Do you generally just love to problem-solve and be on the cutting-edge of technology? Then a Master of Science in Computer Science degree may be for you.
Not only are careers in computer science projected to rise another 11 percent in the next few years, but vocations in information technology are stable and lucrative. While those with just a BA in computer science can earn around 100k a year, those who invest in a two-year advanced degree have the potential to earn over 140k a year.
Whether you want to work directly in the tech industry or not, software engineers are in demand across all industries, from healthcare to local, state, and national governments. Interested in the nexus of education and technology?
There’s a place for you. Same with those who want the advanced degree to carry them into higher, more challenging positions within the business, finance, and tech sectors. And since you’re looking at our ranking of the best online master’s in computer science degrees, why not get a broader picture of the best online colleges and universities more generally?
If you’re thinking about an online graduate degree, take heart: it is one of the most affordable, accessible, and flexible avenues toward advanced education. Online learning has nearly completely shed the stigma it once held, and it is now recognized as on par with traditional education.
This is because most colleges and universities deliver the same content online, through the same faculty board, as they do in the classroom. Plus, the diploma looks identical to those earned by more “traditional” students. Finally, online degrees are often earned at a fraction of the cost of on-campus programs.
So, regardless of your current financial, geographical, or professional situation, earning your MS in Computer Science online is a great option.
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What are the Best Online Master’s in Computer Science Degrees?
Though some MS in Computer Science programs require previous academic or professional experience in technology, others don’t. And while some emphasize engineering or design over security or database management, they all share one thing in common: they offer the best online Master of Science in Computer Science degrees in the nation.
We’ve looked at notable colleges and universities across the country—some of which are small, liberal arts colleges and others are elite research universities, and still others are tech professional schools—and have thoroughly examined them in four key areas: academic reputation, credit hour cost, retention rate (which is an indicator of student satisfaction), and the average early salary of graduates from the respective programs.
Located in Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the top public universities in the country and one of the best to offer a degree in computer science. Founded in 1885, the school has a large undergraduate enrollment of nearly 16,000 students and is home to six colleges and multiple highly-ranked graduate schools. Georgia Institute of Technology offered the first online Master of Science in Computer Science from an accredited university, a program that was developed and is administered in partnership with AT&T and Udacity.
This unique program has been informally termed OMSCS by the faculty in the College of Computing. Offered within the massive online format at a fraction of the normal cost, the program attracts computing professionals from over 80 countries. Several specializations are offered, including those in Machine Learning, Computing Systems, Computational Perception and Robotics, and Computing Systems. 30 credit hours consisting of ten courses are required, including core classes in:
Computing in MATLAB
Intro to Computing
Intro to Object-Oriented Programming
Data Structure and Algorithms
Computer Organization and Programming
This degree is one of the most affordable in the nation, making it possible for busy professionals from all over the globe to complete a degree for a total cost of just $7,000. This program has enrolled over 10,000 students since its inception in 2014 and is identical to the Master of Science in Computer Science that is offered on campus. In addition to the diploma, graduates receive access to a global community of computing professionals who collaborate in their courses and their professional networks. This provides exceptional opportunities for personal support, job experiences, and lifelong learning.
Stevens Institute of Technology is located in Hoboken, NJ, and is a private school that was founded in 1870. This school is research-intensive and known for its science, engineering, and management programs. The Schaefer School of Engineering and Science at Stevens Institute of Technology offers seven master's degree programs entirely online. These degrees are multi-disciplinary and design-based, allowing students to earn a hands-on diploma without ever leaving home.
This program is designed for professionals who wish to work in industries like operating systems computer networking, software engineering, and more. This is a broad-based program that addresses the foundational scientific laws and engineering principles that concern the design, use, and manufacturing of computers. Ten different focus areas are available, as is the option to work on a research thesis in this flexible program. Students will take a variety of core and elective courses taught by recognized leaders in the field, such as:
Advanced Algorithm Design and Implementation
Database Management Systems
Mobile Systems and Applications
In addition to the program in Computer Science, the Schaefer School also offers online degrees in fields like computer engineering, machine learning, applied artificial intelligence, and more. There are also numerous self-contained graduate certificate programs available online. All course requirements for the master's in computer science can be completed entirely online, but should learners choose to visit the campus, they benefit from a premier location just 15 minutes from downtown Manhattan. This location as well as Stevens' reputation provides learners with exclusive access to networking and career opportunities both in the city as well as all around the globe.
Located in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California was founded in 1880 and has an undergraduate enrollment of 19,170 students. The university has multiple campuses in Los Angeles in addition to others in Sacramento, CA, southern California, and even Washington, D.C. This program includes a whopping 22 graduate and professional schools. The Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Southern California is offered within the award-winning USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
This dynamic program prepares students by offering them a complete training in the fundamentals and current issues in computer science and engineering. Designed for individuals who are interested in high-ranking carers or in pursuing advanced degrees, this program allows students to take a broad spectrum of courses while at the same time allowing them to choose an emphasis in areas of specialization. A blended program, this degree includes core classes such as:
Analysis of Algorithms
Foundations of Artificial Intelligence
A variety of career opportunities exist after receiving this degree, a majority of which are in fields like computer programming, software design, bioinformatics, and more. In addition to the classes listed above, all students are required to complete a thesis option or an internship. A global center for the arts, technology, and international trade, this acclaimed research institution is home to more international students than any other university. Despite the large size and its prominence on a global scale, the university maintains a close-knit learning environment with a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1.
Columbia University, located in New York City, is a private university that was founded in 1754. This school has a total undergraduate enrollment of 6,162 students and is comprised of three major undergraduate schools as well as multiple graduate and professional schools. The online Master's in Computer Science at Columbia is offered with a specialization in Software Systems and is housed within the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The Software Systems track at Columbia University is designed for candidates who wish to receive additional training in software systems technologies and methodologies. Used in practical, real-world computing systems, this track helps students understand and gain mastery of modern and traditional software systems and gives them the fundamentals they need for lifelong learning in the discipline. 30 graduate credits are required, including core courses in topics such as:
Advanced Software Engineering
Programming Languages and Translators
Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming
Compilers and Interpreters
The Computer Science major at Columbia is offered in conjunction with the Columbia Video Network. This network has been leading the field of online learning since 1986, providing the opportunity to receive a part-time degree to thousands of working professionals. The school offers multiple broad-based graduate engineering programs, all of which are housed within a major research university that is positioned to educate tomorrow's engineering leaders. These programs are some of the country's oldest and most impactful yet consistently embrace new interdisciplinary possibilities and new technologies.
Stanford University, located in Stanford, CA, is regarded as one of the top National Universities by U.S. News & World Report. A private university founded in 1885, this school is located in California's pristine Bay Area. This location gives students access to some of the best jobs and learning experiences in technology available, and the online campus is just as accessible and relevant. The online Master of Science in Computer Science at Stanford is a terminal professional degree that is designed for candidates who wish to conclude their training with a master's degree
Most students will take about three to five years to complete this degree when studying part-time. However, learners may also choose to study part-time, too. The degree can be completed almost entirely online and has 45 credit hours required for degree completion. Almost all classes are offered in the same format as those that are offered on campus. Core foundational courses must be completed before graduation, with requirements including classes like:
Design and Analysis of Algorithms
Computer Organization and Systems
Principles of Computer Systems
Logic, Automata, and Complexity
When engaging in their courses, students have the option of pursuing a single depth area or a dual-depth program. This makes it possible for students to pursue multiple areas of interest, such as those in Biocomputation, Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, Computer and Network Security, Mobile and Internet Computing, Software Theory, and more. Despite its reputation and relatively large size, these school has a small student-to-faculty ratio of just 4:1. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is nearly 98%!
North Carolina State University at Raleigh, located in Raleigh, NC, is one of many schools within the state university system. This school is the largest four-year college in the state. As a result, the university is able to offer students a variety of programs and extracurricular activities to choose from. The school is home to a highly-ranked engineering school as well as top programs in education, management, and other disciplines. The Master of Computer Science at North Carolina State University at Raleigh is housed within the aforementioned acclaimed College of Engineering.
An excellent option for military personnel serving abroad as well as students residing remotely in the United States, this degree is based on coursework alone, requiring no thesis for a comprehensive examination. This program can be completed on a full-time basis, but most learners will only take one or two courses each semester. All courses are offered via streaming video, with all coursework shared electronically. Sample classes might be pursued in subjects such as:
Graph Data Mining
Computational Methods for Molecular Biology
Online learners at North Carolina State University at Raleigh enjoy the same privileges and access to resources that on-campus learners enjoy. All classes are simply recorded versions of on-campus courses, containing the same depth and content as received by other graduate students on-campus. The degree includes three potential tracks: one in Data Science, one in Software Engineering, and one in Security. In addition to this top-ranked program, the department also offers certificate degrees in Computer Science and Data Science Foundations as well as a Master of Science degree in Computer Networking.
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston. The Master of Science in Computer Information Systems at Boston University was established in 2004 and prepares learners for fast-paced careers in IT leadership and technological innovation. Learners in this degree benefit from a supportive online network and study in small course sections. The program is recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and Research, too.
This degree is designed for learners who want to combine their existing technical competencies in information systems with advanced knowledge of organizational and managerial issues. The degree focuses on core areas like computer networks, database management, and security, and takes most students about 18 to 24 months to complete. With seven available concentrations, this degree requires 40 credit hours of study and is instructed by 13 distinguished faculty members. Required classes 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
The Computer Information Systems program is taught by expert faculty who are industry leaders with extensive experience in network construction, applications development, and cybercrime defenses. The online programs are cutting-edge while also rooted in Boston University's 150-year tradition of excellence. The degree includes seven different concentrations in fields like IT Project Management, Health Informatics, and Web Application Development. It is certified by the Committee on National Security Systems and accredited by the Project Management Institute Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs.
The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is a public university located in Minneapolis. This school was founded in 1851 and has a total undergraduate enrollment of 35,433 students. Home to multiple graduate schools, such as the Carlson School of Management and the College of Education and Human Development, the university offers candidates multiple campuses to choose from. In addition to the Minneapolis location, learners can study online as well as abroad at one of 200 other schools in the United States and Canada. The Master of Computer Science is one of the most commonly-chosen programs.
This fully-online program is a coursework-only degree that is offered within the College of Science and Engineering. 31 total credit hours are required. The curriculum focuses on skills development instead of extensive research, as most Master of Computer Science students are currently employed in the industry and have been out of school for quite some time. Major course requirements are industry-focused in their design and include titles such as:
Animation and Planning in Games
Introduction to Compilers
Wireless and Sensor Networks
Analysis of Numerical Algorithms
Learners in this program receive superior access to academic support from peer research groups, academic advisors, departmental program administrators, and other support staff around campus. All courses are offered asynchronously through the UNITE Distributed Learning office, but some synchronous experiences, like exams and quizzes, might be required. However, these can be completed locally, and students are supported by the Student and Faculty Engagement office as they seek local testing sites.
East Carolina University is located in Greenville, NC. This public university has a total undergraduate enrollment of 23,265 students and is just 80 miles from the state capital of Raleigh. The school offers over 100 undergraduate degrees and 75 master's programs, many of which are highly ranked on a national scale. The Department of Computer Science at East Carolina University offers a real-world Master of Science in Computer Science that is delivered entirely online.
This far-reaching program helps learners realize how they can serve humanity by solving real-world problems through the creative use and development of computer software and hardware. The program offers a well-rounded training that prepares learners for professional programs and careers as well as for further doctoral study. The curriculum covers the theory and practice of software design and hardware construction as well as programming languages like C# and various operating systems. Required areas of study include:
Computing Systems and Methods
Design Methodology Algorithms and Tools
Methods for Testing Concepts
Methods of Analysis and Verification
Knowledge Representation and Implementation
This rapidly growing degree is not only high-quality, but it's also affordable. Significant financial aid is available to qualifying learners. Students will complete between 30 and 38 credit hours of study, depending on their choice to pursue either a traditional or a nontraditional pathway. The traditional pathway allows students to choose between a thesis, project, or coursework only track. The nontraditional pathway offers the same choices but also includes bridge coursework requirements in topics like Programming and Data Structures Foundations. The nontraditional pathway is designed for students who have an undergraduate degree in disciplines outside of computer science or software engineering.
Located in Dartmouth, MA, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth was founded in 1895. This public university has a relatively large undergraduate enrollment of nearly 7,000 students and specializes in offering high-quality master's and bachelor's degree programs. 35 master's programs are available, many of which can also be found online. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth offers a fully online Master of Science in Computer Science via UMassOnline, the school's award-winning distance learning platform.
The Master of Science in Computer Science at Umass Dartmouth prepares learners with the training required to succeed in core topics like software, theory, and systems, building upon each student's area of expertise as it does so. Each candidate will be able to select an area of specialization and to complete a variety of offered electives that focus on software instead of computer systems. The curriculum is rooted in research and shaped by the professional expertise of the faculty. Identical to the program offered on-campus, the degree includes classes such as:
Algorithms and Complexity
Special Topics in Computer Information Systems
This online degree is taught by full-time experienced faculty members who are the same individuals that teach on campus. Graduates leave the University of Massachusetts with the skills necessary to succeed in the computing industry, research, and government. Tuition is highly affordable, starting at just $553 per credit hour. Significant financial aid is also available, most of which is in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and even work experiences. Students only need to take six credits each semester to be eligible for financial aid.
The Department of Computer Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology, or Illinois Tech, was founded in 1971 and is home to research-oriented undergraduate and graduate programs. The Master of Science in Computer Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology prepares learners who are interested in Ph.D. study as well as those who wish to pursue research or development in the computer science industry.
Learners in this program are given a choice between completing a master's project, a master's thesis, or simply coursework. Offering no specializations, this degree also includes no comprehensive exam. Students who have previous training in computer science can complete this degree in just four semesters, with classes offered both during the day and at night; classes can also be taken entirely through on-demand Internet, without ever needing to visit the Illinois Tech campus. A minimum of 32 credit hours are required, including core classes in subjects like:
Advanced Database Organization
Syntactic Analysis of Programming Languages
Topics in Compiler Construction
Parallel and Distributed Processing
This program is convenient for distance learners to complete, offering a standard track as well as the opportunity for students to take abbreviated accelerated courses. Faculty at Illinois Institute of Technology are involved in world-class research that involves state-of-the-art work in areas like cybersecurity, software engineering, artificial intelligence, and more. Students have rated the teaching in the Computer Science department as being some of the best at the university, and the faculty have won countless teaching awards. The degree includes a combination of cutting-edge computing expertise with practical, hands-on approaches to getting things done.
Georgia Southern University, located in Statesboro, GA, is a public university that was founded in 1906. This school has a total undergraduate enrollment of nearly 18,000 students and has a rural campus just 200 miles from Atlanta. The school has over 100 majors for learners to choose from, including multiple graduate programs in fields like nursing, business, and political science. The Master of Science in Computer Science at Georgia Southern University is offered within the acclaimed Department of Computer Sciences.
The Computer Science program at Georgia Southern features a unique concentration in data and knowledge systems. It's the only degree concentration of its kind in Georgia and one of only a few around the country. It covers topics such as speech and vision recognition systems as well as data storage. It also focuses on hot topics like data mining. All courses are taught by renowned experts in the field who are internationally recognized for their research and work. Requiring 30 credit hours of study, the degree includes core course topics such as:
Online Search Engines
Information Retrieval Systems
All classes in this program can be completed entirely online. Students who have undergraduate degrees in non-computing disciplines are encouraged to apply, as the classes help learners from these backgrounds not only qualify for admission but also obtain equal training in the field as did their previously-trained classmates. Tuition is highly affordable, with numerous financial aid opportunities available to qualifying students. Georgia Southern University is ranked a Top National University by U.S. News & World Report.
Auburn University is a public university located in Auburn, AL. This school was founded in 1856 and specializes in offering research-focused degree programs to over 25,000 graduate and undergraduate students. The school has over 140 majors to choose from and is among a unique group of universities that are designated as land-, sea-, and space-grant institutions. The Master of Science in Computer Science at Auburn is offered to both online and on-campus students and gives them a unique opportunity to engage in creative research and advanced learning opportunities.
This program features a thesis and a non-thesis option. It enables candidates to specialize in key areas like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, databases, data science, machine learning, and more. It is a balanced program that encompasses both research and instruction and is a great program for candidates who have bachelor's degrees in software engineering, computer science, or related fields. 33 credit hours of coursework are required, as is a capstone engineering project that requires students to demonstrate mastery in the discipline. Other required classes include:
Software Quality Assurance
Advanced Operating Systems
Advanced Computer Architecture
Although Auburn is best known for its contributions to business, engineering, agriculture, and wildlife, this school fulfills a vital research role across all disciplines. The Computer Science degree is just one of many research-oriented programs here. The school offers candidates a global network of over 250,000 graduates around the world and is regarded as a top National University as well as a Best Value School by U.S News & World Report. The average freshman retention rate, which is commonly used to indicate student satisfaction, is well over 91%.
Located in Carrollton, GA, the University of West Georgia is a public university that was founded in 1906. This school has a rural campus that is known for its scenery and diverse course offerings. Those course offerings and high quality of education extend to the online campus, too. The online Master of Science in Applied Computer Science at the University of West Georgia is an affordable, high-quality professional program that provides learners who hold a bachelor's degree in any discipline the skills and training they need to succeed in computer science and information technology.
Taught by uniquely qualified faculty with distinguished backgrounds in academia and industry, this degree includes diverse coursework in program construction, software development, advanced tools and techniques, and more. In addition, all students are required to engage in two separate project experiences that are designed to enhance and integrate the knowledge and skills students have received across disciplines. Students will work closely with their professional teams as they take courses such as:
Students who are enrolled in this program will work closely with a cohort, rotating through their required courses as they are supported by a close-knit professional learning community. While most work is done individually, students are also given the opportunity to work with groups in online chat rooms from time to time. Courses are offered synchronously and asynchronously in this degree that is both high-quality and affordable.
Syracuse University, a private university offered in Syracuse, NY, offers a dynamic and relevant Master of Science in Computer Science within the College of Engineering and Computer Science. This degree prepares learners to address the challenges faced by the technology industry as they seek to develop unique and groundbreaking solutions. This unique degree is offered entirely online but includes one on-campus immersion in which learners network with professionals and peers in the industry, engaging in collaborative workshops and guest lectures by the world's most renowned computer science experts.
Offered through an analytical and mathematical lens, this program helps learners obtain the knowledge of security and assurance as well as advanced programming skills that they need to design and power the world's most significant technologies. The curriculum is geared toward students who are proficient in C++ and object-oriented programming. Courses are interactive and diverse; while some live, weekly face-to-face classes are required, students have 24/7 access to all of their assignments and coursework. Required classes include:
Structured Programming and Formal Methods
Advanced Computer Architecture
Principles of Operating Systems
Syracuse University is one of the country's most renowned institutions, nationally recognized for computer science education. It is praised by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency as being a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research. Students work closely with faculty who are leaders in the field, enjoying a collaborative and rigorous learning environment as they form connections with classmates, professors, and other professionals, all without having to relocate.
With a main campus in Philadelphia, Drexel University is easily one of the best schools in the country from which to receive a degree in computer science. The school is a private university that was founded in 1891 and offers students a mixture of in-class education and rigorous on-the-job experience before graduation. Drexel University offers a fully-online and fully-accredited Master of Science in Computer Science. This degree is career-oriented, placing equal emphasis on both practice and theory to prepare candidates for lifelong careers in technology.
The curriculum of the computer science degree at Drexel provides learners with solid foundations and training for practicing computer science and computational science. It fosters an in-depth understanding of both foundational and advanced topics and equips students with the knowledge necessary to use the latest tools in solving real-world computer science problems. Faculty are actively engaged in research and development in areas like computer vision, networking, security, software engineering, and more. The curriculum is rigorous and interactive yet flexible and convenient for busy working professionals. Sample classes include:
Data Structures and Algorithms
Theory of Computation
Algorithmic Game Theory
Advanced Data Structure and Algorithms
In addition to the required classes listed above, students in the computer science program at Drexel also have the opportunity to choose a specialization area such as Electrical Engineering, Information Science and Technology, and more. Because the curriculum is broken down into four, ten-week quarters each year as opposed to two semesters students can take more courses in a shorter amount of time. 45 credit hours are required for degree completion, but nine of these may be transferred in. As a result, this degree is one of the most convenient for learners from diverse educational backgrounds.
With campuses all around the state of Indiana, Purdue University is regarded as one of the best regional universities in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1964, this public school has some of the best programs in information technology. Purdue University's College of Engineering offers a master of Electrical and Computer Engineering entirely online. This program provides learners with the foundational skills they need to lead and excel in a global, engineering environment.
This degree is consistently ranked within the Top Ten Masters Programs in the Industry by U.S. News & World Report. Designed specifically for working engineers, the curriculum provides candidates with the foundational skills and knowledge that they need to lead and excel in global technology. Thesis and non-thesis degree options are available in this program, which requires 30 credit hours for graduation. The degree offers six areas of specialization, with students taking core courses in topics such as:
Fields and Optics
VLSI & Circuit Design
Energy Sources & Systems
Signal & Image Processing
This online program is one of the most flexible of its kind. Students can choose to earn a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering or an Interdisciplinary Master of Science in Engineering with a concentration in Electrical and Computer Engineering. The interdisciplinary track allows students to adjust their plans of study to best fit their educational needs and career goals. Extensive course offerings are available, providing students with the flexibility to customize their training as they see fit.
Marquette University, located in Milwaukee, is a private university that was founded in 1881. The school has a total undergraduate enrollment of roughly 8,000 students and is a private Catholic Jesuit school that is known for its high-quality academic programs. Marquette offers over 50 types of graduate degrees and certificates within its graduate school in Milwaukee, many of which are also offered online. The Master's program in Computing deals with the discovery, application, and simulation of computer models to help solve engineering and scientific problems.
This degree is one of the most research-oriented of its kind. Enhanced by research programs of associated faculty on the Marquette campus as well as Milwaukee-area research laboratories and clinics, Marquette's degree takes two years to complete. Two specializations are available in Information Assurance & Cyber Defense and Big Data & Data Analytics. 30 credit hours are required to graduate. Sample classes include:
Introduction to Cybersecurity
Networks and Internets
Principles of Service Management and System Administration
Students have access to extensive work experiences where they can work with state-of-the-art computational techniques. Tuition is affordable, and there are extensive merit-based financial aid opportunities, like graduate assistantships and fellowships, available. There is also an accelerated program so that students can complete third degrees more quickly, enabling them to return to the workforce almost immediately. Marquette is recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, and it's also top-ranked on U.S. News & World Report's 2019 list of the Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs.
Located in Villanova, PA, Villanova University is a private school that was founded in 1842. This school offers a variety of degree programs through four colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, Villanova School of Business, and the College of Nursing. Despite its comprehensive Roman Catholic roots, the school welcomes students of all denominations and backgrounds. To that extent, Villanova offers a relevant, far-reaching, and flexible Master of Science in Computer Science within the Department of Computing Sciences.
In addition to the Master of Science in Computer Science, Villanova also offers a Master's in Software Engineering and a Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics. There are also multiple programs for undergraduates in this department, including combined programs that make it possible for learners to gain an accelerated, integrated bachelor's and master's degree at the same time. The Master of Science in Computer Science prepares students with the expertise and foundational knowledge they need in both applied and basic computing. Required and elective classes include:
Foundations of Algorithms and Data Structures
Design and Analysis of Algorithms
Linguistics of Programming Languages
Theory of Computability
This degree serves as an excellent gateway for candidates who wish to pursue doctoral studies in computer science, as well as for those who wish to pursue professional careers. Comprised of ten, three-credit courses, the degree allows students to take five elective courses and to complete either a thesis or practicum track. The practicum track requires hands-on work experience in a related field and adds a one-credit course to the requirements. The thesis option, on the other hand, is a great pathway for learners who are interested in pursuing additional education.
DePaul University is a private university that was founded in 1898. Located in Chicago, the school has five campuses in the city as well as a vibrant online school. The school offers more than 300 graduate and undergraduate majors and is the country's largest Catholic university with more than 23,000 students. DePaul University's Master of Science in Computer Science is one of the best degrees for computing professionals who live in the Chicago area, but it's also one of the best across the entire country.
This degree sets itself apart from traditional certificate and graduate programs in computer science because the classes focus on fundamental concepts that remain constant in computing, even as technology continues to change. The courses emphasize programmatic applications of fundamental concepts instead of research-based practices while also allowing students to pursue research in advanced topics like data mining and scientific computing. Required classes include:
Discrete Structures for Computer Science
Introduction to Programming
Applied Algorithms and Structures
Because this degree can be completed either online or on-campus, it is one of the best for students who are seeking a more personalized approach to education. On average, 93% of all School of Computing master's graduates were employed within six months of graduation. Graduates earn an average starting salary of $80,000 and are employed at major organizations like JPMorgan Chase, Navteq, Microsoft, Allstate, and more. Computer Science graduates go on to work in a wide variety of industries and use their skills in information technology to make a real difference in the world.
Located in Moscow, ID, the University of Idaho was founded in 1889 and is situated in the northwestern part of the state. Undergraduates here can choose from multiple majors spread out among eight colleges, while graduate students can choose from over 80 master's programs in top areas like law, business, education, engineering, and of course, computer science. The Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Idaho is offered within the Department of Computer Science.
This degree is equipped with both thesis and non-thesis options. Both programs are available online through Engineering Outreach, and both require at least 30 credits to graduate. Through this program, students are prepared to lead in the development and discussion of advanced computer concepts and applications in business, science, engineering, academic, and everyday life. Students learn how computer science theory and application interact as well as how to apply methodological approaches to the limitations and issues in the field. Required classes include:
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Collaborative Virtual Environments
The University of Idaho offers online learners an exemplary education, allowing students to interact closely with faculty and peers in small classes. One-on-one interaction, advising, and mentorship with Ph.D.-qualified faculty is also available to all online students. The program has the highest early- and mid-career salary reports of any four-year public institution in Idaho, and 98% of all graduates leave campus with a job already lined up. Students can collaborate in hands-on research through the Center for Secure and Dependable Systems, giving them access to paid graduate assistantship and other hands-on experiences that are truly one-of-a-kind.
The University of Louisville, located in Louisville, KY, is a public university that was founded in 1798. Offering a classical education in more than 170 areas of study, the school offers multiple master's programs in fields like law, business, medicine, and computer science. The Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Louisville is offered entirely online and is one of the top programs in the field, both in the state of Kentucky as well as in the rest of the country.
The J.B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville has been educating technical professionals since 1924, featuring classes and research that are guided by internationally renowned faculty. The Master of Science in Computer Science is designed for individuals who have technical backgrounds yet don't necessarily have prior education in computer science. It can be completed in as little as two years and includes study topics in foundations, analytics, software, electives, and a project option. Sample classes include:
This program can be completed entirely online or in an online and on-campus hybrid option. 30 credit hours are required, and six of these may be transferred in from other regionally-accredited universities. Classes are offered year-round, enabling students to graduate quickly and to earn dual certificates in areas like cybersecurity or data science at the same time. This school is home to cutting-edge computer and networking laboratories, providing students with the hands-on experience they need to be successful in a competitive work environment.
One of several schools in the University of Michigan system, the University of Michigan-Dearborn is a public university that was founded in 1969. The school offers over 60 fields of study in addition to 30 graduate majors. The University of Michigan-Dearborn offers a Computer and Information Science master's that is designed to prepare learners for professional practice as well as additional research and studies in the computing field.
Requiring 30 credit hours of study, this program is broken down into required technical elective and core courses. All classes are offered during the evening or late afternoon hours to help candidates earn a degree through part-time study. Classes may be completed entirely on-campus, entirely online, or through a combination of the two. Students have access to multiple computing resources, including local area networks such as the Game and Multimedia Environment Laboratory. Required classes include:
Algorithm Design and Analysis
Programmable Mobile/Wireless Technologies and Pervasive Computing
Computer and Network Security
This program offers a thesis and non-thesis option. Although the thesis option is a great choice for students who wish to work in research and development or for those interested in further doctoral study, the non-thesis option provides plenty of hands-on experience as well. Students will take four classes from two of seven different concentration areas to specialize their training in certain fields. Concentration areas include Computer Graphics, Computer Networks and Security, Geometric Modeling and Game Design, Software Engineering, Web Computing, Systems Software, and Database Management and Analytics.
California State University, Fullerton is located in the California city of the same name. This public institution was founded in 1957 and has a total undergraduate enrollment of 34,920 students, making it one of the largest schools of its kind. The Master of Science in Software Engineering at California State University, Fullerton is designed for professionals who are already working in the computer science field and who wish to enhance their skills in the discipline.
The unique curriculum of this program covers industry and international standard models in topics like software process assessment, software testing, agile processes, and more. Students may be admitted in the fall semester only. Each course includes practical applications and theory behind software engineering. Students will complete their degrees with a practicum project that allows each candidate to apply his or her knowledge and skills to a large-scale software project in computer science. Classes combine hands-on and theoretical training in core areas such as:
Estimation and Scheduling
The online version of this program is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Online Engineering Programs in the country. Online learners also have access to the well-respected Career Services Center in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. This center connects learners with resources and strategies related to job and internship search as well as networking and interviewing opportunities and practice. This school is ranked a top public school by U.S. News & World Report.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, located in Champaign, IL, is a public university that was founded in 1867. The Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is flexible and convenient, designed for working professionals and distinguished by its immersive learning experience. Students benefit from engaging lectures delivered by world-class instructors and are encouraged to collaborate with peers and faculty to obtain new perspectives.
Having offered online courses since 1998, the Grainger Engineering Online portal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the best of its kind. Courses are not self-paced, so learners are expected to log on to watch lectures and complete assignments by given deadlines. All classes are offered through Coursera. The degree is a non-thesis program requiring 32 credit hours of study. Sample classes include topics such as:
Applied Machine Learning
Text Information Systems
Cloud Computing Concepts
The Computer Science program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is offered within the Engineering Online portal at the Grainger Engineering School. Students in this school earn the same degrees and certificates as they would if they were studying on-campus, benefiting from flexibility and convenience while also maintaining academic rigor and integrity. This portal offers eight complete master's degree and 17 specialized certificates. Students can complete every aspect of professional training online, including virtual classroom experiences, test proctoring, course pacing, and more. The school is one of the country's most prestigious and largest engineering institutions, possessing a rich history and record of accomplishment.
Johns Hopkins University is located in Baltimore. A private university founded in 1876, this school has a total undergraduate enrollment of 6,109 students. Divided into nine schools, this school has five colleges that serve both undergraduate and graduate students. The Computer Science program at Johns Hopkins prepares learners to get a leg up on the competitive, vital, and rapidly-evolving field of computer technology.
The Master of Science in Computer Science, available as a degree or as a post-master's certificate, features a concentration in Communications and Networking as well as other focus areas to choose from. Available options include topics like Software Engineering, Human-Computer Interaction and Visualization, and even Cybersecurity. Available both online and on-campus, this degree includes a variety of track-related courses such as:
Foundations of Information Assurance
Modeling and Simulation of Complex Systems
Introduction to Machine Learning
Ranked the best online program in Graduate Computer Information Technology by U.S. News & World Report, this program features classes offered primarily through the interactive online course software, Coursera. In addition to a vibrant main campus and an accessible online learning environment, these school also has study abroad locations in places like Italy, China, and more. The university offers a variety of financial aid opportunities, including scholarships, grants, and need-based aid.
A public university founded in 1930, Old Dominion University has a total undergraduate enrollment of 19,540 students. This school was originally created as a division of the College of William and Mary but is now an independent university that offers over 100 different academic programs. Located in the coastal city of Norfolk, VA, Old Dominion University is one of Virginia's most prominent doctoral research universities. Home to over 24,000 students, Old Dominion University offers a 31-34-credit hour Master of Science in Computer Science within the College of Sciences' Department of Computer Science.
Designed for learners who already have a background in computer science, the MS in Computer Science prepares learners by offering in-depth graduate study in topics like software engineering, networking, and digital libraries. The university also offers an online cybersecurity graduate certificate program, the courses in which may be applied toward the Master's in Computer Science. Students may choose from a courses-only, project, or thesis pathway. Required classes regardless of the pathway selected include:
Computational Methods and Software
Computational Geometry, Methods, and Applications
Introduction to Parallel Computing
Algorithms and Data Structures
The unique online learning environment of Old Dominion makes it possible for students to access their course materials from any location. Most classes do not have scheduled meeting times, enabling learners to fit classes into their personal schedules. Tuition starts at just $547 per credit for in-state residents, with out-of-state tuition being only slightly higher. Not sure whether a degree at Old Dominion is right for you? The school even offers a non-degree graduate student pathway so that learners who have not yet been accepted into specific degree programs can take up to four courses to try them out.
The University of West Florida is a public university located in Pensacola, FL. The Department of Computer Science at the University of West Florida offers both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, and Software Design and Development, along with multiple minors and certificates. The Master of Science in Computer Science offers two concentration areas in Data Science and Software Engineering.
Students in the Computer Science department benefit from the personal attention of faculty members in all aspects of their education. The program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, the recognized global accreditor of college programs in computing. This flexible and innovative program combines the theorist foundations of Computer Science with state-of-the-art computing technologies. An accessible program both for students with backgrounds in computer science as well as for those from other scientific disciplines, the degree includes core classes such as:
Parallel and Distributed Programming
Agile Software Engineering
This program is housed within one of the few schools in the country that has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The program prepares learners for doctoral studies as well as top careers in Data Analytics, Software Engineering, and other computing fields. It can be completed entirely online or face-to-face, with online courses offered via video-conferencing tools and other synchronous methods of instruction.
Colorado State University-Fort Collins is located in Fort Collins, CO, and is a public university that was founded in 1870. A major university in the Colorado State system, this school offers over 150 degrees spread out among eight colleges. Colorado State University-Fort Collins offers a dynamic Master of Science in Computer Science that is perfect for individuals who already have some computer science background.
This program creates ripe opportunities for aspiring computer scientists, helping them to meet software development needs across industries. The program has an emphasis on cybersecurity, cloud computing systems, and other advanced computer science techniques. This degree can be completed in just two years of study, covering 35 total credit hours of coursework. Taught by faculty with extensive research and development experience in a variety of areas, the program includes core courses in areas such as:
Networking and Security
Approximately 70% of Colorado State's computer science students have job offers immediately upon graduation. Candidates are sought after by major companies such as Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and more. The program provides learners with a professional-level understanding of advanced topics in computer science and allows learners to collaborate with fellow classmates in self-paced online programs and projects. A regionally-accredited university, Colorado State offers online programs that are equivalent to those offered on-campus but are also accessible for learners studying from all over the country.
With a main location in Romeoville, IL, Lewis University offers online learners a lot to love in its remote campus environment. This school is a private university that was founded in 1932. A Catholic university, this school offers distinctive graduate and undergraduate programs to both traditional and adult learners. Lewis University's online Master of Science in Computer Science is hands-on and shaped by industry demands.
The computer science program at Lewis includes hands-on coursework, a capstone thesis, and plenty of opportunities for research. Students learn advanced computing while also developing their skills in creation, analytics, and problem-solving. The program features outcomes-based learning and personalized education. Each student is allowed to choose a targeted concentration in topics like Game and Simulation Programming, Software Engineering, Enterprise and Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, and more. The program emphasizes research and includes core classes such as:
Natural Language Processing
Research in Computer Science
This accelerated program is unique in that most students can complete the degree in as little as one year. Taught by experienced faculty with a wealth of industry experience, the degree includes a capstone thesis or project that culminates in a publication-worthy document or computer systems project. This project is sponsored by an external organization and gives learners the ability to combine theory and practice as they demonstrate their proficiencies to potential employers. The degree has an emphasis on research and offers flexibility in learning. Candidates can study at the times that work best for them, as they are never required to visit the Lewis campus in Romeoville, IL.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology is a public university that was founded in 1881. This school has a total undergraduate enrollment of just 8,483 students and is located in Newark, NJ. A top-tier public university, this school has prided itself on its excellence for over 130 years. The New Jersey Institute of Technology's Master of Science in Civil Engineering is taught by expert faculty who are involved in cutting-edge research.
This program enables learners to earn their master's degrees completely online and to graduate in as few as 19 months. The program has a technology-driven curriculum that addresses the important, strategic connections that must exist between innovation and management. The degree allows students to replace one of the four years of required experience needed to obtain a Professional Engineer license and includes specialty tracks. Required classes include:
Project Planning and Control
In addition to the Master of Science in Civil Engineering, the College of Engineering offers 13 undergraduate majors, 16 masters, and 10 doctoral degree programs. Each of these programs is focused on preparing the engineers of today for tomorrow's challenges, and it's maintained by a team of 150 professional licensed, award-winning instructors. The programs have an impressive global network of a whopping 40,000 esteemed alumni. Considered an MBA, this program, in particular, can be completed entirely online and is housed in what is considered one of the Best Graduate Schools in the country for Engineering by U.S. News & World report.
Kennesaw State University is a public university that was founded in 1963. With a total undergraduate enrollment of 32,945 students, this school offers high-quality undergraduate, graduate, continuing education, and co-curricular programs. In fact, over 150 different majors are available here! The Master of Science in Information Technology at Kennesaw State University is designed to improve career opportunities for students from a wide variety of backgrounds.
This degree fosters professional collaboration and includes multiple elective courses. Learners can design customized degree programs with focuses in several areas of IT, such as IT Security, Health Information Technology, and Databases and Networking. Regardless of the pathway pursued, the program helps students learn how to develop, plan, and implement useful systems for all kinds of technological issues. Offering convenient, flexible programs, the degree is ranked among the country's best in educational quality and affordability. Sample classes include:
IT Service Delivery
IT System Acquisition and Integration
Information Security Concepts and Administration
Taught by expert faculty who have Ph.D. or doctoral degrees, the degree can be completed entirely online. Learners have access to internship and capstone projects from Fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses and start-ups. It's a great program for career changers or for students who don't have strong computing backgrounds yet wish to pursue high-paying, high-demand career opportunities. The degree can culminate in either a capstone or thesis option, both of which allow students the opportunity to pursue a variety of elective courses and internship experiences.
Columbus State University is located in Columbus, GA. This school was founded in 1958 and, as a public university, offers a variety of nationally-recognized programs in the arts, business, education, nursing, technology, and more. The Master of Science in Applied Computer Science at Columbus State University is offered by the Turner College of Business. This program has four potential concentrations for learners to choose from and is incredibly flexible and hands-on.
All students in this degree are able to choose from four potential concentrations: Cybersecurity, Software Development, Modeling and Simulation, and even a Traditional track. All students will learn how to apply computer science core techniques and technologies as they work to understand and evaluate different types of simulation paradigms. Regardless of the pathway chosen, 30 hours of computer science coursework, as well as an exit course, are required. A thesis option is also available this requires 34 credit hours of study. Core required classes include classes such as:
Survey of Modeling and Simulation
Introduction to Cybersecurity
Columbus State prides itself on its extensive community partnerships. These partnerships help students gain access to intensive hands-on learning opportunities. The school partners with organizations like the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, and many other community and professional organizations. Part of the University System of Georgia, Columbia State's Computer Science program is research-oriented and incredibly hands-on. As a result, the school is ranked as a Most Innovative School by U. S. News & World Report.
Located in Morgantown, WV, West Virginia University is a public university that was founded in 1867. This school has a total undergraduate enrollment of 22,504 students and offers close to 200 different bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional programs, all situated within 15 colleges. The most popular graduate degrees including the exceptional Master's in Computer Science are housed within the university's professional schools. Among them are the top-ranked College of Business and Economics, School of Medicine, and the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.
Classes at West Virginia University are taught by top industry experts and tenured research faculty in software engineering, with classes beginning in the fall, spring, and summer terms. The curriculum is delivered via live online sessions with no on-campus attendance required. A part-time program, the degree is offered with evening courses, live discussions, and other hands-on projects. Requiring 11 total courses and 33 credit hours of study, this degree includes core classes such as:
Software Project Management
Software Analysis and Design
Validation and Verification
Introduction to Object-Oriented Design
This high-quality program is also one of the most affordable, with tuition starting at just $669 per credit hour. Financial aid is available for students who qualify. This school is ranked among the top 1.5% of the universities in the world by the Center for World University Rankings, the largest academic ranking around. The school offers exemplary opportunities for research and collaboration, earning it a ranking in the list of the Top Public Schools by U.S. News & World Report as well.
Dakota State University is located in Madison, SD. This public university was founded in 1881 and has an undergraduate enrollment of 2,962 students. The student-to-faculty ratio here is just 17:1, with over half of all classes containing fewer than 20 students. Despite being a small school, this university is ranked as a Top Public School by U.S. News & World Report. The well-respected Master of Science in Computer Science at Dakota State University is offered entirely online.
Interestingly, this degree offers a specialization in Cyber Operations. This specialization allows students to use up to 12 credits toward the additional certification. The program is anchored in the foundations of computer science and is designed for learners who already have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a closely related field. Candidates can take up to 15 credits of electives and develop programs that implement their interests, skills, and job responsibilities. The degree includes core courses such as:
Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms
Structure and Design Programming Language
Operating Systems and Parallel Programming
Theory of Computation
Machine Learning Fundamentals
Dakota State is nationally recognized by federal agencies as well as other organizations at both the graduate and undergraduate level. The Cyber Operations specialization is a challenging area that requires profound and rigorous training in Computer Science. Full-time students can graduate in just four semesters, while students who wish to take longer may take up to five years to complete their studies. 30 credits are required past the baccalaureate level, including five core courses and a variety of diverse electives.
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