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Best Online Master’s Degrees in Computer Science: 2024

Best Online Master’s Degrees in Computer Science: 2024

An online computer science master’s degree can open new doors professionally and lead to higher pay. This guide showcases this year’s best programs to help you find an option that meets your career goals and study schedule. Plus, get other key information about this degree you’ll want to know before enrolling.

With a wide range of advanced degrees in computer science available, finding the right one can be tough. To help, OnlineColleges.me has analyzed and ranked the best online master’s degrees in computer science for 2024. Selection was based on accreditation, education quality, affordability, and student and career services. The most important factor in the ranking was a school’s ability to provide a personalized learning experience, including flexibility in both what you learn and how you learn it. Many of the schools below allow you to complete your degree at your own pace and offer a variety of computer science concentrations. See which online computer science master’s degree programs rose to the top this year.

Top Online Master’s Degree Programs in Computer Science

We have ranked the top schools below. Our Rankings Data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES.) Click the About the Ranking link below for more information about our methodology.


    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2024 Online College Rankings

    1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
    1. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.
    • For degree-specific pages, ex: Psychology degrees, we list the current number of online programs available at that school for that degree type, as self-reported by the schools.


    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: January of 2024

  • Springfield, IL
    Public $$

    The University of Illinois’ Springfield Campus offers two amazing master degrees for those wanting to start a career in computer science or advance a career in the field. Students can choose between an online and in-person option, though both degrees cover the same material. While both options are great, it’s important to note that the tuition for the in-person option is $41.25 more per credit than the tuition for the online program. Additionally, the online class times are often more flexible and suitable for working professionals pursuing this degree on the side of a full-time workload. No matter which program a student chooses, they take foundational courses in computer science and can choose electives of interest. Electives are currently offered in cyber-defense, artificial intelligence, and other areas within computer science.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    • Credits: 65
    • Length: 1-2 years
    • Cost: $373.50 per credit in-state | $723 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: In-person
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    • Credits: 65
    • Length: 1-2 years
    • Cost: $332.25 per credit in-state | $681.75 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Lodi, NJ
    Private not-for-profit $$$$

    Computer science professionals who want to get their master’s degree while working full-time should consider the programs offered by Felician University. Felician University’s master in computer science degree can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis, depending on a student’s schedule. Both are offered online, at flexible class times, and for the same price. The difference is that full-time students will complete the program in just 18 months rather than 30 months like part-time students. This may make it difficult for full-time students to balance a demanding job while getting their degree. No matter which option a student chooses, they will take foundational courses and classes in their chosen elective areas. Electives offered include courses in cloud computing, game development, and the ethics of technology and computer science.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 18 – 30 months
    • Cost: $1,000 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Atlanta, GA
    Public $$$

    Georgia Institute of Technology offers an online, top-ranked master’s in computer science degree at a fraction of the cost. This option is perfect for anyone seeking an affordable degree and a flexible class schedule which fits around their full-time job. This program was developed in partnership with AT&T and is the first “massive online” master in computer science offered by an accredited university. Unlike traditional online courses, the massive online format is a reduced price, web-based program where students can take classes asynchronously and according to their own schedule. Students can also customize the degree to their professional interests by choosing one of four specializations: interactive intelligence, machine learning, computing systems, and computational perception and robotics.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $233 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Philadelphia, PA
    Private not-for-profit $$$$

    Saint Joseph’s University offers one of the most flexible and comprehensive computer science master degrees in the state of Pennsylvania. For maximum flexibility, students can choose between a fully online or fully in-person program. No matter which they choose, class times are designed to fit around a working professional’s schedule. Students can also complete this degree without any prior computer science experience – in fact, 25% of students in the program are originally from other industries or got their undergraduate degrees in different fields. Students can also enhance their degree by adding on a certificate in artificial intelligence, web development, or software development. By the end of the degree, alumni are ready to pursue their doctorate in the field or enter into a leadership position in software development, artificial intelligence, computer science, or a related field.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    • Credits: 36
    • Length: 2-4 years
    • Cost: $1,031 per credit
    • Mode: Online or in-person
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Mississippi State, MS
    Public $$

    Anyone looking for an online master in computer science program with a rigorous curriculum, research opportunities, and the ability to customize your degree to your professional goals should check out the program by Mississippi State University. This online program is designed for working professionals with flexible online class times and asynchronous class activities and projects. The program can be completed in two to four semesters, depending on how many courses a student can take each semester. Most students complete the program in two years part-time while working. Students can also choose between a thesis option, which prepares them to get a doctorate in the field, or a non-thesis option, which might take less time to complete.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Science in Computer Science

    • Credits: 31
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $514 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Romeoville, IL
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Moscow, ID
    Public $$
  • Raleigh, NC
    Public $$
  • Magnolia, AR
    Public $$
  • Huntington, WV
    Public $$
  • Cape Girardeau, MO
    Public $$
  • Columbia, MO
    Public $$
  • Laurel, MD
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Poughkeepsie, NY
    Private not-for-profit $$$$
  • Milwaukee, WI
    Private not-for-profit $$$$$
  • Lubbock, TX
    Public $$
  • Fort Collins, CO
    Public $$$
  • Newark, NJ
    Public $$$$$
  • Rolla, MO
    Public $$$
  • Madison, SD
    Public $$
  • Greenville, NC
    Public $
  • Pensacola, FL
    Public $$
  • Commerce, TX
    Public $
  • Grand Rapids, MI
    Private not-for-profit $$$$
  • Manhattan, KS
    Public $$$
  • Austin, TX
    Public $$$
  • Chicago, IL
    Private not-for-profit $$$$
  • Chattanooga, TN
    Public $$
  • Champaign, IL
    Public $$$$
  • Boca Raton, FL
    Public $$
  • Boulder, CO
    Public $$$
  • Columbus, GA
    Public $$
  • Carrollton, GA
    Public $
  • Norfolk, VA
    Public $$$
  • Dearborn, MI
    Public $$$
  • Normal, AL
    Public $$$
  • Corvallis, OR
    Public $$$
  • Seattle, WA
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Bronx, NY
    Private for-profit $$$$
  • North Dartmouth, MA
    Public $$$$
  • Harrisonburg, VA
    Public $$$

Key Learning Outcomes of an Online Master’s in Computer Science

Online computer science master’s degree programs reflect the overarching philosophies of the schools they belong to. There are also variations in individual teaching styles and approaches. No matter which program you decide to attend, however, you can expect many similarities in the curriculum concerning topics covered and skills learned. Below are some of the learning outcomes you can anticipate from any quality online computer science master’s degree program.

Computer Systems Integration

Understanding computer technology is important, but using that technology to accomplish a goal for an organization is another challenge altogether. A quality computer science master’s program gives you familiarity not just with current and emerging technologies but also teaches you how to apply those technologies to various industries (e.g., urban planning, research, mathematics, and healthcare) outside the computer science context. 

Computer Technology Design and Development

A master’s-level computer science curriculum helps you understand computer technology and scientific concepts from a big-picture perspective. This means knowing every step of a hardware or software development process, including the planning stages where a customer’s needs are considered in relation to the available technology and development capacity of a company that produces technology. You’ll also focus on improving software reliability through the design and development process.

Software Development 

In addition to knowing how to develop new software from a technological perspective, you’ll also need to understand the development process from a managerial perspective. This means learning project management skills and techniques. This focus on software development also gives you a firm understanding of universal software programming concepts that apply to almost all programming languages, so you can more efficiently develop novel software regardless of the programming language you’re using.

Advanced Problem Solving  

By the time you graduate from your online computer science master’s degree program, you’ll have spent plenty of time being exposed to complex and advanced computer science problems and challenges. This focus trains you to better spot problems in the real world as well as come up with solutions to resolving these issues in the most cost-effective ways possible.

Key Courses in a Computer Science Online Master’s

Before you apply to an online computer science degree master’s program and spend time and money earning your degree, make sure the content fits with your ultimate career and personal goals. A great way to do this is by looking at the classes offered. Every program has a different curriculum and various concentrations available, but some of the core classes are common in every program. The list below details some of the unique courses you may see at only one or two programs as well as some courses you’ll see offered in almost any computer science master’s program.

Advanced Computer Network Security

Building off the basic principles of network security, this course covers topics like applied cryptography and tools used to harden networks against outside intrusions. You’ll also learn techniques and strategies for improving network security and examine trends concerning current threats and the cybersecurity problems that could exist in the future.

Algorithm Analysis and Design

This class examines advanced algorithm techniques, including Fourier transform ordering, recursion, and dynamic programming. You’ll apply this knowledge by identifying ways to improve and enhance existing algorithm designs and by developing designs from the ground up. 

Architecture of Computer Hardware

This class focuses on the physical design of computers, specifically the processors. Topics covered include primary components of a microprocessor, instruction set, pipelining, input/output considerations, and memory design. Ways to measure processor performance are also reviewed along with how a processor fits in with the rest of a computer’s overall function and design.

Software Project Management

You’ll review the software development process from a managerial perspective in a software project management course. How to plan and lead successful software development by implementing proper tracking strategies, budgeting, communication, scheduling, and estimating techniques are also covered. 

Thesis Research 

Most programs make the thesis course optional, but if you want to hone your research, writing, and presentation skills, this course is strongly recommended. You’ll identify a topic of study, plan and conduct your research, and present your findings.

Applied Cryptography

This course shifts from the theory of cryptography to using cryptography to secure data in computers. Various subjects are addressed, including how to design cryptographic protocols, assuring data integrity and privacy, and best practices related to passwords, ciphers, and secure messaging.

Computer Graphics Principles

This course examines both the hardware and software used to create computer graphics for the end user. You’ll receive instruction on API and OpenGL as well as learn how to create 2D and 3D graphics. Foundational concepts like orthographic projection, perspectives, lighting, shadows, texture mapping, and the mathematical principles that make computer graphics possible are also covered.

FAQs About Online Computer Science Master’s Degree Programs

Earning an online master’s degree in computer science requires significant time and money, so it’s understandable to have a lot of questions about these programs. Below are answers to some of the most common questions that many prospective online computer science master’s degree students ask as they research programs and begin the application process.

  • Are online master’s programs in computer science offered fully online?

    Many online computer science degree master’s programs are 100% online, but some programs have in-person requirements. For example, some programs offer certain areas of focus or specializations that involve on-campus classes while others provide optional in-person career and professional development fairs that necessitate a trip to campus.

  • What career opportunities are available to professionals with a master’s degree in computer science?

    Online computer master’s degree programs are popular because they provide advanced skills that allow current technology professionals to move into supervisory roles or focus on a particular specialization. Another benefit to earning a master’s degree in computer science is that it allows those with bachelor’s degrees in non-computer science fields to pivot their professional lives into the computer technology field. With a master’s degree in computer science, you have countless job possibilities. The list below is just a sampling:

    • Chief technology officer
    • Clinical data manager
    • Computer research scientist
    • Computer systems manager
    • Cybersecurity manager 
    • Database administrator
    • Mobile app developer
    • Network manager
    • Software engineer
  • What accreditation should I look for in an online master’s computer science degree program?

    There are two major kinds of accreditation. Programmatic accreditation applies to a specific degree program and comes from a regional or national accrediting body. Institutional accreditation applies to the entire school. Generally speaking, there’s no programmatic accreditation for computer science programs at the master’s level. Therefore, when choosing an online computer science degree master’s program, make sure the program belongs to a school with institutional accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

  • What does the admissions process look like for an online master’s in computer science?

    Though every school is different, many online computer science master’s degree programs have similar admissions requirements. Applicants must usually:

    • Complete an online application
    • Pay an application fee
    • Provide a resume or curriculum vitae
    • Write a statement of purpose
    • Give proof they’ve earned an undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field. Alternatively, they can have a bachelor’s degree in any field but must have prerequisite classes covering programming and mathematics.

    Some programs still require GMAT or GRE scores, but many do not. Additionally, many admissions offices ask for letters of recommendation but make them optional.

  • How much does an online master’s degree in computer science cost?

    The price of an online computer science master’s degree program varies a lot among programs. For example, Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science costs about $7,000 for the entire program while the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Online Master of Computer Science costs more than $21,000. Factors playing a role include the availability of financial aid and whether you’re attending a public or private institution. If you’re enrolled in a public school, your residency status can also make a difference since some programs, like Old Dominion’s online computer science program, charge lower tuition rates for in-state students. 

  • How long are online master’s degrees in computer science?

    Most online master’s degrees in computer science programs consist of 30 to 36 credits and take full-time students about a year. Many computer science graduate students work while taking classes, though. As a part-time student taking advantage of the flexible learning pace available through an online program, you’ll probably graduate in two to three years but you can take four or five years with some programs.

  • Which specializations are available for a master’s degree in computer science?

    One of the reasons to get an online computer science master’s degree is to learn about a specific area of technology. Many schools realize this and offer a wide array of concentrations during the back end of their programs. Below is a list of some of the master’s level specializations you can find in many computer science master’s programs online.  

    • Computer Forensics
    • Cybersecurity
    • Data analytics
    • Data Science
    • Databases and artificial intelligence 
    • Engineering leadership
    • Machine learning
    • Networks and systems
    • Programming languages
    • Software Engineering
    • Visual computing

The Value of Earning an Online Master’s in Computer Science

Many positions in the computer science field only require a bachelor’s degree. However, earning an online computer science degree can still pay off in terms of compensation and professional growth opportunities. When you specialize and learn management and leadership skills, you gain access to positions not typically open to someone with just a bachelor’s degree. The table below gives you an idea of the career, income, and job growth potential to expect when you earn your online master’s in computer science. 

CareerMedian Annual Earnings
Job Growth
Computer network architect$120,5204%
Computer systems analyst$99,2709%
Computer systems manager$159,01016%
Computer research scientist$131,49021%
Operations research analyst$82,36023%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics