Computer Science/ IT/ IS/ MIS (Management Information Systems) and related and cross-disciplinary fields such as business analytics, business informatics, healthcare informatics, data science, cybersecurity, information science library science, etc., are all dependent on computer programming and/or computer-related skills.
Some of these fields are severely lacking qualified professionals, a fact that is supported by employment surveys as well as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In fact, certain computer-related occupations are expected to have as much as 21% growth in job numbers between 2014-2024, according to the BLS’ Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). Visit their list of computer/IT-related occupations for more insight for certain types of jobs.
There are actually well over a hundred different Computer/IT/IS-related occupations, some of which are listed below, compiled from the Web pages of the 20 colleges ranked in this article. While many of the occupations require just a bachelor’s degree, some may require an advanced degree (usually master’s, more rarely doctorate) and/or professional certification.
- Application Programmer
- Chief Information Officer (CIO)
- Computer and Information Research Scientist
- Computer and Information Scientist
- Computer and Information Systems Manager
- Computer and Information Systems Project Management
- Computer Engineer
- Computer Hardware Engineer
- Computer Network Architect
- Computer Network Support Specialist
- Computer Operator
- Computer Programmer
- Computer Security Specialist
- Computer Software Publisher
- Computer Support Specialist
- Computer Systems Administrator
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Computer Systems Designer
- Computer Systems Security Analyst
- Computer User Support Specialist
- Corporate Communications
- Database Administrator
- Database Designer
- Desktop Publisher
- Information Assurance Officer
- Information Designer
- Information Security Analyst
- Information Security Coordinator
- Information Services Manager
- Information Systems Manager
- Information Technology Manager
- Interactive Designer
- IT Manager
- Management Information Systems Director
- Market Researcher
- Multimedia Artist/ Animator
- Network Administrator
- Network and Computer Systems Administrator
- Network Architect
- Network Engineer
- Network Operations Director
- Office Automator
- Online Content Editor
- Online Researcher
- Programmer Analyst
- Project Management
- Project Manager
- Public Relations and Organizational Communication
- Software Developer, Applications
- Software Developer, Systems Software
- Software Engineer
- Software Project manager
- System Test Engineer
- Systems Administrator
- Technical Writer
- Web Administrator
- Web Content Development
- Web Designer
- Web Developer
A selection of computer science/ IT-related professional certifications is listed below. (This is not an exhaustive list.)
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA®)
- Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA® Security)
- Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA)
- CIW Web Design Specialist
- CompTIA A+
- CompTIA Linux+
- CompTIA Network+
- CompTIA Project+
- CompTIA Security+
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows 8
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows Server 2012
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
- Oracle Certified Java Programmer
- PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
Online Learning Platforms
There are a variety of online learning platforms in use at colleges and universities. Some institutions have custom systems; others use commercial platforms. A few of the latter are listed below. Note: this is not a comprehensive list.
- Brightspace LMS
Curriculum Topics for Computer Science /IT /IS degrees
The list below highlights many of the typical topic categories covered by computer science/ IT/ IS bachelor’s programs. While there are hundreds of unique courses across all schools, most fall into the following categories and sub-categories.
- Algorithm Analysis
- Cloud Computing
- Compiler Design
- Computer Ethics
- Computer Gaming Design and Development
- Computer Graphics
- Computer Hardware Systems
- Computer Systems Architecture
- Computer Technology
- Content Management Systems
- Data Analytics
- Data Compression
- Data Mining
- Data Structures
- Digital Forensics
- Digital Image Processing
- Distance Education Technologies
- Distributed Networks
- Enterprise Development
- File Systems
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Information Assurance and Security
- Information Management
- Interactive Digital Media
- Interactive Information Visualization
- Management Information Systems
- Mobile Applications
- Natural Language Processing
- Networking Security
- Operating Systems
- Penetration Testing
- Programming Languages
- Programming/ Object-Oriented Programming
- Project Management
- Search Engine Optimization
- Systems Security
- Technical Communication
- Web Analytics
- Web Application Development
- Web Design
- Web Development
The breadth of actual computer science/ IT/ IS courses comes from factoring in the variety of programming languages, operating systems, mobile platforms, server versions, database systems, etc.
If you are interested in a career in computer science, information technology, information systems or closely-related fields, this rankings list of relevant and economical online bachelor’s degrees may help you find a suitable college/ university. This is the first in a new series of “Affordable Schools,” focusing online programs. A summary of metadata / statistics for the 20 schools ranked here follows the NOTES section. The actual college summaries are after the summary.
- As accreditation can change or only be valid regionally, please verify accreditation of any college to which you are planning to apply.
- The methodology for this series on online bachelor’s degrees is essentially the same as for our 15-school college rankings list. For example, see the “Methodology” section of the ranking list article 15 of the Most Affordable Bachelor’s Degrees in Marketing for an explanation of the process we use to rank colleges in each list.
- NCES data is subject to change and some of these “affordable degrees” guides may use more recent data than described in the Methodology.
- For the full list of programs covered to date, please check our School Rankings page.
- Online programs are strongly self-directed and recommended only for students who are self-driven when it comes to studying and researching.
- Some online program selection tips:
- Spend the time to carefully read the degree requirements.
- Browse the course curriculum and make notes of the courses that interest you most.
- Consider creating a spreadsheet to compare summaries of course/ programs across the schools referenced here. If you are looking for a minimum set of courses, make a list of those courses, one per column. Then list ranked schools vertically in the spreadsheet, one per row. Color code or make an annotation for each course offered by a given school.
- Add other columns to record information about tuition, net price, #credits/ courses required, etc., and color code their cells as suitable.
- This visual approach to online program selection can be quite effective compared to staring at bare numbers.
- Especially for online programs, some colleges have a waiver that can reduce the out-of-state portion of your tuition significantly — sometime by as much as 100%. In the latter case, that means an out-of-state student can enroll in an online degree at the same cost as an in-state student.
-Some colleges have additional technology fees per course, in addition to stated tuition fees. If in doubt, contact any colleges of interest to you.
This is a summary of data available for the colleges/ universities mentioned in this college rankings list for bachelor’s of Marketing or related degree programs.
|Yearly net price range:||$1,320 – $11,955 (avg. for all students per school after discounts/ financial aid).|
|In-state tuition range:||$3,474 – $11,367.|
|Out-of-state tuition range:||$3,950 – $23,352.|
|Lowest in-state:||Middle Georgia State University.|
|Lowest out-of-state:||Brigham Young University-Idaho.|
|Graduation rate range:||8-56%.|
|Transfer-out rate range:||9-41% (seven schools did not report).|
|Highest graduation rate:||Brigham Young University-Idaho.|
|Lowest transfer-out rate:||University of West Florida.|
|Student population range:||376-57,821.|
|Undergrad population range:||376-46,997.|
|Largest # students:||Western Governors University.|
|Largest # undergrad:||American Public University System.|
|Oldest school:||Columbia College (est. 1851).|
|Youngest school:||Western Governors University (est. 1997).|
|# states covered:||16.|
|States covered:||Alabama; Florida (2); Georgia; Idaho; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky (2); Maryland; Missouri (2); Nebraska (2); Oklahoma; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; West Virginia.|
Alphabetic list of schools covered in this ranking:
The abbreviations used in the table below may not be official and in which case are used here for convenience only.
|American Public University System||APUS|
|Austin Peay State University||APSU|
|Brigham Young University-Idaho||BYUI|
|Columbia College (Missouri)||CC|
|Fort Hays State University||FHSU|
|Middle Georgia State College||MGSU|
|National American University-Ellsworth AFB Extension||NAU-AFB|
|Northern Kentucky University||NKU|
|Peru State College||PSC|
|South Texas College||STC|
|Southeastern Oklahoma State University||SOSU|
|University of Illinois at Springfield||UIS|
|University of Maryland-University College||UMUC|
|University of West Florida||UWF|
|Western Governors University||WGU|
|Western Kentucky University||WKU|
Directly below and with each ranked college’s entry, there are several interactive charts. Here is a summary on how to use them:
- A modern browser is required for most of the charting features.
- For the bar charts, including the one below and the individual ones in each school summary, the vertical Y axis represents cost in dollars, for net price and in-state and out-of-state tuition per college. The horizontal X axis represents the schools ranked.
- The chart directly below shows in-state tuition (blue bars), out-of-state tuition (orange bars) and net price (connected green dots). Hover your mouse over a tuition bar or net price point and a tooltip will pop up that shows the institution name and the two cost values – net price and tuition. Use your mouse’s scroll wheel to zoom in on a section in the main chart. The sub-chart below the main chart will indicate what section you are viewing. Hover your mouse over either of the three labels, “in,” “out” or “net” underneath the sub-chart to visually highlight just the selected chart.
- Each school ranked also displays two donut charts. The leftmost donut chart is a breakdown of number of students, with the total displayed in the middle, and the blue arc representing the percentage that are undergrads. The rightmost donut chart represents graduation rate of undergrads, with the rate displayed in the middle and also represented by the blue arc. Hover your mouse over any arc to get the student percentage or the graduation rate, depending on the donut chart.
Peru State College is a public college established in 1865 and located in Peru, Nebraska, about 72 miles roughly south and slightly east of Omaha, NE. It was originally founded as Mount Vernon School.
PSC offers degrees (bachelor’s, master’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BBA Computer and Management Information Systems (CMIS). There is also a BBA Management with a lighter focus on computer science/ IT, including one core CMIS class and three optional CMIS classes. Similarly, the bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Administration has one core CMIS class and three optional classes.
Bellevue University is a private university established in 1966 and located in Bellevue, Nebraska, about 10 miles roughly southeast of Omaha, NE.
BU offers degrees (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorates – research). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Cybersecurity; BS Information Technology (BS-IT); BS or BAS Computer Information Systems (CIS, available as a Minor) with four emphases: (1) Applications Development, (2) Business Intelligence, (3) Cybersecurity, (4) Networking; BS Software Development; BS Systems and Network Administration (SNAP); BS Web Technologies. These programs are between 124-127 credits and some are available as minor options.
Fort Hays State University is a public university established in 1902 and based in Hays, Kansas, about 200 miles roughly west of Topeka, KS. It was originally founded as Western Branch of Kansas State Normal School.
FHSU offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Computer Science; BA or BS Information Networking and Telecommunications (INT), each with three emphasis tracks: (1) Computer Networking, (2) Web Development, (3) Health Informatics. These programs require 120-124 credits.
Austin Peay State University (APSU) is a public university established in 1927 and located in Clarksville, Tennessee, about 50 miles northwest of Nashville, TN.
APSU offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Information Systems (CSIS) with 3 concentrations available online (Information Systems, Internet and Web Technology, Database Administration). Students in this program can take two Concentrations. Also available as a minor.
Western Kentucky University (WKU) is a public university established 1906 and located in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
WKU offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorates – professional, other). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Computer Information Technology (CIT).
15: Columbia College
Columbia College is a private college established in 1851 and located in Columbia, Missouri, about 125 miles roughly east of Kansas City, MO. It is one of nearly three dozen campuses throughout the U.S., which include military bases. It has an affiliation with the Disciples of Christ, though it is nonsectarian.
CC offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Computer Information Systems; BS Management Information Systems. Both require 120 credits for completion.
University of West Florida is a public university established in 1963 and located in Pensacola, Florida. It is a member of the State University System of Florida.
UWF offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorates – research). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Engineering Technology with two specializations: (1) Information Engineering Technology Specialization; (2) Networking and Telecommunications. Upper division courses (60 credits) are all available online. Lower division courses are mostly online or sometimes available through partnered state and community colleges.
University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is a public university established in 1947 and located in Adelphi, Maryland, about nine miles approximately northeast of Washington, DC.
UMUC offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorates – professional). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Computer Networks and Cybersecurity; BS Computer Science; BS Cybersecurity Management and Policy; BS Digital Media and Web Technology; BS Information Systems Management; BS Software Development and Security. Many of these topics are available as minor options as well.
12: Troy University
Troy University is a public university established in 1887 and located in Troy, Alabama, about 51 miles south and slightly east of Montgomery, AL. It was created as the merger of four original Troy State University campuses (including the main campus) in 2005 under a single unit, with the oldest founded as Troy Normal School.
TU offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorates – professional). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Applied Computer Science Major; BS Criminal Justice Major w/ two concentration options, including Digital Forensics; BS Business Administration – Global Business with multiple concentrations including Information Systems Management; There is also a BAS Resource and Technology Management degree with a lesser emphasis on Computer Science/ IT than the other programs. All eTroy bachelor’s programs run 120-124 credits.
American Public University System (APUS), which includes APU (American Public University) and AMU (American Military University), is a private, for-profit system of universities founded in 1991 and based in Charles Town, West Virginia, about 63 miles roughly northwest of Washington, DC. APUS is organized as an entirely online learning institution and has no campus.
APUS offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Information Technology Management; BS Information Systems Security with optional concentrations in (1) Application Security, (2) Cloud Computing, (3) Cybersecurity, (4) Digital Forensics or (5) Enterprise Security; BS Cybersecurity; BS Information Technology.
10: Park University
Park University is a private, non-profit university established in 1875 and located in Parkville, Missouri – a suburb of Kansas City, MO, about 10 miles approximately northwest.
PU offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Computer Information Systems Management; BS Information and Computer Science w/ four concentrations: (1) Computer Science, (2) Data Management, (3) Network Security, (4) Software Engineering; BS Computer Information Systems; BS Interdisciplinary Studies with double minor option, including (1) Information and Computer Science and (2) Computer Information Systems choices; BS Liberal Studies with 15-credit concentration option.
Middle Georgia State University is a public university established in 1884 and located in Macon, GA, about 84 miles roughly southeast of Atlanta. It was established as Middle Georgia College, underwent some name changes, had a merger with Macon State College in 2013, and settled on the current name in 2015. It has five additional campuses/learning centers.
MGSU offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Information Technology (120 credits, 60 of which are upper division requirements). There is also an online AS in Information Technology, through partnership with the University System of Georgia’s eCampus service.
Jones College is a private, non-profit college established in 1918 and located in Jacksonville, Florida. It was originally founded as Jones Business College. Note: JC is only nationally accredited, not regionally accredited.
JC offers degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Computer Information System; BS Interdisciplinary Studies with “Open-Major Concentration, ” including “computer applications and programming.
University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) is a public university established in 1969 and located in Springfield, Illinois. It was originally founded as Sangamon State University, becoming part of the University of Illinois System in 1995.
UIS offers certificates and degrees (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorates – research). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Computer Science; BS Information Systems Security (ISS); BS MIS (Management Information Systems); BS MIS w/ concentration Health Care Informatics (HCI); MIS minor option.
Western Governors University (WGU) is a private university established in 1997 and based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The name comes from the fact that the university was founded by over a dozen U.S. governors of western states. All programs through WGU are online. It awards bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as post-bachelor’s certificates.
WGU offers certificates and degrees (bachelor’s, master’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Information Technology with two optional concentrations (Security; Network Administration); BS Software Development; BS Health Informatics; BS Business—Information Technology Management.
National American University (NAU) is a private, for-profit university established in 1941 and based in Rapid City, South Dakota. It has campuses/learning centers in several locations, including Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB) in SD, which is about 13 miles roughly east and north of Rapid City.
NAU-AFB offers degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s). The Online division of NAU offers a number of online computer science/ IT undergrad programs – availability varies by campus and semester of registration: BS Information Technology plus four optional emphases: (1) Computer Security and Forensics; (2) Internet Systems Development; (3) Management Information Systems; (4) Network Management, Microsoft.
Northern Kentucky University (NKU) is a public university established in 1968 as Northern Kentucky State College. NKU’s main campus is located in Highland Heights, Kentucky, less than 10 miles southeast of Cincinnati, Ohio.
NKU offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorates – research, professional). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: hybrid, cross-disciplinary BS Business Informatics (BSBI) with three tracks, including Information Assurance or Computer Security; hybrid, cross-disciplinary BS Library Informatics (BSLI) combines several disciplines, including Business Informatics, Computer Science, and Organizational Leadership; undergrad Cybersecurity certificate.
Third on our list of modestly-priced online bachelor’s degrees in computer science/ IT is Brigham Young University-Idaho (BYU-Idaho), which is a private university established in 1888 and located in Rexburg, Idaho, about 240 miles roughly north of Salt Lake City, Utah. It was originally founded as Ricks College and is affiliated with the LDS (Latter-day Saints) Church.
BYUI offers degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: 120 credits BS Computer Information Technology (CIT); 120 credits BS Software Engineering; 120 credits BS Web Design & Development with an Emphasis in Web Development; 120 credits BS Interdisciplinary Studies with Minor/ Cluster/ Concentration options in Computer Information Technology, Computer Science, Networking, Programming, Web Development or Web Design; 120 credits BS University Studies with similar Minor/ Cluster/ Concentration options as Interdisciplinary Studies.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU) is a public university established in 1909 and located in Durant, OK, about 95 miles north and slightly east of Dallas, TX. It is the second-most low-cost school on our ranking list of online computer science/ IT bachelor’s degrees.
SOSU offers degrees (bachelor’s, master’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: BS Computer Information Systems with minor option; BS Computer Science with minor option; Minor in Information Technology.
South Texas College (STC) is a public community college established in 1993 and located in McAllen, Texas, about 60 miles roughly northeast of Brownsville, TX. It tops our list of the 20 most affordable online bachelor’s degrees in computer science/ IT/ related topics.
STC offers certificates and degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s). For online computer science/ IT undergrad programs, they offer: 120-121 credit BAT (Bachelor of Applied Technology) in Computer and Information Technologies (CIT).