Best Online Computer Science Bachelor’s Degrees

best online computer science bachelorsEarning a bachelor’s degree in computer science can prepare you for sought-after IT career paths such as software engineer, data scientist, mobile application developer, and computer systems analyst. But when it comes to choosing such a diverse learning plan, many factors must be considered. To this end, we’ve crunched the numbers and analyzed the programs to determine this year's best online bachelor degrees in computer science.

To rank the best online computer science bachelor’s programs, our experts looked at five key metrics: marketability and workforce relevance of skills taught in the program (30% of the total score), student engagement (25%), affordability (20%), flexibility and convenience (15%), and x-factors (10%). Read our complete ranking methodology here.

Desirable Curriculum in a CS Bachelor's Program

All of the factors that went into scoring this year's best accredited computer science degrees are vital, but most important is the curriculum, i.e., the skills and technologies you will learn throughout the program. To help you better judge the CS degrees on this page and beyond, here are some of the key competencies you should look for in a computer science degree program:

  • Design and Development of Secure Software Systems and Applications
  • Marketable Programming Languages, e.g., Python, PHP, Java, C, C#, C++ & Swift
  • Web Development Basics including Coding in HTML, CSS, and Javascript
  • Mobile Application Development for Apple iOS and Google Android Devices
  • Math Topics including Discrete Mathematics, Statistics, Calculus & Algebra
  • Algorithmic Thinking, Analysis and Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
  • Data Science, Data Analytics and Big Data Visualization
  • Cloud Engineering - Especially in Hot Platforms like AWS, Google Cloud & Microsoft Azure
  • Fundamental Skills in Hardware Engineering, Computer Networking, Information Security, Operating Systems & IT Project Management

As a field in which you must clearly convey ideas (oftentimes to non-technical personnel) and usually work as part of a team, soft skills - a.k.a. communication skills - are crucial in computer science. Valuable soft skills to look for in an online computer science degree (or any CS training program) include:

  • Oral and Written Communication
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Effective Presentation
  • Team Leadership
  • Time Management

Now that we have a better grasp of the skills and platforms to look for in a CS degree, let's compare this year's top-ranked programs. You can also skip ahead to learn more about computer science including the jobs and salaries in this field.

Here are the best acredited online bachelor’s degrees in computer science:

01

B.S. in Computer Science | Oregon State University

Oregon State University With a proven record of excellence in research, knowledge, and innovation, Oregon State University brings these qualities and more to its online bachelor’s in computer science. This program earns high marks for workforce relevance with a core CS curriculum featuring topics like software engineering, algorithmic thinking and analysis, and data modeling. Beyond a robust core and desirable electives, this degree features an “applied computer science option” which lets students combine their CS studies with deep examination of a field where computer science plays a vital role, e.g., information security. Students can also incorporate a minor into this degree; options include dozens of sought-after verticals for comp-sci professionals such as health management, economics, sustainability, and user experience research.

Flexibility is paramount in this computer science bachelor's program. In addition to distance learning via its acclaimed Ecampus platform, OSU offers this program at its sprawling campus in Corvallis, Oregon, and as a hybrid of online and classroom learning. There’s also a range of accelerated study options including a 60 credit postbaccalaureate for students who already possess a bachelors, as well as a double degree option where students can earn two bachelors simultaneously.

OSU Ecampus students also enjoy access to helpful resources such as success coaching, library services, free online tutoring, and professional career guidance.

Key Program Statistics
Credits to Graduate 180
Cost per Credit $386
Learning Format(s) Online, On-Campus (OR), Hybrid
Program Duration 4 years
Completion Program No

Learn more about this program


02

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science | Wilmington University

Wilmington University With a focus on secure systems and application development and available majors in artificial intelligence and data analytics, Wilmington University’s computer science bachelor's degree prepares students for success in the modern workforce. This program delves deep into computer programming with coursework in marketable languages like PHP, Java, C#, .NET, HTML, CSS, Javascript, SQL, and Python.

As many of us know, hands-on experience is often the best way to learn a skill set. WilmU’s focus on “experiential learning” embodies this maxim with programs like their Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) and Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) internship opportunities which help students earn course credits for prior and ongoing work experience, as well as existing skills and IT certifications. These programs have the added effect of reducing tuition, helping make this one of the year's most affordable online computer science degrees.

This program earned top marks in flexibility and convenience; beyond a bevvy of ways to earn experiential credits and reduce duration, learning formats include online, hybrid and in-person classes at multiple locations in Delaware and New Jersey. Students who already have an associate degree can take a portion of this program to earn their computer science bachelors. There are also accelerated options that allow students to simultaneously earn graduate certificates in hot computing domains like management information systems (MIS) and IT project management.

Key Program Statistics
Credits to Graduate 120
Cost per Credit $390
Learning Format(s) Online, On-Campus (DE, NJ), Hybrid
Program Duration 4 years
Completion Program No

Learn more about this program


03

Online Bachelor's in Computer Science | Maryville University

Maryville University of Saint Louis This program shines with a learning plan rich in cutting-edge technical disciplines that are well-positioned to stand the test of time. In addition to a well-rounded core comp-sci curriculum, students in this 100% online degree can specialize in areas like data science, artificial intelligence, software development, user experience and user interface (UX/UI), blockchain, and cybersecurity. Each of these specialties can also be taken in advance as a standalone certificate then applied to a future bachelor’s degree.

Students in Maryville's online computer science bachelor's program also benefit from the school’s extensive catalog of IT and business classes that can be taken as electives. Notable options include courses in programming and scripting languages like Java, C, C++, MySQL, Python, R, SAS, Javascript, and Swift. Students can also gain experience in popular technology platforms like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), VMware, CA Technologies and more. There is also training in valuable soft skills for computer science professionals including critical thinking, problem solving, and communication.

While it’s one of the pricier options on this list with an average net price just over $28,000, Maryville boasts some strong institutional data points including a top-tier graduation rate of 75%, a low student-to-faculty ratio of 14-1, and the lowest loan default rate in this year’s ranking of 2.4%.

Key Program Statistics
Credits to Graduate 128
Cost per Credit $500
Learning Format(s) Online
Program Duration 4 years
Completion Program No

Learn more about this program


04

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science | Western Governors University

Western Governors University WGU's online computer science bachelor's degree earned its spot in the top 5 due largely to its incredible affordability score. This program features a tuition structure that lets students pay by the 6-month term rather than by the credit, allowing students to finish faster and pay less; WGU reports that 70% of students finish this bachelor’s program in less than 23 months.

Of course, to make our list, WGU’s premier computer science degree needed more than just great value. This online program notched solid workforce relevance scores for CS coursework in data structures and algorithms, software engineering, and advanced data management. This degree also has a well-rounded core curriculum featuring essential courses in web development, information security, and computer networking, as well as business-focused tech courses like technology project management and IT leadership. Students in this program will also earn valuable certifications including CompTIA’s Project+ and ITIL’s Foundation certificate.

Western Governors University students will benefit from a dedicated Program Mentor who will provide guidance and support for the duration of the degree.

Key Program Statistics
Terms to Graduate 4 to 6
Cost per Term $3920
Learning Format(s) Online
Program Duration 2 to 3 years
Completion Program No

Learn more about this program


05

Bachelor of Computer Science | Auburn University

Auburn University Boasting the best student engagement numbers in this year’s ranking, including a 79% graduation rate and 91% student retention, Auburn University lives up to its reputation for academic excellence with its online bachelor of computer science. Beyond the statistics, Auburn's panel of distinguished PhDs and active practitioners in computer science and engineering have designed a solid CS curriculum.

Noteworthy courses in this computer science degree completion program include advanced data structures and algorithms, web and mobile application development, and computer ethics and legislation. Students can also choose from a curated list of CS electives including marketable subjects like computer architecture, parallel systems, and advanced wireless networking.

Students without a previous degree or the requisite 60 college credits can also take this program as a standalone computer science degree entirely at AU.

Key Program Statistics
Credits to Graduate 60
Cost per Credit $525
Learning Format(s) Online, On-Campus (AL)
Program Duration 2 years
Completion Program Yes

Learn more about this program

What is Computer Science?

Computer Science (CS) is the study of computers and computational systems and how they interact with the world at large. Computer science professionals have the ability to assess the need for a new technology and the expertise to create a technological solution to fill it. This is typically accomplished through the design and development of software systems and applications.

CS vs. CE vs. IT

In higher education, the term computer science (CS) is often mistakenly used interchangeably with computer engineering (CE) and information technology (IT). Very simply put, when compared to computer engineering, CS degrees are more software centric while CE programs have greater focus on the hardware side of things. When it comes to computer science versus information technology, CS is more about creating the technology while IT is about utilizing existing tech.

Related: Computer Science vs. Computer Engineering

Jobs You Can Get with an Online CS Bachelors

Here are some popular roles you can land upon completing a computer science bachelor’s program, along with the average salary for each position. Click on each title for a deep dive job description.

Career Path Average Salary
Data Scientist $119,328
Mobile App Developer $118,696
Cloud Engineer $118,178
Computer Scientist $104,606
User Interface Developer $103,930
Software Engineer $101,454
Video Game Designer $82,390
Computer Systems Analyst $71,390
Web Developer $70,270
Computer Programmer $58,106

Source for salary data: Indeed.com

Related: Jobs You Can Get with a Computer Science Degree

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