Best Online Software Engineering Degrees of 2024

Ready for a career in software development? Find out more about what to expect from an online software engineering degree and how you can secure lucrative software engineer jobs.
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  • Computer engineering is a top-paying major for new graduates and mid-career professionals.
  • Online software engineering degrees cost about $11,480 in annual tuition.
  • You can earn an average of $88,000 with an online software engineering degree.
  • Distance education programs offer low-cost, highly flexible learning solutions.

Top
Ranked

2024

Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Software Engineering

A bachelor's in software engineering can be your ticket to a potentially engaging, stable career with a six-figure salary. Companies across nearly all industries need software engineers to build the applications, tools, and programs the world runs on.

Of course, attending college demands commitment, time, money, and attention, but an online degree can help you meet your current obligations while getting ahead in your career. Learning online can also blend hands-on technology work with theory and design.

If you're considering an online software engineering degree, here's what to do next:

  • Explore this page to determine whether this degree path is right for you.
  • Check out the top-ranked online bachelor's in software engineering programs as well as our sponsored programs.
  • Request more information from schools you're interested in to find the best fit for you.

Is an Online Software Engineering Degree Worth It?

A college degree can pay off big — especially when you choose a major in a career-rich field such as software engineering. In Feb. 2023, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that computer engineering had the second-highest median wage for both early and mid-career graduates.

With a software engineering degree, you can pursue a career as a software developer, computer engineer, web developer, or computer systems analyst. Industries from manufacturing to healthcare hire these professionals, paying them much higher than average salaries. You can get started in this field with an online or accelerated bachelor's in software engineering.

By earning your degree online, you often save time and money. Consider the following benefits of a bachelor's in software engineering and reasons to think about pursuing your education online.

Benefits of a Bachelor's in Software Engineering

  • Learning to use new DevOps tools
  • Receiving a rewarding software engineering salary
  • Acquiring in-demand career skills, such as SQL, Ruby, and Objective-C
  • Becoming a software developer, database architect, or computer scientist

Reasons to Get Your Software Engineering Degree Online

  • Lower costs than many in-person programs
  • Flexibility in scheduling and homework
  • Hands-on experience in the field while studying
  • An entirely distinctive learning experience and environment

Popular Online Programs

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

How Much Do Online Software Engineering Degrees Cost?

Which costs more — earning a bachelor's degree or not earning a bachelor's degree?

In 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) discovered that people with a bachelor's degree earn a median annual wage of $1,432 per week.

By contrast, people with a high school diploma earned $853 weekly, about 40% less. While college students pay upfront, many people who choose not to earn a degree pay for their choice over a lifetime.

While a college's sticker price can be shocking, very few students pay everything out of pocket. Grants, scholarships, and other financial aid tools can help cover many expenses, and attending school in state or earning a software engineering degree online can save money.

Average Annual Cost of a Software Engineering Degree

Online

$11,480

In-Person

$17,545

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Software Engineering Degree?

Full-time, traditional students complete a bachelor's degree in about four years, while part-time students may need six years or more.

By pursuing an accelerated program or transferring credits from other schools, you may be able to shorten your time to graduation. Online learning year-round is another effective time-saving strategy.

Best Online Software Engineering Degrees 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 Arizona State University Digital Immersion
Scottsdale, AZ
$10,710 $10,820 73%
#2 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
University Park, PA
Not provided Not provided Not provided
#3 University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ
$10,990 $33,273 85%

Best Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering 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 Software Engineering Degrees of 2024

Arizona State University Digital Immersion

  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online

Programmatic Accreditation: ABET

Cost per Credit: $563

Credits to Graduate: 120

ASU's online BS in software engineering starts with fundamental computer systems and math courses. Learners also develop core programming skills before diving into a series of software enterprise courses. These five classes explore the software development lifecycle, taking students from design to inception. 

Although only one class covers process management, the entire degree program helps prepare students for real-world application, teamwork, and leadership. The core courses include several individual and team software engineering projects, leading to the final two-course capstone project. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,710
Out-of-state
$10,820
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,516
Out-of-state
$6,516
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
53,993
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Best Online Software Engineering Degrees of 2024

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

  • University Park, PA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: ABET

Cost per Credit: $626-678

Credits to Graduate: 126

Whether learning online or on campus, Penn State includes two admissions processes: general and programmatic. Once accepted at Penn State, students must fulfill entrance-to-major requirements in math, chemistry, and physics before officially beginning the software engineering major. 

Enrollees can complete the online BS in software engineering at Penn State's World Campus in 2-5 years, depending on their course load. Regardless, all software engineering students partner with real-world companies and other students to complete a capstone design project.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
Not provided
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#3 Best Online Software Engineering Degrees of 2024

University of Arizona

  • Tucson, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit: $600

Credits to Graduate: 120

UofA's online BS in software engineering combines theoretical application, programming basics, and large-scale system development to help prepare students for in-demand software development roles. Learners explore the software design process in a collaborative environment, building core skills like quality assurance and requirement analysis.

Students can gain significant hands-on experience throughout the program — especially with the interdisciplinary capstone project. They must work in teams to solve real-world industry problems. UofA software engineering graduates often work in companies like Microsoft, Google, and Wells Fargo.   

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,990
Out-of-state
$33,273
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,938
Out-of-state
$32,065
Retention Rate
85%
Acceptance Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
45,601
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
56% 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.

How Much Money Can I Make With an Online Software Engineering Degree?

According to Payscale, the average salary for a bachelor's degree in software engineering was $88,000 in October 2023. That's almost double the median annual salary of all occupations, $46,310.

The BLS reports that a software developer's median annual wage was $127,000 in 2022 — considerably higher than the median for all computer occupations, $100,530. You can often increase your salary by earning a master's degree or working as a software developer at a manufacturing, insurance, or finance company.

What Jobs Can I Get With an Online Software Engineering Degree?

A software engineering degree can equip you with the versatile technological skills you need to venture down one of many career paths. You may work in database management, network systems, cybersecurity, web development, or video game design.

These careers require you to hold deep knowledge of computer science theory and skills in software design and software systems application. To assume a management-level position, you also need the skills to lead a team of technology experts.

Adding professional certifications or a master's degree in a related field can also help you achieve career success as a software engineer.

Software Engineering Career Paths

What Else Do I Need to Know About an Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Degrees?

Is software engineering hard?

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As a STEM major, software engineer degrees can be more challenging than many other fields. However, it may be easier than other engineering degrees, especially for students with a technology background.

Taking non-academic courses, studying programming languages, and brushing up on discrete math skills can all help you prepare to pursue a software engineering degree.

Do I need a degree to be a software engineer?

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You can get a software engineering job with a computer science, mathematics, or engineering bachelor's degree. For some positions, employers may expect a master's degree in a related field. Gaining experience through internships or entry-level employment may also give you a boost in the job search.

What are the best-paying jobs I can get with a bachelor's in software engineering?

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As a software engineering graduate, you can get a job as a full-stack developer, secure software developer, UI/UX designer, systems architecture designer, or software engineer.

These jobs pay much higher than the national median. For example, in 2022, the BLS found that the median annual salary for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers was $124,200.

Can you get a legit software engineering degree online?

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Yes, you can earn a legitimate software engineering degree online. Distance education courses date back at least three centuries, and online education has been popular for decades. However, distributed learning environments became much more common during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AACSB International's 2022 survey reported that 83% of business leaders now see an online degree as equal to a traditional degree as long as it comes from a reputable school. That's why choosing an accredited school is crucial for career support.

What classes will I take in a bachelor's in software engineering program?

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Each school decides on its specific curriculum, but wherever you attend, expect to take courses in programming languages, data systems, computer science, and data management. In addition, you'll have a general education requirement and electives. Standard software engineering courses include:

  • Software Reverse Engineering
  • Mobile Architecture and Programming
  • User Interface Design
  • Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Full Stack Development

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 November 27, 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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