Master’s in Computer Programming Programs Guide

Master’s in Computer Programming Programs Guide

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Coding Masters Degree

If you have a knack for coding and want a career that will constantly challenge you, consider a master’s in computer programming.

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.

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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.

Top 10 Best Online Master's in Computer Programming Degrees

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Stanford University

    Stanford , CA




    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.

    Program Features

    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.

  2. Columbia University

    New York, NY




    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.

    Program Features

    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.

  3. Georgia Institute of Technology

    Atlanta, GA




    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.

    Program Features

    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.

  4. University of Southern California

    Los Angeles, CA




    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.

    Program Features

    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.

  5. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

    Raleigh, NC




    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.

    Program Features

    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
    • Algorithms
    • 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.

  6. Stevens Institute of Technology

    Hoboken, NJ




    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.

    Program Features

    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.

  7. Boston University

    Boston, MA




    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.

    Program Features

    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.

  8. Johns Hopkins University

    Baltimore, MD




    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.

    Program Features

    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.

  9. Purdue University

    West Lafayette, IN




    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.

    Program Features

    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.

  10. University of West Georgia

    Carrollton, GA




    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.

    Program Features

    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.

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