best online masters programs in computer scienceOnline College Plan is excited to present its ranking for the Top 30 Online Masters Degree Programs in Computer Science. The ranking is designed to help take some of the legwork out of finding a program that works for you.

Technology is absolutely everywhere, and the limits of what technology can do are pushed every day, all around the world. It is going to continue to grow, and computer scientists play a very important role in that growth. USA Today reported that computer science majors increased by 95% in just four years, from 2011 to 2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that software engineering employment is projected to grow at a rate of 31% over the next several years, which is significantly faster than the national average; it is among the top ten fastest-growing jobs in the country. Two other career fields in the BLS list of the 20 fastest-growing jobs are also computer science careers. Computer science jobs also have some of the highest starting salaries in the professional world.

Any time a field is booming as much as this one is, it becomes more competitive. For several years now, computer science companies have been placing a higher demand on candidates because of its growth and because of the significant increase in computer science graduates. While you do only need a bachelors in computer science to qualify for many entry-level positions, a masters degree in computer science is going to prove itself to be a worthwhile investment for you to make.

Masters Programs in Computer Science

Computer Science is a very broad field that covers a lot of different topics. That is even truer now because of the way that technology continues to grow. For instance, twenty years ago, only roughly 740 million people used the internet; as of 2019, it is reported that almost five billion people are now using the internet. Some of the different things that a masters in computer science will cover are graphics, network security, operating systems, software engineering, machine learning, several different programming languages, and so much more.

At the masters level, you have more options to personalize your degree plan and make sure that what you’re learning will be directly relevant to the career you aspire to have. Undergraduate study introduces you to all of the key concepts in different areas of computer science. The graduate-level study builds on that with a core curriculum, but you will be able to select a program and often individual courses, that dive deeper into the things you truly want to learn about.

Some examples of potential concentrations you could take as part of a masters program in computer science include:

  • Digital Systems Design
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Information Assurance and Cyber Defense
  • Embedded Computer Systems
  • Data Analytics

Something that is now available at many colleges and universities is that instead of having a prescribed core curriculum, computer science programs just include competency areas that you have to complete. Instead of taking a specific course, you would have several options within a certain competency area. This allows you to have a more customized experience and one that will help you gain the precise skills you need for your job.

On average, students with a masters degree in computer science earn 30% more than those who have only completed a bachelors degree. Computer science masters degrees have ranked among the top ten best masters degree options according to Forbes for close to a decade running; it is currently number seven. Software engineering and management information systems are both on the list as well.

Earning an Online Masters in Computer Science

It only makes sense that computer science degrees are among the top ten most common degrees available online. The first-ever Master of Science in Computer Science was offered by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1962; the first-ever online degree program was offered as early as 1981, but it is unclear when the first online masters in computer science became available. Even though their history isn’t well-documented, there are now hundreds of online masters programs in computer science from which to choose.

An online program in computer science covers the same material that you would cover in a physical classroom, and the majority of the classes are taught by the same professors. Online classes in a computer science program can be delivered asynchronously or synchronously, with the former being the most popular. Students of these programs rarely have to attend a physical campus, if at all. Instead, you take your classes entirely online, and according to your schedule. You can keep your current job, and you won’t have to move to a different city or state.

The flexibility is one of the most prominent benefits of choosing an online masters in computer science, but it isn’t the only one. The colleges near you may not offer certain courses that you’d like to take in order to advance your career. If you choose to earn your computer science degree online, you can find the program with a curriculum that fits your goals. Because computer science is such a diverse field, taking the right courses matters. These programs may also be more affordable. Many online degree programs offer students in-state tuition rates. Even if this isn’t true of the school you choose, you could still see fewer fees, fewer material costs, and more. You are also still eligible for scholarships and financial aid when you’re a distance learner.

Because there are so many programs for you to choose from, we created this ranking of the Top 30 Online Masters Degrees in Computer Science to help you find the best option for you. All schools were ranked according to the following.

Methodology

When creating our ranking of the best online masters programs in computer science, we started by creating a list of potential schools. In order to be considered, a school had to meet a few qualifying criteria. Schools had to offer at least one online masters-level program in computer science, whether that was entirely online or in a blended delivery format. Only computer science degree programs were considered. Schools also had to be based in the United States, hold proper accreditation, and operate in a non-profit or not-for-profit model. Once we had our list, we scored each school based on the following three factors.

  • Freshman Retention Rate (⅓ of the final score)
  • Graduation Rate (⅓ of the final score)
  • Affordability (⅓ of the final score)

All of the information used to calculate a school’s score was taken from its own website whenever it was available. We also used both the National Center for Education Statistics as well as U.S. News & World Report to collect the information presented in the ranking. All of the cost information we used reflect the average cost of attendance reported by Niche.com.

The maximum possible score that a school could receive was 300 points. The schools were placed in ascending order based on their score. If any two institutions earned the same score, we used the alphabetical ordering of their names to break the tie. Some schools may not appear here that would have otherwise ranked if there was not complete information available or per their own request.

We’d like to note that we’re confident that this clearly-stated methodology is repeatable. No institution is ever awarded any preferential treatment of any kind, for any reason.

  1. MERIT: 282
    View Profile Average Cost: $16,562

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    Stanford UniversityThis online computer science master’s program has been ranked as the best in the country; it is offered by the Stanford School of Engineering at Stanford University. This is a terminal degree that does not prepare you for further education, instead, it prepares you for higher-level careers in the field of computer science. There are 45 units required for graduation and it takes the average part-time student between three and five years to complete it. There are full-time scheduling options available as well.

    This is an online program but the university wants it to be clear that your ability to take it entirely online depends on your area of focus and the completion plan that you come up with when working with your advisor. Not every class is available online every quarter. The required courses are Logic, Automata, and Complexity; Probability; Design and Analysis of Algorithms; Computer Organization and Systems and; Principles of Computer Systems. From there, you will select courses that fall into categories like Significant Implementation Courses, Specialization Courses, and Electives.

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  2. MERIT: 278
    View Profile Average Cost: $22,824

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    Columbia UniversityColumbia University in the City of New York is often abbreviated as just CU and it offers a fully-online computer science master’s degree. There are a total of 30 credits required to graduate and you can take this program entirely online. This degree program is designed for professionals who want to expand their knowledge and their career prospects at one of the top universities in the country. Most applicants will need to have an undergraduate degree in computer science and you must take the GRE to apply.

    Online degrees are accepted, which is something that is unique at such an esteemed school. There are core courses that are required for all students to take but the degree plan is customizable through selecting one of the available concentration tracks. Your options include Vision, Graphics, Interaction, and Robotics; Software Systems; Network Systems; Natural Language Processing; Machine Learning; Foundations of Computer Science; Computer Security; and Computational Biology.

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  3. MERIT: 274
    View Profile Average Cost: $15,873

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    19 GA Tech-logoGeorgia Tech’s College of Computing offers an Online Master of Science in Computer Science degree program. It was the first of its kind because it is offered through the “massive online open course” or MOOC format. Delivery through this format allows students to earn their degree at a fraction of the cost. At present, the estimated total cost is only just around $7,000. This unique opportunity allows you to earn the exact same degree at those who attend Georgia Tech’s physical campus, which is renowned as one of the best computing education opportunities available around the world.

    There are 30 credits required for graduation and they are all offered through this format, providing you with exemplary flexibility. You can take up to six hours in a semester for fall and spring and only one over the summer. The majority of the course materials you need are provided for free online and you won’t need to go to any proctoring locations either. All of the classes are delivered asynchronously and you can expect to graduate in as little as three years if you can pursue your degree at an aggressive pace. Specializations are offered in Machine Learning, Interactive Intelligence, Computing Systems, and Computational Perception & Robotics.

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  4. MERIT: 270
    View Profile Average Cost: $29,066

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    Johns Hopkins-logoJohns Hopkins University is a highly decorated and prestigious university located in Maryland. U.S. News & World Report honored the university for offering some of the best online computer and information technology graduate degrees for the year 2018. This Master of Science in Computer Science is offered fully-online but you can also choose to take it in a hybrid format if you live near campus and that is something that appeals to you. There are a total of 30 credits required for graduation and you will be expected to select a concentration area; there is no general track.

    You will be required to take three foundation courses first, and those are: Foundations of Software Engineering, Foundations of Computer Architecture, and Foundations of Algorithms. Once you have completed those, you will on to take courses in your selected degree track. Tracks you can choose from include Theory, Systems, Software Engineering, Human-Computer Interaction and Visualization, Enterprise and Web Computing, Database Systems and Knowledge Management, Data Science and Cloud Computing, Data Communications and Networking, Cybersecurity, and Bioinformatics. Most of the classes in each area are offered entirely online. You can work with an advisor to be sure that you can complete your specialization entirely online by selecting the appropriate courses.

    You will also be able to select some elective courses and will be required to complete a capstone project to graduate. Most students can finish this program in about three years.

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  5. MERIT: 270
    View Profile Average Cost: $13,442

    Master of Computer Science

    North Carolina State University at RaleighThe Master of Computer Science (Distance Education) program at North Carolina State University is a terminal, professional degree program. This is not appropriate preparation for doctorate-level education; instead, this will prepare you for higher-level careers in the field of computer science. In order to be eligible, you do not have to have an undergraduate degree in computer science, you only have to meet some prerequisite requirements, which makes this a great choice for those of you who want a career change. There are no on-campus requirements, and there is no thesis or final oral exam to graduate from this online computer science program.

    You will have to complete 31 credits to graduate; all of your exams can be taken at a proctoring site near where you live. The curriculum is structured in a very flexible manner which will help you make sure that you are getting the exact education you need to do the career you want. The only required course is Computer Science Graduate Orientation. You will then select your core courses from a list of Theory courses and Systems courses based on your needs. All of the remaining courses that you will take are selected by you and your advisor based on your goals and academic needs. Most students can graduate from this program in about three years.

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  6. MERIT: 267
    View Profile Average Cost: $12,117

    Master of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Purdue-logoPurdue University’s degree that we’ve featured as one of the best computer science degrees in the country is the Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. This is a fully-online master’s degree that can be completed in a very short amount of time — just three semesters that last five weeks each. There are seven very broad tracks to choose from that make this degree highly individualized, too. Your options are VLSI and Circuit Design, Power and Energy Systems, Microelectronics & Nanotechnology, Fields and Optics, Computer Engineering, Signal & Image Processing, Networking, Communications, and Automatic Control.

    There are a total of 30 credits required for graduation and the curriculum is broken down into categories: Core Courses, Math Courses, Primary Focus Courses, and Elective Courses. The majority of your required credits will come from your area of focus and the electives you choose. This is a coursework-based program that is taught by world-class faculty.

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  7. MERIT: 266
    View Profile Average Cost: $16,638

    Master of Computer Science

    The University of Illinois System consists of several universities that all offer classes through the University of Illinois Online platform. This particular degree is provided by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and it is a Master of Computer Science. There are a total of 32 semester hours required for graduation and you can take all of the required classes online without ever having to visit the campus. This is a degree program designed for professionals. You will take courses through the MOOC format but will have support and advisement from the University of Illinois faculty.

    Depending on the pace at which you study, you can earn this degree in as little as one year; students that need more flexibility will have a total of five years to meet the requirements. The curriculum is broken down into different components, the first of which is the breadth requirement. You must select courses from four of the following areas: Parallel Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Database and Information Systems, Programming Languages & Software Engineering, Graphics/HCI, Systems and Networking, and Scientific Computing.

    You will then be required to take three advanced-level courses, and select an elective. Not every course is available each semester; however, the schedule is very clear so you can pick what works for you. In addition, up to twelve credits from prior education can be transferred to apply to your computer science master’s degree.

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  8. MERIT: 263
    View Profile Average Cost: $32,892

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    University of Southern CaliforniaThe University of Southern California offers one of the best online master’s in computer science through its Viterbi School of Engineering. The curriculum is expertly designed to blend current issues with a deep understanding of fundamental computer science concepts. Concentrations are offered in Computer Security, Data Science, Scientists, and Engineers, or Software Engineering, among others. There are start dates in January, May, and August. You can choose to take your degree at a full-time or part-time pace and could graduate in as little as 18 months.

    You do not need an undergraduate degree in computer science, you can also apply to the program if you have a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as mathematics or science. Classes are provided in a blend of synchronous and asynchronous formats. There are no visits to campus required and the majority of the courses you can take to satisfy the requirements of this program are available at a distance. You will need to complete a total of 28 credits to graduate. You can choose to complete a thesis or non-thesis option based on your goals.

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  9. MERIT: 260
    View Profile Average Cost: $30,784

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    Northeastern University, online degree programs, online college, college degree onlineNortheastern University offers a Master of Science in Computer Science online and on-campus for students who want to broaden their professional horizons in the field of computer science. There are full-time and part-time options and depending on which you choose, you can graduate in two to three years. Northeastern offers a total of eleven concentrations as part of this program; however, it is unclear if all of them are available online in their entirety. In order to apply, you will need to take the GRE, as well as provide three letters of recommendation, transcripts, a resume, and other documents.

    Students are admitted to the program every fall semester. There are only three required courses in the curriculum which are Programming design Paradigm, Algorithms, and your choice of either Foundation of Software Engineering or Computer Systems. You will then choose your electives and take your specialization courses outlined by the university. You can choose a thesis or non-thesis option; non-thesis students will have to complete a capstone Master’s Project instead, demonstrating professional competency in their specialty area.

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  10. MERIT: 255
    View Profile Average Cost: $22,613

    Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering

    Auburn UniversityAuburn University offers a less traditional degree program; however, it is such a great program that we chose to feature it in this ranking among other more traditional computer science degrees. Auburn offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering. This university is one of less than twenty in the nation to be distinguished as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research, and Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. The degree program consists of 33 credit hours in total and the only class that is not offered to distance students is Cryptography (MATH 6180), which is an elective.

    This degree is the only program that made the top ten on this list that was specifically designed so that you can use it in a professional application or go on to complete a doctoral degree. The curriculum is broken up into Foundational Courses (nine credits), Required Cybersecurity Courses (nine credits), and Cybersecurity Elective Courses (nine credits). Once you complete those requirements, you can choose one related elective that is not on the required list, and then you will complete a capstone project. The majority of this program is available in an asynchronous format. Online students also pay a special rate that is not as high as out-of-state tuition rates.

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  11. MERIT: 251
    View Profile Average Cost: $38,469

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    The Computer Science Master’s Program offered by the Stevens Institute of Technology has a lot to offer. One thing that makes this program stand out is the fact that you do not have to have a background in computer science in order to apply; it is open to all students that have completed at least a bachelor’s degree. Another thing that sets it apart is that you have ten concentrations to choose from that are all offered entirely online. The concentrations available to you include Web Application Development; Visual Computing and Information Extraction; Software Development; Secure Systems; Network and Systems Administration; Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization; Mobile Systems; Machine Learning; Gaming and Simulation and; Cloud Computing Databases.

    This is a very flexible program that has both a thesis and a non-thesis option. In addition to that, you can choose the classes that you take from start to finish. Even the core courses that you must take, you have a list of options to choose from, which allows you to create the degree that you want so that you can feed your professional goals. The electives you choose will allow you to earn a graduate certificate in your concentration area which will add a competitive edge to your resume when it comes time for you to advance your career. Full-time and part-time scheduling options are available; also, if you study part-time, you do not need a GRE or GMAT to apply.

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  12. MERIT: 250
    View Profile Average Cost: $12,947

    Master of Computer Science

    ASU, Online Degree Programs, Online College, Online courses, online masters, online master degrees, online bachelor's degreeASU Online has a strong reputation in the world of distance education and now students can choose to earn their online Master of Computer Science through Arizona State. There are a total of 30 credit hours required to graduate, which equates to ten courses. Each course only lasts seven and a half weeks each. There is a general track as well as a concentration in cybersecurity available. Arizona State’s program stands out because not only can you complete it in just 18 months of full-time study, you also don’t have to take a completely prescribed degree plan like you do with most accelerated options.

    There are two required courses which are Foundations of Algorithms and Knowledge Representation and Reasoning. Then, you will select courses in the categories of Systems, Applications, and then Electives. Professional Certifications are available in Big Data, Software Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, and Cybersecurity. More are being added over time as well. All of the courses you will take are delivered asynchronously.

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  13. MERIT: 250
    View Profile Average Cost: $20,271

    Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering

    The University of South Carolina offers an online Master of Science in Computer Science through its College of Engineering and Computing. This is the first degree program featured among the best online masters in computer science programs that was not designed to be terminal in any regard. This degree requires a thesis and is structured to prepare students to go on to earn a doctorate in computer science. There are a total of 30 credits required for graduation. USC also offers a non-thesis option of this program but it is unclear if that is also offered entirely online.

    The core curriculum includes Computer Architecture, Compiler Construction, Analysis Algorithms, and Seminar in Advances in Computing. This core will cover ten credits of the requirement and the remaining credits you need will come from your electives, one of which must be Thesis Preparation (CSCE 799). Online classes are offered both synchronously and asynchronously. There are no documented on-campus requirements in the program bulletin.

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  14. MERIT: 249
    View Profile Average Cost: $32,377

    Master of Science in Computing

    Marquette University has a master’s in computing degree program that you can take entirely online. There are both part-time and full-time scheduling options available, as well as three specializations. The specializations that you can choose from are a thesis degree option, Big Data, and Data Analytics, as well as Information Assurance and Cyber Defense. Regardless of your choice, you will need to complete a minimum of 30 credits to earn your online degree in computer science from Marquette. U.S. News & World Report ranked this program among the best online graduate programs in computer information technology for the year 2019. It came in eleventh place.

    Something that sets this opportunity apart is that there is another specialization that wasn’t touched on above, and that is one for students who are looking to make a career change to computer science that do not have any academic background in computer science. This option helps you to cover your prerequisites and complete your master’s degree as one seamless program. The university points out that almost all of the courses you’ll need to take are offered with an online option, providing exemplary flexibility for online students. Classes are presented in an asynchronous format and there are no on-campus requirements for most students. Career change students may need to complete a summer immersion experience before completing the rest of their degree online.

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  15. MERIT: 244
    View Profile Average Cost: $35,306

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    15 Syracuse-logoSyracuse University has recently added a Master of Science in Computer Science to its list of available online degrees. There are 30 total credits required to complete the degree, which is slightly less flexible than some of the other programs featured in this ranking but it is still a great program that is bound to be perfect for one of the prospective students reading this. You can complete this degree in as few as fifteen months depending on the pace at which you are able to pursue your studies. Out of all the required credits, twelve of them are your core courses and the remainder are made up of electives.

    The core courses cover the topics of Structured Programming and Formal Methods, Advanced Computer Architecture, and Principles of Operating Systems. You will be taking your classes in a live, completely synchronous format. With that said, this degree program is still designed to fit the lifestyle of a working professional. This is the first featured program that requires an on-campus visit for all students, which is a one-time immersion in Syracuse, New York.

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  16. MERIT: 243
    View Profile Average Cost: $17,191

    Master of Computer Science

    Colorado State University offers an online Master of Computer Science program that students can complete in just two years of full-time study. There are more flexible part-time options available as well. This program can be completed entirely online without having to visit campus and it consists of a total of 35 required credits. The university allows you to bring up to nine credits with you according to their transfer policy. The only thing that may put some students off from this program is that you must complete a prescribed list of courses rather than having the option to customize your plan of study.

    Students are admitted to the program in the fall and take courses alongside the traditional students but in a digital format; however, you will be able to take the classes in an asynchronous format. The spring and fall terms are both 16-weeks in length and there is also a summer term that runs for 12 weeks. You must start a course at the start of a term or wait until the next time it is offered to take it, so collaborating with your advisor is imperative to make sure that you can make the most out of this program.

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  17. MERIT: 243
    View Profile Average Cost: $13,327

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    The College of Engineering & Technology at East Carolina University offers an entirely online Master of Science in Computer Science. Students have the option to take the program entirely online or in a blended format if they live near campus and feel that a hybrid approach would benefit them. There are start dates in July, November, and May for students based both in the United States and Internationally. There is a traditional pathway for students who have an academic background in computer science, and this would require just 30 credits in total for completion. If you have not had any academic training in the field of computer science, you can also be admitted to the program through the non-traditional option, which will require 38 total credits for graduation.

    Traditional students will only have two classes that they must take as part of the core requirements. These classes are Machine Learning, and Design and Analysis of Algorithms. The rest of the credits you receive will depend on the choice that you make. You can take a thesis option (which breaks down to 18 credits of electives), a non-thesis option (which would comprise of 21 elective credits as well as a research project and written report), and finally, a coursework option (this would be straight coursework for the rest of your requirements). You have the option to select the electives to fit your needs regardless of your selection. All online courses are asynchronous in delivery.

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  18. MERIT: 242
    View Profile Average Cost: $26,324

    Master of Computer Science

    Illinois Institute of TechnologyThe Illinois Institute of Technology offers a Master of Computer Science online that consists of between 30 and 33 credits based on the choices you make when enrolling in the program. There is a thesis option, a non-thesis option, and the coursework-only option that is growing in popularity in the field of computer science because of the benefits it has for professionals in the industry. The general track requires 30 credits and it is the most flexible because you can select your electives from any discipline.

    However, if you are particularly interested in a certain area, there are plenty of concentrations to choose from and those are Software Engineering, Networking & Communications, Information Security & Assurance, Finance, Distributed & Cloud Computing, Database Systems, Data Analytics, Cyber-Physical Systems, Computational Intelligence, and Business. Finance and Business concentrations are unique to this school and can broaden your career horizons even more if you already have a background in business; however, these are the only two concentrations that are not offered online. You can complete this degree entirely asynchronously.

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  19. MERIT: 239
    View Profile Average Cost: $14,133

    Master of Science in Computer Engineering

    Missouri S&T offers online masters in computer science in a thesis option and non-thesis option that you can complete entirely online. Specializations are offered in Digital Systems Design, Electrical Engineering, Embedded Computer Systems, as well as Systems, Intelligence, and Software Engineering. In order to be eligible to enroll, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field from an ABET-accredited school. International equivalents are also accepted.

    The majority of the classes you will take are presented in an asynchronous format and they are also archived for review. Attendance is expected in some of your virtual classrooms and this program is no less rigorous than its traditional counterpart. Because of this, some courses may require synchronous participation this is at the discretion of the instructors. The average student can complete their degree in between three and four years of full-time study.

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  20. MERIT: 239
    View Profile Average Cost: $17,972

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    NJIT logoThe Master of Science in Computer Science at the New Jersey Institute of Technology is offered through the Ying Wu College of Computing Sciences. This is an advanced degree program that offers specialization tracks in Networking, Database & Data Mining, and Cybersecurity. There are 30 credits in the program and only twelve of them come from prescribed core courses. Those courses you’ll have to take are Data Structures and Algorithms, Operating System Design, Data Management System Design, and Internet and Higher-Layer Protocols.

    Nine of the credits come from a specialization that you select or design, and the remaining credits will come from free electives. This is a coursework-based program only. A unique feature of the program is that STEM students with an undergraduate degree that is not in computer science can choose to participate in a bridge program that only adds four additional courses so you can earn your master’s in computer science. The bridge program is not always required depending on your prior academic experience but it is always available online as well.

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  21. MERIT: 236
    View Profile Average Cost: $14,997

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    IdahoThe University of Idaho offers an online Master of Science in Computer Science that has a thesis and non-thesis option. Regardless of your choice, you will need to complete 30 credits of coursework in order to earn your degree. This program features a multidisciplinary curriculum that combines the foundations of computer science theory with current industry-leading applications. This program offers small classes and individualized attention through mentorship and advising. Even at a distance.

    You can choose or design an area of emphasis based on your goals. Some of the current options are Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Collaborative Virtual Environments, Cybersecurity, Data Science, and Survivable Systems (Fault-Tolerant Computing). There is no bridge option so you will need to have an undergraduate degree in computer science in order to enroll. You can complete this degree at a full-time or part-time pace and the majority of the classes you’ll need can be completed asynchronously.

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  22. MERIT: 235
    View Profile Average Cost: $31,050

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    Clarkson UniversityThe Master of Science in Computer Science at Clarkson University is open to students that hold a Bachelor of Science in computer science or a related field, as long as you meet the prerequisites. If you don’t have proper prerequisite preparation, instead of a full bridge program, you would only need to take one course before you could start pursuing the full graduate program, and that course in Foundations in Computer Science (CS511). This is a 30-credit program, and of those credits, twenty will come from coursework.

    Students must take Computer Algorithms as well as Introduction to Automata Theory and Formal Languages. There are five additional courses that satisfy the core requirements and you can select which two of them meet your needs most effectively. You will also need two restricted elective credits and two seminar credits. You can select what courses will satisfy those requirements with an advisor. The remaining ten credits will come from a mandatory thesis. You will need to orally defend your thesis prior to graduation; however, it is unclear if you must appear on campus to do so.

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  23. MERIT: 234
    View Profile Average Cost: $19,967

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    9 Lewis-logoLewis University offers one of the fastest online masters in computer science that we’ve featured in this ranking. You can complete the entire degree in as little as one year and it is 100% online. There are multiple start dates to choose from throughout the year and multiple concentrations to choose from. The concentrations include Software Engineering, Game and Simulation Programming, Enterprise and Cloud Computing, Digital Forensics, Cyber Security, and Artificial Intelligence. There are 33 credits in total regardless of the concentration that you select.

    Undergraduate degrees in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, and information systems are accepted. There are no GRE and GMAT scores required as part of the application process. All of the courses are fully-online and asynchronous in their delivery and terms are eight-weeks in length. The typical student takes one or two courses per eight-week term. That isn’t the only flexibility that this online computer science degree offers, either. The required classes are categorized into one research course, six concentration courses, three elective courses, and one capstone course. These are customizable at almost every level to make sure you can get a perfectly tailored education for your career goals.

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  24. MERIT: 231
    View Profile Average Cost: $32,927

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    12 Depaul-logoDePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media is home to an online Master of Science in Computer Science program. Students have the option to complete this program entirely online, or with a blend of on-campus classes if that suits their needs more effectively. This program requires significantly more credits than the others featured, with a total of 52 graduate credit hours. The curriculum must be taken according to the plan set out by the university because it is designed to be extremely comprehensive. There are four start dates to choose from per year.

    There are six introductory courses and five foundation courses that can’t be substituted. Then, you can take four electives from a concentration area and four free electives from any area. The current focus areas available at DePaul include Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Database Systems, Game and Real-Time Systems, Human-Computer Interaction, Software, and Systems Development, Software Engineering, and Theory. Online classes are offered in every area but some classes may be in-person only.

    You can also choose to complete a Research Colloquium Option, Master’s Research Option, Master’s Thesis Option, or Graduate Internship Option. This is a completely asynchronous program.

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  25. MERIT: 228
    View Profile Average Cost: $40,977

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    Drexel University was one of the pioneers of online education and they continue to grow their offerings to meet the needs of a shifting job market. The Online Master of Science in Computer Science has been available for several years and was recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 15 best online graduate programs in computer information technology. There are multiple start dates throughout the year and this is an entirely asynchronous program for optimum flexibility for the working professional.

    There are 45 graduate credits required for graduation. This program does not rely on the traditional two-semester system; instead, there are four ten-week quarters per year. If you do not have a background in computer science, you must take two pre-core courses before progressing to the actual plan of study. If you have additional computer science education, you may be able to transfer in as many as nine credits. The core requirements make up the first 18 credits of the program, and you can select which classes you take in each category. Then, you will complete a breadth requirement, a depth requirement, and additional graduate-level electives. There are thesis and non-thesis options as well.

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  26. MERIT: 228
    View Profile Average Cost: $17,008

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    University of LouisvilleThe University of Louisville offers a Master of Science in Computer Science online that is designed for professionals. It is a 30-credit program that is available entirely online, and you can also choose to add a graduate certificate that you take concurrently with your masters in computer science if you’d like. The current offerings for graduate certificates include Data Science and Cybersecurity. You can choose a thesis option or complete a capstone project in place of your thesis.

    There are different areas in the curriculum. The Foundations area requires you to take either Automata Theory or Algorithms. There are seven classes available in the Software area as well as the Analytics area. You will choose two from each area that are most in-line with your career aspirations. Then, you will be able to take nine credits worth of electives to finish out your requirements. All of these classes are available in a completely online and asynchronous delivery format.

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  27. MERIT: 226
    View Profile Average Cost: $10,100

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    Florida Atlantic University offers an online Master of Science in Computer Science in both a thesis and a non-thesis option. Both require a minimum of 30 credits for completion and can be completed entirely online. Students are expected to have completed all of the prerequisite courses which are clearly outlined on the program website; if you have already earned your bachelor’s degree in computer science, you will have taken these courses. If you haven’t, though, you can complete all of your prerequisites online through Florida Atlantic University in preparation for the degree program.

    The thesis option of this online masters in computer science requires 24 credits of coursework; the non-thesis option will be 30 total credits of coursework. The courses are broken down into groups, which are Theory, Software Development, and Computer Systems. You will work with an advisor to select courses from each category that work with the plans you have for your professional life. There are four theory courses to choose from, seven software development courses, and 14 courses in computer systems. There are no requirements per category, it is completely determined by your needs and the input of your advisor.

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  28. MERIT: 224
    View Profile Average Cost: $12,054

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    UIS, Illinois, online college, online degrees, online masters, online bachelorsSimilar to the other school we featured in the University of Illinois System, the University of Illinois at Springfield offers its program through the University of Illinois Online Catalog. This degree program is available entirely online and culminates in a Master of Science in Computer Science. There are 32 semester hours required for completion. You will need to complete 28 hours of computer science electives to fulfill the course requirements. That is part of what sets this degree program apart — every aspect of it is completely customizable based on your own aspirations.

    The remaining credits come from the mandatory graduate research seminar. This is a primarily asynchronous program that is open to students who have already earned an undergraduate degree in computer science. Conditional admission is available to students who meet all other requirements except for the prerequisites. Conditional students would have the opportunity to complete their prerequisites through the University of Illinois at Springfield; however, it is not clear if all the necessary courses for entry into the program can be completed entirely online.

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  29. MERIT: 222
    View Profile Average Cost: $15,213

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    online college degree, online masters degree, online phd, online doctorate, online bachelor's degree, online collegeOld Dominion University is one of many schools that have established a strong reputation over the years in the realm of online education. The online Master of Science in Computer Science requires between 31 and 34 credits to graduate based on the choices you make in the program. In order to succeed in this program, you will need a strong background in computer science because it paves the way for more advanced study in areas like Computational Foundations, Software Engineering, Cybersecurity, Networking, High-Performance Computing, Digital Libraries, Data Mining, or Bioinformatics.

    If you choose the thesis option, you only need 31 credits to complete your degree. There are also courses-only and master’s project options, both of which require 34 credits. Most of the classes are asynchronous but based on the path and courses you select, there may be some synchronous components; however, you will be aware of them well in advance and they are designed to fit into a professional lifestyle. Out of state students only pay a competitive tuition rate of less than $600 per credit.

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  30. MERIT: 221
    View Profile Average Cost: $13,489

    Master of Science in Applied Computer Science

    Frostburg State University’s online master’s in computer science is a broad program that features a comprehensive curriculum without sacrificing the flexibility of an accelerated online degree. You can choose to study full-time or part-time, complete a thesis or just coursework, and specialize in a Database concentration or take a more general track. All of the classes are entirely asynchronous and you can graduate in as little as one year if you have a computer science undergraduate degree. If not, you can complete two introductory courses (also online) before formally entering the program.

    If you do need to complete the introductory courses, you can still graduate impressively quickly in just a year and a half. There are ten courses required for most students, meaning that this is a 30-credit program. The basic required courses include Web Development and Programming I & II, Software Engineering, and Advanced Data Structures and Algorithms. Then, you will take five classes that are specific to your concentration, and have the opportunity to select three electives. There are a variety of sequences and study plans offered to meet the needs of a diverse student body.

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Is a Masters in Computer Science Worth It?


Depending on what your career goals are, getting a Master’s degree in Computer Science is absolutely worth it. With a Master’s degree in Computer Science, you will be well-equipped and eligible for the highest paying positions in related industries. By completing a Master’s degree program in Computer Science, you will have proof to show possible employers that you have a strong foundation on which you will be able to build up a career with them due to your stronger grasp of the necessary skills and your deeper pool of knowledge. If you have any interest at all in fields related to computers and computer technology, going to school to obtain a Master’s degree in Computer Science will likely be a very rewarding and fulfilling decision for you. And because there are so many reputable and well-known universities that offer an online Master’s degree program in Computer Science, you will be able to complete your coursework on your own time and at your own pace, which makes the decision of enrolling into a Master’s degree program in Computer Science an even more appealing prospect.

What Can You Do With a Masters Degree in Computer Science?


You can do a wide variety of different jobs with a Master’s degree in the field of Computer Science. Because every modern industry in the world relies heavily on those that have strong computer skills, you will not have any issues finding employment with any company of your choosing. Some of the jobs that you can do with a Master’s degree in Computer Science include:

  • Database Administrator;
  • Computer Systems Analyst;
  • Software Developer;
  • Web Developer, and;
  • Computer Network Architect

This is just a small sampling of the various jobs that you can land by obtaining a Master’s degree in the field of Computer Science. Because a Master’s degree in Computer Science will expose you to a wide range of related topics and will provide you with a strong foundation of those topics on which you can build a career from, you will be more than capable of landing your desired career with a staggering amount of different employers.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s Degree in Computer Science?


Getting a Master’s degree in Computer Science will take–on average–around two years to complete all of the course work. This is wholly dependent on a couple of key variables, however, but the main factor in how long it will take to complete a Master’s degree program in Computer Science is if you are planning on attending as a full-time or will you be attending as a part-time student. However, many universities offer to their students the option to obtain a Master’s degree in Computer Science via distance learning at their own pace, which makes obtaining a Master’s degree very easy due to the flexible nature of online learning. Some distance learning students can even obtain a Master’s degree in Computer Science a little quicker than the average of two years, due to the practice of accelerated learning that many universities are now adopting, which will allow you to double up on some of your coursework.

Is Computer Science a Good Major?


Computer Science is an excellent major for anyone that has an interest in the field of computer technology and are looking for a rewarding career that will pay a competitive pay rate. By obtaining a Master’s degree in Computer Science, you will be provided with a strong understanding of a broad number of topics, such as:

  • Computer architecture;
  • Electromechanical systems;
  • Algorithms;
  • Programming languages;
  • Information theory;
  • Software engineering;
  • Operating system design;
  • Networking, and;
  • Modeling and evaluating computer performance

Because you will be getting a strong understanding of these topics, among many others, by completing a Computer Science degree program, you will be able to do so much in a huge variety of different career paths.

Are Computer Science Graduates in Demand?


According to the United States of America’s Department of Labor Statistics (DLS), the occupational outlook for the field of Computer Science for the years of 2016 through 2026 is an increase of 19%, which is faster than the nation’s average for other career fields. The field of Computer Science for the years 2016 through 2026 is expected to increase by more than 5,400 employees in key Computer Science areas. The Department of Labor Statistics reports that individuals that are looking to start a career in the field of Computer Science will likely find success easily, as many employers report having a difficult time finding eligible employees with a background in Computer Science. Due to this, those that complete a degree program (and a Master’s degree program especially) will be able to comfortably find employment with a desired employer soon after graduating.

How Much Can You Make With a Masters in Computer Science?


Depending on what career path you decide to take, a Master’s degree in Computer Science will allow you to pursue a number of different positions, each with varying pay rates depending on how skill and knowledge-intensive they are. A selection of common positions that can be obtained by one that has completed a Master’s degree in Computer Science and their median pay rates are as follows:

  • Computer and Information Research Scientists Median Pay: $118,370 per year;
  • Computer Network Architects Median Pay: $109,020 per year;
  • Computer Programmers Median Pay: $84,280 per year;
  • Information Security Analysts Median Pay: $98,350 per year;
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators Median Pay: $82,050 per year;
  • Software Developers Median Pay: $105,590 per year;
  • Computer Systems Analysts Median Pay: $88,740 per year, and;
  • Web Developers Median Pay: $69,430 per year

As you can see, the pay rate can vary greatly depending on the specific position and what that position commonly entails, but all of these pay rates are very competitive for their requirements.

Didn’t Find What You Were Looking For?


OnlineCollegePlan has an entire library of online college rankings as well as great resources for students. If you are interested in studying computer science, but none of these programs fit your needs, you may want to look at one of our other related rankings.