Best Online Master’s in Computer Science

Resources & Program Info for Computer Science Students

An online master’s program can help propel an individual’s career in computer science or can serve as a bridge for those who have been working in another field and want to try something new. Even though many computer science jobs do not require formal training to start, a master’s degree may be necessary for those who choose to pursue a promotion, raise or management position in the computer science industry. Find programs, see what the online master’s degree in computer science timeline looks like and learn more about possible career paths below.

2017: Top Online Master’s in Computer Science

A great way to begin your search for an online computer science master’s degree is by checking out the following rankings. While there are many ways to rank a school, this list is based on practical, real-world factors, such as student-to-faculty ratios, tuition cost, opportunities for financial aid and program offerings.

RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioGrad RateRanking ScoreSchool DescriptionAdditional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1Carnegie Mellon University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
53%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
18
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
87%
Ranking SCORE 99.82
Read more

A master’s degree in computer science at Carnegie Mellon can take many different forms, each of which is flexible to meet the desires of students. Students have the option to get their computer science degree in one of multiple fields. Those new to Carnegie Mellon can expect to finish their degree in just three semesters, preparing them for a career in a short amount of time. Also, a master’s in computer science almost solely consists of coursework, so students who want to avoid research programs will be able to at Carnegie Mellon.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
2Rochester Institute of Technology Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
90%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
12
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 97.40
Read more

Rochester Institute of Technology’s computer science program is flexible to meet the needs of students who might be busy during the day. The program accommodates part-time students that might not be available during the day. Because of this, most classes are offered in the evening or at night. However, full-time students will be able to study throughout the day to finish their degree in a shorter amount of time. A computer science degree consists of clusters, specific areas of studies that students can specialize in, as well as electives that are more normal to computer science programs.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
3DePaul University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
11
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 96.56
Read more

Students that are interested in research rather than coursework will appreciate the course structure at DePaul University. The research programs available to students pursuing a computer science degree are numerous and differentiated, so there is often a fit for all interests in the field. However, DePaul also offers courses that place a smaller emphasis on research, giving students the opportunity to further explore subjects they enjoy. The curriculum at DePaul also focuses on the constants of computer science and focuses less on the ever-changing sectors of the field, making sure students are secure in the fundamentals of computer science.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
4Illinois Institute of Technology Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
9
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 96.51
Read more

A master’s in computer science at Illinois Institute of Technology can take multiple forms, depending on what the student is looking to get out of their education. The computer science degree can come with specializations, giving students broader knowledge in a specific area they might enjoy. However, these specializations are not required for all computer science degrees. Students that would prefer to study and practice coursework rather than focus on projects will find Illinois Tech’s curriculum fitting since a senior project is not required for any type of computer science degree.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
5University of Southern California Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
59%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
10
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
90%
Ranking SCORE 95.92
Read more

The University of Southern California’s computer science program is structured to give graduates the freedom to pursue whatever they would like after earning their master’s degree. It isn't uncommon for some students to return to further their studies, and the rest are prepared to enter the professional realm of computer science. Also, USC’s computer science program offers plenty of different specializations, each of which is different enough from the other to give students a distinct advantage when looking to begin their career. Coursework with a focus on both fundamental and theoretical computer science practices.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
6George Mason University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
20%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
10
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 95.75
Read more

By combining both fundamental computer science and theoretical changes that are evolving the field, George Mason University prepare their students for success. Wherever a student may want to go after earning their computer science degree is up to them, since the course structure is designed to allow students to study their interest. Students have the option to spend more time on project-based work, or they can opt for more coursework depending on what their interest is. George Mason also offers afternoon and night classes to accommodate busy schedules of computer science students who need the flexibility.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
7New York University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
52%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
10
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
83%
Ranking SCORE 95.73
Read more

All degree programs in computer science at New York University place a heavy emphasis on the fundamentals of computer science rather than the theoretical. As a result, students who earn their computer science degree at NYU are well prepared to begin a career as a computer scientists or software developer at major companies. Most courses are structured to teach students how to combine their computer science knowledge with business aspects to make an impact in different industries. Other students go onto further education and work toward becoming faculty or staff in the field.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
8New Jersey Institute of Technology Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
46%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
9
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 95.49
Read more

There are multiple master’s degrees that students can work toward in the computer science field at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Each degree can either lead directly to a career in computer science or toward a furthering of education. NJIT also has a comprehensive online program for the degree. Students are able to take classes in person, entirely online or as a combination of the two. Research opportunities are also made available to students who would like to focus their studies in research, but they are not required to earn a degree.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
9Northeastern University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
69%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
9
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
79%
Ranking SCORE 95.45
Read more

At Northeastern University, students will be prepared to enter the professional work force after completing their master’s degree in computer science. To ensure that students are prepared, the course structure at Northeastern gives students the option to choose from any number of concentrations. These concentrations are meant to teach students more about their desired field. The curriculum combines all aspects of computer science, making sure that students have a comprehensive understanding of computer science by the time they earn their master’s degree. Northeastern also places a heavy emphasis on the senior thesis, making projects an important part of study alongside coursework.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
10Purdue University-Main Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
47%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 95.44
Read more

In Purdue University’s master’s program in computer science, students take both traditional classes and seminar-style classes where students investigate current research. The online master’s program allows students to earn a non-thesis degree completely online while the Information Security for Computing professionals is designed for current industry professionals who want to pursue a higher security position. An on-campus master’s helps graduates pursue a variety of careers and these students have a number of options for degree completion. Internship and financial aid opportunities are available for all students.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
11North Carolina State University at Raleigh Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
50%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
71%
Ranking SCORE 95.20
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
12Harvard University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
56%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
97%
Ranking SCORE 95.16
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
13University of Michigan-Dearborn Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
71%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 95.13
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
14Pace University-New York Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
56%
Ranking SCORE 94.96
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
15Iowa State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
75%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
71%
Ranking SCORE 94.75
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
16Johns Hopkins University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
48%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
92%
Ranking SCORE 94.65
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
17University of Detroit Mercy Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
57%
Ranking SCORE 94.56
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
18Florida Institute of Technology Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
55%
Ranking SCORE 94.53
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
19Southern Methodist University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
72%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
80%
Ranking SCORE 94.28
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
20Nova Southeastern University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
42%
Ranking SCORE 94.25
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
21Oklahoma State University-Main Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
73%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 94.05
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
22Northwestern University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
54%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
93%
Ranking SCORE 93.96
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
23Loyola University Chicago Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 93.87
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
24Stanford University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
95%
Ranking SCORE 93.83
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
25Mercer University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 93.70
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
26Drexel University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
65%
Ranking SCORE 93.50
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
27University of Maine Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 93.37
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
28University of California-Berkeley Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
53%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
91%
Ranking SCORE 93.30
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
29Robert Morris University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
87%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 93.28
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
30Boston University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
84%
Ranking SCORE 93.28
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
31University of Illinois at Springfield Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
47%
Ranking SCORE 93.27
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
32University of Idaho Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
56%
Ranking SCORE 93.26
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
33SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica-Rome Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
80%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
33%
Ranking SCORE 93.25
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
34Brandeis University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
57%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
90%
Ranking SCORE 93.22
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
35Murray State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
70%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 93.16
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
36Ohio University-Main Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
68%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 93.15
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
37East Carolina University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
50%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 93.06
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
38Lawrence Technological University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
82%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 93.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
39Valparaiso University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
74%
Ranking SCORE 92.99
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
40Ball State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
47%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
57%
Ranking SCORE 92.98
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
41University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
54%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
73%
Ranking SCORE 92.98
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
42University of Bridgeport Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
95%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
32%
Ranking SCORE 92.94
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
43Clarkson University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 92.93
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
44Michigan Technological University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 92.92
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
45Marist College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
87%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
80%
Ranking SCORE 92.92
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
46University of Alabama in Huntsville Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
47%
Ranking SCORE 92.87
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
47University of Memphis Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
40%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
40%
Ranking SCORE 92.85
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
48Mississippi State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
68%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 92.85
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
49Syracuse University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
82%
Ranking SCORE 92.84
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
50Arizona State University-Tempe Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
86%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 92.82
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo

Search for Online Master’s in Computer Science Programs

Aspiring students can sort through a comprehensive list of schools offering online master’s in computer science degrees by using the search tool below. Filter by your individual needs that matter most, such as school size, cost and location, to help find a program for you.

Basic Search
Tuition
School Type
Advanced Search +
Student Population
Compare key info for up to 4 schools

Please remove a school if you would like to compare a new one

results

Show:

School Tuition
Tuition for in-state undergrads at the campus location
Acceptance Rate Student Population School Type Online Computer Science Programs

The Online Computer Science Master’s Degree Timeline

A master’s in computer science degree consists of around 40 credits and will usually take two years to complete; accelerated programs, however, may take less time. Earning an online master’s degree in computer science begins with gathering the necessary elements for the application process. See what a full-time, two-year timeline looks like below as well as some tips on how to complete the application process.

Application Process

The steps for admission into computer science online master’s degree programs may vary, but there are several consistent factors. The application process is where a student highlights previous academic success and qualifications, so it is important to a well-thought-out application package. The steps below give an overview of what applicants should expect during the application process.

Bachelor’s Degree

In order to be accepted into an online master’s program in computer science, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree. Few schools will require a bachelor’s degree in a certain area, but will require incoming students to have the necessary training and background to understand the high-level computer science instruction they will receive in a master’s degree program. This can be proven through official transcripts from the undergraduate institution.

Computer Programming Experience and Related Coursework

Assuming the student doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology or similar area, they will need to gain proficiency in computer science subjects. It is necessary for students to have this foundational background in order to pursue a master’s level degree. These courses can be taken before admission; those who have not completed them might be able to fulfil the required courses in their first year of the master’s program.

The GRE

Some schools see GRE scores as being optional, but many will require it. The GRE is one of the elements of the application that will require careful planning by the applicant since the test can only be taken on certain dates, and the process of sending scores to the institution can take several weeks.

Undergraduate GPA

A prospective student’s undergraduate GPA is a very important component of an application. Many schools offering a master’s in computer science have a relatively high minimum GPA for applicants, such as 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. Please review your desired program’s GPA requirements for specification.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose provides an opportunity for students to share why they want to get an online master’s degree in computer science and what their professional goals are. This is an opportunity to be more than just a name on an application form; this is where aspiring students can truly shine and capture the attention of the admissions panel.

Letters of Recommendation

Prospective students should start by choosing a recommender who knows the applicant’s skills and is willing to vouch for those skills; this might be a former professor, a current colleague, a supervisor or someone else who has in-depth knowledge of the computer science field. In addition, it is important to ask for these letters early in the process, thus allowing the recommender plenty of time before the application deadline.

Year 1 Milestones

Depending on the student’s prior academic training and the particular program they are enrolled in, the first year typically focuses on core courses. The major learning objectives students may expect to complete during their first year are listed below.

Foundational Courses

Some online computer science programs will require students to take introductory courses before enrolling. Other programs will incorporate these classes into the first year curriculum. These classes will usually cover topics like networks, operating systems, software architecture and databases.

Core Courses

Core course are typically a short list of courses required for all students to take, regardless of background or academic preferences. These classes will vary depending upon the program, but can cover subjects like project management, advanced database systems and computer algorithms.

Specialization Courses

Specialized courses will vary depending on the student’s chosen concentration, but might include topics like artificial intelligence, parallel processing, data analytics and health informatics. Students will likely be required to select a specialization or concentration during their master’s degree program.

Year 2 Milestones

The second year is where most students will complete their degree. During this year, students can expect to focus on the classes of their choosing, as well as any other program requirements, such as a thesis or capstone project.

Optional Courses

Computer science offerings vary by program, but may include such subjects as security, data analytics, computer networks, systems and control engineering, artificial intelligence and pervasive computing. Students will usually take several courses in their concentration as well as a few chosen electives that can help them further tailor their education.

Core Courses

For some students, core courses are often completed during their first year, especially if they enroll with transfer credits that apply toward their master’s degree. However, many students will take the last few core courses during their second year.

Thesis or Capstone Project

Many master’s programs in computer science require their students to complete either a thesis or a capstone project. Though work on this might be touched upon during the first year, the serious work usually will begin during the second year. The thesis and capstone project provide an excellent opportunity for students to gain research and writing skills as well as explore new areas of computer science.

Graduation Requirements

Besides taking the necessary number of credits in the specifics courses, most programs have other requirements for students to meet before they graduate. Here is what students can expect to do before receiving their degree:

GPA

Most schools will expect their students to maintain a required minimum GPA of around 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Sometimes the minimum GPA required per course can vary depending on whether the course is a core course, an advanced course or an elective.

The Thesis Option

For programs that require a thesis, students will need to find a topic, design and conduct the research, and then write the paper for a presentation of their findings. Students can expect to receive several academic credits that count toward their graduate credit total.

The Capstone Project Option

Students who have enrolled in programs that require a capstone project typically implement what they have learned in a research and/or real world project. The capstone project will often represent a culmination of all the student has learned in their online computer science master’s program.

After Your Degree: What to do with a Master’s in Computer Science

A master’s degree in computer science is flexible in that it can typically prepare graduates for both technical and conceptual roles. On the technical side, it can provides practical knowledge that prepares students for hands-on work in the computer science field. On the conceptual side, it can provide advanced and specialized knowledge and training for graduates seeking management and leadership careers. A few career statistics of the possible jobs for graduates are listed below.

Browse Master’s in Computer Science Careers
Computer Systems Analyst

Generally, computer systems analysts are consultants for organizations with computer systems. More specifically, computer systems analysts review an organization’s information systems and provide recommendations to help the organization’s information systems operate more efficiently.

Mean Annual Wage

$85,800

Growth Potential

21%

Senior Software Developer

Senior software developers help create software and oversee development. Depending on the particular job, software developers may focus on design, creation, implementation or testing software. Senior software developers take a more management-oriented role and oversee software development to ensure it is coming along as scheduled and according to specifications.

Mean Annual Wage

$100,690

Growth Potential

17%

Database Administrator

Database administrators work with information systems with a particular focus on information and data management. Common job tasks include protecting customer and company data, organizing data into databases for more security and ease of access, maintaining databases, and implementing and testing databases.

Mean Annual Wage

$81,710

Growth Potential

11%

Source: BLS

Core Principles and Skills Learned in an Online Computer Science Program

Master’s in Computer Science

  • Specialized Knowledge in a Computer Science Concentration

    As a result of the open nature of the computer science master’s degree curriculum, students may have the option of taking specialized and unique courses. They may choose to do this out of a natural desire to learn more or because focusing in a particular area improves their professional growth. Depending on the program, students may specialize in areas such as networking, big data, security and database management.

  • Advanced Computer Science Knowledge

    For those who are already in the computer science field, a master’s degree can be a stepping stone toward advancement in the industry. A comprehensive master’s curriculum can enhance the knowledge an individual already has or can offer an entirely new slant on a field that may allow them to broaden their employment horizons.

  • Leadership and Management Skills

    In addition to gaining specialized knowledge in a particular subfield of computer science, many master’s degree students will gain valuable skills to take on leadership roles within the field. For example, students may learn how to predict the cost of software development, ensure product quality and properly make risk assessments regarding the feasibility of project completion.

  • Familiarity with Emerging New Technologies

    Universities are bastions of research, meaning some of the newest advancements in computer science originate from universities that heavily foster research from both students and faculty. Therefore, students may have the opportunity to witness cutting-edge technology and theories. This first-to-know advantage can provide students with another way to get ahead in their professional careers.

Best Online Master’s in Computer Science Degrees: 2016

Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
1 University of Idaho 99.78 76% 4 17:1 56%

Earning a master's degree in computer engineering is made easy at the University of Idaho through a hybrid program of online and on-campus classes. Consistently recognized by The Princeton Review as one of America's leading public colleges, UI provides the thorough education its students will need to lead happy and successful lives. The student-to-faculty ratio at UI is 17:1, so students can be sure that they will have the necessary one-on-one time with their professors that guarantees academic advancement. Numerous clubs, volunteer programs, and leadership opportunities are available to students who wish to connect further with their peers.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth6
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance Rate67%
Read More Read Less
2 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus 99.72 73% 5 20:1 62%

The Computer Science Department at Oklahoma State University has been educating computer science proficiency since 1969. The 36 credit-hour master's program develops students' understanding of the field by covering core information and hands-on application of computer science theories and research. Upon course completion, OSU provides graduates with the opportunity to be marketed towards career professionals through their employment search tool from the Career Services department. Graduate students may receive financial support through scholarships and waivers, work studies, loans and grants. Health and counseling services are also available for students seeking academic and personal support.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth8
  • # Online Programs4
  • Acceptance Rate75%
Read More Read Less
3 North Carolina Central University 99.69 8% 2 15:1 43%

Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, North Carolina Central University offers an excellent masters program for computer information science. Furthering your education is made easy at NCCU with its hybrid programs of study, which include both online and on-site courses. There is one faculty member to every 15 students, allowing for students to receive an individualized and thorough college career. NCCU helps its students prepare for entering a competitive workforce through career fairs, career networking, and internships. Students can regulate their health with NCCU's intramural sports, club sports, and fitness center.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate43%
Read More Read Less
4 The College of Saint Rose 99.46 91% 2 14:1 65%

Offered as a hybrid program consisting of online and in-person classes, the master of biology program at the College of Saint Rose may be a good fit for any graduate hoping to further their education. Almost 100 percent of the teaching faculty at Saint Rose has received the highest available degree in the subject they teach. Furthermore, the student-to-faculty ratio at Saint Rose is 14:1, so students can be certain they will receive the attention necessary for success. The education provided by the College of Saint Rose has resulted in 88 percent of its graduates finding a career in their field of study.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth10
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate76%
Read More Read Less
5 Davenport University 99.20 85% 1 14:1 40%

Davenport offers a distance learning program to students interested in earning a master's degree in computer science. Through either on-site or online courses that last only seven weeks, students will be able to flexibly and efficiently advance their academic careers. Over 95% of the students attending Davenport receive some form of financial aid, making earning a degree an affordable life goal. DU also helps its students to prepare for their futures through a number of internships, work study programs, and experiential learning experiences that help to enhance their resumes. Students are able to find their niche on campus through one of DU's many clubs and organizations.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth6
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate93%
Read More Read Less
6 Indiana State University 99.13 71% 5 20:1 43%

More than half of the classes at Indiana State University have fewer than 30 students, making it a good option for any graduate interested in earning their master's degree in computer science. Many of the courses at ISU are offered in an online format to accommodate its students schedules. Over 80 of the programs at ISU accept transferred credits, guaranteeing students the quickest path to graduation. Students will be able to optimize their college productivity through ISU's advising and tutoring centers. Student organizations and interest groups are available to students interested in connecting with their community.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth8
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance Rate83%
Read More Read Less
7 Elmhurst College 99.10 9% 1 13:1 74%

With a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1, Elmhurst College would be an excellent choice for any graduate interested in advancing their academic career with a master's program in computer information systems. Many programs at Elmhurst-including computer information systems-is offered either online, on campus, or in a hybrid format. Class sizes at Elmhurst College average at 17 students, allowing students to receive the individual attention that will guarantee their success. Financial aid and merit-based scholarships are awarded to approximately 97 percent of the students attending Elmhurst. Over 100 student organizations and clubs are available to students who wish to become more integrated in their community.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth6
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate68%
Read More Read Less
8 Lewis University 99.08 8% 2 13:1 59%

Offered in online and on-campus formats, the computer science program at Lewis University would be an excellent choice for any graduate student who wishes to earn their master's degree. Students from more than 30 countries travel to get an education at Lewis University, resulting in a grand total of nearly 7,000 undergraduate and graduate scholars. The student-to-faculty ratio at Lewis University is 13:1, so students can be certain that they will receive the academic support they need. Lewis University's campuses provide state-of-the-art housing and dining facilities for its students, guaranteeing they will have a comfortable and productive academic career.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth7
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate62%
Read More Read Less
9 Drexel University 99.06 78% 11 10:1 65%

The masters program for Computer science offered at Drexel University can be completed through online and in-class coursework. Drexel University is in the top 15 largest American private universities and is home to nearly 26,000 students. Over 200 degree programs are offered at Drexel, ensuring students will be able to find a path that fits them well. The Drexel student health center and fitness facilities guarantee that students will be able to properly maintain their health while receiving an education. Drexel is proud of the unique student-run clubs and organizations it offers, which include Greek Life, honors societies, and even a Jedi knight lightsaber combat club.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth9
  • # Online Programs10
  • Acceptance Rate76%
Read More Read Less
10 Columbus State University 98.91 69% 1 17:1 34%

A graduate student interested in a distance learning program to receive their masters in Computer Science may wish to consider Columbus State University. CSU's online programs allow students to tailor their academics to fit into their busy schedules. Columbus State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is operated by nearly 800 faculty and staff members. External and institutional scholarships are awarded to students who exhibit an aptitude for academics, athletics, or leadership. Students at CSU will be able to stay connected with their community through the numerous clubs and organizations offered.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate55%
Read More Read Less
11 Dakota State University 98.89 38% 3 16:1 42%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth12
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance Rate84%
Read More Read Less
12 Georgia Southwestern State University 98.88 67% 1 16:1 29%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate70%
Read More Read Less
13 University of Memphis 98.78 76% 7 14:1 40%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth6
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate47%
Read More Read Less
14 DePaul University 98.77 76% 11 17:1 68%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth16
  • # Online Programs6
  • Acceptance Rate70%
Read More Read Less
15 University of Central Missouri 98.72 7% 8 18:1 49%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs4
  • Acceptance Rate78%
Read More Read Less
16 Mississippi State University 98.56 78% 2 19:1 58%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate71%
Read More Read Less
17 Central Michigan University 98.56 75% 4 20:1 57%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth8
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate69%
Read More Read Less
18 Mercer University 98.53 89% 3 13:1 63%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth7
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate67%
Read More Read Less
19 Pace University-New York 98.46 85% 8 14:1 56%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth18
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate85%
Read More Read Less
20 SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica-Rome 98.46 66% 5 18:1 33%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth8
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate56%
Read More Read Less
21 University of Central Florida 98.46 72% 4 31:1 65%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate50%
Read More Read Less
22 Sam Houston State University 98.43 82% 4 21:1 48%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate74%
Read More Read Less
23 Fontbonne University 98.40 82% 1 11:1 34%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate91%
Read More Read Less
24 Loyola University Chicago 98.37 84% 6 14:1 70%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth10
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate63%
Read More Read Less
25 Towson University 98.33 46% 2 16:1 66%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth9
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate59%
Read More Read Less
26 Rochester Institute of Technology 98.33 78% 17 13:1 63%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth19
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate57%
Read More Read Less
27 University of Detroit Mercy 98.32 88% 5 13:1 57%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance Rate69%
Read More Read Less
28 Eastern Michigan University 98.26 68% 12 18:1 37%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth8
  • # Online Programs4
  • Acceptance Rate69%
Read More Read Less
29 The University of Texas at Brownsville (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) 98.23 55% 1 24:1 23%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
Read More Read Less
30 The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga 98.15 71% 2 18:1 38%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate77%
Read More Read Less
31 West Virginia University 98.12 63% 3 21:1 56%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate86%
Read More Read Less
32 Southern Illinois University-Carbondale 98.10 72% 4 15:1 48%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate82%
Read More Read Less
33 New York Institute of Technology 97.97 79% 6 14:1 46%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth7
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate64%
Read More Read Less
34 Touro College 97.90 79% 4 16:1 50%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth6
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate30%
Read More Read Less
35 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus 97.90 69% 4 17:1 86%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth8
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate50%
Read More Read Less

Additional Resources

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

ACM’s mission is to foster collaboration among all participants in the computing discipline. Through local chapters, the ACM works to enhance the professional and educational aspects of computing.

Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP)

AITP is one of the most prominent professional organizations for those in the information technology professional and academic industry. AITP is dedicated to improving information technology’s place in society and how it is taught.

IEEE Computer Society

IEEE is a leading computer-based organization focused on promoting all aspects of computer science and technology. It is comprised of members across various disciplines, including educators, engineers, researchers and students.

Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE)

UPE is an international honor society dedicated to recognizing academic success among students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.