An online computer science degree prepares people for a lucrative, in-demand career, like computer or information systems manager. Other computer science degree-holders become computer hardware engineers or computer network architects. Bachelor’s-level classes may include software security, full stack development, and programming languages.
Prospective degree-seekers need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Other admission requirements include recommendation letters, test scores, and a resume. The following sections answer frequently asked questions, discuss a degree’s many benefits, and describe typical courses. The final section details how to become a computer and information research scientist.
Questions About Computer Science Degrees
Yes. Many top schools offer computer science online programs. Some institutions use a hybrid program, where degree-seekers visit campus for seminars or other educational experiences.
Yes. Associate degree-holders may finish a computer science degree in only two years. Learners without an associate in computer science take longer than their peers.
Computer information and research scientists, computer hardware engineers, and computer network architects earn a median $116,780-$126,830 annual salary. Salary varies by degree and geographic location.
Online Computer Science Programs
Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.
Why Get a Degree in Computer Science?
A degree brings more benefits than just qualifying for a well-paying career. All industries need computer science experts to create programs, protect databases, and train employees on the latest technology. These and other responsibilities affect companies and organizations’ success significantly. The field also features geographic flexibility, as employers nationwide hire computer science graduates.
Online computer science degrees help people who could not otherwise attend college. Many programs use an asynchronous curriculum. This feature lets degree-seekers schedule their education around work. Students view recorded lectures when convenient. Distance learning’s other advantages include enrolling in a top out-of-state program without relocating.
How Much Does a Computer Science Degree Cost?
As of Aug. 2021, college students paid $51,090 on average for an online bachelor’s degree. However, an online computer science degree’s attendance costs depend on many factors. Public schools charge residents the most affordable tuition rate. Degree-seekers at private schools may pay significantly more for a computer science degree. Institutional and private scholarships help learners avoid student debt.
A computer science degree online may require an internship or practicum. Degree-seekers in one of these programs should budget for commuting. Other costs may include buying computer science software suites.
Additional Online Student Fees
Students earning a computer science degree online need a computer meeting their school’s technology requirements. These requirements may exceed those for learners majoring in a nontechnical subject. Like other online degree-seekers, computer science majors pay for textbooks and supplies. Students should also budget for a one-time graduation fee in their final year.
Professionals with an online computer science degree can earn certifications to advance their career. Certifications show mastery of one or more skills, such as a programming language. Organizations offering them often charge an examination fee. Professionals may also need to pay a fee to maintain their certification status.
How Much Do Computer Science Majors Make?
Many factors impact salary, such as education, experience, certifications, and employer. Computer and information research scientists at software publishers earn nearly twice as much as their peers in academia. Many research scientist positions require a master’s in computer science, making a graduate education a professional investment.
Computer and information research scientists in California, Virginia, and Washington >earn $143,010-$150,830. Workers in New York and Oregon also make much more than the national median salary. However, professionals in these states may face a higher-than-average cost of living.
Courses in Computer Science
Online computer science degrees require general education, major, and elective classes. Some programs’ flexibility lets students minor or double major. Typical major courses include introductory programming and advanced programming languages. Students also learn software engineering principles and techniques. Degree-seekers build transferable skills in general education classes, including communication, analysis, and research.
The section below introduces three major courses commonly found in computer science curricula. Not all computer science online programs offer or require them, however. School websites cover graduation requirements and course topics. Some schools also provide sample syllabi. College admissions counselors can also provide this information.
The first-year class focuses on Java or another programming language. Students learn to write and test simple programs, debug problems, and document progress. These exercises help degree-seekers master development tools. New learners with programming experience may test out of this course through an examination or a portfolio.
Students take advanced programming languages to master in-demand skills. The course may let learners pick a language matching their career goals. The class covers software security, programs’ syntaxes, semantics, and run-time support. Degree-seekers demonstrate mastery by completing projects. Typical prerequisites include data structures and analysis or a similar course.
Advanced Programming Languages
Not all computer science graduates become software engineers. However, all professionals in the larger field must understand software development fundamentals, such as design, testing, and troubleshooting. Students analyze software-development processes to identify problems. Other topics include configuration management, security, and organization. Some schools let degree-seekers substitute a similar class for software engineering principles and techniques.
Software Engineering Principles and Techniques
How to Become a Computer and Information Research Scientist
Computer and information research scientists find new uses for technology. Their work impacts the business, medical, and scientific fields. People specializing in programming improve and simplify programming languages. Daily responsibilities include working with other scientists and conducting experiments. They also publish research papers. Most of these scientists work for the federal government, research and development agencies, or computer systems design companies.
Computer and information research scientists need a master’s degree in computer science. A master’s degree takes 2-3 years to finish. Some employers prefer applicants with a Ph.D. or significant professional experience. Other in-demand traits include advanced analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills.
Best Online Computer Science Degrees of 2021
A public college based in Miami, FIU delivers an online BA in computer science. The program places less emphasis on math and science than other online bachelor’s programs in computer science. Coursework explores computer science in relation to business, economics, and digital media.
Core coursework covers topics including software engineering and data structures. Students also learn database management. Electives help students build specialized knowledge. Options include artificial intelligence, software testing, and Windows programming. Prospective students must have completed prerequisite courses in precalculus and business statistics.
FIU’s online courses blend synchronous and asynchronous elements. The online computer science program requires no campus visits. New students can begin in the fall, spring, or summer semester.
Kansas-based FHSU offers an online bachelor’s in computer science program. Students learn to manage computing systems in various professional environments. Graduates can pursue roles in cybersecurity, database management, and video game design. Learners can complete the computer science degree entirely online.
The program requires at least 120 credits, including 36 major credits. Courses explore object-oriented programming and foundations of computing. Learners study programming languages. Degree-seekers also complete a 12-credit networking cognate, which covers web development and database design.
Applicants must have completed prerequisite coursework. Students with relevant experience can test out of some prerequisites.
A private college in Missouri, CMU offers an online bachelor’s in computer science. Online students can pursue a BA or BS in computer science. Coursework trains students to test computer systems. They also learn how to diagnose technology problems and create innovative solutions.
Degree-seekers complete 120 credits, including at least 37 major credits. The curriculum teaches database systems and SQL. Other courses cover computer architecture and operating systems. Students also take at least one course in a programming language such as Python or Java.
Students can complete an internship with partner organizations in Missouri and neighboring states. CMU helps online students identify internships locally.
Davenport is a private college based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The online bachelor’s in computer science program explores computation, hardware, and software. Enrollees can specialize in artificial intelligence, computer theory and algorithms, or gaming simulations.
Computer science majors complete 51 major credits. They also choose a 12-credit specialization. Learners develop basic knowledge of programming languages, security foundations, and data structures. Davenport offers most courses fully online. However, gaming simulations students attend some sessions in the on-campus gaming lab.
Students complete a computer science capstone project to graduate. The capstone project identifies and addresses a contemporary computer science issue. During the final project, learners prove knowledge of their concentration area.
OSU offers an online bachelor’s in computer science program. Degree-seekers develop skills in computer systems and information technology. OSU offers four start dates per year.
Coursework covers mobile and web development. Other courses teach software engineering and computer forensics. Learners can pursue a concentration in applied computer science. This concentration focuses on cybersecurity and systems design. Students can also choose a minor, such as resource economics or entrepreneurship.
Students complete a capstone project during their final three semesters. During the design project, learners produce a working prototype. They present the prototype at OSU’s Engineering Expo, which offers networking and career opportunities.
Located in Central Illinois, UIS delivers an online bachelor’s in computer science program. Enrollees choose from concentrations in information systems security and software engineering. The program offers fall and spring start dates.
The curriculum includes 36 major credits. Computer science classes cover topics including computer organization, data structures, and programming languages. The information systems security concentration explores network security and information assurance.
Applicants need a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA. They also need prerequisite coursework in Java programming, calculus, and statistics. Applicants submit a statement of purpose detailing their reasons for studying computer science.
Based in South Carolina, CSU is a private Christian school. The university’s online bachelor’s in computer science program trains students to design, implement, and assess computing solutions. Graduates often work in programming, app design, and networking.
Degree-seekers complete at least 125 credits, including 60-63 major credits. Courses explore data structure analysis, object-oriented programming, and applied networking. Learners create a professional portfolio. The portfolio includes three written papers, four computer programs, and two presentations on computing issues.
Computer science students complete a capstone project during their final year. The three-semester project includes design, construction, and implementation stages. Students present and defend their project to a panel of faculty and peers.
Baker is a private college located in Flint, Michigan. The college offers an online bachelor’s in computer science with a concentration in computer programming. The program features synchronous and asynchronous course options. Baker also delivers blended and in-person programs at campus locations throughout Michigan.
The 120-credit program includes 70 major credits and 18 concentration credits. Major coursework covers unit testing and interfaces and computer architecture. Learners study application security practices. The programming concentration focuses on languages including Java and C#.
During a senior project, students apply their skills to a computer science problem. Learners gain up to 150 hours of experience with an information technology company. Graduates often enroll in Baker’s master of science in information systems.
Limestone offers Christian-informed liberal arts education to students both on campus and online. The online bachelor’s in computer science program features a concentration in information systems security. Students in the asynchronous program complete coursework on their schedule.
The curriculum includes 48 computer science credits. Coursework covers microcomputer applications and operating systems. Students assess network fundamentals. The program also covers specialized information security topics. Examples include cryptography and access control and risk management.
Like many online bachelor’s programs in computer science, Limestone’s program requires a capstone project during the final semester. The project involves a research paper and a comprehensive exam.
SNHU features an online bachelor’s in computer science program. Coursework highlights popular programming languages. Students also learn cloud integration. Concentration options include data analysis, project management for STEM, and software engineering.
Learners complete 57 major credits. Topics include operating platforms and client-server development. Another course teaches software security. Students devote 12 credits to electives or a concentration. SNHU offers a three-credit computer science internship.
Online students can pursue networking and extracurricular opportunities. SNHU maintains groups such as a Women in Cybersecurity and the Association for Computing Machinery student chapter. Learners can also participate in National Cyber League competitions.