Accredited Online Computer Science Schools and Degree Programs

Earning a college degree in computer science from a prestigious institution will certainly help you obtain a successful career in the technology field. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure your university, and, in some cases, your C.S. program have earned accreditation from a recognized agency before enrolling. This article will discuss the accreditation requirements for computer science programs nationwide, as well as some of the best schools for earning an online computer science degree in this field and some data related to employment and salary in the technology sector.

  • Accreditation Agencies
  • Career Options
  • Notable Schools

Accreditation Agencies

In addition to regional or national accreditation that recognizes an entire campus, the following agencies are responsible for accrediting degree programs that concentrate on certain areas of computer science. Each of these organizations has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Career Options

Computer science is an ‘umbrella field’ that can prepare students for a wide range of different career paths. Below we’ve listed some of the most popular choices for C.S. grads, as well as some employment and salary data curated from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job Title National Employment Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage
Computer and Information Research Scientists 28,200 $48.39 $100,660
Software Application Developers 586,340 $44.85 $93,280
Computer Programmers 316,790 $37.63 $78,260
Computer and Information System Managers 309,740 $62.08 $129,130
Computer Science Teachers (Post-secondary) 34,350 $39.94 $79,870

Figures from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

Notable Schools

Picking a school can be a daunting task, especially when considering the sheer number of accredited colleges there are across the nation. Our database below can help with narrowing down your options for your specific program. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most notable online and campus-based schools offering degrees in this subject to help you begin your school search.


Studies have shown that the number of students who enroll in online courses has significantly increased on an annual basis for more than a decade. This option is especially attractive for individuals with full-time jobs, childcare obligations, and other commitments that prevent them from attending a brick-and-mortar school. The following schools have earned stellar reputations for their online C.S. offerings. Please note that some of these programs may be blended, and some may require a minimal amount of classroom-based instruction.

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California / Online

USC’s Distance Education Network has, once again, placed number one on U.S. News and World Report‘s 2014 list of best online degree programs for computer information technology. USC was carefully picked from 1,000 submissions, all of which were subjected to the same method of selection, including review of the following: reputation of faculty and administration, admissions, and student services, engagement, and technology. USC
offers an online master’s degree in computer science, as well as master’s degrees in four specialized areas of C.S. (computer security, multimedia and creative technologies, software engineering, and technical professionals) and a graduate certificate in software architecture. All of these programs are exclusively online. In addition, graduate-level degrees and certificates in several areas closely related to C.S. ― such as cyber security or green technologies ― are also available.

Stanford University

Palo Alto, California / Online

The Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) earns a spot on our list for its continuous effort to bring innovative learning strategies to its students, including the joint computer science MS/MBA degree available to students in the 2014/2015 academic year. Stanford’s computer science professors are consistently recognized for their own mastery of CS; Oussama Khatib, a Stanford computer science professor, was awarded the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Distinguished Service Award in 2013.The SCPD offers one Master of Science in computer science degree and seven graduate-level certificates in specialized areas of C.S. and information technology; all of these programs may be taken exclusively online, although the option for blended coursework is available for the M.S. and all but one of the certificates. Additionally, Stanford Online offers free, self-paced tutorial classes in computer science, as well as a number of peripheral subjects (such as coding, cryptography, and technological entrepreneurship).

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia / Online

Virginia Tech is gaining recognition for their online degree programs, including their online graduate tech programs, which steal the 2nd place spot on the U.S. News and World Report‘s 2014 list of best online degree programs. In addition, VT made the list of Payscale’s Best Schools for Computer Science Majors based on mid-career earnings. VT master’s students can choose from five different degree programs related to computer science: instructional technology, information technology, computer engineering, systems engineering, and eLearning leadership. Graduate students are also welcome to enroll in certificate programs.

Campus Only

Despite nationwide popularity, online education simply isn’t for everyone ― and millions of men and women in the U.S. continue to enroll in traditional, campus-based degree programs. These colleges and universities are among the finest providers of brick-and-mortar computer science education in the country.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

In addition to tying Stanford and Carnegie Mellon University for the top spot on the 2010 U.S. News and World Report‘s Best Graduate Schools list for computer science, MIT won the #1 spot on QS University Rankings list. This Cambridge institution is not only known as one of the finest technology-based learning institutions in the world, it is also known for its eye catching and structurally interesting campus.

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
In 2010, Carnegie Mellon University tied MIT and Stanford for the #1 spot on U.S. News and World Report‘s list of best graduate schools for computer science. This college’s prestige stems from their challenging and rewarding academic programs, as well as the recognition that the college receives on a continuous basis; as recent as December 2013, three of CMU’s professors were named 2013 National Academy of Inventors Fellows.