Most Affordable Online Computer Science Programs

Earn an online bachelor's in computer science to launch a lucrative IT career. Find affordable online programs that lead to popular tech certifications.

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by Marisa Upson

Published on February 22, 2022 · Updated on June 23, 2022

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A bachelor's in computer science is the ninth-most popular undergraduate major for a good reason. Almost every business, nonprofit, and organization relies on computer systems and coding. Computer science graduates can pursue high-paying careers because of their in-demand skills.

An online bachelor's in computer science ranges from $360-$495 per credit. However, costs can vary widely. In most cases, computer science students must complete 120 credits, which usually requires around four years of full-time study.

Read on to learn more about typical coursework, possible postgraduate careers, and admission requirements for online bachelor's in computer science programs.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree Program Cost?

Tuition for online bachelor's programs in computer science varies but can range from $360-$495 per credit. Students at in-state public universities often pay less than learners in private institutions.

When choosing a program, make sure to consider true program costs. Compared to on-campus learners, online students can save on fees like room and board, parking, and transportation.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree Program?

Detail-oriented and diligent learners may do well in online bachelor's in computer science programs. Students naturally skilled in math, logical thinking, and problem-solving may find computer science easier to learn.

However, no matter your talents, the discipline requires a lot of determination. Many professionals can spend days or weeks trying to solve a single bug or software issue.

A bachelor's in computer science usually requires around 120 credits and takes full-time students about four years, or eight semesters, to complete.

Concentrations vary by school and can include artificial intelligence and software engineering. Some programs also offer practicums or internships in the field. Most computer science degrees culminate in a capstone project instead of a thesis.

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Popular Online Computer Science Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree Program?

Datta Structures

Data structures is a fundamental math course for any computer science major. Possible topics include linked lists, storage management, hash tables, and binary search trees.

Web Development

In this course, students learn to create complex applications for the web. Coursework delves into both server-side and client-side coding and features multiple projects.

Software Engineering

Software engineering is often a two-part course within computer science curricula, covering front-end and back-end development. Possible topics include debugging and design techniques.

Operating Systems

Most computer science students complete at least two operating systems courses, delving into principles of systems like UNIX.

Capstone

Instead of a thesis or research, most computer science students complete a capstone course or hands-on project as a culminating experience.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Scholarships for Computer Science Majors Your Guide to College Loans The Student's Guide to Financial Aid and the FAFSA

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree Program?

Admission requirements for on-campus and online bachelor's in computer science programs are similar. In addition to the materials listed below, applicants may need to complete a phone or Zoom interview with the admissions department or a professor in rare cases.

Application

All undergraduate programs, including computer science programs, require prospective students to complete an online application form. The Common App and Coalition App allow students to apply to many schools at once. However, some schools require their own applications.

Test Scores

In recent years, more schools implemented test-optional policies or even eliminated standardized test scores as an admission requirement. Nevertheless, many schools still require ACT or SAT scores.

Letters of Recommendation

Most undergraduate computer science programs require applicants to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation. Recent high school graduates can ask former teachers to write these letters on their behalf. Working professionals can ask their supervisors. In either case, applicants should request recommendation letters from people months in advance.

Essays

Most bachelor's in computer science programs require prospective students to write 1-3 short essays. While studying computer science doesn't necessarily involve a lot of writing, admissions departments want to get to know you on a more personal level before making a decision. Common prompts include a statement of purpose or a time you overcame a challenge.

Official Transcripts

All undergraduate programs, no matter the discipline, require applicants to submit official transcripts from all secondary and postsecondary schools they have attended. If you are transferring to a four-year school from an accredited community college with an associate degree, you may earn approximately 60 transfer credits.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree?

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information technology occupations paid a median annual salary of $97,430, more than double the median annual wage for all occupations ($45,760). Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 13% job growth for these occupations, which eclipses the average projected growth rate for all careers (8%) during that period.

Computer science careers can draw high salaries, and computer science graduates may find high demand for their skills. While no degree can guarantee you any job, a computer science degree may have a good return on investment. As such, computer science is the ninth-most popular undergraduate major.

See where a bachelor's in computer science can take you.

Learn More About Computer Science Careers

Career Paths

Software Developer

Learning to code and becoming a software developer are among the best moves you can make in the current job market. These professionals design and create computer applications. They usually need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field like computer science to qualify for positions.

Median Annual Salary: $110,140

Computer and Information Research Scientist

These professionals find new ways to use existing computer technologies. They usually work full-time for information technology companies. In most cases, computer and information research scientists need a master's degree, but a bachelor's degree is often sufficient for positions in the federal government.

Median Annual Salary: $131,490

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers create and test code for computer applications, software, and programs. They usually work full-time in offices for information technology companies or businesses. To qualify for jobs, candidates usually need a bachelor's degree and knowledge of multiple programming languages.

Median Annual Salary: $93,000

Computer Systems Analyst

Working either in-house or as traveling consultants, these professionals analyze companies' computer systems and make recommendations on how they could be more effective or efficient. To qualify for positions in this field, candidates usually need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as computer science.

Median Annual Salary: $99,270

Database Administrator

Database administrators, also known as database architects, create and safeguard systems that house data. They often work in-house for companies that need to protect large quantities of data. Job candidates usually need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field to qualify for employment in the field.

Median Annual Salary: $98,860

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Continuing Education

After they graduate, some bachelor's degree holders in computer science may decide to pursue a master's degree in computer science or another information technology-related field. If you aspire to a computer and information research scientist career, an advanced degree may give you an advantage when competing for jobs.

However, for some computer science careers, employers may value applicants with relevant skills and experience over advanced degrees. Professionals can advance in the field by continuing to learn programming languages and skill sets through training programs like MOOCs, workshops, and bootcamps instead of earning a master's degree.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree Program?

Cost

Online bachelor's in computer science programs can cost approximately $360-$495 per credit, but tuition varies widely. Consider enrolling online at an in-state public university to save the most money on tuition and additional fees.

Program Format

Students planning to enroll in an online bachelor's in computer science program should decide whether they prefer synchronous or asynchronous learning. Synchronous learning includes live, scheduled online sessions, while asynchronous learning provides flexibility by eliminating attendance requirements. Applicants should also consider full-time, part-time, and accelerated enrollment.

Location

Part of the appeal of distance learning is attending school wherever you want. Yet, you may still consider enrolling at a college close to you if the program includes in-person requirements. Your program might maintain relationships with local employers for jobs and internships.

Accreditation

Accreditation is a third-party review process overseen by the U.S. Department of Education that helps ensure schools meet educational quality standards. You should only enroll at schools that hold accreditation. Otherwise, you cannot receive federal financial aid, and the program might be illegitimate.

Student Support

Student support services can make or break a program, especially for online students pursuing a degree as challenging as computer science. Before enrolling, check if your school offers resources like mentorship opportunities, tutoring, academic and career advising, and internship placements.

How Do I Pay for an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree Program?

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step for any prospective undergraduate student seeking federal financial aid. Some schools require applicants to fill out the FAFSA before awarding scholarships and grants. You can fill out the FAFSA form on the federal student aid website.

Loans

While many students have to take out loans to fund their college education, loans should be your final recourse when seeking financial aid. Public loans offer lower interest rates and more flexible payment plans than private loans. Make sure to investigate loan forgiveness programs after you graduate to see if you qualify.

Grants

Grants are sums of money awarded for specific (often academic) purposes. You can find grants from the federal government, individual schools, or third-party organizations.

Work-Study Programs

Work-study programs provide students with part-time jobs to help them pay for college costs. Work-study jobs may involve working a front desk or operating a check-in station.

Scholarships

Scholarships are the best form of financial aid since they don't require repayment. Schools and third-party organizations award scholarships based on both merit and need. Several organizations award scholarships to computer science students.

2022 Most Affordable Accredited Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree Programs

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#1 Online College in Illinois

University of Illinois at Springfield

School Information
Location Springfield, Illinois
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 54%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $359
Out of State | $359

Credits to Graduate
36 major credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | N/A

UIS' online bachelor's in computer science promotes proficiency in computer programming and software development, culminating in a comprehensive computer engineering capstone. UIS is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and a Cisco Regional Networking Academy.

Students must complete at least 30 transferable college credits to qualify for admission into this program. Additionally, applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Prerequisites include Java programming, business calculus or calculus, discrete math, and statistics.

#2 Online College in Colorado

Regis University

School Information
Location Denver, Colorado
Admission Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $572
Out of State | $572

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET

Regis delivers the online bachelor's in computer science through accelerated, eight-week terms. The curriculum covers computer programming, data structures and databases, algorithms, and systems security. Students can simultaneously pursue Regis' FastForward program to earn bachelor's and master's degrees.

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or equivalent, transferable college credits, or evidence of work experience. Regis does not require official transcripts or a writing placement test. Learners may transfer up to 66 college credits toward the online BS.

#3 Online College in California

National University

School Information
Location La Jolla, California
Admission Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 29%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $370
Out of State | $370

Credits to Graduate
180 quarter credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | ABET

NU's online bachelor's in computer science features accelerated four-week courses and year-round enrollment. The curriculum helps students develop expertise in object-oriented programming, computer architecture, and communication networks. NU also offers a bachelor's-to-master's transition program option.

Applicants must hold a high school diploma and meet math and English competency requirements established through an ACCUPLACER evaluation. Students also qualify for admission by completing an associate degree or at least 60 credits at an accredited college and demonstrating a minimum 2.0 GPA.

#4 Online College in Colorado

Colorado State University-Global Campus

School Information
Location Aurora, Colorado
Admission Rate 99%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $350
Out of State | $350

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

CSU-Global students can customize their online bachelor's in computer science with a unique specialization. Options include computer science, business administration, criminal justice, and public relations concentrations. The program also leads to Oracle, Java, and C++ programming certifications.

Applicants should hold a high school diploma or GED certificate and a resume detailing at least two years of work experience. CSU-Global also accepts transfer students with at least 24 completed college credits from a regionally accredited school. Learners age 23 or older who graduated high school more than five years ago may also apply to this program.

#5 Online College in Washington

City University of Seattle

School Information
Location Seattle, Washington
Graduation Rate 33%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online or Hybrid | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $495
Out of State | $495

Credits to Graduate
180 quarter credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Students can earn a BS in applied computer science from CityU in 2.5 years. The curriculum imparts a broad foundation in web development, information technology, data programming, and system analysis, culminating in a technology and computing capstone project.

The online bachelor's in computer science prepares graduates to seek select professional certifications through Cisco, Microsoft, and (ISC)². CityU maintains a rolling admissions policy and accepts applications throughout the year. Applicants may require a prior learning assessment.

#6 Online College in Minnesota

Concordia University-Saint Paul

School Information
Location Saint Paul, Minnesota
Admission Rate 98%
Graduation Rate 51%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $420
Out of State | $420

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

CSP's online BS in computer science emphasizes career skills for IT professionals, especially in software engineering, database design, and problem-solving. The curriculum focuses on core computer science concepts, including object-oriented programming, math, and algorithms, culminating in a capstone requirement. 

Graduates qualify for most entry-level IT jobs or can pursue a master's degree in computer science. Applicants must submit official transcripts from high school or an accredited college or university, demonstrating a minimum 2.0 GPA

#7 Online College in Missouri

Central Methodist University

School Information
Location Fayette, Missouri
Admission Rate 100%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $270
Out of State | $270

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

CMU offers both a BA and BS in computer science through the College of Graduate and Extended Studies. The online bachelor's in computer science programs enable students to choose from electives including Python programming, Java programming, and mobile app development. The degree culminates in a senior thesis and capstone requirement.

Applicants must demonstrate college readiness by completing high school English, math, science, social studies, and foreign language coursework. Admission to CMU also requires a minimum 2.5 GPA and scores of at least 21 on the ACT or 1050 on the SAT.

#8 Online College in Illinois

Lewis University

School Information
Location Romeoville, Illinois
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 67%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Semester
In State | $18,160
Out of State | $18,160

Credits to Graduate
128

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Lewis' online BA in computer science follows an accelerated format. The curriculum combines core and elective courses designed to boost IT job skills, including programming, operating systems, and legal and ethical issues in computing. Students must complete a capstone sequence or advanced writing requirement to conclude the degree.

Applicants for the adult undergraduate bachelor's in computer science must submit an application and transcripts from colleges they previously attended. Lewis begins new online sessions every eight weeks and accepts applications on a rolling basis.

#9 Online College in Ohio

Franklin University

School Information
Location Columbus, Ohio
Graduation Rate 28%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $398
Out of State | $398

Credits to Graduate
124

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Franklin's online bachelor's in computer science builds dynamic software development skills and trains students in multiple programming languages. Students complete courses over six or 12 weeks. The program offers multiple start dates and includes several practica and a capstone experience. 

Applicants must hold a high school diploma, GED certificate, or an accredited associate or bachelor's degree. Students with previous experience can transfer up to 94 credits toward the degree.

#10 Online College in Utah

Western Governors University

School Information
Location Salt Lake City, Utah
Graduation Rate 21%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Term
In State | $3,625
Out of State | $3,625

Credits to Graduate
123

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

WGU's online bachelor's in computer science emphasizes career and technical skills for popular IT careers. The program includes the opportunity to take ITIL Foundation and CompTIA Project+ certification exams at no extra cost. Students close the degree with a capstone project, proposing a solution to a real-world IT issue. 

WGU features monthly start dates for the online bachelor's in computer science. Applicants must hold a high school diploma and demonstrate math readiness, including pre-calculus, calculus, or higher. WGU does not require SAT or ACT scores for admission.

Frequently Asked Questions About Computer Science Degree Programs

Is a bachelor's in computer science worth it? true

The value of any degree depends on the student's goals. Nevertheless, computer science is the ninth-most popular undergraduate major for a reason. For some students, an online bachelor's in computer science is worth it since it can provide a high return on investment. According to the BLS, computer and information technology jobs earn a median annual salary of $97,430.

Many professionals also find computer science careers rewarding yet challenging. Computer science careers may be a good fit if you enjoy problem-solving and logical thinking.

What can I do with a bachelor's in computer science? true

You can pursue an entry-level computer or information technology-related occupation with a bachelor's in computer science. Possible job titles include software developer, computer programmer, database administrator/architect, computer and information research analyst, and computer systems analyst. With some additional training, you may also be able to find a career in cybersecurity as an information security specialist.

Beyond the world of computers and information technology, bachelor's degree holders in computer science can pursue careers in almost any field that requires problem-solving, logical thinking, and perseverance.

Are computer science majors in high demand? true

Yes, computer science majors are in high demand. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 13% job growth for the computer and information technology industry, double the average projected growth rate for all occupations during that decade.

During the same period, the BLS also projects significant job growth for software developers (22%) and computer and information research scientists (22%). While no degree can guarantee a specific job, the high demand for skilled computer science graduates bodes well for degree-holders seeking employment.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in computer science?

Salary potential depends on a variety of factors, including employer, industry, location, and professional certifications. However, with experience, bachelor's degree-holders in computer science may approach six-figure salaries.

According to the BLS, computer and information technology occupations earned a median annual wage of $97,430. Keep in mind that not all entry-level roles pay this salary. However, if you continue to learn new skills and programming languages, you may pursue managerial and supervisory roles.

What are the highest-paying bachelor's in computer science?

The highest-paying job for graduates with bachelor's degrees in computer science is likely software development. According to the BLS, these professionals earned a median annual wage of $110,140. The top 10% of earners in the field made more than $170,100. Candidates with a bachelor's degree and strong skills can apply to become software developers, although some employers may prefer a master's degree.

Some bachelor's degree-holders may qualify for computer and information research scientist jobs, earning a median annual salary of $131,490. However, most of these positions require a master's degree.

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