An online Ph.D. in Computer Science degree used to be difficult for a professional to complete, but with the advancements in technology and the Internet, it has become an easier goal to obtain. Professionals and business owners understand the need for this program to become available online and so most schools have made it priority to offer this program online. That’s why rankings like this one need to be continually updated; students need the most up-to-date information in order to make a decision.
Computer science professionals who are looking for an online degree have unique requirements. This degree must be offered partially or fully online in order to be worth the time and effort of a profession. They must also be an affordable option; students will not be interested in expensive programs that take too long to complete. This updated ranking of programs shows the best degrees available for computer science professionals all across the country with a variety of features that will make them perfect for any doctoral candidate.
This ranking was made possible by the research that was conducted through the use of the National Center for Educational Statistics and its publicly available College Navigator database. The initial group of 15 schools was identified simply by searching for online Ph.D. in Computer Science programs. The programs were then individually reviewed based on a variety of factors. The final 10 were chosen based on the school’s estimated in-state graduate tuition rate for the entire program. They are listed below in descending order.
Ranking Low-Cost Online Ph.D in Computer Science
10. Northcentral University
San Diego, California
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science
The online Ph.D. in Computer Science that is available from Northcentral University was developed to provide professionals with a terminal education in a field in which they have already excelled at. This program was developed as a 100 percent online course of study; there are no residency requirements of any kind. The program can be completed in just over four years and does not require a cohort structure. Students will advance through the material at their own pace and will graduate once the program has been completed to the satisfaction of the department. The program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, a culminating experience project, and a comprehensive final exam. More information on this degree and its requirements, including a list of course offerings, can be obtained by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.
9. Columbia University
New York City, New York
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science
Columbia University confers an affordable online Ph.D. in Computer Science degree that was developed exclusively for Columbia M.S. Computer Science professionals only. This is a hybrid program; regular attendance for core courses is required for graduation from this program. Students will note that the best way to obtain admittance into this program is through the Columbia Master of Science in Computer Science degree program; all other students will be considered on a conditional basis. This doctoral program requires the submission of a thesis and an oral defense of the thesis; this is completed on campus and is required for graduation. Students will note that this program covers the most advanced topics available in the subject and will fulfill the terminal education requirements for the program. More information on this degree, its graduation requirements and a list of its course offerings can be completed by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office and presenting a student’s Columbia University ID.
8. Colorado Technical University
Fort Collins, Colorado
Online Doctor of Computer Science
The affordable Ph.D. in Computer Science online degree that is available from Colorado Technical University was developed as a low-residency program that will provide students with an expert concentration in their chosen field of interest. This program has three concentrations: Big Data Analytics, Enterprise Information Systems, and Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. All three concentrations require a residency component that can be completed in short intensives that take place throughout a student’s course of study. Students will find that their curriculum choices depend on their chosen concentration, making the program tailored to fit their needs. All students will be expected to complete a minimum of 100 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, a series of doctoral symposiums, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Futuring and Innovation, Current Topics in Computer Science and Information Systems, and Principles of Research Methods and Design.
7. The University of Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science
The University of Rhode Island confers an online Ph.D. in Computer Science that is research-based and can be completed in four years when students choose to study full-time. A part-time option is also available but may take up to six years to complete. Students have no concentrations to choose from; instead, a group of directed electives will serve to tailor a student’s area of interest. This degree focuses on the intricacies of computer science, from web development to network security. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 90 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, and a series of comprehensive written and oral exit exams. Sample coursework includes Survey of Computer Science, Introductory Topics in Computing, and Fundamentals of Programming Languages.
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5. Wright State University
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engineering
Wright State University offers students the chance to complete an affordable Ph.D. in Computer Science online degree. This program is the terminal degree that is available from this school and will provide students with the educational achievement of becoming master’s in the computer science arena. This program can be completed entirely online or as a hybrid program; students who live near campus may want to take this on as a hybrid program, enabling them to have access to faculty and staff online that can help them with their career. Students will also be able to choose between full-time and part-time study. As a degree that combines computer science and engineering, students will find a good mix of practical and theoretical courses that will help them in their search for a dream career. This program requires that students complete a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, a culminating project, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Advanced Database Systems, VLSI Design Synthesis and Optimization, and Algorithm Design and Analysis.
4. The University of Idaho
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science
The University of Idaho offers students the chance to complete an online Ph.D. in Computer Science that will provide students with a research degree that will enable them to reach the heights of their career. This is a terminal degree that will enable students to take their previous work experience and combine it with advanced theories and concepts that they may not have had access to yet. This program was developed for professionals in the field that need access to a 100 percent online program; there are no residency requirements. This program requires a minimum of 90 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, and a comprehensive final written and oral exit exam. More information on this degree, graduation requirements and a list of course offerings can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.
3. Aspen University
Online Doctor of Science in Computer Science
Aspen University confers an online Ph.D. in Computer Science that was developed for professionals who understand the need for advanced knowledge in this field. This degree was built to be completed 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Students will complete all of their work online, engaging in a curriculum that focuses on the most advanced skills and subjects in the field. The curriculum features courses on the entire field of computer science, from algorithm design to database construction. The degree requires that students complete a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Managerial Economics and Business Theory, Techniques and Interpretation for Advanced Statistical Research, and Operations and Supply Chain Management.
2. Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science
The online Ph.D. in Computer Science that is available from NOVA Southeastern University was developed for professionals who have the commitment and passion to complete a terminal degree in the subject. Students will find that the degree requires a great deal of academic and personal rigor. This degree requires a variety of defenses, from the dissertation proposal to its final defense. Therefore, it is best suited to professionals who have a vested interest in the field and who are committed to completing their education within. This is a tailored degree; students will be able to choose their own focus and core requirements. All students will need to complete a minimum of 64 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Knowledge Discovery in Databases, Database Management Systems, and Secure Systems Analysis and Design.
1. Mississippi State University
Online Doctor of Science in Computational Engineering
Mississippi State University offers students the chance to complete an online Ph.D. in computer science that can be completed in four years or less. This is a 100 percent online course of study that has no residency requirements; students don’t even have to attend campus for graduation. This program has a stated relationship with the Department of Defense, NASA, and the Department of Energy. Students will need to register their interest in the program prior to applying; the school has limited applications and is highly competitive. More information on this degree, its requirements and a list of course offerings can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.A
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Affordable Accelerated Online Ph.D. in Computer Science?
- Computer Scientist
- Information Technology Consultant
- Systems Developer
- Computer Science Professor
- Database Administrator
- Computer Hardware Engineer
- Computer and Information Research Scientist
- Multimedia Programmer
- Systems Analyst
- Computer Network Architect
- Video Game Developer
- Information Systems Manager
- Computer Science Research and Development Specialist
- C-Level Executive of a Private Business
- Cyber Security Consultant
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
The average salary for a computer science professional is $85,000. The average salary range is between $49,000 to $160,000. These ranges include professions ranging from entry-level to executive-level and positions in both the private and public sector. It does not include any additional forms of compensation, including lecture fees, overtime and stock shares.
Students should understand that positions in academics and in leadership positions within the business sector pay the most, with the average salary in these settings coming in around $100,000. This obviously depends on a professional’s level of experience as well as any licenses and endorsements that they have in the field. Students will also note that working as contractors will net them a higher salary but one that is not tied to an annual salary.
This is a field where how much a professional make depends on their choice of becoming an entrepreneur or working with a company. Self-employed professionals may make more money in the long run, but this is dependent on contracts and not an annual salary. Salaried employees have more stability but there is less room for improvement.
What are the Various Disciplines of Computer Science?
Computer science is a field that encompasses the entirety of computer technology. This can include everything from web development to database administration to the simple act of protecting network security. This is a huge field that has a variety of disciplines that inform it, some of which are listed below.
The main disciplines of computer science include the field itself, technology, engineering, technology, the internet, economics, law, and sociology. These are the main compartments of the field because the field is molded and changed by the needs of society. Students will find that while these are mainstay disciplines, they can also be sub-disciplines in the field.
Some professionals decide to pick a sub-discipline as a concentration. This can include database administration, network security, cybercrime, cyber forensics, web development, programming, and more. Each of these sub-disciplines plays a role in the field and has its own needs, but each one will be touched upon briefly during a student’s course of study.
Are Transfer Credits Available for Ph.D. in Computer Science Programs?
Yes, transfer credits are available for this degree. However, a student must understand what credits are eligible for transfer and what purpose they serve in the degree. Not all credits may be picked up and students may actually spend more time in the degree than they first think they might.
For instance, only courses that directly impact a Ph.D. in Computer Science may be used as a transfer credit in a Ph.D. program. This means that a humanities major that chooses a computer science doctoral degree may have to complete prerequisite courses prior to being fully accepted into the program. Likewise, a computer science major that has spent their entire education focused on the field may have less credit hour requirements to fulfill.
Students may also use work experience to waive some courses. However, this depends on the program and the school that a student is interested in applying to. All schools have different acceptance and transfer credits. This means that a student will have to do their own research when it comes to finding a school that will accept their transfer credits.
Why Do Some Programs allow Part-time Study and Others Don’t?
Computer science is a field that requires a great deal of dedication. It is not like most other programs as it does require more commitment from students due to the academic rigor that has become expected in the field. Therefore, many schools do not allow part-time study.
However, it has become obvious that part-time study is an option that will either make or break a working professional’s commitment to the program in front of them. Because most students who undertake a Ph.D. program are working adults, some adjustments have been made for the program in many cases.
Full-time study options are most widely available because schools understand the difficulty in taking on a degree in this field while undertaking professional requirements. Many online programs in this field were created for in-service and pre-service professionals who still have room to wiggle in a degree. Most students will find that it is possible to get a waiver for part-time study when they appeal to the school.
What are Some Application Requirements for an Online Ph.D. in Computer Science?
Application requirements for this degree tend to be standard across the country. This is because the program is a rigorous academic degree and requires that students have an advanced understanding of the degree prior to undertaking it. Below are some of the most common application requirements for students who are interested in the program.
The first application requirement is a resume, also known as a CV. Students will need to demonstrate at least three to five years of experience in the field in order to be considered for the program. This can be volunteer work or work in an entry-level or supervisory level in a setting in which the student focuses mainly on computer science.
Another requirement is a minimum of three professional references. As the phrase states, only professional references are to be allowed for the application. These references can be from former professors or employers, freelance clients, or even nonprofit organizations that the student has worked with before.
Finally, a personal essay is common for this degree. This may seem like an odd choice for an application, but it provides the department with a better understanding of why the student has chosen to complete their journey in the field. The essay is normally no longer than 750 words and is submitted to demonstrate a well-rounded understanding of both the field and the student’s place within it.
Computer science has been around for decades, but the technology that informs it continues to grow. From email to database distribution, the field has evolved and continues to evolve at an increasing pace. Students around the country understand that in order to keep up with the technology, they will need an advanced degree. An online Ph.D. in Computer Science degree is the best way to end the educational journey and free a professional to learn more about what they can do with their own education, providing them with the chance to make their own choices and decisions as it pertains to their needs.
This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Ph.D. in Computer Science Online.
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