Best Online Software Engineering Programs of 2022

Bachelor's in software engineering programs online allow experienced IT students and professionals flexible learning options and generous credit transfer policies.

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by Meg Whitenton

Updated September 21, 2022

Reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

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Software engineers are responsible for developing the IT applications and software systems we rely on every day. Engineers are specially trained to test, develop, and implement new programs. As such, software engineering is one of the most bankable occupations for IT professionals.

Software developers enjoy faster-than-average job growth and generous salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 22% increase in jobs from 2020-2030, and reports a median annual wage over $110,000 for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers as of May 2020.

www.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.

Ready to start your journey?

Most software developers hold at least a bachelor's degree. Online bachelor's in software engineering programs are popular among students for offering accelerated paths to graduation and set or in-state tuition rates.

Read on to discover the best online software engineering programs and learn about common courses and admission requirements for these programs.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Programs of 2022

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1

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.

SNHU's online bachelor of computer science with a software engineering concentration focuses on proven engineering techniques and emerging system architectures and technologies. Remote learners use industry-standard applications to build a portfolio that demonstrates their skills in computer software design and development.

Applicants work with an admissions counselor and list previous schools attended for transcript retrieval. Admitted students can accelerate their learning by transferring up to 90 credits toward the 120-credit program total.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $320
Out of State | $320

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes

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#2

Saint Cloud State University

School Information
Location Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Admission Rate 90%
Graduation Rate 48%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The project-driven online bachelor's in software engineering program at St. Cloud State emphasizes best industry practices. The curriculum comprises individual and collaborative application of the software engineering lifecycle, including analysis, communication, construction, and design. 

Applicants should contact admissions online and submit transcripts, personal statements, and recommendations. St. Cloud State evaluates applicants' prerequisite coursework, GPAs, and extracurricular activities for admission. Test scores are optional. Admitted students with prior degrees or transfer credits can accelerate their timeline to graduation. 

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $9,170
Out of State | $10,508-$18,010

Credits to Graduate
122

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes 
Program Accreditation | Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology

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#3

Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix

School Information
Location Phoenix, Arizona
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 58%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Distance learners can earn a bachelor of science in software engineering at ASU that integrates skills in computing, engineering, project leadership, and software construction. The project-based curriculum includes interdisciplinary electives in embedded systems, mobile applications, and web applications.

Course delivery is primarily asynchronous, and students can complete the program on a part-time basis. Freshman applicants need a combined SAT score of 1210, a 3.0 GPA, or a class ranking in the top 25%. Transfer student requirements include a 2.75 GPA.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $688
Out of State | $688

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology

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#4

Western Governors University

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

WGU's bachelor of science in software development provides a foundation in application development, computer programming, and web development and offers two tracks: Java and C#. Students can earn industry certifications at no extra charge. 

The program culminates with a capstone project in which learners apply what they've learned to a situation at their workplace.

Applicants gain admission with transcripts showing 300-level IT coursework or an associate or bachelor's degree, two years of IT work, or IT certifications.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes 

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

Courses to Graduate
34

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes

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#5

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

School Information
Location University Park, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 71%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

The online bachelor's in software engineering offered at Penn State comprises 126 credits that combine classroom instruction, design projects, and software development experience. Course topics include computer programming, object-oriented methodology, and software security. Students complete a collaborative capstone project. 

Admission criteria includes a 2.7 GPA and, for applicants with fewer than 45 transferable credits, coursework in calculus with analytic geometry, calculus-based physics, and chemistry with a laboratory.

Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $590-$632
Out of State | $590-$632

Credits to Graduate
126

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes 
Program Accreditation | Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology

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What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Program?

Software engineering suits those interested in computer programming with strong analytical, detail-oriented, and problem-solving skills. Most students who take an interest in software engineering and development are adept at math and up-to-date on the latest technology.

A bachelor's in software engineering can help students master the computer skills and programming languages necessary to launch or advance their career.

Schools most commonly offer a bachelor of science (BS) in software engineering. The degree typically requires completion of 120 credits over a four-year period. Many students look to online bachelor's in software engineering programs for scheduling flexibility and potentially cheaper tuition rates than in-person programs.

Software engineering degrees may include concentrations in the following:

Most bachelor's in software engineering programs include internships. Companies like Google and Facebook offer competitive internships for high-achieving software engineering students. Additionally, some bachelor's in software engineering programs may include on-campus labs or simulation courses. Software engineering graduates can pursue lucrative jobs in industries including telecommunications, manufacturing, healthcare, and finance.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

Popular Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering 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 Software Engineering Program?

Introduction to Computer Science and Software Engineering

This course introduces students to the skills required in common computer science occupations including computing technology, problem-solving, and quantitative methods. The curriculum covers foundations of engineering and computer science and may include real-world case studies.

Programming Fundamentals

A course in programming fundamentals explores the core concepts of computer programming, including data types, software development methodology, functions, mechanics, and control structures. This broad overview course is typically only open to software engineering majors.

Discrete Math for Computing

Students in this course learn the basic principles of counting, such as relations, sets, and functions. Additional topics include proof and logic methods, Boolean operations, recurrence relations, and elementary graph and number theory.

Computer Architecture

A bachelor-level course in computer architecture explores the multiple levels of abstraction, basic computations, and numbering systems necessary to construct data systems. Coursework emphasizes MIPS programming, processor datapaths, memory tiers, performance, and pipelining.

Physics and Mechanics

Physics labs in this major use experiments to explore topics like deviation and error propagation, one- and two-dimensional motion, and oscillations. Mechanics combines calculus and physics to study kinematics, energy and momentum, rotational motion, and space and time.

What are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Program?

Though admissions requirements vary slightly by program, most bachelor's in software engineering accept basic applications with transcripts, test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation. The Common App, widely accepted by U.S. colleges, enables students to apply to multiple colleges using the same essay and admissions form.

Students should plan to spend more time applying to an online program than a traditional one, since some online programs include virtual orientation coursework and/or prerequisites.

Application

While programs vary, the application process for a bachelor's in software engineering begins with entering basic personal and academic information into a form. Most schools encourage students to apply through the Common App or Coalition App, which are used for both online and in-person programs.

Test Scores

Most schools require standardized test scores, commonly through the SAT or ACT, for admission into a bachelor's in software engineering. Some programs note minimum scores considered for admission while others judge scores among other qualifications. Institutions typically prefer to see test scores, even if not required.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation can especially benefit students applying to a bachelor's in software engineering program. Applicants commonly seek letters of recommendation from mentors, teachers, employers, and/or coaches. Students should always give plenty of notice when requesting a recommendation.

Essays

Schools commonly request application essays to form a better understanding of a student's accomplishments, aspirations, and potential. Students should provide an authentic and heartfelt explanation of their reasons for applying to a bachelor's in software engineering program.

Official Transcripts

Transcripts are a universal requirement of any college application. Students who recently graduated from high school should arrange for their official high school transcripts to be sent directly to the college they are applying to. Applicants with college experience should review their college's credit-transfer policy.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Degree?

Career Outlook

Graduates of this popular major enjoy broad, open-ended career options. They meet the standard education requirements for many jobs in the computer and information technology industry, for which the BLS projects a 13% growth from 2020-2030, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Software developers enjoy an even faster projected growth rate of 22% during the same period.

The BLS projects a strong outlook for software developers due to the ever-increasing demand for new digital products, applications, and services. Though IT fields generally experience a high employee turnover rate, jobs remain competitive as technology continues to evolve.

Graduates of a bachelor's in software engineering can earn more than $100,000 in fields like software development, especially at companies focusing on software publishing and manufacturing.

See where a bachelor's in software engineering can take you. Learn more about software engineering careers.

Career Paths

Software Developer

Students commonly earn a bachelor's in software engineering to become a software developer. These professionals design, test, and refine computer applications and programs. They often work closely with quality assurance analysts and testers. Software developers may perform functions similar to a software engineer, or specialize in either applications or systems software development.

Median Annual Salary: $110,140

Computer Hardware Engineer

While software developers create applications and programs, computer hardware engineers design and develop the products needed to run such software. Hardware engineers build and test systems and components including circuit boards, routers, processors, networks, and memory devices. These professionals typically require a bachelor's degree to start their career.

Median Annual Salary: $119,560

Computer Network Architect

Computer network architects design and construct the networks used to transmit data including intranets, LANs (local area networks), and WANs (wide area networks). They may specialize in building one-to-one communication networks between businesses or large-scale, cloud-based infrastructures for multiple customers. Most hold a bachelor's degree and work experience.

Median Annual Salary: $116,780

Web Developer or Digital Designer

Web developers typically specialize in front-end development, creating the "look" and layout of a website, or back-end development, constructing the technical framework and functions. Web and digital interface designers focus on fine-tuning a website's graphic design. Most employers prefer bachelor's degree holders for these positions.

Median Annual Salary: $77,200

Computer Systems Analyst

Also called systems architects, computer systems analysts combine business and IT skills to help clients streamline their computing systems and functions. These professionals typically tailor their skills to a particular client's needs, such as in financial or HR management. Systems analysis includes software quality assurance analysts and programmer analysts. Most jobs require a bachelor's degree.

Median Annual Salary: $93,730

Software Engineering Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Since most software engineering jobs require only a bachelor's degree, students do not often pursue advanced degrees in this field; however, a bachelor's in software engineering can provide the foundation for a master's in a related major. For example, bachelor's-holders who go on to earn a master's in computer science may qualify for lucrative research jobs in programming and robotics.

Some IT occupations require a unique combination of technology and business skills. Employers may accept a bachelor's degree but prefer candidates with a master's for top leadership roles. Schools commonly offer MBAs specializing in IT management, ideal for aspiring computer systems analysts, network and database administrators, and chief technology officers (CTOs).

Students can also supplement their bachelor's program with free online courses, coding bootcamps, or professional certifications.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Program?

Cost

While college costs vary significantly by program, tuition prices are of the utmost concern among college applicants. Factors including public or private status and state residency affect the true cost of pursuing a four-year bachelor's degree. Many online bachelor's in software engineering programs offer set or in-state tuition to all students, making them more affordable than an on-campus degree.

Program Format

Programs typically offer a variety of enrollment and delivery options. Some schools offer a choice of full- or part-time enrollment, while others may develop their online bachelor's in software engineering specifically for one or the other. Additionally, programs may deliver online coursework synchronously (live) or asynchronously (recorded). Some online programs offer accelerated paths to graduation that use self-paced formats.

Location

The location of a program is important, whether a student chooses to complete their degree on campus or online. Some online bachelor's in software engineering require on-campus orientations, residencies, and/or labs. Others may include 100% online coursework but require students to maintain residency in a particular state or region to enjoy in-state tuition rates.

Accreditation

Students should only consider accredited bachelor's in software engineering programs. Schools must complete a rigorous process to earn national or regional accreditation through an agency sanctioned by the Department of Education. While either type of accreditation can denote a high-quality school, software engineering students will want to look for schools that are regionally accredited.

Student Support

The best in-person and online bachelor's in software engineering programs offer a variety of academic and holistic student support services. Beyond technical and orientation support for online undergraduates, schools commonly offer advising, tutoring, and mentorship services. Many programs provide additional professional support including career planning, internship placement, and alumni networking services.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Software Engineering Programs

Is a bachelor's in software engineering worth it?

Yes, a bachelor's in software engineering can lead to high-paying careers with longevity in the tech industry. The majority of jobs in software development, engineering, and design require a bachelor's degree, through widely available traditional or online programs. Many students opt for online degrees for the flexibility and sometimes cheaper tuition rates.

As with any college degree, students should consider how earning a bachelor's in software engineering aligns with their career goals. This program best suits students interested in developing their analytical, communication, technical, and problem-solving skills.

What can I do with a bachelor's in software engineering?

Graduates of a bachelor's in software engineering program can become software developers, hardware engineers, web designers, network architects, and systems analysts.

The majority of entry-level jobs in IT and computer science require a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degree-holders may also want to continue on to a master's degree program to pursue top jobs like CTO or IT manager.

Are software engineering majors in demand?

Yes, very. The BLS projects a faster-than-average increase of 13% among computer and information technology jobs between 2020 and 2030. Some particular occupations within the industry, such as software developers, have projected job growth rates that are even higher.

Schools increasingly offer online bachelor's in software engineering programs to students looking to launch their careers as quickly as possible and start earning a competitive salary. Engineering and computer and information sciences rank among the most popular college majors for future employability and income potential.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in software engineering?

According to BLS data from May 2020, median salaries for computer and information technology occupations ($91,250) are more than double the median annual wage across all jobs ($41,950).

Graduates of a bachelor's in software engineering can earn over $100,000 a year as information security analysts, software developers, or computer network architects. Jobs in web development, network administration, and computer programming offer median salaries between $77,000 and $90,000, lower than others in IT but still higher than the national median wage.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in software engineering?

Computer hardware engineers and computer network architects are among the highest-paid computer and IT professionals, earning a median salary of nearly $120,000 and $117,000 a year, respectively, according to the BLS as of May 2020.

Like most IT jobs, these positions require only a bachelor's degree in software engineering or a related field and pay well above the national average at entry level. Other high-paid occupations suited to software engineering bachelor's degree holders include software developers and quality assurance analysts, information security analysts, and database administrators and architects.

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