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A Guide to Online Computer Science Degrees in California

California, the most populous state in the U.S., has its fair share of perks. In addition to its remarkably diverse landscape – including the Sierra Mountains, redwood forest, the Mojave desert, Central Valley, and pristine coastline, which afford residents nearly unparalleled outdoor opportunities — the state has one of the most robust economies in the world; in fact, it ranks sixth among all countries. Of course, Los Angeles is the epicenter of anything and everything film/TV, but many other sectors contribute to the state: international trade (LA also has the largest port in the country), tourism, agriculture (fruit, vegetables, dairy, wine, etc.), energy (both oil drilling and solar), healthcare, and education, among others. In total, California’s GDP amounts to $2.5 billion (2015), with over 3% growth, and an unemployment rate below 5%.

Of course, the end of the 20th century through today has signaled the state’s second major gold rush — this time in the form of technology. San Francisco and the surrounding Silicon Valley are home to the planet’s premiere tech hub, serving as ground zero for nearly every major American tech company: Alphabet, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Tesla, Intel, HP, Oracle, Yahoo!, Riverbed Technology, Adobe, Cisco, eBay, and many more. Nor is Northern California the only area offering top-of-the-line job opportunities; for anyone interested in computer science — app development, cybersecurity, IT, IS, engineering, et al — it’s hard too argue for a better place to be. Much of this is buoyed by California’s excellent colleges and universities, which offer a wide range of pre-professional, undergraduate, and graduate degrees in the field. And unsurprisingly, the state is also at the forefront of the online education movement.

California Educational Costs

Even with its excess of prestigious colleges and universities, California public institutions remain just below than the national average, $9,346 compared to $9,404 at four-year schools for 2015-16. That represents a neat 0% change year-over-year and a 2% drop in the last five years, compared to a national 12% increase. Considering that some state tuitions run over $15k per year, California residents are getting a steal for a top-ranked education. Two-year community colleges boast an ever better deal: $1,429 per year compared to a national average over $4k. If all follows historic trends, these affordable price tags should continue, allowing in-state students to save money and plan budgets.

California Tech Salaries

  • Web Developer: $78,003
  • Software Applications Developer: $69,683
  • Computer Systems Analyst: $62,927
  • Database Administrator: $94,050
  • Data Scientist: $130,276
  • Information Technology Manager: $129,263

The 5 Best Online CS Degree Providers: CA


While students should first and foremost make sure that a university offers the exact field of study they’re interested in pursuing, knowing the overall quality of an online degree providing university is also important. Below we’ve surveyed all of the computer science-related degree providers in California and ranked them according to academic prestige and the breadth of their academic offerings. Our academic prestige metric takes into account online-centered predictors of program quality such as class size, the range of online support services, the percentage of faculty with terminal degrees in their field, and admissions profiles. Together these two metric categories help to flesh out some of the overall best online degree-granting institutions for computer science in the state. Check out our top offerings below!

1
University of Southern California
CSZ Score: 98.5/100
Online Tech Degrees:14

Founded in 1880, University of Southern California is a private research institution in Los Angeles with an enrollment of 43,000. USC is today considered one of the preeminent universities in the country, with 5 Nobel Laureates, 8 Rhodes Scholars, 3 MacArthur Fellows, 181 Fulbright Scholars, a Turing Award winner, and 3 winners of the National Medal of Arts as either graduates or staff members. The Princeton Review, Forbes, U.S. News, USA Today, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities have ranked it among the best schools in the country, with particularly good marks overall value and veteran services. The school’s 9:1 student-to-faculty would be excellent for any school; considering USC’s size, it’s exceptional. Over 60% of classes consist of fewer than 20 students, and just 12% have 50 or more. The university contributes $5 billion a year to the Los Angeles county area, and alumni have held prominent positions at Salesforce.com, Intuit, Qualcomm, Box, Tinder, and MySpace, among other companies.

USC’s online offerings for computer science degrees are all at the master’s level (14 in total), including in Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and 6 Computer Science specializations in Computer Security, Multimedia and Creative Technologies, Data Science, Scientists and Engineers, Software Engineering, and Multimedia and Creative Technologies, among others. All courses are designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate a range of students – from working professionals to adult learners — and incorporate virtual classroom technologies to simulate the traditional experience. Student services include a hands-on career center, financial aid opportunities, tech support, library access, and more.

2
California State University Fullerton
CSZ Score: 95/100
Online Tech Degrees:4

Founded in 1957, Cal State Fullerton is a public research university with a total enrollment just below 40,000, the second largest in the CSU system. Fullerton is ranked in the top 5 schools in the country for awarding undergraduate degrees to Hispanic students, and it has been ranked highly by US News, Forbes, The Daily Beast, Princeton Review, Washington Monthly, and Money Magazine, among others. (US News has ranked its online program in the top 15.) With a 25:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Fullerton supports a lively, vibrant educational community that combines collaborative learning with one-on-one instruction. A quarter of all classes have fewer than 20 students, and less than 9% have over 50. For those interested in financial assistance , 66% of full-time undergraduates receive some form of aid.

CSF offers a variety of computer science master’s tracks in Education Technology, Instructional Design And Technology, Information Technology, and Software Engineering, several of which are ranked among the best available online tracks. Students can expect to complete course work in as little as 1-2 years, and all classes are designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate students’ schedules. (For those interested, hybrid options may be available.) Most degrees follow a cohort model, which encourages students to work and learn together throughout the program. In particular, Fullerton focuses on preparing graduates for immediate work placement or promotion through a rigorous curriculum, hands-on approach, and dynamic eduction technologies.

3
Azusa Pacific University
CSZ Score: 94.5/100
Online Tech Degrees:2

Founded in 1899, Azusa Pacific University is a private Christian school outside of Los Angeles with a total enrollment just below 10,000, ranked in the first tier of Western region schools. APU’s 12:1 student-to-faculty guarantees a tight-knit learning community that offers both personalized instruction and collaborative education opportunities. Over 60% of courses have fewer than 20 students, and just 2% have more than 50. In recent years, APU has significantly expanded its online education platform and offers nearly 40 programs, all of which are built to accommodate students’ unique needs.

Azusa offers two relevant degrees for students interested in computer science: a BS in Information Systems and MA in Education Technology. The bachelor’s in IS can be be completed in 2-4 years (depending on the student’s previous academic experience and credits) and includes 15 areas of emphasis, ranging from Business Information Systems, Data Analytics, Information Systems Management, Public Administration, Cyber Security, and more. The master’s in EdTech consists of 30 credits, and students can expect to compete the degree in just one year, covering topics like Digital Communications, Instructional Design and Development, Emerging Trends in Technology, Managing Tech-Supported Curricular Tools, and Digital Imagery for Learning Environments. All Azusa classes are designed for maximum flexibility, and the MA track is cohort-based, allowing students to collaborate in study groups of 15. Services include 24/7 tech support, online tutoring, and career advice.

4
National University
CSZ Score: 93.5/100
Online Tech Degrees:8

Founded in 1971, National University has a central campus in La Jolla, California, and more than a dozen satellite campuses in-state in Nevada. With an enrollment of about 17,800, National maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1, offering a combination of collaborative learning and intimate personalized instruction. Over 70% of classes consist of fewer than 20 students, and none have more than 49 students. To meet an increasing demand for online opportunities, National has developed a robust distance learning program, offering 35 programs, 300 courses, and holds regional accreditation from the WASC and specialized accreditation from more than a dozen other bodies.

National offers 8 relevant degrees, including an associate’s in Engineering Technology; 3 bachelor’s in Information Systems, Computer Science, and Digital Media Design; and 4 master’s covering everything from healthcare to cyber security. Bachelor’s are typically completed in 4 years, but many students graduate early thanks to the university’s generous transfer policy and accelerated options. Most online master’s can be completed in 1-2 years. All online courses are built for maximum flexibility, affordability, convenience, and customization for working professionals and adult learners. National’s wide range of student services include a writing center, tech support, e-library, registration assistance, and career services, among others.

5
University of California Berkeley
CSZ Score: 93/100
Online Tech Degrees:1

Founded in 868, UC Berkeley is a public university with a total enrollment of about 38,000. Berkeley, of course, is one of the most prestigious colleges in the country – often ranked as the #1 “public ivy” – and ranks at the top of lists by US News, Princeton Review, Forbes, Times Higher Education, and Academic Ranking of World Universities , with special marks for innovation, veteran services, and more. With a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students benefit from a vibrant, collaborative educational community that also emphasizes personalized individual instruction. About 60% of classes consist of fewer than 20 students, and less than 16% have over 50. The school boasts winners of 90 Nobel Prizes, 23 Turing Awards, 45 MacArthur Fellowships, and 14 Pulitzer Prizes.

Online, Berkeley offers an MS in Information and Data Science that consists of 27 units which students complete in 20 months, with accelerated tracks available. The core curriculum covers 8 key skills: Research Design, Cleansing, Storage and Retrieval, Mining and Exploring, Data Visualization, Ethics and Privacy, Statistical Analysis, and Communicating Results. Courses are designed for working data science professionals; nearly half of graduates report earning a promotion on graduation, and 76% received a salary increase. Leveraging the latest technologies, students learn to solve real-world problems in social, economic, and health settings, gaining insights from complex, unstructured data. Applicants should have earned at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, programming proficiency (Java or Python), a working knowledge of fundamental concepts, and excellent GRE or GMAT scores.

Directory of Online Computer Science Degrees in California

University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Online CS Degrees: 14




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(213) 740-2311
Los Angeles, CA 90007


GRADUATE DEGREES

  • Computer Engineering, M.S.
  • Computer Science (Computer Security), M.S.
  • Computer Science (Data Science), M.S.
  • Computer Science (Multimedia and Creative Technologies), M.S.
  • Computer Science (Scientists and Engineers), M.S.
  • Computer Science (Software Engineering), M.S.
  • Computer Science, M.S.
  • Cyber Security Engineering, M.S.
  • Electrical Engineering (Computer Networks), M.S.
  • Electrical Engineering (Multimedia and Creative Technologies), M.S.
  • Geographic Information Science and Technology, M.S.
  • Learning Design and Technology, M.Ed.
  • Library and Information Science, M.M.L.I.S.
  • Master of Science in Integrated Design, Business and Technology, M.S.
National University San Diego, CA Online CS Degrees: 8




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(800) 628-8648
9388 Lightwave Ave, San Diego, CA 92123


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Associate of Science in Engineering Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Design

GRADUATE DEGREES

  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Cyber Security And Information Assurance
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • Master of Science in Health & Life Science Analytics
Golden Gate University San Francisco San Francisco, CA Online CS Degrees: 5




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(415) 442-7000
536 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105


GRADUATE DEGREES

  • Master of Science in Information Technology Management – Business Data Analytics
  • Master of Science in Information Technology Management – General Information Technology Management
  • Master of Science in Information Technology Management – Information Technology Healthcare
  • Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications – General Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications – Public Relations
California State University Fullerton Fullerton, CA Online CS Degrees: 4




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(657) 278-2011
800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92831


GRADUATE DEGREES

  • M.S. in Education Technology
  • M.S. in Instructional Design And Technology
  • M.S. in Information Technology
  • M.S. in Software Engineering
Naval Postgraduate School Monterey, CA Online CS Degrees: 3




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(831) 656-3093
1 University Circle, Monterey, CA 93943


GRADUATE DEGREES

  • M.S. in Software Engineering
  • Master of Computing Technology
  • Master of Systems Analysis
Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA Online CS Degrees: 2




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(626) 969-3434
901 E Alosta Ave, Azusa, CA 91702


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Bachelor of Information Systems

GRADUATE DEGREES

  • Master of Arts in Educational Technology
California Baptist University Riverside, CA Online CS Degrees: 2




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(951) 689-5771
8432 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92504


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design And Digital Media
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Technology
Brandman University Irvine, CA Online CS Degrees: 2




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(949) 753-4774
16355 Laguna Canyon Rd, Irvine, CA 92618


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Bachelor of Science in Computing Technology, Information Technology

GRADUATE DEGREES

  • Master of Arts in Education, Instructional Technology: Teaching The 21St Century Learner
West Los Angeles College Culver City, CA Online CS Degrees: 2




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(310) 287-4200
9000 Overland Ave, Culver City, CA 90230


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Bachelor of Computer Network And Security Management Option
  • Bachelor of Computer Science Information Technology
West Hills College Coalinga Coalinga, CA Online CS Degrees: 2




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(559) 934-2100
9900 Cody St, Coalinga, CA 93210


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Associate of Arts in Computer Information Systems
  • Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems
California State University System Long Beach, CA Online CS Degrees: 2




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(562) 951-4000
1090 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA 90813


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Sience

GRADUATE DEGREES

  • Master of Science in Software Engineering
University of California Berkeley Berkeley, CA Online CS Degrees: 1




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(510) 642-6000
Berkeley, CA 94720


GRADUATE DEGREES

  • Master’s of Information And Data Science
University of California Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA Online CS Degrees: 1




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(310) 825-4321
Los Angeles, CA 90095


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Bachelor of Applied Technology in Computer Information Technology (Bat-Cit)
Pepperdine University Malibu, CA Online CS Degrees: 1




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(310) 506-4000
24255 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90263


GRADUATE DEGREES

  • Master of Arts in Learning Technologies
Concordia University Irvine Irvine, CA Online CS Degrees: 1




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(800) 229-1200
1530 Concordia, Irvine, CA 92612


GRADUATE DEGREES

  • Master of Arts in Education – Educational Technology
Sonoma State University Rohnert Park, CA Online CS Degrees: 1




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(707) 664-2880
1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park, CA 94928


GRADUATE DEGREES

  • Master of Science in Computer & Engineering
Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA Online CS Degrees: 1




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(650) 949-7777
12345 El Monte Rd, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Associate of Arts in Graphic & Interactive Design
West Hills College Lemoore Lemoore, CA Online CS Degrees: 1




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(559) 925-3000
555 College Ave, Lemoore, CA 93245


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Associate of Arts in Computer Information Systems
Citrus College Glendora, CA Online CS Degrees: 1




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(626) 963-0323
1000 W Foothill Blvd, Glendora, CA 91741


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts – Technology And Business
Santa Barbara City College Santa Barbara, CA Online CS Degrees: 1




ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO

(805) 965-0581
721 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93109


UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES

  • Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems – Emphasis in System Administration

GRADUATE DEGREES