The 25 Best Master’s in Computer Science Online for 2019

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment in the field of computer and information technology is on the rise, growing faster than average compared to other occupations. In addition, an advanced degree in the field can put computer science professionals on the path to a six-figure salary. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for computer science and information technology employees is approximately $85,000. Those with a master's degree in the field can expect to earn even more. In this ranking, we explore the 25 top online master's in computer science programs. For those interested in more general information regarding distance learning visit our ranking of the top online colleges for master's degrees.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Tuition Points:

  • Under $30,000—1 point
  • Under $25,000—2 points
  • Under $20,000—3 points
  • Under $15,000—4 points
  • Under $10,000—5 points

US News and World Report Recognition as a Top Online School for Master's Information Technology/Engineering Programs

  • Top 5—5 points
  • Top 10— 4 points
  • Top 25 —3 points
  • Top 50 —2 points
  • Top 75 —1 point

Customization Options
• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, Accelerated, Degree Completion, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
• Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option (5-point cap)

Wow Factor
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that "wowed" us

Ranking the 25 Best Online Master's in Computer Science Degree Programs

To rank the following online master's in computer science degrees, we collected data from College Navigator, U.S. News & World Report, and each program's website. We then used this information to apply the rating and ranking methodology above. In cases of a tie, tuition for the program was considered, and the more affordable offering was awarded the higher ranking.

#25 –Franklin University

Online MS in Computer Science

Website
Points: 5
The online master's in computer science program offered at Franklin University is a career-oriented program designed to accommodate students with full-time jobs. The program can be completed entirely online, with no visits to campus. Students are taught by experienced practitioners and work with industry-standard software to gain hands-on experience. There are no separate tracks or concentrations for different subfields, but students are given room to pursue their specific interests through electives. Students can complete their online computer science MS programs in as few as 20 months.
In-State Tuition: $15,816

#24 –University of Bridgeport

Online MS in Computer Science

Website
Points: 5
The University of Bridgeport's online master's in computer science offering is a broad program designed to prepare students for both career advancement and doctoral programs. Students take core courses such as Data and Computer Communication, Operating Systems, and Analysis of Algorithms. Students can customize the content of their program through the wide range of electives offered. There are three start dates, and courses are offered year-round. Most students take two courses at a time and earn their computer science online master's programs in just over two years.
In-State Tuition: $15,750

#23 –City University of Seattle

Online MS in Computer Science

Website
Points: 5
The online master's in computer science program offered at the City University of Seattle covers both theory and practice as well as a wide range of subfields with a slight emphasis in information security. Courses offered include Ethical Obligations in Information Security, Software Testing, and Data Exploration and Visualization. Students without a strong background in computer science fundamentals may take advantage of a bridge program that includes the necessary prerequisites. Most students are able to complete their computer science master's degrees online in just two years.
In-State Tuition: $15,264

#22 –Arizona State University

Online Master of Computer Science

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Points: 5
Arizona State University's option is one of the best online master's in computer science programs, in part because it addresses topics from both a science and an engineering perspective. Students take courses in all offered subfields, and each course balances theory and practical application to ensure that students develop a broad understanding of the field. Each course lasts just over seven weeks, so students can complete more courses in a shorter amount of time. This also allows for more start dates, so new students don't have to wait for a traditional semester start to begin working towards their online MS degrees in computer science.
In-State Tuition: $11,240

#21 –Stevens Institute of Technology

Online Master of Computer Science

Website
Points: 6
Among the best master's in computer science online programs in terms of scope, the offering from Stevens Institute of Technology covers a wide range of topics to provide students with a well-rounded education. Alongside the broad foundation courses, students are able to specialize in one of ten different focus areas. Some of the more unique focus areas include gaming and simulation, cloud computing databases, and machine learning. Providing research opportunities is a priority, so students may complete a research thesis if they want. However, a coursework-only option is also available to those online master's in computer science students less interested in research.
In-State Tuition: $34,494

#20 –Drexel University

Online Master of Computer Science

Website
Points: 6

Drexel University's online master's in computer science option is a career-focused program that provides the foundation students need to move up in the industry. Topics of study include intelligent systems, computer systems, applications, and vision and graphics. The program is formatted into four 10-week quarters instead of the traditional two-semester system, so students can take more courses in a shorter period of time. Both a thesis and a non-thesis option are available. Regardless of which option students choose, they must complete 45 credits to complete their online computer science master degrees.

In-State Tuition: $33,156

#19 –Lewis University

Online Master of Science in Computer Science

Website
Points: 6
One of the top master's in computer science online options in terms of versatility, Lewis University's program features concentrations in cyber security, software engineering, and intelligent systems. The curriculum emphasizes both research and practical skills, making it a great option for both students who plan to go on to a doctoral program and those who just want to move up in their workplace. An educational background in computer science or a related degree is preferred, but foundation courses are available to students entering the program without a sufficient background. No GRE or GMAT scores are required to apply to this online master's in computer science degree program.
In-State Tuition: $14,310

#18 –University of Illinois

Online Master's in Computer Science

Website
Points: 6
The University of Illinois offers an online master's in computer science degree that encourages students to develop a broad understanding of the field. Students must pick courses from a variety of topics, including artificial intelligence, graphics, and scientific computing. This program is coursework-only, and students are never expected to travel to campus. Most students are working professionals and only study part-time. It is possible to complete the program in only one year, but students are given up to five years to complete their MS in computer science programs online.
In-State Tuition: $8,772

#17 –University of Southern California

Online Master of Science in Computer Science

Website
Points: 7
One of the more customizable master's in computer science programs online, the offering from the University of Southern California provides students with a broad foundation in computer science principles but still leaves room for students to specialize in subfields such as computer security, software engineering, and data science. The program requires no visits to campus, but students still have the option to attend some classes on campus if they would like to. Full-time students can complete their degree in less than two years, but it's common for students to only study part-time and earn this top master's in computer science online degree in just over three years.
In-State Tuition: $43,200

#16 –National University

Online Master of Science in Computer Science

Website
Points: 7
The online master's in computer science degree program offered at National University prioritizes a well-rounded education. The program's curriculum covers both theory and practice as well as professional skills such as communication and ethics. The program includes three concentrations: advanced computing, database engineering, and software engineering. All concentrations include two master's project classes that give students real-world experience solving problems for a client using the skills learned in class. A convenient transition program is available to online master's in computer science students earning their undergraduate degree at National University.

In-State Tuition: $14,976

#15 –Georgia Tech University

Online Master of Science in Computer Science

Website
Points: 7
A standout offering even among the best online master's in computer science programs, Georgia Tech University's degree program is part of a collaboration with Udacity and AT&T that allows the university to provide a larger number of students with academic, professional development, and networking opportunities. It includes specializations in computational perception and robotics, machine learning, interactive intelligence, and computing systems. Students only take one or two courses at a time, so students working full time are able to easily fit coursework into their busy schedules. Most students complete their computer science MS programs online in three years.
In-State Tuition: $13,788

#14 –Colorado Technical University

Online Master of Science in Computer Science

Website
Points: 7
Colorado Technical University top master's in computer science online option includes concentrations in database systems, data science, computer systems security, and software engineering. A general track is also available to students who prefer a broader approach to the field. Regardless of which concentration they choose, all students receive a solid foundation in network architecture, operating systems, and software systems engineering. Courses are delivered asynchronously, so online master's in computer science students with busy schedules can access course materials at whatever time works for them instead of worrying about attending live sessions.
In-State Tuition: $13,393

#13 –University of West Florida

Online Master of Computer Science

Website
Points: 7
The University of West Florida offers an online master's in computer science program with concentrations in database systems and software engineering. Both tracks are completely online and open to students with an undergraduate background other than computer science. These concentrations also include both a thesis option and a project option for the culminating experience. These customization options allow students to create a degree that best suits their specific career goals. UWF's online master's in computer science students are able to use this program as a stepping stone to career advancement or a doctoral program.
In-State Tuition: $7,088

#12 –Johns Hopkins University

Online Master of Science in Computer Science

Website
Points: 8
Johns Hopkins University is home to one of the best master's in computer science online programs in terms of customization options. There is only one officially designated concentration: communications and networking. However, there are ten different tracks that students can choose from to customize their degree. Tracks include bioinformatics, enterprise and web computing, cybersecurity, systems, and theory, for example. No matter which track or concentration students pursue, they receive the same rigorous and comprehensive education as their on-campus counterparts. Most online master's in computer science students at Johns Hopkins only take one or two courses at a time.
In-State Tuition: $52,170

#11 –Marquette University

Online Master of Science in Computing

Website
Points: 8

Marquette University's online master's in computer science option is a master's in computing. Unlike most computer science programs, this program is less math-heavy and more practical, making it easier for students without an undergraduate background in computer science to succeed. There is a special "career change" track that includes the necessary fundamentals to students who are coming into computing from a different field. There are no required courses. Instead, students work closely with advisors to create a plan of study integrating whatever courses best suit their career goals. Most courses are delivered in a synchronous format, so online master's in computer science students are able to benefit from the same interaction their on-campus counterparts receive.
In-State Tuition: $19,800

#10 –New Jersey Institute of Technology

Online MS in Computer Science

Website
Points: 8
Rounding out the top ten best online MS degrees in computer science, the program offered by the New Jersey Institute of Technology includes specializations in database and data mining, cybersecurity, and networking. Students whose interests and career goals do not clearly fit into these options may also select a general track that lets them select any three courses from the other specialization tracks. This top master's in computer science online degree program is open to students with a wide range of academic backgrounds, with a bridge program available to those who lack a sufficient background in computer science.
In-State Tuition: $19,720

#9 –University of Louisville

Online Master of Science in Computer Science

Website
Points: 8
The University of Louisville offers one of the best master's in computer science online programs for accessibility. A baccalaureate degree in computer science or engineering is not necessarily required as long as prospective students have an adequate technical background. The vast majority of courses are delivered asynchronously, and any synchronous activities are typically scheduled for evenings to accommodate working students. Students who live near campus are free to take a portion of their classes on campus, but this online master's in computer science degree program can be completed entirely online.
In-State Tuition: $12,246

#8 –Old Dominion University

Online MS in Computer Science

Website
Points: 8
Old Dominion University Top Online Bachelor's in FinanceOld Dominion University offers one of the best online MS degrees in computer science online intended for individuals who already have a strong background in computer science. The curriculum covers topics such as software engineering, bioinformatics, digital libraries, and high-performance computing. Students may also include courses from the university's cybersecurity certificate in their degree plan. Most coursework is delivered asynchronously, but some exams, presentations, and similar activities may require live participation depending on the instructor. For their culminating experience, online master's in computer science students can choose between a thesis, a project, or a course-only option.
In-State Tuition: $9,168

#7 –Dakota State University

Online MS in Applied Computer Science

Website
Points: 8
Dakota State University offers one of the more affordable computer science master's degrees online: a highly-customizable MS in Applied Computer Science. Students can choose between the NSA-recognized cyber operations specialization and a customized specialization that incorporates courses from related master's programs. Courses are offered year-round, and all coursework is delivered online. Students studying full time can complete the program in as little as two years, but students are given up to five years to earn their degree. This top master's in computer science online degree program does not require a traditional master's thesis, but students do have to complete a comprehensive exam.
In-State Tuition: $5,665

#6 –University of West Georgia

Online MS in Applied Computer Science

Website
Points: 8
The University of West Georgia's online master's in computer science option is an online MS in Applied Computer Science designed to be accessible to a wide range of students, regardless of their undergraduate background. The program is primarily asynchronous, so students are able to complete the majority of their coursework at whatever time best fits their schedule as long as they meet deadlines. However, some synchronous group meetings are required. This is one of the best options for cheap online master's in computer science programs, but it may not be ideal for students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree.
In-State Tuition: $4,086

#5 –Colorado State University

Online Master of Computer Science

Website
Points: 9
Colorado State University's option is one of the best online MS degrees in computer science for working professionals. Courses are available in subjects such as database systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning, software engineering, and parallel computing. Coursework is delivered completely online and primarily asynchronously. Students interact with professors and classmates through online office hours, email, and discussion boards. Full-time students who take courses in the summer can earn their degree in only two years, but online master's in computer science degree students who need a more relaxed pace are free to take more time.
In-State Tuition: $9,000

#4 –University of Michigan-Flint

Online MS in Computer Science and Information Systems

Website
Points: 10
The University of Michigan – Flint's online master's in computer science offering is an online MS in Computer Science and Information Systems designed to be flexible in regard to format and content. Students can take courses either completely online or in a hybrid format. There are separate tracks for computer science and information systems, and a dual degree option is available to students interested in earning both an MS in information systems and an MBA with an information systems concentration. Both a thesis and a non-thesis track are available for enrolled online master's in computer science degree students.
In-State Tuition: $10,413

#3 –Missouri University of Science and Technology

Online MS in Computer Science

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Points: 11
Taking a solid spot in our top 10 best master's in computer science online ranking, Missouri University of Science and Technology's degree program includes two concentration options: software engineering and critical infrastructure protection. Both tracks require 31 credit hours. Students interested in the thesis option must take six of these credits in research. There are no required visits to campus, and most course materials are delivered in an asynchronous format. However, some instructors do require live participation for occasional synchronous activities. Students have six years to complete this online master's in computer science degree program, but it is more common for it to be completed in three or four years of part-time study.
In-State Tuition: $9,854

#2 –North Carolina State University

Online Master of Computer Science

Website
Points: 12
North Carolina State University offers one of the very best online master's in computer science degrees in the nation. This is intended to be a terminal professional degree program for those already working in the field full-time. The curriculum covers both theory and systems. Courses offered include Graph Theory, Compiler Construction, Artificial Intelligence, and Computer Networks. There is no thesis or comprehensive final exam. Students are never required to visit campus but are free to take a more hybrid approach to the program and take some online master's in computer science courses on campus if they are able.
In-State Tuition: $8,492

#1 –Purdue University

Online Master of Computer Science

Website
Points: 14
Our choice for the best of the best online MS degrees in computer science, the program offered by Purdue University is a non-thesis program designed to accommodate students with a wide range of career goals. Flexibility is a priority. Students can choose courses from 13 different subject areas such as machine learning, data mining, software engineering, and databases, and both thesis and non-thesis options are available. Purdue's online master's in computer science students are also able to adjust their pace to fit their busy schedules and take time off of their studies if they need to.
In-State Tuition: $9,208

 

This concludes our ranking of the Top 25 Online Master's in Computer Science Programs; thanks for checking it out!

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