IT Degree Programs in North Carolina
A guide to North Carolina’s best IT degrees in 2024.

Anchored by Research Triangle Park - the largest research park in the U.S. - with hundreds of tech companies and startups, North Carolina is fertile ground for IT education and employment. From its dynamic urban campuses in Charlotte to its acclaimed research institutions in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, students in NC have access to some of the nation’s best information technology degrees.

This article will highlight North Carolina's top-ranked IT degree programs and discuss the pros and cons of studying computing and technology in The Tar Heel State.

What makes our rankings valuable?

Most college rankings online rely heavily on the National Center for Education Statistics, measuring institutional rates for graduation, retention, acceptance, etc. The NCES has good data, and we use it too; however, we go beyond the stats to analyze the current and future relevance of the skills and credentials gained. We also delve deep into value and flexibility to consider accelerated, online, dual-degree, and certificate options.

Top-Ranked IT Degrees in North Carolina

We selected the best IT degree programs in North Carolina based on numerous factors, including industry relevance of the curriculum, scope of certificates and electives, school reputation, program features, institutional stats, accessibility, and overall value.

Here are North Carolina’s best information technology programs:

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill)

Students at UNC-Chapel Hill benefit from IT curricula designed by active professionals and enriched by its close ties with major tech companies from Chapel Hill to Raleigh. The university emphasizes the societal impact of technology through initiatives like its national center to study the effects of social media on child brain development and its advanced health informatics program, which works with local healthcare providers to improve patient care through technology. We also favored UNC-Chapel Hill's comprehensive dual-degree programs, where students can simultaneously earn undergraduate and graduate IT degrees.

Top Information Technology Degrees:

  • B.S. in Information Science
  • B.S. to M.S. in Information Science
  • M.P.S. in Biomedical and Health Informatics

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2. North Carolina State University (NC State)

Through its College of Engineering and Department of Computer Science, NC State offers some of our favorite IT degree programs. Facilities like the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, with its advanced technology labs, partnerships with Research Triangle mainstays like Red Hat and Biogen, and collaboration with IBM for access to the latest quantum computing hardware, exemplify the university’s commitment to STEM education. NC State’s campus and online technology degrees feature coursework that aligns with today’s best computer jobs.

Top Information Technology Majors:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Media Arts, Design & Technology
  • Game Development

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3. North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NC A&T)

The largest historically black university in the nation, NC A&T offers some of North Carolina’s best and most affordable information technology degrees. Specializing at the intersection of technology and agriculture, the university prepares students to innovate in emerging areas like renewable energy and sustainability. Collaboration with companies like Duke Energy and the National Renewable Energy Lab enhances its high-tech curriculum, positioning the university as a leader in future-focused learning.

Top Information Technology Degrees:

  • B.S. Information Technology
  • M.S. Information Technology
  • M.S. Technology Management

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4. Duke University

Duke’s interdisciplinary approach to higher education provides IT degree candidates with skills and credentials that are in high demand across industry lines. In Research Triangle Park, Duke partners with tech giants like Cisco and IBM to provide students with cooperative learning experiences and lucrative career opportunities; this collaboration ensures Duke's IT curriculum remains industry-relevant, making it a prime choice for aspiring technologists.

Top IT Degree Concentrations:

  • Software Systems
  • Data Science
  • Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

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5. University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC-Charlotte)

Technology degrees at UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics stand out for their career-focused curricula in cybersecurity, computer information systems, and data science. The university’s undergraduate and graduate programs reflect the needs of Charlotte's fast-growing financial tech sector. This specialization, coupled with affordable tuition for North Carolinians, offers students a direct path to technical finance careers in one of the nation's banking capitals.

Top IT Degree Concentrations:

  • Big Data Analysis
  • Cybersecurity
  • Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

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Pros of Pursuing an IT Degree in North Carolina

  • Research Triangle Park A cornerstone for tech in North Carolina, RTP is a major draw for IT degree candidates seeking internships and career opportunities with its 300+ startups and tech giants.
  • Advanced IT Research: North Carolina institutions like Duke, UNC, and NC State are at the cutting edge of computing research and innovation. IT students engage in groundbreaking research projects, contributing to meaningful advancements in emerging fields like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and data analytics.
  • Online Degree Options: Top-ranked North Carolina universities like NC State and Duke have expanded their catalogs to offer some of the best online courses, certificates, and degrees in information technology.

Cons of Pursuing an IT Degree in North Carolina

  • Geographical Spread: While the Research Triangle, including Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, offers immense opportunities, North Carolina's tech industry is highly concentrated in this region. North Carolinians outside these hubs may need to relocate to maximize their IT education and career opportunities.
  • Competitive Environment: North Carolina’s top-tier universities and booming tech sector make admission to IT degree programs and job openings highly competitive.


North Carolina is a prime location for IT education, with top-notch programs at UNC, NC State, Duke, and more centered around the innovation hub of Research Triangle Park. The best tech schools in the state blend rigorous academics with direct industry ties, preparing students for success in a competitive environment. While many of North Carolina’s premier tech degrees are offered in The Triangle, NC's focus on advanced research and diverse online offerings make it an excellent choice for aspiring technologists state-wide.

Further Reading