Online Master's Programs in Computer Science
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that computer and information technology jobs will grow 13% from 2020-2030. Also, an advanced degree like information assurance, cybersecurity, and information technology can prepare graduates for high-paying positions. According to the BLS, computer science and information technology professionals earn a median salary of $91,250 per year. Those with a master's degree in the field may earn more.
In this ranking, we explore the five top online master's in computer science programs. Students interested in general information about distance learning can visit our ranking of the top online colleges for master's degrees.
Top Master's in Computer Science Degrees
To rank the following online master's in computer science degrees, we collected data from College Navigator, U.S. News & World Report, and each program's website. We then used this information to apply the rating and ranking methodology above. In cases of a tie, tuition for the program was considered, and the more affordable offering was awarded the higher ranking.
Purdue University offers one of the best online MS degrees in computer science. The degree is a non-thesis program designed to accommodate students with a variety of career goals. Flexibility is a priority. Students can choose courses from 13 different subject areas such as machine learning, data mining, and software engineering. The program features both thesis and non-thesis options. Purdue’s online master’s in computer science students can adjust their pace to fit their schedules and take time off from their studies if needed.
North Carolina State University offers an online master’s in computer science degree. The school tailored the terminal degree for professionals already working in the field full time. The curriculum covers both theory and systems. Courses offered include graph theory, compiler construction, and artificial intelligence. There is no thesis or comprehensive final exam. Students do not need to visit campus. However, they may take some courses on campus if they want a more hybrid learning format.
Missouri University of Science and Technology’s degree includes two concentration options including software engineering and critical infrastructure protection. Both tracks require 31 credit hours. Students interested in the thesis option must take six of these credits in research. The program does not require campus visits. Most courses follow an asynchronous format. However, some instructors require live participation for occasional synchronous activities. Students have six years to complete this online master’s in computer science program.
The University of Michigan – Flint’s online master’s in computer science offering is designed to be flexible in format and content. Students can take courses online or in a hybrid format. The school offers separate tracks for computer science and information systems. In addition, a dual degree option is available to students interested in earning an MS in information systems and an MBA with an information systems concentration. Students can choose a thesis or non-thesis track for their computer science master's degree.
Colorado State University’s option is one of the best online MS degrees in computer science for working students. Courses include database systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and software engineering. Learners take courses online and asynchronously. Students interact with professors and classmates through online office hours, emails, and discussion boards. Full-time students who take courses in the summer can earn their degree in only two years. Degree-seekers who need a slower pace can take more time.