Best Online Accelerated Computer Science Degree Programs

Want to work in tech? Learn how to earn an accelerated computer science degree online, choose an in-demand concentration, and launch your tech career.
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Best Online Accelerated Bachelor's Degree Programs in Computer Science

What's the quickest way to break into tech? It might be an accelerated degree. These compressed programs can quickly and efficiently equip you with the skills you need for the career you want.

After graduating with an accelerated computer science degree, you can compete for top-paying jobs such as computer network architect, software developer, or cybersecurity expert. Explore the guide below to discover what you can expect from the fastest computer science degrees and how to choose the right program for you.

Computer Science Rankings Summary

Jump to a school below using the links in the "School" column.

Rank School In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition Acceptance Rate
#1 Western Governors University
Salt Lake City, UT
$7,162 $7,162 Not provided
#2 Regis University
Denver, CO
$39,260 $39,260 81%
#3 Lewis University
Romeoville, IL
$35,262 $35,262 71%

Accelerated Computer Science Degree Programs

We use datasets from sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#1 Best Online Accelerated Computer Science Degree Programs

Western Governors University

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online

Programmatic Accreditation: ABET

Cost per Six-Month Term: $3,985

Credits to Graduate: 123

Almost two-thirds of students complete WGU's online BS in computer science program in 30 months. The school's competency-based learning approach allows learners to progress at their own pace. As soon as they demonstrate that they've mastered a topic, they can move on to the next class.

The curriculum immerses students in fundamental software, programming, and web development courses. Enrollees explore data management and the business of IT before completing real-world capstone projects. 

WGU's tuition includes vouchers for two industry certifications: Linux Essentials and AXELOS ITIL® Foundation. The university reports a $22,200 average income increase for graduates within two years.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,162
Out-of-state
$7,162
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,500
Out-of-state
$7,500
Retention Rate
63%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
150,116
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#2 Best Online Accelerated Computer Science Degree Programs

Regis University

  • Denver, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: ABET

Cost per Credit: $589

Credits to Graduate: 120

Regis' online BS in computer science program starts with foundational courses in programming, data structures, and algorithms. The curriculum then covers core topics like software engineering and artificial intelligence, preparing students for the senior capstone. Learners can customize the program with five electives, including independent study and internship opportunities. 

The eight-week class format allows students to accelerate their graduation timeline. Regis also offers a FastForward program that allows eligible computer science undergraduates to simultaneously pursue approved master's degrees. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$39,260
Out-of-state
$39,260
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,063
Out-of-state
$14,063
Retention Rate
79%
Acceptance Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
5,566
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#3 Best Online Accelerated Computer Science Degree Programs

Lewis University

  • Romeoville, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit: $625

Credits to Graduate: 128

Adult learners with at least 30 transferable credits can apply to Lewis' online accelerated BA in computer science. This degree-completion program includes eight-week class terms and the university reports that it costs 40% less than the traditional on-campus CS degree.  

Students can select a three-course concentration in secure programming, artificial intelligence, game and simulation programming, mobile computing, systems programming, or software engineering. Lewis also offers a 4+1 program to accelerate a master's degree in data science, computer science, or information security — two of which occur online. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$35,262
Out-of-state
$35,262
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,760
Out-of-state
$14,760
Retention Rate
75%
Acceptance Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
6,183
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
77% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

Ranking Methodology Summary

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To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

Accelerated Computer Science Degree Concentrations

Choose a computer science concentration to focus your coursework and prepare for different career paths. Here are some of the most popular options:

Computer Engineering

A concentration in computer engineering will add hardware skills to your CS degree. You'll learn how to engineer devices and program them using your software knowledge. After graduation, you'll qualify for roles like software developer, hardware engineer, and software engineer.

If you're fascinated by engineering, this concentration is a great addition to your computer science training.

Computer Forensics

Hone your investigative skills with a computer forensics focus. You'll learn how to pull evidence from devices and solve cybercrimes. You'll be able to apply your skills in roles like information security analyst, computer forensics investigator, or computer forensics tech.

Interested in law enforcement or national security careers? Computer forensics is a great option.

Computer Programming

Take your coding skills to the next level with a computer programming concentration. You'll study in-demand programming languages like Java and C# along with applications in computer architecture and AI. You can land programming jobs as a web developer, app developer, or computer programmer.

Pro Tip

When researching your accelerated CS degree, check the course catalog to see what the program offers.

Data Analytics

Data analytics is an in-demand skill in tech and business. Explore data science, analytics models, and data management during your accelerated computer science degree. You can qualify for data analytics careers like data scientist, data analyst, or machine learning engineer.

If you're looking to break into the business field, data analytics is a great option for business intelligence analysts and similar roles.

Database Management

You'll learn how to design and maintain databases with a database management concentration. Dig into topics like information security, data management, and analytics. You can become a database administrator, data engineer, or database architect after earning your accelerated computer science degree online.

Database administrators manage databases, while database architects design and build databases — and a bachelor's in CS lets you do either (or both).

Information Systems Security

Cybersecurity is a huge focus of the tech field. With an information systems security concentration, you'll learn how to secure systems and prevent data breaches. After taking courses in information security and network systems, you can become an information security analyst.

Information security analysts are in high demand. In fact, the field is projected to grow by 32% from 2022-2032, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Information Technology

Computer science emphasizes theory, while information technology focuses on applications. With an IT concentration, you'll learn how to use CS skills in workplace settings. This concentration can lead to IT careers like network and computer systems administrator or database administrator.

An accelerated computer science degree with an IT focus emphasizes practical, career-focused skills.

Internet Security

Learn how to protect sensitive internet data with an internet security focus. You'll study cybersecurity, information assurance, and internet security infrastructure. After graduation, you can use your knowledge of VPNs, intrusion detection methods, and firewalls to work as an information security analyst.

Internet security is a great option if you're interested in web development careers, including as a back-end developer.

Mobile Development

Want to make mobile apps? Then a mobile development concentration might be the perfect fit. You'll learn how to create software for mobile devices by studying UI design and front-end development. After earning your degree., you can qualify for jobs as a mobile developer or app developer.

A mobile development accelerated computer science degree will give you cutting-edge skills for the job market.

Network Administration

Specialize your accelerated CS degree in network administration to learn how to manage web servers and design network systems. You'll gain data management and analytical skills as you prepare for a career as a network administrator.

How much can you earn as a network administrator? The career path reports a median pay of over $90,520 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Network Security

Corporations and government agencies rely on network security specialists to keep their systems private. With a network security concentration, you'll study defense and detection methods. You can work as a cybersecurity specialist or information security analyst with your accelerated computer science degree.

Interested in cybersecurity? Look for concentrations in information security, network security, cybersecurity, and internet security.

Software Engineering

If you're interested in managing software for a variety of technologies, consider pursuing a software engineering concentration. You'll learn how to build software systems and manage complex projects with engineering approaches. After finishing your accelerated CS degree, you'll qualify for high-paying software engineering careers.

Bulk up your resume by pursuing a software engineering internship while earning your accelerated computer science degree online.

UX / UI

With a concentration in UX/UI — also known as user experience and user interface — you'll learn how to create interactive, compelling interfaces. You can work as a UX developer or UI engineer after finishing your degree, or cultivate your creative side with UX design careers.

Prepare for the job market by building your portfolio as you study information architecture and usability testing.

Web Development

Learn how to build and maintain websites and web apps with a web development concentration. You'll study user interfaces and front-end development while also strengthening back-end developer skills. After graduation, you'll qualify for web development careers, including digital design roles.

An accelerated CS degree can give you an edge over job candidates who attend web development bootcamps.

What Can I Expect From an Accelerated Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree Program?

Earning an accelerated computer science degree requires commitment and dedication. With accelerated courses, you'll move through course material quickly. Strong organizational and time management skills will help you succeed. Expect to spend several hours outside of class on coursework for every hour you spend in class.

How Fast Can I Get an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science?

You can earn an accelerated CS degree online in as little as one year if you have enough transfer credits. However, most accelerated bachelor's programs take closer to three years to complete, instead of the four years it takes to complete a traditional program. Degree completion programs typically require two years of study.

Popular Bachelor’s in Computer Science Degrees

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

What Courses Will I Take in an Accelerated Online Computer Science Degree Program?

As a CS major, you'll study programming languages, operating systems, and data structures. While the exact curriculum will vary depending on the program, many include the following courses.

Operating Systems

In this course, you'll learn about the different types of operating systems, including their functions and interfaces. You study system design and development and computing resource management.

Introduction to Programming

In this course, you'll learn about the major programming languages, including how to write code, execute programs, and solve coding problems. Depending on the course, you may study Java, Python, C#, and other popular languages.

Networks and Security

This course examines security for computer networks and systems. You'll study the types and functions of firewalls, wireless network security programs, and virtual private networks. You'll also learn the major standards and protocols in security.

Machine Learning

In this course, you'll look at the foundations of machine learning and statistical pattern recognition. You may work with various models and neural networks and study the leading applications in robotics, data processing, and speech recognition.

Data Analytics

In this course, you learn how to collect and analyze data for various purposes and applications. You'll study advanced data structures and the methods for manipulating and applying these structures.

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

The typical admission requirements for a bachelor's in computer science include a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Competitive or challenging programs, such as an accelerated program, may require a GPA minimum and computer science prerequisites.

Application

Undergraduate applications have many components, including the most common items listed below. You can upload your information and materials to your school's online portal or submit your application to several schools at once using a college application system.

Test Scores

When applying to schools without test waivers, you need to submit scores from college entrance exams, such as the SAT or ACT. These results provide schools with additional information about your academic capabilities. Competitive schools and programs may require you to meet score minimums for entry.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation can be useful parts of your college application. These letters usually come from teachers, employers, and school counselors, discussing your college readiness and what makes you prepared for the degree.

If you're a learner applying to school after a few years in the workforce, you can have your manager or work mentor write one of your recommendation letters.

Essays

Depending on the prompt or instructions, application essays provide schools with personal information about you, including academic and career interests or writing and critical thinking abilities. Schools may post their own questions and prompts or allow you to choose your own.

Official Transcripts

You need to submit transcripts to schools as proof of your high school completion and GPA. Transcripts provide details on the courses taken, which can be helpful when programs have mandatory prerequisites as part of the admission requirements. Transcripts also help schools assign credits to transfer students.

Popular Bachelor’s in Computer Science Degrees

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

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

Want to earn an accelerated computer science degree? You'll need to find the best fit for your needs and career goals. Here are some considerations when comparing programs.

Cost

When evaluating school and program costs, you should look at several factors and compare online and on-campus costs. You might also compare private and public school tuition and in-state vs. out-of-state rates. Accelerated programs may not have different tuition rates, but they can have an impact on your income since it may be harder for you to work while in school.

Program Format

Finding the ideal program format requires you to choose between synchronous and asynchronous studies and full-time and part-time course loads. Accelerated bachelor's degrees tend to have more limited choices for students. For example, these programs may only offer full-time, intensive schedules.

Location

When deciding between online and on-campus programs, you should consider location. Online learners may want to live within commuting distance of their school if the program has some on-campus requirements. The school's location might even affect the tuition rate you pay.

Accreditation

Regardless of what school you choose or where, you must ensure your online school is accredited. Attending an unaccredited school can negatively impact financial aid, future employment, and continuing education opportunities. Programmatic accreditation for computer science typically comes from ABET.

Student Support

Student services accommodate all types of students. You should find out what online student services your school offers. Some resources include career services, library support, internships and practicums, or mentorship programs.

How Much is an Accelerated Bachelor’s in Computer Science Degree?

The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in 2020, a bachelor's in computer science cost about $17,545 annually in tuition and fees. In general, in-state students at public institutions pay the least, while enrollees at private schools pay the most.

However, online or accelerated programs may cost less than traditional degrees. In these programs, you can often earn your degree with the fewest credits possible, meaning you don't pay for classes you don't need.

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

Fast-track your CS degree to enter the job market sooner. After earning your accelerated computer science degree online, you'll qualify for high-paying careers as a software developer, information security analyst, or database administrator.

Career Outlook and Salary

Career Outlook* (2022-2032):

23%

Median Annual Salary* (May 2021):

$136,620

*Based on computer and information research scientist occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The chart below includes median salaries from some of the most in-demand tech careers. An accelerated CS degree meets the minimum educational requirement for each of these roles.

Careers With a Computer Science Degree
Jobs Median Annual Salary (May 2022)
Computer Network Architect $126,900
Software Developer $124,200
Information Security Analyst $112,000
Database Administrator $112,120
Computer Systems Analyst $102,240
Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics

Continuing Education

While you can enter the workforce after graduation, you can continue your education in various ways. The most direct path is to pursue a master's in computer science or a master's in information technology. These degrees might lead to more management opportunities.

You can also pursue a master's degree in a specialized field, such as a master's in computer forensics or a master's in web development. The information technology field also offers many graduate certificates and industry certifications — credentials that professionals can use to specialize or advance their careers.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Fastest Online Computer Science Programs

Can I get a bachelor's degree in one year?

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If you transfer enough credits, you may be able to finish your bachelor's degree in 12 months. However, you need the right mix of transferable courses and a program dedicated to helping you earn credits quickly. Most accelerated degrees require 90 transfer credits to finish in one year.

Are accelerated degree classes worth it?

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An accelerated degree can help you complete your bachelor's program and enter the workforce more quickly. As a result, you can limit your financial investment in your education and maximize your earning opportunities. However, accelerated degrees demand concentrated time and effort, and only you can evaluate those personal costs against the degree's benefits.

Are accelerated bachelor's degrees as valuable as traditional degrees?

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In one sense, an accelerated degree holds the same value as any other bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school. Your major and school are probably more important than the degree's delivery method.

Some schools hold better brand recognition than others, and some majors, such as computer science, can lead to occupations with higher-than-average salaries.

Is an accelerated bachelor's degree in computer science right for me?

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An accelerated bachelor's degree in computer science offers a quick pathway into the workforce but often requires intensive time and effort. For example, many accelerated programs operate year-round, and students usually take courses in compressed, seven-or-eight-week formats.

Before enrolling in an online program, ask your university what student support services they provide and if it's possible to shift to a traditional degree should you need to.

Are accelerated degree programs affordable?

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An accelerated program's cost depends on the degree and the school. Typically, public institutions charge less than private schools, and nonprofit universities cost less than for-profit ones.

However, these generalities are not universal, so be sure to ask about scholarships, grants, discounts, and possible payment plans when you inquire about your degree options.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed December 12, 2023.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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