According to a study from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), computer and information sciences is the seventh-most popular undergraduate major. During the 2019-2020 academic year, 97,000 students earned bachelor's degrees in computer science.

The computer field is popular for good reason. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that computer and information technology occupations paid a median annual salary of $97,430, more than double the median annual wage for all careers.

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Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 13% job growth for computer and information technology positions, which eclipses the 8% average projected growth rate for all occupations during that decade.

Earning an online bachelor's in computer science may be a worthwhile investment. Read on to learn more about possible courses, careers, and admission requirements for this degree.

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

Detail-oriented students with skills in math, problem-solving, and logical thinking may enroll in online bachelor's in computer science programs. However, no matter your natural talents, with enough work and dedication, you may learn the hard skills and knowledge to succeed in this challenging major.

Like bachelor's degrees in most fields, most online bachelor's in computer science programs take approximately four years of full-time study to complete. Most computer science curricula consist of around 120 credits of core and elective courses, culminating in a capstone project or seminar. Some programs might include a practicum experience.

Some programs offer concentrations to allow students to further specialize within computer science. Possible concentrations include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and software engineering.

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How Do I Know If an Online Program Is Popular?

Students can look for several factors when determining the popularity of an online program. Possible options include enrollment statistics, graduation rates, and post-grad employment rates. You can combine all of these elements to determine a program's overall popularity.

You can also seek out student testimonials by finding program alumni through the program's website or looking through LinkedIn profiles. A school's name recognition is sometimes an indicator of a program's popularity, but it's a factor you should take with a grain of salt. Prestigious schools can still offer unpopular programs.

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

Data Structures

Data structures is a foundational course that students often take early in the computer science major. Possible topics include storage management, trees and graphs, and linked lists.

Web Development

In this course, students learn how to create useful applications with web technologies. Covered topics often include programming languages and client-side and server-side code.

Software Engineering

Students often take at least two software engineering courses during their computer science major. One course usually covers front-end engineering, while the other delves into back-end engineering.

Operating Systems

Computer science students often complete at least two courses in operating systems. Coursework might focus on a specific operating system, such as UNIX.

Capstone

Many computer science programs culminate in a capstone project, in which students must use the knowledge, skills, and languages they've learned to produce some sort of tangible application.

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

Usually, admission requirements are similar for on-campus and online bachelor's in computer science programs. In addition to the requirements listed below, some computer science programs may ask prospective online students to complete an assessment.

Application

All online computer science programs require prospective students to fill out an application form, which collects an applicant's background information. Undergraduate applicants can sometimes send in their materials to multiple schools at once through application systems like the Common App and Coalition App.

Test Scores

Some online computer science programs require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. Other schools have eliminated this requirement or maintain test-optional policies, allowing applicants to send in scores only if they strengthen their overall application.

Letters of Recommendation

Like most undergraduate programs, online bachelor's in computer science programs usually require applicants to send in 1-3 letters of recommendation. If you are a recent high school graduate, you should ask former teachers to write these letters. If you are a professional, you can ask current or past supervisors for a recommendation.

Essays

Most undergraduate programs require prospective students to send in short essays as part of their applications. Common prompts include a statement of purpose or writing about a time you overcame a difficult situation.

Official Transcripts

All online bachelor's in computer science programs require applicants to submit official transcripts from prior high schools and colleges. If you are transferring into a four-year school from a community college, you may be eligible for transfer credits.

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

Career Outlook

Computer science is a popular major among undergraduate students because of potential career prospects. According to the BLS, as of May 2021, computer and information technology professionals earned a median annual salary of $97,430, which was more than twice the median annual wage for all careers.

The growth prospects for computer and information technology careers also look promising. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 13% job growth for these careers, higher than average. Some computer careers may experience even higher growth. For example, during the same period, the BLS projects 22% job growth for software developers.

See where a bachelor's in computer science can take you. Learn more about computer science careers.

Career Paths

Computer Network Architect

Computer network architects create data communication networks like intranets and wide area networks. They often work full time in office settings for information technology companies. Job candidates generally need a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field and some relevant experience to qualify for these positions.

Median Annual Salary: $120,520


Computer Programmer

Computer programmers create the code that makes computer software and applications run properly. They usually work full time in the information technology industry, often in offices. Programmers need a bachelor's degree and knowledge of several different programming languages.

Median Annual Salary: $93,000


Software Developer

Software developers create computer programs and applications. They can work in nearly any field for both established companies and startups. To qualify for jobs, developers usually need a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. However, some employers prefer candidates with advanced degrees.

Median Annual Salary: $110,140


Database Administrator or Architect

These professionals create and supervise databases to store and protect data for organizations. They usually work full time and in-house for companies that manage a lot of data. Prospective administrators usually need a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field.

Median Annual Salary: $98,860


Computer Systems Analyst

Computer systems analysts look at an organization's computer setup and provide recommendations to improve performance and efficiency. They can work in-house for companies or as consultants. Job candidates usually need a bachelor's degree.

Median Annual Salary: $99,270

Computer Science Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Bachelor's degree-holders in computer science can immediately enter the workforce and pursue lucrative careers with advancement potential. However, some graduates prefer to gain a leg up in the job market and open the door to additional opportunities by earning a master's degree in computer science.

Computers, information technology, and programming are always evolving. Professionals in the field can stay current through continuing education opportunities like seminars, MOOCS, and conferences. They can also pursue coding and data science bootcamps to expand their skill sets.

Should I Choose a Popular Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Program?

Students should consider additional factors beyond just popularity when choosing an online bachelor's in computer science program. While popularity can give you some sense of a program's quality, popular programs may feature larger class sizes. You might receive more support from professors in less popular programs with higher student-to-faculty ratios.

Additional Program Factors to Consider

Cost

According to the NCES, the average cost of tuition and fees at a 4-year institution was $29,033 in 2020-21. Students can reduce this cost by choosing a public university with in-state tuition. Online students often save on true program costs, like transportation, room and board, and parking, compared to their on-campus peers.

Program Format

Online students must decide between synchronous or asynchronous learning. Synchronous learning involves live online sessions, while asynchronous learning allows students to view lectures when convenient. Learners must also pick between full-time, part-time, and accelerated programs.

Location

Part of the appeal of distance learning is not having to consider location when choosing a school. Nevertheless, you may still want to enroll at a nearby school. While many computer science programs do not include in-person requirements, schools might maintain relationships with local employers. It might be easier to take advantage of any employer connections if you live in the area.

Accreditation

School accreditation is overseen by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

This recognition indicates that schools meet educational standards, so it's important to only enroll in accredited schools. Otherwise, you cannot receive federal financial aid, employers may not recognize your degree, and accredited schools may not recognize transfer credits.

For computer science programs, keep an eye out for accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Student Support

Student support resources can make a huge difference in an online program. Before committing to a school, check to see if you can access student services like mentorship opportunities, internship placements, networking events, and tutoring.

Most Popular Accredited Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1

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 | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $398

Out of State | $398

Credits to Graduate

124

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Franklin develops online programs specifically for working students. The 124-credit BS in computer science blends general education and professional coursework. The curriculum covers topics like programming languages and database management. 

Enrollees can choose a focus area such as data analytics or web and mobile development. Franklin allows students to transfer up to 94 credits to finish the degree faster. Affordable tuition also helps make this a popular computer science degree. Applicants must submit all college transcripts.

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#2

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 | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $610-$1,056

Out of State | $610-$1,056

Credits to Graduate

128

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Lewis offers a BA in computer science with accelerated and traditional online formats. Students complete the same curriculum for either option. Enrollees examine topics like programming fundamentals and algorithms and data structures.

Students learn concepts like mathematical modeling and numerical analysis. Participants get hands-on experience completing a capstone project.

Lewis awards college credit for coding and programming experience. Asynchronous eight-week sessions help students finish the degree in a flexible format. Admission to the bachelor's in computer science requires high school and college transcripts.

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#3

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 | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $495

Out of State | $495

Credits to Graduate

180

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

CityU is dedicated to helping busy professionals complete degrees online. The BS in applied computer science emphasizes practical experience, and students receive a strong foundation in computing and network technology.

The topics covered include web design, cybersecurity, and systems analysis and design. All students learn about cyber ethics in this popular computer science degree. The curriculum blends classroom lectures and hands-on lab experiences. 

Participants can also opt for an internship to develop advanced skills. Admission requirements include college transcripts for transfer applicants.

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#4

Oregon State University

School Information
Location Corvallis, Oregon
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 67%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $403

Out of State | $403

Credits to Graduate

180

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

The BS in computer science (CS) at Oregon State offers an applied CS option. All enrollees learn skills such as web development and software engineering. The applied CS option teaches students how to design intrusion-resistant systems. 

Students complete a design prototype for a senior capstone in this popular computer science degree. Enrollees can network with industry professionals to build a career portfolio. Participants receive online tutoring and success coaching support services. 

Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate for first-year applicants, and minimum cumulative 2.25 GPA for transfer applicants.

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#5

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 | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $367

Out of State | $367

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | Yes 

Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Computer science is the top undergraduate major at UIS. The school offers an online BS in computer science for transfer students. Enrollees learn skills like programming and computer organization. 

Students receive on-the-job experience with an optional internship. A software engineering capstone emphasizes team design and technical communication skills. 

This bachelor's in computer science offers a flat tuition rate for all enrollees regardless of where they live. Admission requires at least 30 credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA.

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#6

Charleston Southern University

School Information
Location Charleston, South Carolina
Admission Rate 50%
Graduation Rate 41%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $515

Out of State | $515

Credits to Graduate

125

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | Yes

Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

CSU offers a degree completion BT in computer science that blends the liberal arts and professional education. An associate degree in an approved technical field is required for admission. 

Enrollees choose cognate courses covering areas such as computer science and cybersecurity. Students can complete the bachelor's in technology in fewer than 24 months with transfer credits and accelerated seven-week courses. 

The popular computer science degree is affordable with one flat tuition rate for all enrollees. Admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA for transfer credits.

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#7

Baker College

School Information
Location Owosso, Michigan
Admission Rate 73%
Graduation Rate 18%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $435

Out of State | $435

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Baker College offers a BS in computer science with a computer programming concentration. This popular computer science degree offers asynchronous or live classes. The major teaches technical skills such as systems development and database management and design. 

The concentration covers areas like artificial intelligence and programming with C# and Java.

A 150-hour internship helps prepare students for the workplace. 

Students showcase their technical skills by completing a senior project focused on systems development. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate.

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#8

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  | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $420

Out of State | $420

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

CSP offers an online computer science major. Students learn in-demand skills such as database design and web development. Courses introduce students to software engineering phases, Agile software development, and project management software.

Students work in teams to develop software and build hands-on software development experience. Degree-seekers can transfer up to 90 credits into this popular computer science degree program. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate, and college transcripts for transfer applicants.

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#9

Saint Leo University

School Information
Location Saint Leo, Florida
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 49%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $410

Out of State | $410

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 

A Catholic college in Florida, Saint Leo offers a BS in computer science covering the latest tools and technology. The curriculum requires general education coursework. Some notable general education topics include the McDonaldization of society and science in science fiction.

Students learn programming skills, software engineering, and network theory and design. This popular computer science degree also explores artificial intelligence concepts and techniques. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate for first-year applicants, and a minimum 2.0 GPA on transfer credits.

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#10

Southern New Hampshire University

School Information
Location Manchester, New Hampshire
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $320

Out of State | $320

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | New England Commission of Higher Education 

SNHU's BS in computer science is a good option for first-year and transfer students. Students learn Python, Java, and C++ programming skills. They practice Agile software methodologies and full-stack development.

The degree's four concentrations include software engineering and data analysis. A unique concentration focuses on project management for STEM. Students can transfer up to 90 credits into this popular computer science degree. Admission requires a minimum C- grade on transfer credits.

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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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Popular Computer Science Programs

Are popular online bachelor's programs more difficult to get into?

It depends. Some popular programs achieve popularity by admitting and enrolling a higher number of students. Other programs are popular because of their reputation, location, or campus life. Each program has unique admission requirements. So popular online bachelor's programs aren't necessarily any more difficult to get into than less popular ones.

Keep in mind that popularity should not be the only factor when choosing an online bachelor's in computer science program. You should also factor in cost, location, curriculum, accreditation, and student services.

What are the most popular college majors?

According to the NCES, the most popular bachelor's majors in 2019-2020 were business, health professions, social sciences and history, followed by engineering. Computer and information sciences landed in seventh place on their list.

How should I choose an online degree program?

Choosing an online college and program are personal decisions that depend on each students' goals and circumstances. Consider your natural talents, what careers you aspire to, and other obligations before committing to any program.

Additional factors in choosing an online program include cost, location, student services, accreditation, popularity, and delivery method. If you prefer structure, you may want to seek out a cohort program with synchronous sessions. If you prefer flexibility or work while going to school, seek out a program that delivers coursework asynchronously.

Are the most popular online programs also the highest quality?

The most popular online programs aren't necessarily the highest quality programs. While popular programs are popular for a reason, there are plenty of lesser-known programs that offer similar quality or rigor. Most importantly, you need to ensure the college holds accreditation.

Nevertheless, if you are considering enrolling in a popular program, be sure to do some research to determine if it's a good fit for you. More information may be available about popular programs, and it might be easier to find alumni to provide you with testimonials.

What jobs can I get with an online bachelor's in computer science?

An online bachelor's in computer science lets graduates pursue many different jobs within the computers and information technology field. Possible job titles include software developer, computer network architect, computer programmer, database administrator or architect, and computer systems analyst. Keep in mind that one degree can't guarantee you a specific job.

With additional training through college coursework, bootcamps, or MOOCs, you may also find work as a data analyst, data scientist, machine learning engineer, or computer and information research scientist.

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