Guide to Bachelor’s in Computer Science Degrees

Learn about earning a bachelor's in computer science, job opportunities after graduation, earning potential, and how to choose the right program.
portrait of Liz Simmons
Liz Simmons
Read Full Bio


Liz Simmons is a writer and editor with over a decade of experience. She specializes in higher education, history, and culture. Liz holds a BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado and master's degrees in urban studies and library and infor...
Updated on January 16, 2024
Edited by
portrait of Mitch Jacobson
Mitch Jacobson
Read Full Bio


After launching her career in content strategy, writing, and editing, Mitch Jacobson honed her skills at an investment firm focused on community development, economic opportunity, and inclusion. She believes in continuing education and professional g...
Reviewed by
portrait of Monali Mirel Chuatico
Monali Mirel Chuatico
Read Full Bio


Monali Chuatico is a data engineer at Mission Lane and a data analytics captain at the nonprofit COOP Careers. There, Monali helps new grads and young professionals overcome underemployment by teaching them data analytics tools and mentoring them on ...
Learn more about our editorial process 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.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

  • A bachelor's in computer science can prepare you for in-demand, lucrative roles in tech.
  • There are projected to be 377,500 annual openings for computer and IT professionals through 2032
  • A typical program covers programming, information security, and computer architecture.
  • Careers for graduates include programmers, software developers, and computer analysts.

A bachelor's in computer science can help you gain the skills and knowledge you need for nearly any entry-level job in the computing and information technology (IT) field. Jobs with technology know-how are in high demand and offer relatively high pay compared to many other career paths.

Some students pick a computer science major because they know that they want to work in this field and it's a good way to launch a career. Other computer science majors start working in computing or a related field right after high school, then later seek a degree to qualify for promotions and raises.

This guide covers what to expect from a computer science bachelor's program, potential jobs after graduation, and how to decide if this degree is right for you.

What Is a Bachelor's in Computer Science?

Computer science is the study of computer systems and computer software. A bachelor's in computer science is a four-year undergraduate degree that can prepare students for entry-level roles in the field.

A typical curriculum provides a foundation in the theory and practice of computer science and covers topics like coding, software development, and data structures and algorithms. Computer science majors take classes like algorithms, principles of programming, and software engineering.

Computer scientists can use their computing knowledge to find technical solutions to problems in business, education, government, healthcare, and other industries. For example, insights and tools from computer science can help governments improve their predictions and responses to natural disasters like hurricanes and extreme heat.

Computer science developments have also improved global communication, made it possible to automate dangerous work, and led to improvements in personalized healthcare.

Popular Online Programs

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

Should You Get a Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree?

Whether or not you should go to school for computer science depends on what you want to do after graduation. However, earning a bachelor's in computer science can be an excellent way to launch a well-paying career in the computer and IT field.

Computer science jobs that require a bachelor's degree include roles like software developer, computer systems analyst, computer programmer, and information security analyst. Major employers in the computer science field include the computer systems design and related services industry, software publishers, manufacturers, and the information sector.

A degree in computer science can pay off. For example, software developers — one potential career for graduates with this degree — earned a median annual salary of $127,260 in May 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Unlike other fields that may be experiencing slower growth, demand for computer and IT professionals is projected to be much higher than average from 2022 to 2032, with an average of 377,500 openings projected each year, according to the BLS.

What Will You Learn in a Computer Science Program?

Bachelor's in computer science programs provide a foundation in computer science theory and practice. A typical curriculum explores topics like computer networks, computer systems, mobile application systems, and algorithm design. Students also learn about artificial intelligence, information security, software development, and machine learning.

The goal of a computer science bachelor's program is to prepare students for entry-level roles in the field. Below, explore some potential concentrations and classes that computer science majors may encounter.

Computer Science Degree Concentrations

Video Game Design and Development

This concentration explores topics like advanced computer graphics, visual arts, storytelling, and human-computer interaction. Students interested in becoming video game designers or developers should consider this concentration.

Cloud Computing

A cloud computing concentration can be a good choice for students interested in the business side of computer science. This concentration is good for those who want to work in government or corporate environments. It covers topics like accounting and parallel and distributed computing.

Artificial Intelligence

A concentration in artificial intelligence (AI) explores issues like predictive modeling, machine learning, and algorithms. Students might want to pursue this concentration if they are interested in emerging technologies and want to work in roles like machine learning engineer or AI researcher.

Software Engineering

This concentration may appeal to students interested in becoming software engineers, as it explores topics like application development, coding, and scripting.


A cybersecurity concentration can help students learn how to keep computers and computing systems secure. It explores ethical hacking, cryptography, and network privacy.

Computer Science Program Courses

The type and variety of courses that a bachelor's in computer science program offers varies by school. Your curriculum may also vary depending on your concentration. Below, we describe some classes typically available in most bachelor's in computer science programs.

  • Arrow Circle Right
    Introduction to computer science: This foundational course introduces learners to the computer science field and covers data structures, algorithms, writing programs, and problem-solving.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Principles of programming languages: Students gain a better understanding of the theory behind computer programming, which can make it easier to learn various programming languages.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Data structures and algorithms: This class explores advanced algorithms and data structures. Students can learn how to implement data structures and algorithms during programming.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Software engineering: Students learn about software engineering best practices, concepts, and tools. Topics include software testing, design, and implementation, as well as the software development life cycle.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Computer science capstone project: This culminating course during a student's senior year usually includes hands-on, real-world experience solving a problem using computer science theory and skills developed over the course of the program.

How Do You Apply for a Bachelor's in Computer Science?

Admission requirements for bachelor's in computer science programs vary by school, but in many cases applicants apply for general admission to the college and declare a major later.

Prospective students need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Application requirements may also include a minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, an essay or statement of purpose, and an application fee. Some programs have prerequisite math requirements.

Most schools accept undergraduate applications through Common App, a website that lets students apply to more than 1,000 colleges with just one general application.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's in Computer Science?

The typical bachelor's in computer science requires about 120 semester credits. To graduate, students usually must complete general education credits in addition to computer science core, elective, and concentration credits. Many programs also require a capstone.

A bachelor's in computer science, like most other bachelor's programs, usually takes about four years for full-time students to complete. Part-time learners typically take longer to graduate.

Some online computer science bachelor's programs offer accelerated options. These let learners graduate in less than four years by condensing the curriculum and providing year-round enrollment and generous transfer policies.

What Can You Do With a Bachelor's in Computer Science?

Employers require a bachelor's degree to qualify for many entry-level positions in computer science. Graduates can apply for various roles in the tech field. They can also consider continuing their education and pursuing a master's degree in computer science. This can open the door to more advanced and even better-paying jobs in the field.

Graduates with a bachelor's in computer science can qualify for the jobs below. This is just a sampling of the jobs to consider pursuing with this degree.

Jobs for Computer Science Degree Holders

Will You Make Money With a Bachelor's in Computer Science?

Yes, you can anticipate making a competitive salary if you earn a bachelor's in computer science. The BLS reports that the median annual wage for workers in computer and IT occupations was $100,530 in May 2022, significantly higher than the median for all jobs of $46,310.

Earnings vary based on various factors, including the occupation you choose. Below, we describe some potential roles for graduates with a bachelor's in computer science and how much you can expect to make in them.

Careers for Bachelor's in Computer Science Graduates
Role Job Description Median Pay, May 2022
Web Developer and Digital Designer Web developers create the technical side of websites, while digital designers create the look of websites. $80,730
Computer Systems Analyst Computer systems analysts find ways to make an organization's computer systems work better. $102,240
Computer Network Architect One of the highest-paying computer science roles open to bachelor's-holders, computer network architects create data communication networks. $126,900
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Questions About Undergraduate Computer Science Programs

Is a BA or a BS in computer science better?

A bachelor's in computer science can prepare you for entry-level roles in the field, regardless of whether it's a BA or BS. A BA program may include a broader liberal arts curriculum, while a BS may focus more on technical computer science courses. Employers generally don't care whether you get a BA or BS in computer science.

How much does it cost to get a bachelor's in computer science degree?

The cost of a bachelor's in computer science varies by program. Factors that can impact cost include type of school (public or private), program prestige, and whether you pay in-state or out-of-state tuition. Financial aid options for computer science majors include scholarships for LGBTQ students and scholarships for students with disabilities.

Is computer science a math-heavy subject?

Computer science majors need some math skills in order to understand programming languages and other aspects of the field, but it might not be as much math as you assume. Most programs require a basic understanding of algebra, statistics, and calculus.

How hard is a bachelor's in computer science degree?

In general, many people consider computer science one of the more challenging undergraduate degrees. Students must master technical computer skills and commit to hands-on learning and practice that can take time. However, if you're willing to put in the time and effort, most people can learn computer science.

Is a bachelor's in computer science worth it?

Yes, a bachelor's in computer science can certainly be worth the time and effort it takes to earn it. Students can qualify for various high-paying, in-demand jobs in the tech field.

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 13, 2023. 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.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.