In today’s technological world, people rely on their computers more and more to get by. They socialize on their cellphones, work on their laptops, play games on their tablets and read on their Kindles. Computer scientists come up with new computing technology and discover ways to innovate existing technology.
Earning an online bachelor’s in computer science can help set you on the path to pursuing a variety of roles in the field. Completing your coursework online may give you time to work at your current job and have the flexibility to take classes on your own schedule.
This guide features important details about obtaining a BS in computer science, including admissions requirements and specializations.
What Is Computer Science?
What Is Computer Science?
If you’ve ever perused a university website’s list of available majors, you might have seen a lot of different topics that seem related: computer science, software engineering, computer engineering and more. It’s easy to get confused, so let’s focus on a basic question: What is computer science?
Computer science is the study of computers, including computational theory, hardware and software design, algorithms, and the ways humans interact with technology. A computer scientist is someone who employs these core ideas to create programs that solve some sort of problem.
Moving past the days of typing 0s and 1s—before there were computer science jobs—modern computer scientists dedicate their time to creating applications or programs. These programs power your personal computer, your smartphone, your video game console, your favorite website—you name it.
Today, one of the ways you can gain experience in the expansive field of computer science is to earn an online BS in computer science. If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive, there are also master’s degree programs available for computer science and even PhD programs.
What Is an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science?
With computers as ubiquitous as electricity, computer science is one of many fields that you can explore from any location—be it a high-tech university lab or the comfort of your bedroom.
While both in-person and online programs can offer students a variety of programs, there are, of course, differences between pursuing a degree in person and online. Some online degree programs may deliver lectures live, and others offer recorded lectures so you can watch whenever you like—allowing for more flexible learning. Some schools combine the two. Online programs can also cut out lengthy commutes if you are able to work from home, meaning you’ll have more time to exercise agency over your schedule.
An online computer science bachelor’s degree can offer students a curriculum that closely emulates the day-to-day experience in the life of a real computer scientist from anywhere in the world.
Online Bachelor’s in Computer Science Programs
Ready to look into a bachelor’s in computer science online? There are a number of programs available. Some universities offer online-only programs while others have physical locations where you can earn your degree. The following are universities located in metro areas across the United States that offer online programs.
Sponsored Online Computer Science Program
|Auburn University||Montgomery, AL||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science & Computer Information Systems||
|University of Phoenix||Phoenix, AZ||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|National University||San Diego, CA||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Regis University||Denver, CO||Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Colorado Technical University||Denver, CO||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Wilmington University||Wilmington, DE||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Florida International University||Miami, FL||Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science||
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Florida State University||Tallahassee, FL||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Atlanta, GA||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|DePaul University||Chicago, IL||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Boston, MA||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Baker College||Flint, MI||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Davenport University||Grand Rapids, MI||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Concordia University||St. Paul, MN||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Maryville University||St. Louis, MO||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|National University – Henderson||Henderson, NV||Bachelor’s in Computer Science||
|Southern New Hampshire University||Manchester, NH||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Thomas Edison State University||Trenton, NJ||Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science||
|Eastern New Mexico University||Portales, NM||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Mercy College||New York, NY||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Rasmussen University||Fargo, ND||Bachelor’s in Computer Science||
|Franklin University||Columbus, OH||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Oklahoma State University||Stillwater, OK||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Eastern Oregon University||La Grande, OR||Bachelor of Science or Arts in Computer Science||
|Oregon State University||Corvallis, OR||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Point Park University||Pittsburgh, PA||Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Science||
|Clarion University of Pennsylvania||Clarion, PA||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Johnson & Wales University||Providence, RI||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Charleston Southern University||Charleston, SC||Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science||
|Limestone University||Gaffney, SC||Bachelor of Computer Science (programming concentration)||
|Dakota State University||Madison, SD||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|West Governors University||Multiple Locations||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|South College||Knoxville, TN||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Texas A&M University – Central Texas||Killeen, TX||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Concordia University Texas||Austin, TX||Bachelor of Arts or Science in Computer Science||
|Old Dominion University||Norfolk, VA||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Regent University||Virginia Beach, VA||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|University of the Potomac||Washington, DC, and Falls Church, VA||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|City University of Seattle||Seattle, WA||Bachelor of Science in Applied Computing||
|Lakeland University||Plymouth, WI||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
|Ottawa University||Multiple Locations||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science||
Each online bachelor’s degree in computer science program has its own set of admissions requirements. Common requirements may include:
- A high school diploma or GED: Whether you attended a traditional high school or were homeschooled, you need to prove that you earned a high school diploma or GED.
- A minimum GPA: Online schools may require a minimum GPA in order to grant you admission. Some schools ask for at least a 3.0, but lower GPAs may be accepted depending on the program’s requirements.
- ACT or SAT scores: Schools usually want to see a minimum score on either of these tests and will sometimes advertise the average score online.
Additionally, some programs may ask that you complete prerequisites or show that you have volunteer or work experience in the computer science field.
A number of BS in computer science programs require candidates to complete 120 credits to earn their degree and include core classes in mathematics, physical sciences and computer systems. Be sure to check with your desired school to confirm credit requirements. Common course requirements are in computers, mathematics, physical sciences and English.
The curriculum for an online computer science bachelor’s degree might also include the following courses:
- Foundations of Computer Science
- Algorithms and Data Structures
- Introduction to Machine Learning
- Artificial Intelligence
- Privacy and Technology
- Mathematics for Computer Science
- Data Structures
- Computer and Network Security
- Computer Networks
- Operating Systems
- Programming Languages
This is just a sampling. Your individual program may have different specialties available. Depending on your school and its offerings, you may choose to delve into different related topics and graduate with a more specialized degree.
Some specializations include:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Software Engineering
- Game Design
- Computer Graphics
- Data Science
- Information Security
- Programming Languages
If you want to help businesses collect information to deliver an improved customer experience, then studying data science might be useful. And if you want to safeguard organizations against hackers and protect servers and websites, you may consider seeking out a specialization in information security.
You may end up getting a general online bachelor’s degree in computer science and then taking additional graduate courses, or you could snag an internship or job in your specialty. Either way, you don’t have to know what you want to do with your degree before starting classes. You can learn what you like as you go.
How To Choose the Best Online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science for You
There are a number of factors to consider when exploring online computer science bachelor’s degree programs. They may include:
- Course schedule: Will you still be able to fulfill your work and home duties while taking these classes?
- Prerequisites: Do you have the required prerequisites? If not, do you have to spend time and money to take them?
- Cost: Can you afford an online BS in computer science? Do you need financial aid? If so, can your school provide it?
- Grades, academic record and test scores: Do you have the required GPA, grade and test scores to get into the school?
- The school’s track record: Do the school’s graduates get great computer science jobs upon graduation? Are there internship opportunities?
- School reviews: What have alumni and current students said about the school?
- Teachers: Do the teachers have respectable degrees and resumes?
- Student body: Will you be able to collaborate with other students? Are there people of similar ages and backgrounds who attend the school?
Once you answer some of these questions, you may begin applying to programs. Remember that just because a school has excellent marketing doesn’t mean that it’s the right place for you. You’ll be spending a good amount of time and money to earn your degree, so researching different online bachelor’s degrees in computer science may be useful.
Computer Science Jobs and Career Outlook
Someone pursuing a BS in computer science has a wide variety of career options available to work toward, and some of those can even have sub-fields of study within them.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for computer scientists in 2020 was $126,830. There are other computer science jobs to consider, and earning potential for each one varies.
Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analysts help solve problems in a variety of industries. An analyst stays up to date with trends that affect a company’s technology investments, and they might install new hardware and software and then train colleagues to use it.
Learning about emerging technologies that threaten to challenge the status quo, computer systems analysts work diligently to holistically understand how their company’s business operates and how it could improve. They may collaborate with IT workers.
As of May 2020, the median annual pay for computer systems analysts was $93,730, according to the BLS.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts arm themselves with knowledge necessary to prevent data breaches and cybersecurity attacks. They do this by anticipating, monitoring and investigating potential infringements on an organization’s computer networks and systems.
Employing a host of technical skills, information security analysts bolster their company’s cybersecurity by installing firewalls and encryption programs, keeping important software up to date and advising IT staff on how to enhance their current security solutions. Analysts use and manage proprietary intrusion detection systems to diligently monitor networks for suspicious traffic.
According to the BLS, the median annual wage for information security analysts was $103,590 in May 2020.
The primary purpose of software developers is to write code, which, once compiled, becomes an application (or “program”) that enables users to perform some intended function.
The median annual salary for software developers was $110,140, according to 2020 BLS data.
What Can I Do With a Computer Science Degree?
There are numerous career options available to those who have completed an online bachelor’s degree in computer science program—from web design to data analysis to application development. The jobs listed on this page are only a handful of computer science jobs to consider.
And for those who already have a BS in computer science, the pursuit of education doesn’t have to stop here. After all, bachelor’s degrees can teach you a lot and enable you to jumpstart your career, but there are more depths to be mined. Pursuing an online master’s degree in computer science can allow you to specialize in one or two specific areas in the field.
Last updated: September 2021