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Best online web development degrees 2021: Top picks

An online web development degree teaches students how to build websites for organizations and individuals alike.

Professionals with web development degrees build engaging websites that include interactive features and connect with back-end tools. Tech professionals in roles like front-end web developer, back-end web developer, web designer, and full-stack web developer benefit from being in-demand and receiving high salaries. 

An online bachelor's degree in web development prepares graduates for high-paying tech careers. The degree strengthens technical skills through project-based, experiential learning. Graduates enter the job market with a professional portfolio showcasing their skills. 

Our list ranks the best web development programs that offer an online learning option. Prospective students can use the ranking to identify the programs that match their budget, schedule, and career goals. 

The best online bachelor's in web development degrees

Our ranking evaluates the top online bachelor's in web development programs using ZDnet's ranking methodology. Our list helps prospective web development majors find the right fit for their unique needs by using reliable data sources and metrics like academics and affordability.

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.

1. Fort Hays State University

Hays, Kansas

About the program: The 120-credit web and mobile application development program builds strong coding and design skills. Majors in the online program also study electronic media.

  • Acceptance rate: 91%
  • Graduation rate: 58%
  • Annual net price: $12,053
  • Years to degree: Four
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Four
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

2. Arizona State University

Scottsdale, Arizona

About the program: The bachelor's degree in internet and web development emphasizes emerging web technologies and multimedia design. The fully online program prepares majors to build a professional portfolio.

  • Acceptance rate: 64%
  • Graduation rate: 54%
  • Annual net price: $13,971
  • Years to degree: Four
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0 (Arizona resident); 2.5 (out-of-state students)
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Arizona State University-Skysong is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

3. Champlain College

Burlington, Vermont

About the program: In the fully online bachelor's in web design and development, learners complete coursework in seven-week terms. The program trains students in 32 applications, platforms, and programming languages. 

  • Acceptance rate: 85%
  • Graduation rate: 61%
  • Annual net price: $33,561
  • Years to degree: Four
  • SAT range: 1110-1320
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5 (recommended)
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Champlain College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE). 

4. Bellevue University

Bellevue, Nebraska

About the program: The 127-credit bachelor's degree in web development uses a hands-on approach to build a portfolio for the job market. Learners can specialize their degree with electives.

  • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
  • Graduation rate: 46%
  • Annual net price: $15,616
  • Years to degree: Four
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Four
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

5. Baker College

Owosso, Michigan

About the program: The online web development degree trains students in information systems, operations management, and web development. Learners complete courses on an eight-week term.

  • Acceptance rate: 73%
  • Graduation rate: 23%
  • Annual net price: $15,049
  • Years to degree: Four
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Six
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Baker College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

What to expect in an online bachelor's in web development degree program

An online bachelor's degree in web development builds foundational skills in computer science, programming, and website building. Majors study front-end development, back-end development, and full-stack development. Programs often use a project-based format to strengthen technical abilities. Learners may also complete an internship or capstone project.

During a web development degree, learners also gain non-technical skills like organization, collaboration, and self-motivation. Majors strengthen critical thinking and problem-solving skills through web development classes and general education courses. Depending on the program, web development majors may also choose electives to focus their course of study. 

An online learning format prioritizes flexibility. Working professionals may prefer an online format to save time on commuting or to complete coursework around their work schedule. 

Web development degree courses

A web development degree builds career-ready technical skills. Web development courses in JavaScript, usability, and internet systems architecture train learners to become web developers.  Most programs also incorporate lessons in web design, back-end web development, and user experience.

Web development classes teach students through projects and hands-on assignments.While each program sets its own curriculum, many incorporate the following options.

Web development fundamentals

The course covers fundamental concepts in web development, including core programming tools like HTML and CSS. Students learn about coding methods, website accessibility, and the best practices for creating websites.

JavaScript

Students strengthen their JavaScript programming skills through studying syntax, testing, debugging, and coding. The course uses project-based assignments to build career-ready programming skills. The class also emphasizes software design skills.

Internet systems architecture

Websites represent one small part of a broader internet system. In this course, students examine web systems, data transfers, and website building tools. The class may also explore topics like operating systems and cloud computing.

Interfaces and usability 

Learners examine interactive tools that improve usability and increase on-site time and user interaction. Topics include user experience, user behavior, information architecture, and site design. Students also examine effective principles in design. 

Web development degree levels

Students can pursue web development training at the undergraduate or graduate level. A certificate provides an accelerated introduction to the field, while a bachelor's degree meets entry-level job requirements. Graduate programs train learners in advanced concepts of web development. This section introduces the length, cost, and possible career paths of different web development degrees.

Web development certificate

  • Length: Three to nine months
  • Cost: $1,000-$15,000
  • Post-grad careers: Front-end web developer, web designer, back-end web developer

A web development certificate offers a focused, brief overview of website-related technical skills and knowledge. Learners gain fluency in HTML and CSS while building JavaScript programming skills. Certificate programs also introduce back-end languages, frameworks, and interactive tools. 

Unlike a degree-granting program, certificates do not require general education courses. As a result, learners only take courses in web development and design. The credits earned in a web development certificate may transfer into a degree-granting program. 

Associate in web development

  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $7,000-$16,000
  • Post-grad careers: Web developer, web designer, front-end web developer

An associate degree in web development introduces learners to foundational concepts and tools in the field. Students strengthen their programming skills while also learning how to build functional, accessible websites. Many associate programs incorporate classes in web design to bring in a creative element to the technical field.

The degree emphasizes career-ready skills. After completing an associate degree, graduates pursue careers in tech or transfer into a four-year college to complete a bachelor's degree. 

Bachelor's in web development

  • Length: Four years 
  • Cost: $35,000-$60,000
  • Post-grad careers: Web developer, front-end web developer, back-end web developer

A bachelor's degree in web development meets the entry-level education requirement for careers as a web developer or web designer. Web development majors study core programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They also learn about databases, front-end development, user experience, and APIs. 

Web development programs often incorporate projects to strengthen the skills needed for careers in web development. Majors may also complete an internship or other experiential learning opportunities.

Master's in web development

  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $15,000-$55,000
  • Post-grad careers: Lead web developer, full-stack web developer, software developer

A master's degree in web development builds advanced skills in full-stack development, usability, and design. During a master's program, graduate learners complete classes in website optimization, database design, and user experience. The degree emphasizes technical skills while also strengthening testing and research abilities. 

With a master's degree, web developers move into supervisory roles and take on decision-making responsibilities. The training, reinforced by project-based assignments and hands-on learning experiences, helps web developers advance their careers.

Doctorate in web development

  • Length: Three to five years
  • Cost: $30,000-$65,000
  • Post-grad careers: Lead web developer, web development professor, software developer

A doctorate represents the terminal degree in web development. While few universities offer a doctorate in web development, students can pursue a doctorate in information technology or computer science with a focus on web development. During a doctoral program, graduate students complete coursework, pass doctoral exams, and conduct research for a dissertation. 

The degree builds strong research and technical skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles in web development, research, and academia.

In conclusion

A web development degree prepares graduates for careers in a high-paying, growing field. Prospective web development majors can begin strengthening their skills through free online courses or a certificate before pursuing a degree. While researching programs, applicants can ask about transfer credits, financial aid opportunities, and career services.