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The 20 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Computer Science

There’s never been a better time to pursue an advanced career in computer science. Whether your goal is to stand out from the pack, become an instructor, or move into the lucrative field of management within computer science, an online computer science graduate degree can get you there quickly and conveniently. The majority of today’s working adults who want to advance in their professional fields opt for online coursework, which allows them to maintain their careers while earning academic credits. In the study of computer science, the digital realm is a natural fit for coursework. Most importantly, it’s possible nowadays to earn a reputable and comprehensive master’s degree in computer science at an affordable price point, making this credential one of the best possible returns on investment.

According to data culled from salary.com, study.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a master’s degree in computer science is the 7th most lucrative graduate degree available, with an average starting salary of $83,000, and mid-career salary of $129,900. The median pay for database administrators in 2017 same to $87,020 per year, while those specializing in computer systems design and related services earn $95,570 on average. The field is also projected to see a 11% rise in jobs from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS, a rate well above the national average. Median salary for software developers came to $103,560 in 2017, with those employed as software publishers making an average salary of $112,230. Software developers could see an 24% increase in employment opportunities during the same decade. Other lucrative jobs open to those with a computer science master’s degree include Professor of Computer Science, Tech Specialist, Senior Software Engineer, or Chief Technology Officer.

Both on-campus and online computer science master’s degrees typically require candidates to either hold a bachelor’s degree in a tech-related field, or to pass a series of computer science prerequisites in order to prepare. Master’s degree curriculums vary by school, but typically cover foundational coursework in such areas as Algorithms, Computational theory and practice, Operating systems, Network architecture, Programming languages, Database design, Software development, and Network security. A large proportion of master’s degrees conclude with a capstone project or research-based thesis. Many on-campus and online computer science programs allow students to pursue a specialization, concentrating in developing more advanced skills in an area such as bioinformatics, network security, software development, or artificial intelligence.

Our ranking of the 20 Most Affordable Master’s in Computer Science represents the very best values in higher education- accredited schools with reputable online computer science programs, all with remarkably low tuition (measured by cost per out-of-state credit). You won’t have to sacrifice quality, either- most of these online programs are ranked for academic quality by respected sources, such as U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. Read up and get ready to take your computer science career to the next level with an affordable master’s degree.

1. Georgia Institute of Technology

Located in the capital city of Atlanta, Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology (“Georgia Tech”) is a public research university, which also . The university dates back to 1885, when it was founded as a school of mechanical engineering. Today, Georgia Tech maintains a focus on engineering, science, and technology, and has grown to encompass six colleges, with a total of 31 departments. This rigorous and research-intensive school has won wide recognition. Based on its top standardized test scores, Business Insider calls it the nation’s “smartest” public institute, and U.S. News and World Report ranks Georgia Tech 7th in Top Public Schools, 7th in Most Innovative Schools, 34th in National Universities. As a public school, the university combines these rigorous academics with exceptionally low tuition, and the same source ranks this affordable university 99th in Best Value Schools.

Georgia Institute of Technology awards an incredibly prestigious and affordable online master’s in computer science. It was the first school in the nation to offer a MOOC- based online master’s degree in computer science, and the program is one of the most prestigious available; U.S. News and World Report ranks Georgia Tech 8th in the nation for Graduate Computer Science. The innovative online program represents a partnership between Georgia Tech, Udacity and AT&T, and is based on the popular MOOCs (“massive online open content”) model. Courses are lecture-based and high-enrollment, allowing the university to offer very low tuition. Class topics include Intro to Health Informatics, Computer Vision, Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, High Performance Computer Architecture, and Embedded Systems Optimization. Students may personalize their degree through their choice of one of four specializations: Computational Perception & Robotics, Computing Systems, Interactive Intelligence, or Machine Learning. While most MOOCs have low interactivity and student retention rates, the Georgia Tech online master’s in computer science features student mentoring, collaboration, interactive learning, increasing student engagement. At an incredibly affordable price of just $170 per credit hour, this low tuition comes in at half the cost of comparable programs, and easily takes first place in our ranking of Most Affordable Master’s in Computer Science.

2. The City University of Seattle

The City University of Seattle (“CityU”, is a private, non-profit school located in Seattle, Washington, with 26 additional international locations. The university was founded in 1973 with the goal of educating working adults through affordable and accessible programming. Today, CityU has a total of 6,755 students and encompasses five schools: a School of Management, a School of Arts and Sciences, a School of Leadership, a School of Technology, a Language Institute, and a School of Education. The university awards certificates, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, and emphasizes practical and student-centered education. The most popular disciplines and majors are accounting, business, computer science, education, communications, and psychology. CityU has an affordable, robust, and respected online education program, which offers online versions of most on-campus degrees. U.S. News and World Report ranks City U 31st in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, and gives top-200 rankings to several individual online degree programs.

The City University of Seattle offers a specialized, highly-ranked and highly affordable online Master’s in Computer Science. The program blends the theoretical understanding, practical skills and the business knowledge required for success in the modern workplace. A total of 39 credits are required for graduation, while those without an undergraduate degree in an IT-related field must complete up to 20 additional prerequisites. Courses include topics such as computer architecture, software engineering, software testing, information security, and managing technology projects, and students can expect to develop hands-on skills in applying computer systems principles, tools, and techniques. The degree program culminates in a Computer Science Capstone course, in which students demonstrate their acquired skills using a real-world research topic or problem. In addition, there are seven computer science graduate specializations offered: Data Management, Technology Management, Development Management, Programming, Cloud Development, Gaming or Embedded Systems. All online students in this affordable and personalized program are paired with their own “student success advisor,” who acts as their mentor, coach and advisor throughout their time at CityU. Tuition is exceptionally affordable, with a price of only $347 per credit.

3. University of Illinois- Springfield

The University of Illinois- Springfield (UIS) is a public, liberal arts institute which is located in the capital city of Springfield, Illinois. The school was established in 1969 as Sangamon State University, and became the newest member of the University of Illinois System in 1995. Today, UIS has a student body of 5,700, and awards 27 undergraduate degrees, 20 master’s degrees, and one doctorate degree. The school allows undergraduates as well as graduate students to participate in research, and maintains a remarkably low student to faculty ration of 14 to one. UIS also emphasizes hands-on learning, and students at all levels can participate in a variety of internships and practicums within government, corporate and community organizations. U.S. News and World Report ranks UIS 63rd in Regional Universities Midwest and 13th in Top Public Schools. With its outstanding academics and affordable tuition, the same source also ranks UIS 60th in Best Value Schools.

The University of Illinois-Springfield offers a respected and affordable online master’s in computer science. The UIS commuter science department has been recognized by the NSA as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyberdefense Education. The school’s overall online program has won The Sloan Consortium award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching and Learning, the Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education, and the Society for New Communications Research’s award for Excellence in Online Reputation Management. The online master’s in computer science at UIS is designed to thoroughly verse students in the theory and practice of computer science, developing hands-on skills in design, analysis, and implementation of software programs. The degree requires a total of 32 credit hours, comprising 8 courses, including a Graduate Research Seminar. Online graduate students enjoy a great deal of flexibility in their course of study, and are allowed to choose between a selection of courses for 7 or their 8 required online computer science classes. All classes are taught by professionals with computer science experience, and also serve as students advisors. Online students also have access to remote tutoring and library resources. With a low tuition of $403 per credit, this affordable degree was named a “Best Buy” by GetEducated.com.

4. Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University (GS) is a public research university which has its flagship campus in Statesboro, Georgia, and additional campuses in Savannah and Hinesville. The school was established in 1906 as First District Agricultural & Mechanical School, a land grant college, with just 15 students in its first class. Today, GS is a member of the University System of Georgia, and has a massive student body of 27,459. The school awards bachelor’s degrees with 140 different academic majors, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees. The school operates a Center for Wildlife Education and the Lamar Q Ball, Jr. Raptor Center, an Advanced Materials Development Center, and a Natural History and Cultural Museum. The Carnegie Foundation classifies GS as a Doctoral and Research Institution, and has advanced research in the field of renewable energy and environmental science research. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school 231st in National Universities.

Quincy University offers a high-quality and affordable online master’s in computer science through its Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering & Information Technology. U.S. News and World Report ranks GS 33rd in Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs, and GetEducated.com recognized its affordable tuition and strong academics with the designation of “Best Buy” for Online Graduate Computer Science. The program is specifically designed for those who do not hold an undergraduate degree in an IT-related field, and provides a strong foundation in databases, artificial intelligence and web systems. The online master’s in computer science from GS also includes the option to pursue one of three specializations: data mining, data warehousing, or distributed database systems. The course of study typically takes 5 semesters to complete, and comprises 30 credits, with class topics include Network engineering, Database design, and Computer programming.

5. National University

National University (NU) is a private, nonprofit institute based in in La Jolla, California, with 26 additional locations in other parts of the state and another in Nevada. NU dates back to 1971, when a retired United States Navy lieutenant commander, David Chigos, established the school in order to provide affordable, high-quality, career-focused education to non-traditional learners. By 2010, NU has become the second-largest private, non-profit university in California, and the 12th largest private, non-profit in the nation. Today, the university has a student body of 23,909 students, and offers degrees at the associate, bachelor, and master’s level, as well as teaching credentials and certificates. The university remains focused on delivering affordable, career-relevant and practical education, and the most popular degrees are in the areas of Business and Management, Health, Criminal Justice, and Computing. Most on-campus classes take place int he evenings, while a large proportion of students are enrolled in the school’s well-ranked online programs.

National University awards a specialized and affordable online master’s in computer science. The program verses students in the fundamentals of software engineering, database theory and design, and cloud computing for success in today’s computer technology workplace. Students may also choose to pursue any of three computer science graduate specializations: Advanced Computing, Software Engineering, or Database Engineering. The course of study consists of ten courses plus a two-part master of cup outer science graduate project, which involves completing a complex, three-month project to solve a real-world problem for a professional client. Core classes include Database Design and Implementation, Web and Cloud Computing, Modern Operating Systems, and Security in Computing. This workplace-relevant online master’s degree is available for the affordable price of $416 per credit.

6. University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (“UMass Dartmouth”) is a public university which is based in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and is one of five campuses of the University of Massachusetts. The university dates back to 1895, with the founding of the New Bedford Textile School in New Bedford and the Bradford Durfee Textile School. The schools combined in 1962 as the Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute, and became a full university in 1969. Nowadays, UMass Dartmouth serves 8,647 students through 85 undergraduate, graduate and law degree programs. The university is organized into a number of colleges, including a College of Visual and Performing Arts, a School for Marine Science & Technology, A College of Engineering, a School of Business and a School of Law. UMass Dartmouth stresses liberal arts education with practical applicability, along with affordable tuition and personal attention, thanks to small class sizes. The school has earned an excellent reputation and a number of distinctions. UMass Dartmouth has been designated as a Carnegie Community Engaged University, ranks in the in the top tier on the Presidents National Community Service Honor Roll, and was the world’s first university in the world rated A+ for sustainability by the Global Reporting Initiative. U.S. News and World Report ranks it 207th in National Universities and 113rd in Top Public Schools.

The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth offers a highly personalized, well-respected and very affordable online master’s degree in computer science. The program aims to strike a balance between theory, systems, and applications, and has a strong emphasis on software development. Students work on projects based on workplace scenarios, and learn to not only build software applications, but to effectively collaborate as teams and present their findings. Students work with academic advisors at the outset of the program to plan an individualized course of study, totaling 30 credits, based on their academic interests. Degree seekers select three core courses from a set of four available, complete a master’s project course, and choose six additional electives within the graduate computer science department, one of which may be an internship or thesis. Classes within the online master’s include Wireless & Mobile Computing, Computer Security, Advanced Computer Networks, Design Patterns, and IT Project Management. UMass Dartmouth offers a low tuition of $537 per credit, yet this affordable online master’s is also well-respected, earning inclusion among the nation’s top 20 from Computer Science Online.

7. Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University (CTU) is a private university which is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The university got started back in 1965 as Colorado Technical College, with the aim of training former veterans in technical and vocational subjects. Now a full university, CTU awards degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. About 26,000 students attend, and some 92% of these are enrolled in online degree programs. In keeping withers original mission, CTU remains focused on practical education for non-traditional learners, including a high percentage of veterans, and offers affordable programs in career-focused disciplines, and to emphasize workplace-relevant skillsets across all disciplines. Popular areas of study include Accounting, Business Administration, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Engineering, and Health Sciences. A number of individual online degree programs at CTU are highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report, including 34th in Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs, 67th in Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs, and 40th in Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs.

Colorado Technical University confers a personalized, flexible, fast and affordable online master’s in computer science. The entire course of study can be completed in as little as 18 months, and requires a total of 48 credits: 24 core credits, 20 concentration credits and a 4-credit capstone. Four concentrations are offered: data science, computer systems security, database systems and software engineering, and a general computer science degree is also available. Classes within the core include Design and Analysis of Algorithms, Modern Operating Systems, Computer Networking, Computer Systems Security Foundations, and Systems Engineering Methods. Online classes offer an exceptional degree of flexibility in terms of format and delivery; students may select audio, visual or exercise-based learning modules for their course content. With a low tuition of $585, an online master’s in computer science from CTU is an outstanding combination of specialized, flexible, and affordable.

8. Capitol Technology University

Capitol Technology University (CTU) is a private, nonprofit university which is situated in Laurel, Maryland. CTU was established back in 1927 as the Capitol Radio Engineering Institute, a correspondence school. Nowadays, CTU has a small student body of 843 and awards affordable, tech-focused degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level. Students at this small school enjoy individual attention, and class sizes are extremely small, with a student to faculty ratio of just 12 to one. Engineering is the school’s most popular major, and U.S. News and World Report ranks CTU 169th in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs. Other popular areas of study include business and computer science. CTU supports student entrepreneurship, research, and technological innovation, with resources like a space observation institute, a robotics lab, and cyber battle simulation laboratory.

Capitol Technology University offers a fast and affordable online master’s in computer science. The program is dedicated to equipping students with the knowledge and skills required to design computer-based systems, including embedded languages, wireless technologies, miniaturization (PDAs), and data security. Students are requited to complete 30 credits in order to earn the degree: 18-30 in the computer science core and 12 in electives. Core classes include Theory of Computation, Computer Language Design, Algorithms, and Multithreaded and Distributed Programming. All students complete a project-based capstone thesis. Classes are are offered in 16-week formats, which are delivered asynchronously, and while most students take two years to complete their studies, those opting for an accelerated pace can finish in as little as 18 months. Three specialization are offered: information architecture, advanced computer science, or network security. The latter c concentration is especially strong; CTU is recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence in information assurance and cyber defense by the National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This fast online degree is an excellent value, with an affordable tuition of $585 per credit.

9. Colorado State University

Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, Colorado State University (“Colorado State”) is a large, public research university, and the flagship university of the Colorado State University System. The university got its start as an agricultural college in the Colorado Territory back in 1870. Today, Colorado State has a total enrollment of 32,236, yet maintains a low student to faculty ratio of 17 to one. This large school is organized into eight colleges and 55 academic departments, and offers a large selection of degrees: 65 bachelor’s programs, 55 master’s programs,, 40 doctoral programs, and a highly-ranked doctorate in veterinary medicine. Research at Colorado State is robust, well-funded, and influential. Student and professors associated with the school have made significant advances in climate change, infectious diseases, bio-terrorism, and clean energy. The school is committed to providing service and experiential learning opportunities, and students have access to an abundance of opportunities to participate in study abroad, internships, practicums, community service, and research. U.S. News and World Report ranks Colorado State 124th in National Universities and 58th in Top Public Schools, and recognizes its affordable tuition wit a designation of 138th in Best Value Schools.

Colorado State University confers a prestigious and affordable online master’s on computer science. Colorado State was ranked 31st in Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs by U.S. News and World Report, and their affordable online master’s in computer science is rated 18th in the nation by CollegeChoice. The program thoroughly grounds students in such essential knowledge areas as Networking and security, Parallel computing, Software engineering, Artificial intelligence and machine learning, Systems software, and Database systems. The program is intended to replicate the Colorado State classroom experience, and incorporates, streaming, archived and field-recorded video. Occasional synchronous classes, open discussion boards, and regular collaboration promote interactivity in online graduate classes. Online classes are taught by the same professors who teach on campus, and distance learners, like their on-campus peers, can take advantage of computer science research opportunities. The degree requires a total of 35 credit hours, and includes classes like Computer Security, Parallel Processing, Software Testing and Analysis, and Database Systems. This affordable program promises a great return on investment; 70% of on line master’s students receive job offers by their graduation, and graduates find work at top companies like Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Motorola. This prestigious program’s affordable tuition is priced at just $675 per credit.

10. Franklin University

Franklin University is a private, nonprofit school based in Columbus, Ohio, with four additional campuses located in Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.. The university was first established as the YMCA School of Commerce in 1902. Today, Franklin encompasses five academic colleges: a college of arts, science and technology, a college of health and public administration and a college of business. The university awards degrees at the associate, bachelor, master’s, and doctorate levels, including joint BS/MS programs. Franklin’s mission, since its inception, has been to provide affordable and practical education to working adults, and the school facilitates student success through institutional supports. An innovative mentoring program pairs students with individual success coaches drawn from relevant industries (rather than faculty), who provide monthly mentoring and guidance in academic, personal and professional areas.

Franklin University offers a fast, personalized and affordable online master’s degree in computer science. The program was developed with industry demands in mind, and with the input of tech professionals from a number of Fortune 500 companies. Students can expect to develop a complete understanding of established and emerging technologies, including architectural tools, such as algorithm analysis, UML and Patterns, distributed systems, acceptance testing, and database design with SQL Server and Oracle. This affordable program is also accelerated, allowing students to earn their degree in as little as 20 months. The course of study consists of 44 credits: 9 computer science core classes, one elective class, internship or independent study, and a senior capstone. Class topics include Project Management Information Systems, System Architecture & Engineering, Computer Security, and Application of Artificial Intelligence. Online students can take advantage of supports, such as tutoring, test prep workshops, and career counseling, and tuition is very affordable, costing only $685 per credit.

11. University of Louisville

The University of Louisville (U of L) is a public university which is based in Louisville, Kentucky, and belongs to the Kentucky State University System. The school originated in 1798, shortly after the founding of Louisville, as the Jefferson Seminary, and was, at the time, the first city-owned public university in the United States. The school became a public municipal university in 1846, and joined the Kentucky State University System in 1970. Today, U of L offers 70 bachelor’s degrees, 78 master’s degrees, and 22 doctorate degrees. The university has a total enrollment of 22,640, and is organized into 12 schools and colleges, including a school of engineering, a school of Public Health and Information Sciences, a school of dentistry, a school of medicine and a school of law. U of L is home to such student amenities as a planetarium, 6 libraries, an art museum, and several research centers. A number of medical innovations have originated at the university, including the world’s first self-contained artificial heart transplant and hand transplant, and the development of autotransfusion. The university actively promotes community engagement, affordable tuition and scholarships, and rigorous academics. U.S. News and World Report ranks U of L 86th in Top Public Schools and 165th in National Universities.

The University of Louisville offers a respected and affordable online master’s degree in computer science through its J.B. Speed School of Engineering. The university is ranked 33rd in Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs by U.S. News and World Report, and the online master’s degree in computer science is rated 9th in the nation by CollegeChoice. This affordable program covers computing and programming foundations, software, analytics, electives, and a includes the option to pursue a simultaneous certificate in data science or cybersecurity. The course of study consists of 30 credit hours, up to 6 of which may be transfer credits, and includes such topics as Combinatorial Optimization & Modern Heuristics, Advanced Databases and Warehousing, Artificial Intelligence, and Evaluation of Computer Systems. Students may choose one 3-credit computer science elective, and complete their program with either a senior thesis or project. U of L provides a rich online learning environment, with course content delivered via a combination of text readings, discussion boards, PowerPoint, and video lectures. Tuition per credit is set at an affordable pice of $714.

12. Sofia University

Sofia University is a private institute which is located in Palo Alto, California. The university originated as the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP), founded by Robert Frager and James Fadiman in 1975. The ITP trained students and professionals in transpersonal psychology, a holistic and psycho-spiritually-oriented approach to understanding human behavior, relationships and experiences. The school reinvented itself in 2012 as Sofia University, with ab expanded graduate program and a selection of undergraduate offerings. In 2014, the school changed ownership and again underwent an expansion, adding advanced studies in data science, computer science, and other tech-oriented disciplines, reflecting its prime location in Silicon Valley. Today, Sofia is organized into four schools – the School of Transformative Education, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, the School of Business, and the School of Technology and Engineering.

Sofia University awards an interdisciplinary and affordable online master’s degree program in computer science, which combines technical skills and humanistic values. The program establishes a broad background in core computer science areas, such as software development, and incorporates studies in transpersonal psychology, allowing students to develop an in-depth understanding of both computer systems and their users. The program is offered in an on-campus, online or hybrid format, and comprises a total of 48 credits, including 5 Computer Science Core Courses and 7 Electives. Interdisciplinary courses, including classes in Business and Liberal Arts, are included, as is a practicum requirement (electives may be substituted with approval). Class topics include Business Database Systems, Web Development, Information Security, The Internet of Things, and Elements of Software Construction. This affordable master’s in computer science is also highly specialized, allowing students to choose from a selection of five concentrations: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Human Computer Interaction, Holistic Leadership and Management, Transformative Computing, and Transformative Unmanned Aircraft Systems Computing. A low tuition of $750 per credit makes this interdisciplinary and personalized master’s in computer science an affordable choice.

13. James Madison University

James Madison University (JMU) is a public research university which is based in Harrisonburg, Virginia. JMU was established in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg, a women’s college offering technical education. The school became coeducational in 1966, and had evolved into a full university by 1976. Today, this large school is made up of seven colleges and 78 academic programs, and offers 115 degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral levels. There are 22,667 undergraduate and graduate students in all, yet the student to faculty ratio is quite low, at 16 to one. The university is highly committed to experiential learning, with robust community service, research, internship, and study abroad opportunities offered. U.S. News and World Report ranks JMU is 7th in Regional Universities South, 2nd in Top Public Schools and 3rd in Most Innovative Schools. The university’s affordable tuition and excellent academics have also earned it a ranking of 55th in Best Value Schools.
BloombergBusiness ranks JMU 21st in Best Value among public schools, and Kiplinger magazine named it among the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges.” Employment prospects fort graduates are also high, with 81% receiving a job offer within 6 months of graduation.

James Madison University offers a prestigious and affordable online master’s degree in Computer Science: Information Security. Affordable Colleges Online included it among the Best Master’s in Computer Science for 2016, recognizing its low tuition and high quality. Launched back in 1997, the program is one of the nation’s first graduate degrees in information security, and one of just seven original National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense, as designed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA). The goal of the degree program is to arm students with the knowledge and skills required to design, implement, and maintain secure modern information infrastructures and systems, and the online program features s mall class sizes, asynchronous course content delivery, a virtual lab, and a highly-interactive format, with frequent peer-to-peer collaboration and discussion. Classes are taken two at a time in a cohort format, and include such titles as Computer Forensics, Cryptography: Algorithms and Applications, Secure Programming, and Ethics, Law and Policy in Cyberspace. Students may choose between a thesis and non-thesis degree track, and may opt to specialize in digital forensics, malware analysis, incident response, or mobile forensics. The entire program can typically be completed in five semesters, plus one summer session. Tuition for this specialized and prestigious program is very affordable, costing only $774 per out-of-state credit.

14. Lewis University

Lewis University is a private, Roman Catholic university which is sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, and located in Romeoville, Illinois. Lewis was founded in 1932 through the Archdiocese of Chicago as Holy Name Technical School, a men’s technical institute which emphasized aviation technology. The school became coeducational in 1949, and shortly thereafter began offering a broader range of academic programs, including business and liberal arts offerings, and achieved full university status in 1973. Nowadays, Lewis enrolls approximately 6,800 students, making it the seventh largest private nonprofit university in Illinois, yet the school maintains a remarkably low student to faculty ratio of 13 to one. Lewis administers more than 80 undergraduate majors and programs of study, 22 graduate programs, and in affordable and accelerated degree programs for working adults. The original aviation program has since evolved into an advanced and robust Department of Aviation and Transportation Studies, which boasts amenities like a Boeing 737 jet, a full-size CFM-56 turbo fan engine from Southwest Airlines and state-of-the-art hangar with six lab rooms. Other on-campus resource include a LEED-certified science center, nursing simulation labs, the nation’s first digital college radio station and video production studio equipped with robotics. U.S. News and World report ranks this affordable and innovative school 23rd in Regional Universities Midwest, as well as 42nd in Best Value Schools.

Lewis University offers a highly personalized and affordable online master’s in computer science. The program is designed to thoroughly train students to apply skills in constructing software systems, designing network-based distributed systems, and to research and analyze complex computational problems. The course of study consists of 10 courses, which add up to 30 credits, and includes a wide range of course options. Students may select from five courses within each of the three core content areas, and computer science electives make up no less than 15 of the 30 required credits. Course topics include Cloud Computing and Virtualization, Programming Languages, and Artificial Intelligence. Students may also opt for a concentration in one of three available areas: intelligence systems, software development, or cyber security. The latter is an especially strong offering; Lewis was recently included among CyberSecurityDegrees’ Top 20 Best Online Masters in Cyber Security. All online computer science master’s students complete a course in research methods, as well as a comprehensive capstone course which can take the form of a senior thesis or project. This highly advanced and flexible degree is also affordable, with a low tuition of $795 per credit.

15. Columbus State University

Located in Columbus, Georgia, Columbus State University (CSU) is a public institute and a member of the University System of Georgia. In addition to the main campus, CSU operates a satellite location in nearby Fort Benning. The university got its start as a junior college located in a hosiery mill back in 1958, soon moving to a former dairy farm and becoming a college by 1963. In modern times, CSU awards degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate level in over 90 disciplines, and has a total enrollment of 8,307. CSU is especially notes for its strong offerings in leadership and business, as well as the state’s only program for drama teacher certification. The university emphasizes global studies, and community partnerships, and, as a public school, offers very affordable tuition. The 132-acre main campus is home to a variety of amenities, such as an environmental learning center featuring live animal displays, a Space Science Center, a state-of-the-art performing arts center, and an art and theater complex co-sponsored by the school and the city of Columbus. The most popular areas of study at CSU are health professions and business, followed by education, law enforcement, and firefighting. U.S. News and World Report ranks CTU 106th in Regional Universities South and 45th in Top Public Schools.


Columbus State University awards a respected, flexible and affordable online master’s degree in applied computer science. CTU is designated as a Top Online Master’s in Computer Science by GoGrad and ComputerScienceOnline.com ranks it 3rd in the nation. The degree program emphasizes the development of applied computer science skills through hands-on learning exercises, including designing some of the educational technology used by the university itself. The online computer science degree curriculum consists of 30 hours of computer science coursework, along with an exit course deigned to prepare students for graduation. Of these 30 credits, 12 are required core courses, and 18 are concentration courses. Students electing to complete a computer science thesis will take an additional 4 credits. Core class titles include Survey of Modeling and Simulation, Advanced Algorithms, Object-Oriented Development, and Introduction to Cybersecurity. Within the online master’s in computer science, there are four concentration options offered: Traditional, Software Development, Modeling & Simulation, and Cybersecurity. The latter specialization has been singled out for merit by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, which has designated CTU a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. With a low tuition of $801, this affordable and respected online degree is an excellent value.

16. East Carolina University

East Carolina University (ECU) is an American public research university which is based in Greenville, North Carolina, and is a member of the University of North Carolina System. ECU is designated as a Sea Grant university and an Innovation and Economic Prosperity campus by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. The university originated in 1907 as the East Carolina Teachers Training School, devolving into East Carolina College by 1951 and achieving full university status in 1967. Today, it is the state’s third–largest university, enrolling 21,589 undergraduate and 5,797 graduate students, including some 308 medicine and 52 dental students. In spite of its massive size, CTU maintains relatively small class sizes, with a student to faculty ratio of 18 to one. The school emphasizes community and global engagement, and administers such programs as a video-based cultural exchange program with students in 30 countries, an a student outreach program delivering dental care to undeserved rural communities. Research and innovation are also central to the school mission; CTU operates a field station for coastal studies, focused on sustainability, and conducts archeological excavations at local sites. The medical center has been home to a number of breakthroughs related to cardiac surgery, diabetes treatment, PTSD, stuttering, and in vitro fertilization. U.S. News and World Report ranks CTU 207th in National Universities and 113rd in Top Public Schools.

East Carolina University offers an affordable online master’s in computer science. The program is designed to train students in both the theory and practice of software design and hardware construction, with a thorough grounding in programming languages, operating systems, hardware, database environments and software engineering tools. The degree requires the completion of 30 credit hours, including 12 credits in computer science core classes, along with 18 in electives, including a 3-6 credit thesis or research project. Class titles within the core include Computer Systems Architecture, Software Engineering Foundations, Computability and Complexity, and Operating Systems. Facility with research is emphasized throughout the course of study, and all students must attend at least five research seminars and present at least one research seminar during the course of study. This rigorous and practical online computer science degree is quite affordable, with tuition priced at just $876 per out-of-state credit.

17. University of Bridgeport

The University of Bridgeport (UB) is a private university which is based in the costal city of Bridgeport, the largest in the state of Connecticut. The university was founded in 1927, and experienced a rapid expansion in the 1970s, with a large influx of Vietnam veterans attending on the GI Bill. Enrollment declined in the 1980’s, and the school was acquired by the Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA), an affiliate of the Unification Church, which administered the school throughout the 1990’s. The school became independent of the PWPA in 2003, and is today a nonsectarian institution serving a diverse student body of 2,897 undergraduates and 2,536 graduate and doctoral students, many of them international students. The school also operates an extensive continuing education department, offering a total of 125 different on-campus and online programs of study geared towards working professionals. UB is focused on delivering career-oriented education, and its most popular areas of study are business, engineering, psychology, health, and dentistry. Class sizes are relatively small, with an average student to faculty ratio of 17 to one. UB established the nation’s first university-affiliated chiropractic program, the first university-affiliated program of its kind in the U.S, and New England’s first Peace Corps Preparatory Program. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school 146th in Regional Universities North.

The University of Bridgeport awards a highly-ranked and highly affordable online master’s degree in computer science. The degree is ranked 40th in Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs by U.S. News and World Report, and is taught by accomplished academics and industry professionals. The course of study totals 34 credits, and includes six required courses and a wide selection of electives, along with a project-based Capstone. Required classes include Object-Oriented Programming Using C++, Operating Systems, Advanced Databases, and Analysis of Algorithms. Course content is delivered asynchronously, following traditional 16-week schedule during the fall and spring terms and offers a shortened summer semester. With a low tuition of $914 per credit, an online master’s in computer science from UB is an affordable choice.

18. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, North Carolina State University at Raleigh (“NC State”) is a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant, public research university. It is the flagship of the University of North Carolina System and, together with Duke University and The University of North Carolina, makes up one of the three corners of the “Research Triangle.” The university dates back to 1887, when it was first established as the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. The school gradually expanded its offerings to include a variety of liberal arts programs and graduate studies, and became a full university in 1962. Today, NC State offers a wide variety of degree programs, including 106 bachelor’s degrees, 104 master’s degrees, 61 doctoral degrees, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Total enrollment comes to 32,113, yet class sizes are very small at this large university, which boasts a very low student to faculty ratio of 13 to one. NC State is distinguished by affordable tuition, rigorous academics, diverse program offerings, and strong research. Engineering and the sciences remain some of the school’s strongest and most popular programs, but NC State is also widely recognized for excellence is such diverse programs as textiles and design.
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance awards the university 11th in the nation for best value in higher education. U.S. News and World Report ranks NC State 81st in National Universities, and 33rd for Top Public Schools, and 46th in Best Value Schools.

North Carolina State University at Raleigh confers a prestigious and affordable online master’s in computer science. The program is distinguished by its elite faculty, which include 40 tenure-track professors and accomplished computer science professionals, several of whom are recipients of the renowned National Science Foundation’s prestigious CAREER Award. The curriculum, designed specifically for working professionals, consists of 31 credit hours, and does not require a thesis, final oral exam or on- campus residency. Students have a wide degree of flexibility in their course of study, choosing three core classes from a selection of 14 offerings in the areas of computer science theory and systems, then complete an additional 21 credit hours in advanced computer science coursework. Class topics include Database Management, Artificial Intelligence, Numerical Analysis, Computer Performance Modeling, and Software Engineering. Course content is delivered in the form of streaming video, frequently consisting of live or recorded on- campus lectures, and is augmented by discussion boards and collaborative assignments. This elite program is ranked 4th in Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs by U.S. News and World Report, and is an exceptional value in light of its affordable tuition, priced at $1,007 per out-of-state credit.

19. University of West Florida

The University of West Florida (UWF) is a public, space-grant university which is based in the costal city of Pensacola, Florida, and belongs to the State University System of Florida. UWF was founded in 1963, and had just 58 students in its first graduating class. Today, it is a comprehensive research university and a mid-sized school, with a student population of 1,2979. The 1,600-acre main campus is the third-largest campus in the State University System, and occupies a natural preserve which is bordered by two rivers and the Escambia Bay. The school also houses the largest library in Northwest Florida and owns the nearby Historic Pensacola Village, a collection of 28 historical buildings and museums. UWF is comprised of five Colleges: College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities; College of Business; College of Education and Professional Studies; College of Health; and the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. Studies within the area of Parks and Recreation are robust, thanks to the school’s waterfront location , and students can take advantage of outdoor water sports and free access to mountain bike paths in their free time. The most popular undergraduate majors are in the Health Professions, followed by Business and Management, and Related Social Sciences. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school 231st in National Universities.

The University of West Florida administers an affordable online Master’s in Computer Science with a specialization in either Database Systems or Software Engineering, through the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. The UWF program was ranked among the nation’s Best Value Schools in the field of Graduate Computer Science Education by Affordable Colleges Online for 2016. The concentration in Database Systems emphasizes designing and administering large database systems, and trains students in database programming and SQL. Those pursuing a concentration in Software Engineering study the analysis, design and implementation of high-quality software systems. Both degree tracks are highly focused on hands-on training in applied skills, and each culminates in a Capstone, which can take the form of either a project or research-based thesis. This practical and focused computer science program is also very affordable, with a low tuition of $1,044.

20. Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research university which is based in West Lafayette, Indiana and the flagship campus of the Purdue University system. Purdue dates back to 1869, when it was established as a college of science, technology, and agriculture through a donation by philanthropist, John Purdue. By 1875, the school had awarded its first degree, a Bachelor’s in chemistry, in 1875, and begun to admit female students. Over time, Purdue began to integrate liberal arts into the general curriculum, while still remaining focused on technical and science-based fields. Today, the university has an enrollment of 40,451, the second largest n the state, and is home to the nation’s fourth-largest international student population. Purdue awards degrees in over 200 majors for undergraduates, 69 masters and doctoral programs, and professional degrees in pharmacy and veterinary medicine. The university continues to have a robust engineering department, as well as an advanced an innovative school of aviation and aerospace, which pioneered the nation’s first four-year aviation degree. The department of English, meanwhile, is renowned for launching the influential and popular Online Writing Lab (OWL), the first virtual academic citation resource of its kind. The school as a whole boasts some 400 research laboratories, and is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as having one of the nation’s most research-active campuses. This elite university is renowned for its rigorous academics, and has achieved a number of top rankings. U.S. News and World report ranks Purdue 56th in National Universities, 18th in Top Public Schools, and 12th in Most Innovative Schools. Recognizing the university’s high academics and return on investment relative to affordable tuition, the same source also ranks it 74th in Best Value Schools.


Purdue University offers an affordable online master’s degree in computer science with a world-class academic reputation. The online degree program is notable for its accomplished faculty, remote research opportunities, and strong career outlook. Purdue pioneered the nation’s first university department of computer science back in 1962, and remains a leader in the field. U.S. News and World Report ranks Purdue’s Graduate program in Computer Science 20th in the nation, and ranks its speciality in Programming Language 14th and its speciality in Systems 15th. Within the online master’s in computer science, students may choose between a non-thesis track, consisting of 10 three-credit courses or a thesis option which includes 8 such courses. Course content is delivered through asynchronous video lectures, with the occasional live streaming video as well, all using the same lectures as those viewed by on-campus peers. Online students also have the opportunity to participate in internships and research. Highly motivated students enrolled on a full-time basis can complete the program in as little as one year, while most students take two years to finish, at a pace of three to four courses per semester. Classes cover such computer science essentials as Software Engineering, Parallel and Distributed Computing, Network Security, Data Mining, and Bioinformatics. This elite program has an affordable tuition, priced at just $1,088 per credit.