Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Computer Science Programs

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Published on August 24, 2021

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The information technology (IT) sector contains some of the fastest growing careers in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that computer and related mathematical occupations will provide more than 1.2 million job openings by 2022. Approximately 75% of these positions require candidates to have a bachelor's degree .

This guide provides in-depth information on the most affordable online bachelor's in computer science programs of 2020, including coursework, internship, and capstone requirements. You will also learn about career paths in dynamic areas such as cybersecurity and cloud computing. The guide also answers frequently asked questions about earning potential and other degree outcomes.

What Are the Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Programs? Here Are Our Top Five:

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#1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
#2 Florida International University Miami, FL
#3 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
#4 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
#5 University of Illinois Springfield Springfield, IL
#6 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ
#7 California State University, Monterey Bay Seaside, CA
#8 South Texas College McAllen, TX
#9 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
#10 National University La Jolla, CA
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Other Computer Science Programs That Might Interest You

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

2020 Most Affordable Accredited Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Programs

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University of Florida View School Profile Gainesville, FL

Founded in 1853, UF is one of the Sunshine State's oldest continuously operating higher education institutions. The university powers distance education with the Canvas platform, offering fully online degrees like a bachelor's in computer science. After completing this comprehensive program, graduates are equipped to work as database administrators, web developers, and business intelligence analysts.

UF Online's computer science curriculum covers topics like information and database systems, data structures and algorithms, and digital logic. As part of their elective requirements, students can gain hands-on experience by completing an internship or independent research project. The program culminates in a senior project, which requires learners to prepare and deliver a technical report.

UF requires first-year applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. Competitive transfer applicants should have a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Florida International University View School Profile Miami, FL

FIU — based in Miami — serves about 42,000 distance learners each year. The university offers over 100 degrees, including a fully online bachelor's in computer science. This 120-credit program prepares learners to pursue graduate-level study or obtain entry-level jobs in digital media, business economics, and web development.

Required coursework in the program includes software engineering and operating systems principles. Students also explore the role technology plays in a globalized world. They personalize the curriculum through three electives, choosing from options like data mining, advanced Unix programming, and software testing.

FIU offers fall, spring, and summer entry dates. First-year applicants and transfer students with fewer than 60 credits need to submit ACT or SAT scores. The university provides a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for in-state and first-generation learners.

Florida State University View School Profile Tallahassee, FL

Based in Tallahassee, FSU delivers more than 50 online programs through the Canvas platform. Distance learners can earn an online bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in computer science through FSU.

The BA option suits learners looking to gain the C, C++, and assembly language competencies needed for entry-level careers in computer programming and database administration. In the BS program, students gain the theoretical foundation needed to pursue graduate academics and specialized work in fields like information security and data communications. The BS program also embeds a mathematics minor into the curriculum.

All bachelor's in computer science applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also have completed prerequisite courses. The FSU Foundation awards scholarships to incoming students each year. FSU's BS in computer science track is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology/Computing Accreditation Commission.

Florida Atlantic University View School Profile Boca Raton, FL

FAU provides career-focused distance programs through asynchronous courses powered by Canvas. Students at FAU can earn an entirely online bachelor's in computer science. During the program, participants develop the technical and communication skills needed to pursue careers in video game development, machine learning, and internet/web programming.

Students in the program take core classes like introduction to logic design and microprocessor systems. They also delve into formal computing languages and automata. Learners individualize the curriculum through electives, choosing from options like web services and artificial intelligence.

Although FAU does not maintain concrete admission requirements, the average incoming first-year student boasts a 3.8 GPA. Applicants should also have strong ACT or SAT scores. Distance learners benefit from online mentoring and dedicated career guidance.

University of Illinois Springfield View School Profile Springfield, IL

UIS serves over 4,200 students in about 50 academic programs, including an online bachelor's in computer science that helps learners develop a thorough understanding of IT theory within the context of a rapidly changing technology landscape. Distance learners in the program access asynchronous courses through the Blackboard platform.

The computer science curriculum includes required courses like programming languages, data structures, and operating systems. Students in the program can also complete an online minor in mathematical sciences and management information systems. The curriculum culminates in a software engineering capstone project.

Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. They also need to have completed prerequisite coursework in a designated math field and hold at least two years of Java programming experience.

Thomas Edison State University View School Profile Trenton, NJ

Located in Trenton, New Jersey, TESU specializes in adult education. The university offers a vast catalog of certificates and degrees for working professionals, including an online bachelor's in computer science. Throughout a 120-credit curriculum, students learn to design, implement, and analyze computer-based solutions to pertinent technical and organizational problems.

Coursework covers topics like discrete math and computer architectures. Students use 18 guided elective credits to pursue advanced topics in the major, with options like assembly languages, mobile app development, and switching theory and automata. The program culminates in a capstone project.

TESU primarily accepts students over the age of 20 and active-duty military personnel. The university offers low tuition prices and a variety of financial aid options. Distance learners can earn scholarships based on their chosen field and general academic merit.

California State University, Monterey Bay View School Profile Seaside, CA

CSUMB serves over 7,500 students, many of whom earn their degrees online. The university offers 25 undergraduate programs, including an online bachelor's in computer science degree completion pathway that allows learners to graduate in under two years.

The curriculum includes courses like software design; introduction to database systems; and race, gender, and class in the digital world. Students also take a software engineering course, learning large-scale development techniques and principles. Through elective credits, learners can pursue advanced topics in the major or complete a complementary minor.

CSUMB provides fall and spring start dates. Admission requirements include 60 transferable credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA. The university powers distance education with the Canvas platform.

South Texas College View School Profile McAllen, TX

South Texas College offers more than 120 certificates and degrees, including an online bachelor of applied technology in computer and information technologies. This 122-credit program synthesizes technical and theoretical competencies that prepare graduates to solve practical problems in the computer information technology field.

Students take core courses like networking with TCP/IP, C programming, and web development. The program also covers database management and systems analysis. Learners round out the curriculum by completing an internship or a capstone seminar in cybersecurity assessments.

Applicants must score at least a 19 on the ACT or 910 on the SAT. Prospective students with transfer credits must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Distance learners access asynchronous courses through the Blackboard platform

Oregon State University View School Profile Corvallis, OR

Based in Corvallis, OSU offers 70 online programs, including a fully online bachelor's in computer science. After completing this comprehensive program, graduates are prepared to work as software developers, UI/UW designers, and information security analysts.

The curriculum requires 180 quarter credits and includes courses like operating systems, cryptography, and mobile and web development. Students can supplement their degree by completing an economics minor or earning a cybersecurity certificate. The program culminates in a design-centered capstone project.

The program offers four start dates each year. OSU does not require ACT or SAT scores for admission. The program maintains a generous transfer policy, allowing students to fulfill over 66% of their credit requirements through transfer credits.

National University View School Profile La Jolla, CA

NU has more than 20 campuses and a robust online division. The university targets adult learners seeking to balance college with work and family obligations. Among the school's many online offerings is a bachelor of science in computer science.

Computer science students complete 180 quarter units, including 70.5 credits in their major. Participants take classes like discrete structures and logic, algorithm design, and scientific problem-solving. They also choose two elective courses and complete a computer science project. Before taking major coursework, students must have completed 12 prerequisite courses. Faculty deliver classes through four-week terms.

First-time students must take ACCUPLACER evaluations in math and English as part of the admissions process. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA.

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

The best online bachelor's in computer science programs provide core technical training while also teaching students the soft skills needed to work in a variety of industries.

Most online bachelor's in computer science programs require approximately 120 credits and take four years to complete. However, many online colleges offer two-year completion programs for associate degree-holders. Similarly, distance learners can enroll in accelerated tracks, taking eight-week classes throughout the year to graduate more quickly.

The best online bachelor's in computer science programs provide core technical training while also teaching students the soft skills needed to work in a variety of industries. Required coursework covers topics such as operating systems, computer networks, and database design and management. Students also learn how to communicate technical information to diverse audiences and think critically about ethical issues in IT.

Learners pursuing a bachelor of science take advanced courses that focus on a specific subfield like cybersecurity or data science. Students who pursue a bachelor of arts generally have more freedom to use their electives to learn a foreign language and pursue a complementary minor or second major.

All computer science students apply newly learned knowledge in laboratory sessions, coding applications and engaging with pertinent technological issues. Most programs culminate in either a capstone course or research project.

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

Online bachelor's in computer science programs teach students the core IT theories and practical skills needed for entry-level IT jobs and graduate programs. Required coursework rarely deviates from foundational topics like discrete mathematics and programming languages. However, curricula can vary based on faculty expertise and degree type.

Computer Programming

This foundational course covers introductory topics like computer networks and architecture. Students learn to implement key algorithms, using parallelization techniques and functional decomposition. Learners also use C++ to solve IT/engineering problems and write computer programs. Depending on the school, learners may also delve into object-oriented programming, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

Data Structures and Algorithms

In this core class, students learn to create data structures for efficient computer programs that can tackle complex user needs. Covered topics include binary trees, hash tables, skiplists, sorting algorithms, and array-based lists. The course also teaches learners to conduct comparative analysis of common structures and algorithms.

Operating Systems

Students who take this course gain an in-depth understanding of how modern operating systems function internally. Learners delve into relevant hardware concepts like microprogramming, I/O channels, and memory hierarchy. The class also covers threads and processes, as well as file types and memory management.

Database Management

This course teaches learners how computer systems store data, with an emphasis on SQL as a means to manage and retrieve information from relational databases. Students learn how to use PHP to design secure and interactive database applications. Additional topics include user privacy and other ethical issues.

Network Security Fundamentals

In this course, students receive an introduction to common network vulnerabilities and attacks, as well as current defense strategies. Through seminal research and case studies, students learn to analyze the mindsets of cybercriminals and terrorist organizations. This class also covers intrusion detection systems, botnets, cryptography, firewalls, and authentication protocols.

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

Ever-changing technology connects the world and drives business operations in nearly every industry. The BLS projects that IT occupations will grow by 11% between 2019 and 2029.

With a bachelor's in computer science, you can work as a full-stack developer, information security analyst, database programmer, or UI/UX designer. There are also opportunities in adjacent fields like healthcare administration, project management, and digital marketing.

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

true Software Development

Software developers create applications for desktop and mobile technologies, as well as the underlying operating systems that run these computing devices. Professionals in this field work for software publishers, IT facilities management services, manufacturing companies, and insurance providers. Although software development is traditionally a collaborative process that requires teams of programmers and designers, some developers work from home as freelancers.

Web Design

Web designers can specialize in front-end development (the look and content of the sites) or back-end development (the codes that enable a site to perform designated functions). Full-stack web developers know how to do both. These professionals can work on teams for IT publishers and related service providers or pursue self-employment as freelancers.

Cloud Computing cloud-upload

Cloud computing technology allows users to access computing resources like networking capabilities, data storage, and development tools through the internet. These on-demand services save companies the cost of maintaining necessary software and hardware. To succeed in the cloud computing industry, professionals must learn how to use major platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

Information Security

Thanks to 31% projected growth between 2019 and 2029, information security analysts enjoy one of the fastest growing careers in the United States. Professionals in this field oversee the multi-tiered defense strategies that protect IT developers and insurance companies from increasingly frequent cyberattacks.

Project Management

Computer and information systems managers oversee their company's IT department, assessing organizational needs, creating budgets, and hiring and training employees. They also coordinate teams on special projects related to hardware installation, application development, business analytics, and network upgrades. IT project managers generally work from their office, but may travel and work with teams in the field at crucial points during the project cycle.

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Computer Programming Careers Web Development Careers Game Design Careers

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Computer Science Programs

Should I get a BA or BS in computer science?

Both a BA and BS in computer science programs teach students the IT theories and practices needed for entry-level careers and graduate programs. A BA offers a flexible, humanities-focused curriculum that may benefit learners with career goals in digital marketing and communications. BS programs focus on technical skill development, which is ideal for prospective computer programmers and software developers. However, employers generally do not prefer one over the other.

Is a computer science bachelor's degree worth it?

Each degree's worth depends on each student's interests and goals. The BLS projects that computer and information technology careers will grow by 11% between 2019 and 2029. As IT industries continue to evolve, professionals can find employment opportunities in emerging fields like cloud computing, cryptocurrency engineering, and AI deep learning.

What can I do with a bachelor's in computer science?

Many graduates with computer science degrees pursue standard career paths in software development, web design, and database administration. They also find opportunities in cybersecurity, working as penetration testers and IT auditors. By earning graduate degrees and industry certifications, professionals can advance into leadership positions like chief information officer.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in computer science degree?

The median annual wage for computer and information technology professionals is $88,240. However, salaries vary based on occupation and industry, with software developers, network architects, and IT research scientists enjoying the highest pay. Earning potential also depends on geographical location, employer, and personal qualifications.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in computer science?

With a median annual salary of $112,690, computer network architect is the most lucrative career for professionals with a bachelor's in computer science. Software developers earn $107,510 each year, while information security analysts make $99,730 annually.

We've ranked the best online bachelor's in special education programs. Learn about common courses, admission requirements, and career opportunities. Many college students face food and housing insecurity. We've compiled a list of resources to help students get the help and support they need. Similar to the FAFSA, the CSS Profile is a financial aid application required by certain colleges for the purpose of awarding nonfederal aid.

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