The Best Online Software Engineering Schools in 2021

There are a lot of online software engineering degree programs you can enroll in. Finding the best one on your own can be difficult, so we’ve created this guide to walk you through the best online software engineering schools of 2021. Many of these schools offer both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Software Engineering.

If you are interested in a software development degree, learning computer software, or simply studying software applications, check out the schools listed below. We hope you can easily find a school and program that meets your educational goals.

In Brief: Top 10 Online Software Engineering Schools in 2021

These top ten online software engineering schools offer programs that cover everything from Java programming and software engineering fundamentals to database design and system management skills.

Keep your budget and career goals in mind while browsing these schools and programs. Tuition and accreditation information has been taken directly from each school’s website.

School Degrees and Annual Tuition Accreditation
Arizona State University Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering
$5,355 per semester (in-state)
$6,492 per semester (out-of-state)
ABET
Auburn University Bachelor of Computer Science
$525 per credit hour
Master of Science in Computer Science and
Software Engineering
$949 per credit hour
SACS
Boston University Master of Science in Software Development
$29,280 per semester
Graduate Certificate in Software Engineering
$29,280 per semester
NECHE
Carnegie Mellon University Master of Software Engineering
$699 per unit
ABET
Penn State University Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering
$590-$630 per credit
Master of Software Engineering
$996 per semester
ABET
Southern New Hampshire University Bachelor of Science in Computer Science,
Software Engineering Concentration
$320 per credit
NECHE
Stevens Institute of Technology Master of Science in Software Engineering
$1,716 per credit
ABET
University of Illinois Bachelor of Science in Computer Science,
Software Engineering Emphasis
$416 per credit
Master of Science in Computer Science
$1,110 per credit
HLC
University of Southern California Master of Science in Computer Science,
Software Engineering Concentration
$2,035 per unit
WASC
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Master of Computer Science with
Software Engineering Focus
$1,610 per credit
NECHE
ABET

Why You Should Attend a Software Engineering School Online

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for software developers is $110,140. Employment in this field is also expected to grow 22 percent in the next decade. These facts alone are enough to convince just about anyone to attend a software engineering program.

Many students learn better in a traditional learning environment, but online schools are catching up. Elearning technology is improving by the day, and today you can experience an environment similar to a traditional classroom via apps like Zoom. You also get the convenience of learning from your own home, and often on your own schedule.

Choosing the Best Software Engineering School for You

There are a few factors to keep in mind when determining which school is best for you. Though many software engineering schools might appeal to you, you need to consider what you want from your education. Important factors to consider include program curricula, cost, and time requirements.

Program Curricula

Not every software engineering program teaches just software engineering. Some programs focus heavily on computer science. If you want a broad education these programs are fantastic options. However, if you want to focus solely on software engineering, you’ll need to review the curriculum and ensure that it matches your expectations.

Cost

Money is one of the most important factors when making these types of decisions. Consider applying for grants and scholarships through federal loans like the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Consider also any scholarships or discounts offered by each individual school.

The point is that if you want to keep your student loans at a minimum, tuition cost matters. Be sure to keep your budget and desired tuition in mind when determining which school to attend.

Time Requirements

Determine how much time you can commit to a program before settling on a school. Each program has a different schedule and class format and will require a different time commitment. If you are a busy person, you may want to avoid live-online classes. Live classes are a good option for those who want to replicate the feeling of a classroom.

In-Depth: The Best Software Engineering Schools of 2021

In a report from OnlineCollege.org, students say some of the benefits of attending online university include learning from home and the easy blending of education into your lifestyle. If this interests you, take some time to read about each of the universities on our list in detail. Graduation rates are based on a six-year timeline after enrollment.

Arizona State University

Degree Levels: Bachelor of Science
Graduation Rate: 67%

Arizona State University offers an ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering program. This program is project-based to mimic an on-campus learning environment. The faculty who teaches this program are all renowned in their fields and includes over 55 recipients of the Young Investigator award.

Arizona State University Software Engineering Key Takeaway

This university offers a project-based curriculum taught by eminent faculty.

Auburn University

Degree Levels: Bachelor of Science, Master of Science
Graduation Rate: 79%

Auburn University offers both a Bachelor of Computer Science and a Master of Science in Computer Science and Software Engineering. These programs are both completely online to offer students flexibility in their studies. Auburn University has even created an innovative online community for students to connect with peers, providing a more lively online education.

Auburn University Software Engineering Key Takeaway

You can study online, in your own home, and on your own time, but you can still connect with your peers.

Boston University

Degree Levels: Master of Science, Graduate Certificate
Graduation Rate: 87%

At Boston University, you can enroll in a graduate certificate or master’s degree program to study software engineering. There is an option for a certificate-to-degree path for those who want to test the waters before jumping in. The master’s program is ranked in the top ten software development programs in the United States due to its flexibility, faculty, and impressive student networking opportunities.

Boston University Software Engineering Key Takeaway

You can test the waters by enrolling in a graduate certificate in software engineering. If you want to go further in the field, you can easily turn that certificate into a degree.

Carnegie Mellon University

Degree Levels: Master of Science
Graduation Rate: 89%

Carnegie Mellon University offers a flexible part-time master’s program. This program is designed for professionals with at least two years of experience in software engineering. Alongside getting a solid software engineering education, you will also learn leadership and management skills to take your career to the next level.

Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Key Takeaway

The Master of Software Engineering is perfect for experienced professionals looking to move up the career ladder.

Penn State University

Degree Levels: Bachelor of Science, Master of Science
Graduation Rate: 73%

At Penn State University, you can enroll in a Bachelor of Science or Master’s Degree in Software Engineering. The BS program is ABET-accredited. Both programs offered at this university are much lower in cost compared to other prestigious universities. They also offer students the opportunity to gain field experience by working with actual software engineering professionals.

Penn State University Software Engineering Key Takeaway

Students will receive an online degree from a prestigious school at a lower cost than many other renowned universities.

Southern New Hampshire University

Degree Levels: Bachelor of Science
Graduation Rate: 35%

The BS in Computer Science offers a software engineering concentration. This degree gives students a wider education, opening up more career paths. The curriculum for this program focuses on solving real-world problems and building up professional portfolios.

Southern New Hampshire University Software Engineering Key Takeaway

In this program, you will study both computer science and software engineering and their real-life applications.

Stevens Institute of Technology

Degree Levels: Master of Science
Graduation Rate: 85%

The curriculum of Stevens Institute of Technology’s Master of Science in Software Engineering prioritizes projects and team-building. Projects are based on real-world problems and are often team-based to encourage the development of leadership skills. The curriculum of this program is aimed at helping graduates advance to high positions.

Stevens Institute of Technology Software Engineering Key Takeaway

Students at Stevens Institute of Technology learn both the hard and soft skills needed to land high-level software engineering positions.

University of Illinois

Degree Levels: Bachelor of Science, Master of Science
Graduation Rate: 79%

At the University of Illinois, you can enroll in an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a software engineering emphasis, or a Master of Science in Computer Science. The MS program focuses heavily on software engineering, though the name suggests otherwise. This department is full of faculty with years of experience in both teaching and software engineering.

University of Illinois Software Engineering Key Takeaway

Students learn from experienced faculty and study all aspects of computer science and software engineering. This will open numerous career paths.

University of Southern California

Degree Levels: Master of Science
Graduation Rate: 92%

The University of Southern California offers an online computer science program with a software engineering concentration. The curriculum is regularly updated to reflect real-world developments and better prepare students for their careers. Both the on-campus and online versions are taught by the same faculty, ensuring the same quality of education for all students.

University of Southern California Software Engineering Key Takeaway

At the University of Southern California, you will study fundamental concepts and current real-world issues. This is a fitting education for those ready to jump right into the workforce.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Levels: Master of Science
Graduation Rate: 89%

The Master of Computer Science program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is highly customizable, offering a specialization in software engineering. You can choose the elective courses that best suit your career goals. In addition, you will learn from experienced and highly regarded faculty. The program ends with a capstone project that will help you hone key skills.

Worcester Polytechnic University Software Engineering Key Takeaway

This program gives you access to an education tailored to your specific needs and goals.

Types of Online Degrees in Software Engineering

A common route to becoming a software engineer is earning a degree, although an increasing number of people are now choosing to attend coding bootcamps. However, many higher-paying software engineering careers require a graduate degree. There are different types of undergraduate and graduate degrees, and you can learn more about them below.

Online Software Engineering Undergraduate Degrees

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Software Engineering

When it comes to software engineering, you typically encounter two types of bachelor’s degrees. If you have specific goals in mind and want a more specialized education, you can pursue a Bachelor of Science. Less common is a Bachelor of Arts, which you can pursue if you are more interested in a broad education and the study of theory.

Online Software Engineering Graduate Degrees

Online Master’s Degrees in Software Engineering

Master’s degrees are the most common requirement for software engineering positions. You can pursue a Master of Science or a Master of Arts. With a master’s degree, you are eligible for senior positions that often involve leadership responsibilities and higher pay.

Online Doctoral Degrees in Software Engineering

The most common doctoral degree you can earn in this field is a PhD in Software Engineering. These degrees are only required for some research-focused careers or for teaching at a university. Naturally, if you earn a degree at this level, you will have an easier time finding a high-paying job.

What Can You Do With a Software Engineering Degree?

What Can You Do With a Software Engineering Degree?

Now that you know what an online software engineering degree is, you’re probably wondering what you can do with it. The career opportunities you will have access to depend on the level of degree you earn.

The average salaries for holders of each degree level can be found below, along with a list of common jobs for that degree level.

Software Engineering Associate Degree

Average Salary: $56,000
Top Careers: Junior Software Engineer, Junior Software Developer, Applications Developer

There are not many online schools offering software engineering associate degrees. If you earn one, you can expect to work as a junior software engineer or developer and earn around $56,000 per year.

Software Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

Average Salary: $82,000
Top Careers: Software Engineer, Web Developer, Software Developer

One of the most common degrees to earn is a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering. This degree qualifies you for most software engineer, web developer, and software developer positions. You can expect to earn around $82,000 per year.

Software Engineering Master’s Degree

Average Salary: $109,000
Top Careers: Lead Software Engineer, Senior Software Developer, Software Development Engineer

Earning a software engineering master’s degree opens up opportunities for leadership and senior positions. These positions typically pay around $109,000 per year and even more if you have ample experience.

Software Engineering Doctorate

Average Salary: $109,000
Top Careers: Senior Software Engineer, Test/Quality Assurance Engineer

With a doctorate, you qualify for every software engineering position imaginable. One of the most popular career paths you can take is becoming a test/quality assurance engineer.

The Best Software Engineering Careers: How Much Can You Earn With a Degree in Software Engineering?

Profession Minimum Education Average Salary
Software Engineering Manager Bachelor’s/Master’s degree $141,194
Technical Program Manager Bachelor’s/Master’s degree $125,337
Software Architect Bachelor’s/Master’s degree $125,967
Senior Mobile Developer Master’s degree $110,157
Cloud Software Engineer Bachelor’s degree $99,610
Data Scientist Bachelor’s degree $96,497
Development Operations Engineer Bachelor’s/Master’s degree $96,449
Software Engineer Bachelor’s degree $87,530
Full Stack Software Developer Bachelor’s degree $78,967
Systems Engineer Bachelor’s/Master’s degree $76,466

Does It Matter What College I Go to for Software Engineering?

The software engineering school you choose to attend truly does matter. However, with so many online colleges boasting fantastic software engineering programs, this can be a very difficult decision indeed. Almost all of the schools listed in this guide are ABET-accredited, meaning their curricula is of high quality. Ensuring your school and program of choice are accredited is one of the best ways to know you’ve made the right decision.

In this article, we have given you a list of some of the best schools in the country for software engineering. Attending one of these schools is a surefire way to land a good job in the field and begin your journey to become a software engineer.

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