The 10 Best Online Associates in Computer Science Degree Programs

Computer science-related fields are some of the fastest growing and most lucrative of any in the 21st century. Many computer science-related fields also don’t require a four year degree to get in the door. With associate degrees noted as some of the best return on investment degrees out there, this makes associates level programming in computer science a great “in” to the field. We’ve surveyed all online associates degree in computer science and ranked them according to our ComputerScienceZone methodology below.


  • Affordability (1/3): the estimated out-of-state (if applicable) tuition per credit hour.
  • Flexibility-enhancing components (1/3): the number and quality of flexibility-enhancing components, including specializations, more than one degree in a subject matter, lenient transfer policies, life experience credit, accelerated degrees, and so forth.
  • Academic Reputation (1/3): the academic reputation of school, as noted through average class sizes, percentage of faculty with terminal degrees, and other factors.

1.) Iowa Western Community College

Iowa Western Community College was established in the mid 1960’s along with a number of other community colleges, with the state embracing the need to expand vocational and two-year educational options. The current main campus, located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, currently has over 5,500 students, and enrolls over 42,000 students in continuing education opportunities each year. The college’s strong historic connection to the region is made clear through their beloved mascot, the Reivers. Reivers were river pirates known for plundering the Missouri River for materials being shipped to and from the frontier. As the college has expanded through the years, so has its reach to students in an ever-expanding region. With a wide range of online-enabled degree programs, the college has grown to service the greater Omaha area as well as large swaths of Iowa.

The online Associate of Arts in Computer Science degree offered by Iowa Western Community College ranks highly in our metrics for affordabilty and flexibility. The degree is meant for students who are attempting to transfer to a four-year university to complete a bachelors level computer science degree once finishing with the Iowa Western program. The program may be completed in a full or part time manner, and include options for four specializations: Application Programming, Computer Networking, Web Programming, or E-Commerce. An average class size of 14 and an entire major enrollment of just 88 means that students will have the opportunity to make the most of getting to know faculty and recieving one-on-one attention in their coursework. Some classes may need to be taken in-person, but a majority of the degree+ is available online.


  • Tuition per credit hour: $162
  • Flexibility-enhancing program components: 4 options

2.) Wallace State Community College

Wallace State Community College is a state community college located in Hanceville, Alabama. Home to some 6,000+ students, the college offers more than 60 associates level program options in vocational and academic disciplines. Through a partnership with Athens State University students may complete junior and senior level baccelaureate work through Wallace State Community College, a unique offering for a community college. Further articulation agreements, allowing graduating students to continue their baccelaureate studies with prearranged universities include the University of Alabama, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Auburn University, and Troy University. Through the University of Alabama or Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, students endeavoring upon online degrees through Wallace State can continue their course of study online, obtaining bachelors degrees or above without ever setting foot on campus.

The fully online associate of arts in Computer Science offered by Wallace State Community College places highly in our ranking due to its flexibility and affordability. Flexibility-granting program components include the ability to tailor your degree with one of four possible specializations: Cyber Security/Computer Forensic Technology, Programming, Software Support (Help Desk), and Internet/Networking Technology. All four options require 67-70 credit hours and may be completed in five semesters. For students looking to fast track their way into computer science discplines, the Fast Track Academy offers local students the ability to begin coursework in the major as early as the 11th grade.

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  • Tuition per credit hour: $239
  • Flexibility-enhancing program components: Number of options

3.) Ulster County Community College

Ulster County Community College, otherwise known as SUNY Ulster, is a two-year college member of the State University of New York system. The college is located in Stone Ridge, New York, and has a total enrollment of over 4,000 students. The college provides a wide range of support services and top notch faculty at least partly due to its member status in the State University of New York system, as well as its idyllic location in the Hudson Valley close to nature and artisic communities such as Woodstock or New Paltz. The college is also a short ride from NYC, enabling in-person students access to a the cultural and economic center of the US, or residents of NY access to Ulster County CC resources if they’re taking courses online.

The fully online Associate of Science in Computer Science degree offered by Ulster County Community College places highly in our ranking due to its affordability and academic quality. Students in the program will take a sequence of foundational courses as well as focus on JAVA programming. Successful graduates of the program will be prepared to enter programming fields as entry level JAVA programmers, or to pursue four year degrees. Students may further tailor their degree through the choice of five electives through their course of study. Ulster County Community College also excels on the affordability front. The college’s CS program was the second most affordable of those surveyed, at $180 per credit hour.

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  • Tuition per credit hour: $180
  • Flexibility-enhancing program components: N/A

4.) University of Phoenix

The University of Pheonix is a for-profit university with a main campus located in Phoenix, Arizona. The school is known for catering to adult and non-traditional learners and offers over 100 degree programs at satallite campuses and online at the associates through doctoral levels. Over 175,000 students call the University of Phoenix home, who is particularly known for providing services to servicemember populations and those seeking to advance their careers in practical discplines. A number of unique online learning features increase the flexibility and accesibility of coursework online, including all online textbooks, online mentorship programs, and a wide range of online support services that mirror those one would find in a traditional in-person environment.

The fully online Associate of Arts in Computer-Science related fields offered by the University of Phoenix places highly on our ranking due to its flexibility and affordability. The largest flexibility-enhancing component of the program involves the three fully online program offerings in computer science-related fields. These include an A.A. in Information Technology with Multimedia Development Certificate, an A.A. in Information Technology with Programming Certificate, and an A.A. in Information Technology with Web Administration Certificate. All three are focused on career-ready outcomes, and help to prepare and provide students with business endorsed credentialling. Furthermore, all three may be transferred into a bachelors level program at the University of Phoenix, should students wish to continue their studies. The University of Phoenix is also one of the 10 most affordable programs survyed, even as a private school, helping to place the university as our fourth favorite choice in this years rankings.

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  • Tuition per credit hour: $410
  • Flexibility-enhancing program components: 3 options

5.) Ocean County College

Ocean County College is a public, two year college with a main campus located in Tom’s River, New Jersey. The college is currently home to some 9,000+ students and has an open admission policy. Degrees and certificates are available in 13 fields, with the most popular being in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, Health Professions and Related Programs, and Homeland Security. 70% of full-time students who begin study at OCC continue on through a second year, a high rate for a community college as well as a marker of quality support services and academics. 26 programs of study are available entirely online, including associates degrees and certificates. Associates of science, arts, and applied science degrees are available. Student services available online include special services for veterans, a student coach hotline, financial aid, academic advising, and tutoring services.

The fully online A.S. in Computer Science program offered by Ocean County College is aimed at helping students to transfer into four-year bachelors programs in computer science. This program of study places highly in our ranking due to its affordability and flexibility. Three degree options are available for students looking to tailor their degree through specializations: game development and design, information systems, and information techology. Together these specializations cover the fundamentals of three major branches of computer science-related programming, affording students a proper base in their field of study no matter their goals. Tuition for Ocean County College is currently the third most affordable of programs surveyed, coming in at $237 per credit hour.

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  • Tuition per credit hour: $237
  • Flexibility-enhancing program components: N/A

6.) Grantham University

Grantham University is a for-profit, private university with a main campus located in Lenexa, Kansas. The university primarily offers online degrees in a variety of subjects. Home to some 17,000+ students, the student body is heavily populated by military servicemembers, to whom the university accordingly caters to with a variety of support services. The university is regularly regaled as a top university for military servicemembers by a variety of publications that track the subject. A wide range of online offerings are available through the university at the associates through masters levels. Generous transfer policies — including life and work experience credits — allow non-traditional students to accelare their time until degree, and avoid redundencies and road blocks in their education. Quality student support services and knowledgeable instructors round out the Grantham package, regularly noted for quality for non-traditional students.

The fully online Associate of Science in Computer Science offered by Grantham University places highly in our ranking due to its affordable nature as well as flexibility. Many start dates yearly–weekly start dates, in fact– allow students to fit in their two year (or less) degrees where they fit in their schedule. For students looking to continue their education after their associates in computer science, a bachelors program offered by Grantham may be directly trasferred into. The degree, which rates as the fifth most affordable of those surveyed, is also even more affordable for servicemembers. Which along with servicemember-specific support services makes the university a great location for those in or once in one of the armed services. The degree covers a wide range of computer science foundations, including .NET development, modern web development practices, networking technology topics, and JAVA programming.

  • Homepage
  • Tuition per credit hour: $265
  • Flexibility-enhancing program components: Many start dates

7.) Finger Lakes Community College

Finger Lakes Community College is a two-year, public college affiliated with the State University of New York system, and located in Hopewell, New York. Home to close to 7,000 students, the college offers a wide range of vocational and academic subjects, as well as an honors program. The college offers a wide variety of support services, not least of which includes an active financial aid department. Approximately 80% of students attending Finger Lakes recieve some form of student aid. Outcomes from the college are exceedingly positive as well, with 95% of students graduating in 2015 with an A.S. or A.A. degree continuing their education or employed, and 93% of those with an A.A.S. in the same time period continuing their education or employed. Of both categories, a large majority of students decided to continue their education at the baccelaureate level. Finger Lakes Community College is regionally accredited, the highest form of accreditation for colleges in the United States.

The fully online Associate of Science in Computer Science offered by Finger Lakes Community College places highly in our ranking due to it’s affordability and academic quality. The program is built on a liberal arts foundation, and may be used to transfer directly into junior year of computer science programs in many four-year university settings. Course of study subject matter is up-to-date and career relavent, and includes topics such as Mobile Application Development, Object-Oriented Programming and Design, Multimedia Development, Current Computing Platforms, and Networking Technologies. Graduates of the program have successfuly transfered to four-year programs throughout the nation, and have moved on to work at many top tier companies and national organizations in the following roles: Systems Analysts, Programmers, Consultants, and Network Administrators.

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  • Tuition per credit hour: $366
  • Flexibility-enhancing program components: N/A

8.) Jamestown Community College

Jamestown Community College is a public two-year college with a main campus located in the city of Jamestown in Chautauqua County, New York. The third ranked program associated with the State University of New York system, JCC has been named the “Top Performing Public Two-Year College in New York” in a report published by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Offerings of the college are wide-ranging and career-centered, including liberal arts transfer degree programs, career programs, community service, developmental education, and business and industry training and certificates. The college’s unique Unified Student Assitance program helps to keep JCC’s student body top notch, offering all students full resident tuition if they ranked in the top 20% of their high school class. A major community outreach program enhances the student body as well as great community, offering non-credit courses, seminars, and contract courses to some 10,000 additional students annually.

The fully online associates in science in Computer Science degree offered Jamestown Community College places highly in our ranking due to its affordability and academic quality. Perhaps the widest range of articulation agreements of schools surveyed is also a great selling point for JCC’s program. For students who successfuly finish their associates academic programming, agreements are already in place for the transfer to a number of regional schools. These schools accepting all transfer credit from JCC include Rochester Institute of Technology, St. Bonaventure University, SUNY Alfred State, SUNY College at Buffalo, SUNY Empire State College, SUNY Fredonia, and SUNY Potsdam. The degree requires 60 hours for gradution, but students may also endeavor upon the program if they did not test into the proper level of mathematics course. This option may require more time until graduation.

  • Homepage
  • Tuition per credit hour: $386
  • Flexibility-enhancing program components: N/A

9.) Hawaii Pacific University

Hawaii Pacific University is a private, nonsectarian located in Honolulu and Kaneohe, Hawaii. The university is diverse and is noted for being the largest private university in the central Pacific. 7,000 students call the university home, the entirity of whom represent more than 80 countries. The university offers many practical and business-centered degrees alongside a liberal arts core and many study abroad opportunties. The university also offers both a military learning center as well as extensive distance/online offerings. For students lucky enough to attend some classes at Hawaii Pacific’s main campus, courses are set in the heart of Honolulus business and finance district. This great location for hands on experience and networking, mixed with a practical course of study, makes Hawaii Pacific a great choice for potential students of computer science.

The fully online associate of science in computer science degree offered by Hawaii Pacific University places highly in our ranking due to academic quality and flexibility. For students taking all online courses, the degree is offered through the university’s Military Campus Programs. Coursework in the program is wide ranging and up-to-date, featuring in-demand knowledge of mobile technology, data analysis and visualization, and digital literacy. Students pursuing the program will recieve all lower level work needed for many four-year computer science programs, including computer science I and II, general education requirements, and discrete mathematics for computer science. While the program costs more than many surveyed for our ranking, Hawaii Pacific is a top tier private university, among which it’s tuition per credit hour is quite affordable.

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  • Tuition per credit hour: $1000
  • Flexibility-enhancing program components: N/A

10.) Rogers State University

Rogers State University is a public, regional university with a main campus located in Claremore, Oklahoma. Known for its distance-learning initiatives, the university is home to some 4,300 students of whom over half study online. The university is the only four year public residential school in the Tulsa metropolitan area, and is known for its high-tech learning environments, top academic quality, and nurturing scholastic environments. For online students, the university has an established history of offering courses online, as the first public university in Oklahoma to offer online degrees. Another focus point of the university is quality instruction, as seen by their low student to teacher ratio of 19 to 1, as well as more than half of their classes that have less than 20 students. Another impressive fact lies in the tiny percentage of courses that have over 50 students (including survey courses), coming in at .8%.

The fully online associates in science in computer science degree offered by Rogers State University places in our ranking due to its affordability and academic quality. The degree aims to prepare students for entry level computer science, information systems, or information technology jobs, or to prepare students to transfer to a four-year degree program in one of those areas. While students should check as to transfer policies with other institutions, students who wish to continue their course of study with a four year degree at Rogers State should know that their associates degree covers some specialty courses in the Bachelor of Technology in Applied Technology program offered at Rogers State University. Core requirements of the program include two programming courses, an introduction to networking, and a network operating systems course. The estimated tuition per credit hour for the Rogers State University program is the 10th of those surveyed for our ranking.

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  • Tuition per credit hour: $454
  • Flexibility-enhancing program components: N/A