered both synchronously and asynchronously, required classes include:
- Database Systems
- Software Development
- Web Technologies
- Advanced Tools and Techniques
- Program Construction
The University of West Georgia offers not only a quality, interactive graduate degree in Computer Science, it also refuses to force students to break their budgets to attend. The university is often ranked as one of the most affordable accredited universities of its kind. Students may not only attempt this program will continuing to work full-time—saving money in the long run—but they also experience low tuition rates. Regardless of state residency, out-of-state students are not charged out-of-state tuition costs for online courses.
Georgia Southern University
College Choice Score: 85.26
Average Net Price: $16,121
The Department of Computer Science at Georgia Southern offers several advanced study options in Computer Science. The Master of Science provides a hands-on, integrated degree program with a variety of training components in speech and vision recognition programs, expert systems, online search engines, data storage systems, and other elements. The program is the only one of its kind in the state of Georgia, providing a unique and rare concentration in data and knowledge system.
This program was designed based on feedback and predictions by the U.S. Department of Labor, offering a prestigious training opportunity in the rapidly growing area of data mining and warehousing. Each course is taught by an internationally renowned expert, requiring 30 total credit hours. The program can be completed in less than two years, with topics including:
- Mobile Computing
- Data Modeling
- Game Programming
- Data Structures
Designed specifically for individuals in non-computing fields, this flexible online program can be completed at any time or place. Rigorous yet convenient, the program has been ranked multiple times as one of the best in the country. U.S. News and World Report ranked the online Master’s in Computer Science within the top twenty-five programs in regards to its student services and technology, and within the top ten for teaching practices and student engagement. Although it is one of the most selective programs in the country, falling within the top five, it is also one of the most affordable. The department offers several scholarships and fellowships designed specifically for online Computer Science students.
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
College Choice Score: 84.55
Average Net Price: $16,242
The full online Master of Computer Science at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities requires only thirty-one total credit hours and is designed for individuals who have been out of school for some time. As a result, the program includes extensive support from academic advisors, peers, research groups, and departmental administrators. These online courses can be taken on their own or combined with an on-campus program of study.
The University of Minnesota—Twin Cities has made it a goal to provide as much flexibility to potential students as possible. As a result, students may complete the online Master of Science in Computer Science in a variety of ways. A thesis option is available, allowing students to synthesize and integrate what they have learned in a formal layout. However, students may pursue other pathways to completion as well, several of which allow them to complete unique research or a hands-on project instead. Regardless of the final outcome chosen, a sampling of courses might include:
- Modern Cryptography
- Animation and Planning in Games
- Introduction to Compilers
- Wireless and Sensor Networks
- Analysis of Numerical Algorithms
- Computational Aspects of Matrix Theory
Graduates of the University of Minnesota are highly successful, taking advantage of the university’s on-campus and online career center resources before going on to powerful roles at Amazon, Google, IBM, Intel, Target, and many other well-known, high-paying corporations. The university assists students in making this quality education affordable, offering graduate assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and scholarships to motivated students who qualify.
The University of West Florida
College Choice Score: 84.00
Average Net Price: $11,175
Featuring a unique specialization in Software Engineering, the Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of West Florida gives students the opportunity to apply and enhance their skills in one of the world’s fasting-growing professions. Students have access to new foundational courses in topics such as software programming and operating systems, and may choose from either project or thesis options to complete their degree. This helps students tailor their final assessments more accurately to their career goals, as students seeking more industrial careers may choose a project route while those seeking careers in research may pursue a thesis option.
Offering an online degree that is identical to that delivered on-campus, this competitive program is designed for both experienced software developers as well as beginners to the field. Students develop important understandings of software engineering, design, and architecture as they study in areas of concentration such as:
- Algorithmic Programming
- Data Analytics
This program was voted one of the Best Value degrees in Computer Science by AffrodableColleges.com, a testament to the low tuition and exceptional support provided to students at the University of West Florida. Students have numerous opportunities to collaborate with faculty mentors on various projects that build necessary skills and provide plenty of time for problem-solving and real-world experiences.
Illinois Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 81.38
Average Net Price: $25,847
The Master of Science in Computer Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology is designed for students who are planning to pursue PhD studies in Computer Science, but can also be pursued by those planning on entering into the industry. This program is highly flexible, allowing students to take classes entirely online and to choose between completion of a Master’s Thesis, a Master’s Project, or a coursework-only degree.
Throughout the duration of their studies, students have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on world-class research in topics such as data science and distributed systems, among countless others. Students have rated this online body of faculty as some of the best at the university, with many faculty members receiving prestigious teaching awards. While each student’s degree path will vary, most will take classes such as:
- Information Retrieval
- Data Mining
- Database Organization
- Programming Language Translators
- Mobile App Development
- Compiler Construction
Graduates of this program are highly successful, enjoying a connection to an alumni network that has been in existence since 1971. Students go on to work for top-ranked and high-paying employers such as Amazon, Google, and Wolfram Research, many earning PhDs from top universities. While this sort of career success is mostly attributable to the high quality of education and professional networking offered at the institute, it can also be partially accredited to the large body of extracurricular activities that are available to students during their studies. Many online students pursue research and other out-of-class activities, such as the Lexicography Group and the Database Group.
East Carolina University
College Choice Score: 81.33
Average Net Price: $12,817
East Carolina University’s Master of Science in Computer Science is designed to prepare students for exciting careers in private employment or academia. Graduates of this program leave with the skills and theoretical background necessary to work in a variety of industries, enjoying careers such as computer programmers, designers, system architects, and more. With a one-hundred year history of educating students in a broad range of disciplines, East Carolina University offers a highly flexible and compatible online program for busy students.
Offering over forty different online degree programs that are not available at other institutions, East Carolina prides itself on its unique study offerings. While students don’t need to have an undergraduate degree in Computer Science in order to apply, they should be able to demonstrate some proficiency in programming when applying to this program. While enrolled, students will take thirty credit hours, including classes such as:
- Computer Systems Architecture
- Software Engineering Foundations
- Computability and Complexity
- Operating Systems
- Program Translation
- Software Systems Modeling and Analysis
- Software Verification and Validation
The university hosts a wide range of opportunities for students to engage with the community and gain experience in the field. The university provides various study-abroad and volunteer programs to students, with graduates of ECU recording over 72,000 hours of volunteer work over the last three years. As a result of the quality education and student life experiences provided by the university, U.S. News and World Report has ranked the university as one of the best in the country for several years in a row, recognizing it within the top twenty-five percent of all schools ranked.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College Choice Score: 80.76
Average Net Price: $16,683
The Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is unique and hands-on, while at the same time offering unparalleled flexibility. Students are not required to complete a thesis or a research project, yet receive access to the same assignments, lectures, projects, and examinations as on-campus students. Through this online offering, student are able to access the same world-class faculty, research, and programming opportunities available to on-campus students.
The Master of Computer Science allows students to accelerate their careers in a remote setting. All courses are offered through Coursera, a massive open online platform, but receive advising and close personal attention from dedicated, experienced faculty and staff. In addition to a stand-alone program, students may also pursue a Data Science Track, which is offered in partnership with the Department of Statistics. For the stand-alone major, required classes include study in the following topic areas:
- Architecture, Compilers, Parallel Computing
- Artificial Intelligence
- Database, Information Systems
- Formal Methods, Programming Languages, Software Engineering
- Scientific Computing
- Systems and Networking
Tuition starts at just $600 per credit hour, with financial assistance available for qualified students. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign isn’t just exceptional at providing affordable graduate programs; it has also been ranked worldwide for its undergraduate programs as well. Its graduate program are ranked #5 in the country by U.S. News and World Report.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
College Choice Score: 80.41
Average Net Price: $20,093
The online Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts—Amherst is identical to the one offered on campus. It is taught by full-time, experienced faculty members who provide the training in the skills necessary to develop high-quality computer systems and applications. The university’s program was ranked in the top twenty of all of those offered in the nation by Computer Science Online, an offers one-on-one personal advising, free online tutoring, and ultimate affordability.
This unique program is open to students who have no prior experience in Computer Science, as long as they complete several prerequisite online courses before beginning this program. During their studies, students will work with faculty members to gain experiences working as a team and project leader, as well as in conducting independent research, presentations, and contributing to realistic projects. Students will take classes such as:
- Paradigmatic Software Development
- Software System Design
- Database Design
- Advanced Bioinformatics
- Algorithms and Complexity
- Mobile Robotics
- Neural Computing
Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, this distinguished institution has earned numerous accolades for its distance learning programs, including recognitions such as those for providing a Top Affordable Online IT Degree, as well as for being the #19 highest-rated university in the world, according to the Times of London. Faculty and staff are repeatedly recognized for their commitment and excellence in teaching, helping to produce an experienced, collaborative body of graduates who know how to problem solve and communicate effectively upon graduation.
University of Michigan-Dearborn
College Choice Score: 80.05
Average Net Price: $11,322
The thirty-credit hour program in Computer Science at the University of Michigan—Dearborn is offered during late afternoons or evenings to allow students to earn their degrees at the times that are most flexible to them. In addition to exceptional faculty and staff, students also have access to exclusive computing resources, such as local area networks and the Game and Multimedia Environment Laboratory. Students may choose from several different learning options as they specialize in various concentration areas. This allows graduates to enter directly into a research-based field, practicing industry, or even doctoral studies after finishing their studies.
While enrolled, students will take a variety of courses to prepare them for real-life work in computing. While students have the choice between a project or thesis option, they will regardless complete courses that fall into core, concentration, cognate, elective, or project areas. Sample coursework might include:
- Algorithm Design and Analysis
- Programmable Mobile/Wireless Technologies and Pervasive Computing
- Computer Networking
- Computer and Network Security
- Compiler Design
- Advanced Operating Systems
The University of Michigan-Dearborn offers a range of undergraduate and doctoral programs, as well as graduate certificate programs, in addition to their extensive range of online graduate programs. All programs are taught by faculty who work closely with industry partners to ensure that students are prepared to address the challenges of an ever-changing world. As a result, U.S. News and World Report has ranked the university the #6 master’s level public university in the Midwest, and also a top regional public university in Michigan.
Kennesaw State University
College Choice Score: 79.26
Average Net Price: $17,441
Kennesaw State’s Master of Science in Information Technology provides preparation for a wide variety of careers. Geared specifically towards students who are interested in pursuing careers in management, planning, development, and operation of information technology systems, the program includes a wide variety of elective courses. Upon beginning the program, each student will select a specific concentration area, choosing between IT Security, Health Information Technology, or Databases and Networking.
The university works hard to expose students to real-world computing challenges. Many courses require internships as a component of or perquisite to their completion, allowing students to learn valuable industry skills. Only 15 core courses are required, with the remaining thirty-three hours consisting of elective and foundational courses. Required courses include:
- Software Design and Development
- Databases: Design and Applications
- Web Technologies and App Development
- IT Design Studio
- IT Service Delivery
- IT System Acquisition and Integration
- InfoSecurity Concepts and Administration
- IT Strategy and Policy
Kennesaw State’s online programs in Information Technology have been recognized by OnlineColleges.net as one of the best in the country. This ABET-accredited program is available entirely online, making it ideal for individuals who live outside of the Metro Atlanta area, or are serving in the military. In addition to the graduate degree, a range of program options are also available at the undergraduate level, as well as in a certificate format.
Columbus State University
College Choice Score: 78.99
Average Net Price: $11,596
Columbus State’s Turner College of Business offers a unique Master of Science in Applied Computer Science. This program can be completed with one of four concentrations: Cybersecurity, Software Development, Modeling and Simulation, or a Traditional pathway. Graduates of this program understand how to evaluate simulation paradigms, as well as to create simulations through code writing or simulation packages. They go on to work in a variety of rewarding careers, including those as Game and Simulation Programmers, Web Developers, and Information Security Officers.
This program requires thirty credit hours of computer science coursework, along with an exit course. Thesis options are available for any concentration, and most concentrations require some form of independently-designed research project. These projects help students demonstrate learned material and also to showcase their collaborative and communicative skills as they present their research to faculty and students. Required program core courses include:
- Survey of Modeling and Simulation
- Advanced Algorithms
- Object-Oriented Development
- Introduction to Cybersecurity
Receiving accolades for its online programs from U.S. News and World Report for several years in a row, the university extends its on-campus offerings to online students as well. Students studying online have the ability to engage with the Honors College and study abroad programs, as well as to participate in the servant leadership program. These experiences not only help students make the most of their learning through demonstrating what they learned in a relaxed, real-world setting, but they also help students gain valuable connections to help them make the most of their college years and beyond.
College Choice Score: 78.90
Average Net Price: $31,823
Syracuse University acknowledges the growing demand for skilled computer science professionals in its online Master of Science in Computer Science. This program engages students in the workforce, allowing them to be at the forefront of computing discovery as they prepare to enter in-demand roles in all industries. Students engage with a range of computing technologies and services, including live class sessions, interactive videos and recorded lectures, face-to-face group projects, hands-on learning exercises, and more.
For the most part, this program is asynchronous, allowing students to complete coursework at any time of the day. Coursework is delivered through a highly immersive virtual campus that allows students to connect with peers, join social groups and extracurricular, and keep track of assignments. The platform can even be accessed from a mobile app. Students will take four core courses, which consist of the following topics:
- Structured Programming and Formal Methods
- Computer Architecture
- Principles of Operating Systems
- Design and Analysis of Algorithms
Syracuse University has one of the best career services teams of all the schools on this list, helping students gain the professional skills and connections necessary to obtain high-paying careers. Students will network with like-minded peers and engage in preparatory activities such as receiving access to a university-wide job posting system, career fairs and information sessions, and career preparation workshops.
College Choice Score: 78.74
Average Net Price: $33,270
The Department of Computing Sciences at Villanova prepares graduates with a flexible, relevant, and affordable program. This degree can be completed either part- or full-time, and even features combined programs that help undergraduates get ahead in their careers. Besides a Master of Science in Computer Science, Villanova also offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering, a Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics, and Interdisciplinary or Integrated combined BS/MS programs.
The Master of Science in Computer Science provides students with the expertise necessary to pursue careers as computing professionals, or to explore PhD studies. Required courses include:
- Foundations of Algorithms and Data Structures
- Design and Analysis of Algorithms
- Linguistics of Programming Languages
- Computer Systems
- Theory of Computability
Students will also take a range of elective courses as well as a thesis course that can extend into a full master’s thesis. This option is designed for students who plan to attend doctoral programs. An alternative practicum track is available that includes work experience in a relevant field.
The Department of Computing Science at Villanova is extensive and involved, managing its own web site as part of the program’s core values. With over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students at the university’s six colleges – many of which study online – Villanova has a profound commitment to providing hands-on education that is rooted in the liberal arts. The university was ranked number three on a list of Best Economic Value colleges by The Economist and thirty-first nationwide for Best Values in Private Colleges by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, a testament to the affordable education provided at this Augustine institution.
Colorado State University
College Choice Score: 77.16
Average Net Price: $16,232
Colorado State features an online Master’s in Computer Science that is designed for students with in-depth computer science knowledge. The program emphasizing cyber security and software development needs across industries, with each course taught by a faculty member with extensive research and practical experience. The Department of Computer Science has offered distance education for the last thirty years, dating back to when the department would send video tapes of lessons to students in Switzerland, Washington, DC, and other remote locations. Now, courses are offered with live-streamed and record lectures, giving students access to identical material that is taught on campus.
In this program, students conduct extensive research. This helps to refresh their existing knowledge while also giving them insights into the future of computing. The curriculum also emphasizes problem solving, giving students access to course material that will help them develop as learners and professionals. The program can be completed in less than two years, with significant financial aid available to students who qualify. Required classes include:
- Object-Oriented Design
- Computer Networks and the Internet
- Parallel Processing
- Machine Learning
- Software Engineering
This program includes extensive networking, allowing online students to work in real-time with on-campus students. This program has a demonstrated track record of success, with over seventy percent of Computer Science graduates receiving job offers immediately upon graduation. Alumni are found in all sectors, including at major organizations such as Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Motorola.
College Choice Score: 76.93
Average Net Price: $39,021
Drexel University offers an accredited, fully online program in Computer Science that is career-oriented. Students receive extensive training in foundational skills as well as real-life practices, preparing them for careers as computational scientists, computer specialists, and much more. Faculty work daily on a range of research interests, including cognitive modeling, computer graphics, networking and security, and more. This research is extended to students both on-campus and online, giving them unique opportunities to practice relevant research before graduation.
Students may choose from a range of electives in Electrical Engineering, Information Science and Technology, and other departments, allowing them to diversify their training and skill sets. Required courses outside of elective options include:
- Data Structures and Algorithms
- Theory of Computation
- Advanced Data Structure and Algorithms
- Approximation Algorithms
- Computational Geometry
U.S. News and World Report ranked Drexel #10 for Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology programs in 2018. This ranking is largely due to the program’s rigorous curriculum, which is taught by experienced faculty who are recognized nationally for their professional achievements. Students will engage in a highly interactive curriculum that is flexible and convenient for busy working professionals.
University of Florida-Online
College Choice Score: 76.47
Average Net Price: $11,976
The University of Florida makes it easy for students worldwide to obtain graduate degrees, certificates or to take individual courses. These online degrees are identical to the ones offered on campus and can be completed anywhere. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers both a Master of Engineering and a Master of Science, along with a certificate in Information Security, fully online.
This program can be completed in as little as twenty-four months, allowing students to take as many credits as they would like per semester. Required classes include:
- Machine Learning
- Embedded Systems
- Computer Networks
- Advanced Data Structures
- Programming Language Principles
- Computer Communications
- Database Management Systems
The University of Florida’s online campus is not only convenient, it’s also affordable. Tuition starts at just $448 per credit hour. The Computer Science program is housed in the Engineering Department, which is ranked sixteenth in the country for online public engineering programs by U.S. News and World Report. In addition, the university is top ranked for the number of master’s degrees awarded to Hispanic students, a testament to the academic services and support provided by the college.
College Choice Score: 76.18
Average Net Price: $6,349
The Master of Science in Computer Information Systems at Bellevue integrates hands-on learning experiences with theory, providing a revolutionary learning experience that is flexible enough for busy, full time employees. This program is also profoundly affordable, starting at just $565 per credit hour, regardless of whether courses are taken on-campus or online. Merit-based and need-based scholarships are also available, as are those for distance learning students.
This program features a range of concentrations to allow students to increase their skill set in an area of choice. Concentrations include databases, software development, and security. Courses are taught by faculty with experience in business and industry, helping students gain an understanding of the latest information technology tools. Required classes include:
- IT Infrastructure
- IT Strategy and Policy
- Survey of System Development
- Management and Design of Database Systems
- Cloud Computing
- Computing Platforms and Network Technologies
Bellevue University provides students with a range of student services and learning centers, including the Center for Cybersecurity Education and the Human Capital Lab. The university is routinely ranked as one of the most military-friendly and easiest-to-access institutions in the country. The university is a leader in education, producing hundreds of successful graduates each year.
California State University, Fullerton
College Choice Score: 75.45
Average Net Price: $8,170
The Master of Science in Software Engineering at California State University, Fullerton is geared towards individuals seeking careers as software engineers and process managers. The program teaches students through a range of projects and team work, as well as research, implementation, and literacy in legal and ethical issues. Students are taught by faculty members who are continually revising the program to meet industry needs, ensuring that it is relevant and accessible for all students.
This program requires that ten courses be completed, all within a twenty-two month long program. The courses are theoretical and practical in nature, with symposiums and other events offered online. Required classes include:
- Systems and Software Standards and Requirements
- Software Maintenance
- Advanced Software Process
- Software Design and Architecture
- Software Verification and Validation
- Software Measurement
- Modern Software Management
California State’s online graduate programs are ranked as some of the best in the country, with the software engineering and online engineering programs receiving top honors by U.S. News and World Report, Best Colleges, and Affordable Colleges Online. Charging only $25,000 for the entire program, this is a cost-effective program that offers a variety of other opportunities. Through the Accelerated Master’s program, graduates are eligible for thirty-six months of Optional Practical Training in the United States upon graduation.
College Choice Score: 75.41
Average Net Price: $20,232
Lewis University offers a Master of Science in Computer Science that includes research, hands-on coursework, and capstone experiences. This project-based approach to learning allows students to learn advanced computing while honing their skills in creativity, analysis, and problem solving. The university focuses on personalized education, with potential optional concentrations in Cyber Security, Intelligent Systems, and Software Engineering.
All online programs at Lewis are designed around a framework of “outcomes-based learning,” meaning students gain in-depth knowledge and experience in the most relevant industry-based practices. Students conduct multiple hours of independent research in computer science, allowing them to innovate and develop a forward-thinking approach to computer science. Required coursework includes:
- Statistical Programming
- Pervasive Application Development
- Programming for Penetration Testing
- Object-Oriented Design
- Programming for Digital Forensics
- Computer Architecture
- Research in Computer Science
Lewis’ programs have received multiple accolades. In particular, the Cyber Security concentration through the Master of Science was ranked one of the top twenty in the nation. These high rankings are largely due to the dedication of an experienced faculty, all of whom have exceptional industry experience and a commitment to student success. Students are granted multiple opportunities to develop the forward-thinking attitudes necessary to succeed in computer science.
Dakota State University
College Choice Score: 75.20
Average Net Price: $15,375
Dakota State University prides itself on offering a “fundamentally different” computer science program. This program focuses on the theoretical aspects of computing as well as the practical applications of the discipline. In this program, students will work with some of the brightest and most advanced minds in the field. They are exposed daily to faculty who will assist them in research, provide mentorship opportunities, and help them to hone their development and computational skills.
The Computer Science program features five different concentration options, allowing students to specialize in areas that interest them most. Areas of customization include Cyber Operations, Information Assurance, Analytics, Information Systems, and Project and Change Management. Required courses regardless of concentration include:
- Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms
- Structure and Design of Programming Language
- Operating Systems and Parallel Programming
- Theory of Computation
- Machine Learning Fundamentals
- Secure Software Engineering
- Software Exploitation
Dakota State is nationally recognized by the NSA as a top provider of cyber security programs. They are also recognized for affordability and quality by AffordableColleges.com, making them a smart choice for graduate education. The university emphasizes small class sizes and individualized learning, providing students with a private-school education at a public-university cost.
College Choice Score: 74.93
Average Net Price: $33,502
Marquette University’s “classroom in the cloud” prepares the information technology leaders of tomorrow through a program that provides solid understandings of fundamental concepts. The degree features a wide range of courses and personalized faculty attention. Students become trained in a wide range of technologies and skills, while at the same time enjoying the flexibility provided by an online program. This allows students to complete their coursework even if they live out of the area. This online program is ranked highly by U.S. News and World Report.
Students may pursue a general track, or embark on concentrations in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense as well as Big Data and Data Analytics. Thesis and coursework-only options are available. Required courses include:
- Computer Security
- Compiler Construction
- Topics in Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science: Principles of Service Management and System Administration
- Applied Mathematical Analysis
- Networks and Internet
- Formal Languages and Computability
- Real-Time and Embedded Systems
A unique feature of this program is its “career change” component, allowing individuals with alternative undergraduate degrees in areas outside of Computer Science to pursue graduate studies in the field. Also available are Foundations of Computing, a boot camp course to introduce students to computing, a combined undergraduate and a combined, accelerated undergraduate and graduate degree.
Old Dominion University
College Choice Score: 74.88
Average Net Price: $15,218
Designed for students with extensive background knowledge in the area of Computer Science, the Master of Science at Old Dominion supports students’ in-depth graduate studies in topics such as digital libraries, high performance computing, networking, software engineering, and many other areas. Offering distance learning programs for over 30 years, this public doctoral research institution gives students extensive opportunities for research, collaboration, and hands-on learning.
For students not interested in a full master’s degree program, Old Dominion also offers a graduate certificate in the area of cybersecurity. Thirty-four credit hours are required, with the addition of a possible thesis for interested students. For the full degree, required courses might include a sampling of the following:
- Problem Solving and Programming
- Computer Architecture
- Cybersecurity Fundamentals
- Web Science
- Database Concepts
- Advanced Internet of Things
- Introduction to Parallel Computing
This program has been recognized as a leader in the field, ranking as a top contender on U.S. News and World Report’s list of best online graduate information technology programs, as well as a top contender for offer best online master’s in computer science, according to GuidetoOnlineSchools.com. Students receive coursework both synchronously and asynchronously, allowing for a variety of flexible and effective learning techniques. While some courses require practicum or internship experiences, these can always be completed near the student’s hometown under the supervision of a professor or advisor.
College Choice Score: 74.85
Average Net Price: $32,084
DePaul’s graduate program in Computer Science provides top-notch training for computing professionals. This program focuses on fundamental concepts that are both current and expected to be the wave of the future. Students may pursue research while still enrolled, exploring topics such as data mining, algorithmic analysis, and scientific computing.
Students will take a range of foundational courses before moving on to elective classes. Four courses may be taken from any one area, with up to four additional courses from other areas. Students may choose to pursue a capstone, a research colloquium course, or write a thesis as the culmination of their studies. Required classes include:
- Applied Algorithms and Structures
- Distributed Systems
- Concepts of Programming Languages
- Database Technologies
- Object-Oriented Software Development
Housed in the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul, the Computer Science major gives students access to the latest technology and specialized labs. Students learn from faculty who are recognized experts, drawing from industry experiences and exclusive partnerships. Ninety-eight percent of all DePaul courses are taught by faculty members – not teaching assistants. This high level of access to cutting-edge research, facilities, and support is what makes DePaul a leader in Computer Science education. The university was ranked as one of the Most Innovative Schools, Best National Universities, and Best Value Colleges by ranking institutions such as the U.S. News and World Report and Forbes.
University of Idaho
College Choice Score: 74.62
Average Net Price: $14,787
The Department of Computer Science at the University of Idaho offers a Master of Science in Computer Science with either a thesis or non-thesis completion option. These programs are taught online through Engineering Outreach, each requiring at least 30 credits of study. Students in this program gain experience in computer science theory and application, as well as in current limitations and future expected growth of the field.
This program allows students to engage with dedicated faculty while enjoying the flexibility of an online program. Students are able to challenge the world through computing and go on to attain highly rewarding careers as programmers, software developers, and analysts. Students will study topics such as:
- Theory of Computation
- Parallel Programming
- Computational Biology: Sequence Analysis
- Fault-Tolerant Systems
- Survivable Systems and Networks
- Real-Time Operating Systems
- Parallel Algorithms
- Advanced Information Assurance Concepts
The University of Idaho was established in 1889 to provide motivate students with a transformative education experience. Still one of the nation’s top land-grant research universities, the university is also a national leader in student-centered learning, interdisciplinary research, and public service. On a daily basis, students in the Computer Science program and beyond are involved in pursuing research and service activities that advance their local and global communities.
University of Bridgeport
College Choice Score: 74.44
Average Net Price: $24,733
The University of Bridgeport offers a graduate degree in Computer Science that is highly respected and ranked by U.S. News and World Report. In this regionally accredited degree, students interact with faculty who are leading researchers and industry professionals in an entirely online program. It is designed to improve students’ skills in technology, mathematics, and the applied sciences, providing preparation for a career in the industry or for doctoral studies. Graduates go on to work in animation, computer programming, robotics, web application administration, and many other industries.
Thirty-four total credit hours are required for completion of this program, all of which are completed in a supportive, interactive learning environment. Courses are offered asynchronously, allowing students to study at times that are most convenient for them. Required classes include:
- Analysis of Algorithms
- Object-Oriented Programming Using C++
- Operating Systems
- Advanced Database
- Data and Computer Communication
- Engineering Colloquium
The University of Bridgeport offers a master’s degree that is not only high quality, but also affordable, with tuition and fees starting at just $32,000 for the entire program. Despite being a private university, a wide array of scholarships, grants, and fellowships are available to make this program affordable. The university brings together students from over 47 states and 80 countries, offering over 125 different career-oriented programs.
College Choice Score: 74.28
Average Net Price: $21,698
Offered through the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Computer Science major at Auburn is a non-thesis, coursework-only program that promotes the study of topics in key research areas. Research areas of emphasis include Computer Systems, Electromagnetics, Communications, Power Systems, Controls, and Electronics. The department is the highest ranked in the state, producing more than a third of Alabama’s engineering and computer science graduates.
Applicants to this program are advised to have a fair amount of training in programming, computer science, and the applied sciences. Required courses in this fully online program include:
- Computer Aided Design of Digital Circuits
- Embedded Computing Systems
- Microwave and RF Engineering
- Digital Signal Processing
- Power System Analysis
- Electric Machines/State Variable Analysis of Systems
The award-winning Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering program at Auburn has much to be proud of, hosting a numerous array of awards related to its affordability, quality, and exceptionality in producing industry-ready graduates. The faculty at Auburn is dynamic, exemplifying excellence in education as they are trained in the most up-to-date teaching and learning strategies and help students obtain lifelong partnerships in the industry and beyond.