Earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science can prepare you for lucrative careers in software engineering, data science, mobile development, artificial intelligence, and more. However, when building such a diverse learning plan, you must consider many factors. To this end, we've analyzed the field to identify this year's best computer science bachelor's programs.
This guide will highlight the top five online bachelor's degrees in computer science. We’ll also outline a well-designed CS curriculum - including hard and soft skills, jobs and salaries you can pursue upon graduation, and answer FAQs from prospective computer science students.
What makes our rankings valuable?
Most degree rankings online rely primarily on the National Center for Education Statistics, measuring school-wide rates for graduation, retention, class size, etc. The NCES has good data, and we use it too; however, we go beyond institutional stats to analyze the current and future relevance of the skills and certifications you’ll gain. We also list programs' actual tuition fees and delve deeper into value and flexibility to consider accelerated learning and certificate options.
|The Best Online Computer Science Bachelor's Degrees
|Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
|Oregon State University
|Online B.S. in Computer Science
|Online Bachelor’s in Computer Science
|Western Governors University
|B.S. in Computer Science
|Undergraduate Online Computer Science Program
Computer Science Bachelor's Degree Curriculum
All ranking factors for the best accredited computer science degrees are vital, but most important is the curriculum, i.e., the skills and platforms you will learn during the program. To help you better judge the CS degrees on this page and beyond, here are some key competencies you should look for in a computer science bachelor's in 2024:
- Design and development of secure software systems and applications
- Marketable programming languages like Python, PHP, Java, C, C#, C++ & Swift
- Mobile application development for Apple iOS and Google Android devices
- Math topics including discrete mathematics, statistics, calculus, and algebra
- Algorithmic thinking, analysis, and engineering
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
- Data science, data analytics, and big data visualization
- Cloud computing - especially in popular platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure
- Fundamental skills in hardware engineering, computer networking, information security, and IT project management
In a field where you must convey complex ideas (often 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 bachelor's degree (or any CS program) include:
- Oral and written communication
- Creative problem-solving
- Effective presentation
- Team leadership
- Time management
The Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science
We chose the top five online computer science bachelors based on numerous factors, including the current and future relevance of curricula, school reputation, program features, flexibility, and value.
Here are the best computer science bachelor’s you can take online in 2024:
Hands-on experience is the best way to learn a skill set. WilmU’s focus on "experiential learning" embodies this maxim with 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 value; beyond various ways to earn experiential credits and reduce cost and duration, learning formats include online, hybrid, and in-person classes at multiple locations in Delaware and New Jersey. Students with an associate degree can take select courses to earn their computer science bachelor's. There are also accelerated options that allow students to simultaneously earn graduate certificates in hot domains like management information systems (MIS) and IT project management.
- Format: Online, On-Campus (DE & NJ), or Hybrid
- Tuition Cost: $49,080 (40 courses @ $1,227 per course)
- Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
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 B.S. in Computer Science. This program earns high marks for relevance with a core curriculum of software engineering, algorithmic thinking and analysis, and data modeling. Beyond a robust core and marketable electives, this degree features an “applied computer science option” where students combine their CS studies with a deep examination of a field where computer science plays a vital role. Students can also incorporate a minor; 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. In addition to distance learning via its acclaimed Ecampus platform, OSU offers hybrid and in-person learning options at its Corvallis, Oregon campus. There are also accelerated study options, including a 60-credit postbaccalaureate for students with a bachelor's degree and a double degree where students earn two bachelor's simultaneously.
OSU Ecampus students also enjoy access to helpful resources like success coaching, free online tutoring, and professional career guidance.
- Format: Online, On-Campus (Oregon), or Hybrid
- Tuition Cost: $73,620 (180 credits @ $409 per credit)
- Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Maryville's Online Bachelor's in Computer Science shines with a learning plan in cutting-edge technical disciplines well-positioned to stand the test of time. In addition to a well-rounded core curriculum, students in this online CS program can specialize in areas like data science, artificial intelligence, software development, user experience and user interface (UX/UI), blockchain, and cybersecurity. Each specialty can also be taken in advance as a standalone certificate and applied to a future bachelor’s degree.
Maryville boasts strong institutional stats, 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 at 2.4%.
- Format: Online
- Tuition Cost: $67,200 (128 credits @ $525 per credit)
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Western Governors University
WGU's Bachelor of Science in Computer Science earned its spot in the top five due largely to its incredible affordability score. This program features a tuition structure that lets students pay by the 6-month term rather than the credit, allowing participants to finish faster and pay less; WGU reports that 70% of students complete this program in less than 23 months.
Of course, to make our list, this online computer science degree had to be more than just a great value. This program notched solid workforce relevance scores for CS coursework in data structures and algorithms, software engineering, and advanced data management. It also boasts a well-rounded core curriculum featuring courses in web development, information security, and computer networking, as well as business-focused modules in IT project management and leadership. Students in this program also earn valuable certifications, including CompTIA’s Project+ and ITIL’s Foundation certificate.
WGU students get a dedicated Program Mentor to provide guidance and support for the duration of the degree.
- Format: Online
- Tuition Cost: $17,340 to $34,680 (4 to 8 terms @ $4,335 per term)
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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 institutional data, Auburn's panel of distinguished PhDs and active practitioners in computer science and engineering designed a standout 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 in hot 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 bachelor's entirely at AU.
- Format: Online or On-Campus (Alabama)
- Tuition Cost: $33,480 (60 credits @ $558 per credit)
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Computer Science Bachelor's Degree Jobs
Here are some popular jobs you can land with a computer science bachelor’s degree and the median salary for each role. Click on the job titles for a deep-dive description.
|Mobile App Developer
|User Interface Developer
|Video Game Designer
|Computer Systems Analyst
Source for salary data: Indeed.com
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions from prospective students in computer science bachelor's programs.
What is Computer Science?
Computer Science (CS) studies computers and computational systems and how they interact with the world. Computer science specialists assess the need for new technology and create a solution to fill it; this is typically accomplished through the design and development of software systems and applications.
CS vs. CE vs. IT - What's the difference?
In higher education, the term computer science (CS) is often mistakenly used interchangeably with computer engineering (CE) and information technology (IT). Broadly speaking, when compared to computer engineering, CS degrees are more software-centric, while CE programs have a greater focus on the hardware side of things. Regarding computer science versus information technology, CS is more about creating the technology, while IT is about utilizing existing tech.
Related reading: Computer Science vs. Computer Engineering
Which online school is best for computer science?
According to our analysis of online programs, Wilmington University has the best online bachelor's degree in computer science for 2024.