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Best online computer science degrees 2022: Top picks

An online computer science degree can pave your way to a career in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, database management, and more.

A computer science degree introduces students to computer systems, programming, and design software. 

While it can cover software and hardware integration, computer science also focuses on software applications' problem-solving capabilities. The field encompasses many subdisciplines, including programming, operating systems, and artificial intelligence. 

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in computer science are employable in many positions and industries, and demand for professionals with strong programming and computing skills is growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects more than 667,600 new information technology jobs between 2020 and 2030.

Read on to discover the best online computer science available, plus our guide to this versatile degree.

The best online bachelor's in computer science degrees

ZDnet's ranking methodology determines the best online bachelor's in computer science programs to help you find one that aligns with your educational and career goals.

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

1. Florida International University

Miami, Florida

About the program: FIU's 120-credit bachelor of arts in computer science program teaches strong computer science skills without the heavy focus on math and science required in a bachelor of science program.

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Annual net price: $7,000
  • Time to degree: Variable; part-time study available
  • SAT range: 570-650 critical reading; 540-630 math
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling during spring, fall, and summer terms
  • Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Florida State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon

About the program: OSU's bachelor of science in computer science online program includes 180 credits of coursework taught by industry experts and offers opportunities for career-building networking. The curriculum emphasizes algorithms and problem-solving.

  • Acceptance rate: 82%
  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Annual net price: $20,000
  • Time to degree: Four years; part-time and accelerated options available
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Winter, spring, fall, and summer quarters
  • Course delivery methods: Online

Accreditation: Oregon State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

3. University of Illinois Springfield

Springfield, Illinois

About the program: Students in UIS's online bachelor of science in computer science can concentrate on computer science or systems security and information assurance. Enrollees must complete 120 credit hours.

  • Acceptance rate: 77%
  • Graduation rate: 55%
  • Annual net price: $12,000
  • Time to degree: Four years
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling during spring and fall terms
  • Course delivery methods: Online

Accreditation: University of Illinois Springfield is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

4. Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, Utah

About the program: The bachelor of science online computer science degree at WGU features competency-based education, allowing students to complete the program's 35 courses at their own pace.

  • Acceptance rate: Open admissions
  • Graduation rate: 49%
  • Annual net price: $10,000 
  • Time to degree: Two to four years
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

5. Fort Hays State University

Hays, Kansas

About the program: FHSU's 120-credit bachelor of science in computer science prepares graduates for careers including cybersecurity, database management, and video game design. 

  • Acceptance rate: 91%
  • Graduation rate: 58%
  • Annual net price: $12,000
  • Time to degree: Four years
  • SAT range: 1080
  • Minimum GPA: 2.25
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery methods: Online

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

6. Regis University

Denver, Colorado

About the program: The accelerated bachelor of science in computer science at Regis offers students a 120-credit hour online curriculum that hones skills in programming languages, paradigms, and platforms.

  • Acceptance rate: 71%
  • Graduation rate: 57%
  • Annual net price: $25,000
  • Time to degree: Variable; accelerated program
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: January, March, May, July, August, and October
  • Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

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

7. Lewis University

Romeoville, Illinois

About the program: Lewis offers two computer science tracks leading to a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts. Both programs require completion of 128 credits. 

  • Acceptance rate: 64%
  • Graduation rate: 67%
  • Annual net price: $19,000
  • Time to degree: Variable; accelerated programs available
  • SAT range: 500-600 critical reading; 510-600 math
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Fall and spring terms
  • Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

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

8. Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

About the program: SNHU's online computer science degree program leads to a bachelor of science. The 120-credit curriculum includes programming languages, cloud integration, and full-stack development.

  • Acceptance rate: 88%
  • Graduation rate: 47%
  • Annual net price: $41,000
  • Time to degree: Variable; accelerated and part-time programs available
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

9. Limestone University

Gaffney, South Carolina

About the program: Limestone's 120-credit bachelor of science in computer science program focuses on computer and information systems security tools to combat hackers and viruses. 

  • Acceptance rate: 51%
  • Graduation rate: 48%
  • Annual net price: $23,000
  • Time to degree: Variable; accelerated and part-time programs available
  • SAT range: 490-580 critical reading; 480-580 math
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Limestone University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

10. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo, Florida

About the program: Saint Leo's 120-credit online bachelor of science in computer science curriculum gives students skills in programming, internet applications, computer forensics, information security, and artificial intelligence. 

  • Acceptance rate: 72%
  • Graduation rate: 43%
  • Annual net price: $19,000
  • Time to degree: Four years
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery methods: Online and synchronous

Accreditation: Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

11. Davenport University

Grand Rapids, Michigan

About the program: Davenport students pursuing online bachelor of science in computer science degrees can specialize in artificial intelligence or computer theory and algorithms. Majors must earn 120 credits.

  • Acceptance rate: 82%
  • Graduation rate: 27%
  • Annual net price: $16,000
  • Time to degree: Four years
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery methods: Online, synchronous, and asynchronous

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

12. Central Methodist University

Fayette, Missouri

About the program: CMU's online computer science students can opt for a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science, depending on their career goals. Both tracks require 120 credits.

  • Acceptance rate: 93%
  • Graduation rate: 52%
  • Annual net price: $21,000
  • Time to degree: Four years
  • SAT range: 1050+
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Enrollment periods per year: Fall and spring semesters
  • Course delivery methods: Online

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

13. National University

La Jolla, California

About the program: Learners in National's bachelor of science in computer science online program earn 180 quarter units that balance academics and real-world programming skills.

  • Acceptance rate: 89%
  • Graduation rate: 34%
  • Annual net price: $21,000
  • Time to degree: Four years; accelerated options available
  • SAT range: 370-600 critical reading; 380-570 math
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery methods: Online

Accreditation: National University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).

14. Franklin University

Columbus, Ohio

About the program: The 124-credit online bachelor of science in computer science at Franklin allows the transfer of up to 94 previous credits and offers instruction from experienced technology leaders.

  • Acceptance rate: Open admissions
  • Graduation rate: 34%
  • Annual net price: $13,000
  • Time to degree: Four years; accelerated options and part-time study available
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery methods: Online, synchronous, and asynchronous

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

15. Baker College

Owosso, Michigan

About the program: Baker College's online bachelor of science in computer science with a concentration in computer programming features 120 credits in topics like artificial intelligence and data analytics.

  • Acceptance rate: 73%
  • Graduation rate: 23%
  • Annual net price: $15,000
  • Time to degree: Four years
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Fall, spring, and summer terms
  • Course delivery methods: Online, synchronous, and asynchronous

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

Insights from a computer science graduate

A headshot of Meenakshi Das, a woman with dark hair and eyes.

Meenakshi 'Meena' Das is a software engineer at Microsoft. Through her writing and speaking engagements, she has shared her accessibility expertise in making software accessible to users with disabilities with individuals and organizations. She is the founder of "Working with Disabilities," a support group for working professionals with disabilities. 

For her tech inclusion work, she was inducted into the National Susan M. Daniels National Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. She is also a member of the Accessibility Leadership Committee of Disability:IN. 

Shas been quoted by Forbes, CNET, Salon, and ABC News for her views on disability inclusion in tech.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

ZDNet: What are the most rewarding aspects of your career? What are the most challenging aspects of your career?
Meenakshi Das: I enjoy the feeling of how a few lines of code I write can impact thousands of people's lives digitally. Combine this with the joy of problem-solving, and it's a very satisfying feeling.

I also apply my software accessibility expertise in making software accessible to the one billion disabled people on this planet, which is the most rewarding aspect of my career. You can read more about how you can write accessible code as a software engineer in my latest post here

Sometimes when you are too involved in solving a coding problem, you can lose track of time! This can be challenging as it is important to have a good routine and take breaks. 

I combat this by remembering to eat well, take stretching breaks, have informal coffee chats with my coworkers, and do fun things outside of work!

ZDNet: How did you make the most of your computer science degree program so that it prepared you for post-grad jobs? 

MD: One thing I did was to use all the help and resources available to me. I went to TA office hours and programming tutors if I was stuck on a homework assignment or just needed help understanding a coding problem. 

For programming projects, I didn't just do them for a grade. I looked at it as an actual industry project and utilized tools that are used by tech companies, such as Git, to manage my code. This gave me a taste of real-world skills, improved my resume, and landed me my first software engineering internship!

ZDNet: What misconception(s) do people have about a computer science bachelor's degree, and what would you tell them?

MD: There is definitely a misconception that only people who are math or science geniuses and/or those who have been programming since childhood will succeed in a computer science degree. 

That is not at all true! You just need to enjoy problem-solving and have a willingness to learn. 

Computer programming is definitely a skill that you can master with practice. The more you code, the better you get. 

Individuals with disabilities also should not be discouraged from pursuing computer science majors. The tech industry is a lot more accessible than some of the other jobs out there, and the tools and technologies to learn computer programming are also becoming more accessible day by day.

ZDNet: What was the most challenging course you took as a computer science major? What advice would you give to students who are about to start this course?

MD: The most challenging course I took was data structures and algorithms. Most computer science students take this after they have taken a course or two on introductory programming. This course can be challenging because it emphasizes the efficiency of your code.

Programming every day using data structures, even for 10 minutes or so, can greatly improve your skills! Pick a problem on Hackerrank and think of the most basic way to solve the problem. Then, try to optimize your algorithm by using an efficient data structure. 

Don't panic if you can't think of an efficient solution right away. Make use of hints and discussion boards. Problem-solving gets better with practice.

What to expect in an online computer science degree program

As a computer science major, you will learn to think analytically, evaluate complex problems, and design algorithms through coursework covering theory, development, and application. You can specialize and earn qualifications in areas including systems security, software engineering, and video game design. 

To maximize your success in a computer science degree program, consider your career goals when selecting your degree level. Weigh concentration areas that interest you and potential internships. 

Computer science courses

Common computer science courses at the bachelor's degree level include algorithms and data structures, computer architecture, fundamentals of computer systems, and introduction to networks. 

You'll also take advanced classes covering operating systems and programming languages. You can expect later courses to build on skills learned in earlier ones.

Computer science degree levels

One of the fastest routes to entry-level computer science positions is an associate degree. A bachelor's degree includes foundational courses, along with general education. After completing a bachelor's degree, you can specialize or increase your earning potential with a master's or doctoral degree.

Associate in computer science

Length: Two years

Cost: $80-$432 per credit

Post-grad careers: Computer support specialist, computer programmer, web designer, web developer

An associate degree in computer science teaches basic skills and qualifies graduates for entry-level positions. Courses cover information security network administration, and operating systems. Learners hone skills in math, logic, and problem solving and can earn certifications, including Microsoft.

Students can choose among associate of science or arts degrees, which prepare graduates for bachelor's level education, or an associate of applied science designed for those who want to enter the workforce right away. 

Bachelor's in computer science

Length: Four years

Cost: $289-$655 per credit

Post-grad careers: Information security analyst, network architect, software developer 

Computer science majors can earn a bachelor of arts or science in computer science. They'll learn the fundamentals of managing computer networks and operating systems, along with programming and systems architecture. Students can choose concentrations like game development, network and security, and software engineering.

Bachelor of arts programs tend to focus less on math and science than bachelor of science programs. Both degrees combine coursework with hands-on projects and internship opportunities.

Master's in computer science

Length: Two to three years

Cost: $358-$2,148 per credit

Post-grad careers: Computer and information research scientist, computer and information systems manager, data scientist

Computer science master's degree programs offer specialized training in areas like artificial intelligence, data analytics, data science, and information systems management. 

Coursework builds on knowledge acquired in bachelor's programs and includes topics in algorithm design and analysis, computability theory, database management, and numerical analysis. Students can expect to complete an internship and a master's thesis, project, or examination.

Master's degree-holders may earn higher incomes than those with bachelor's degrees, making a computer science master's worth it for many.

Doctorate in computer science

Length: 4-5 years

Cost: $450-$1,000 per credit

Post-grad careers: Computer science professor, computer scientist, research scientist

Doctoral programs in computer science appeal to students with academic and research career goals. Other professional routes include high-level executive, governmental, and scientific roles. 

Curricula focus on research methods and collection, analysis, and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative data. Other courses may cover data mining, data warehousing, and logical clocks. Doctoral students write and defend dissertations. 

In conclusion

A computer science bachelor's degree opens doors to graduate studies and a wide range of lucrative jobs.

Online programs offer flexibility and convenience and feature curriculums tailored for specific career goals and specialization interests. Check out our computer science scholarship page for resources to help you pay for college.

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