Welcome to our list of affordable online computer programming degree programs.

Degrees in Computer Programming and Computer Science (CS) are in high demand. Graduates who are familiar with multiple programming languages and are also knowledgeable about web services, networks, and software engineering will go far in their careers. Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science 

As a programmer, you’re practically guaranteed financial security, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average salaries in the industry hover around $80,000, and you could make as much as $130,000! While you can enroll in a traditional university and attend classes on campus, you also have another, more convenient option – distance education. The increasing popularity of such programs is putting competitive four-year degrees within reach of a wider populace.

The 20 Best Cheap Computer Programming Degrees Online Ranking Methodology

Selection Criteria

For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer online undergraduate programs related to computer programming. This included degrees in computer science, programming, and software development/engineering, but not degrees in information technology, networks, systems, etc.

In addition, we only considered schools that offer full, four-year programs online. Therefore, degree completion programs were not eligible for this ranking.

Finally, we controlled for affordability by focusing on colleges with average* costs (tuition + fees) that are less than $25,000 a year.

*For public schools, we calculated the average value of their in-state and out-of-state rates.

Ranking Factors

Our primary goal in this ranking was to identify the best, most affordable online bachelor’s degrees for aspiring computer programmers. To do this, we examined four different aspects of each program.

First, we acquired a sense of the program’s popularity in recent years by looking at the number of computer science (or programming or software engineering) majors that the college graduated in 2016. Of course, size isn’t everything, but this was still helpful in determining the program’s ability to attract and retain students.

We also closely examined each program’s major/core curriculum to determine the percentage of classes with an explicit focus on programming. This includes (but is not limited to) classes in specific coding types or languages as well as courses in algorithms, data structures, and web or software development.

Because each college organizes its curriculum differently, the number of designated core courses is not the same for every program. Therefore, we balanced the previous metric by also counting the number of programming classes available within the curriculum. In this way, we were able to ensure that a degree with a 20-course core curriculum and ten programming classes earned more points than one with six core courses and just three coding-related ones.

Last but not least, we awarded points based on each college’s annual cost. Schools with overall cheaper undergraduate tuition rates (including fees) earned more points.

We weighted our calculations so that the first and last categories (popularity and tuition) were worth 10 points, while the other two were worth 15 points each. Although no school earned the maximum possible 50 points, some came close! Scroll down for more on the 20 best degrees in computer science online.

20. University of Florida

Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

The University of Florida offers its online computer science degree program through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (the on-campus version is also available through the College of Engineering). Although the major coursework is similar, online learners have more flexibility in choosing their electives and must take a wider range of courses (including a foreign language class!). Within the core sequence, topics address subjects like operating systems and digital logic, plus a two-part “Programming Fundamentals” course. There are also three required upper-level electives related to computer engineering (digital design, computer architecture, and microprocessors).
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,228/yr
Score: 17.9

Limestone may not have the most affordable degree in computer science online, but it is nonetheless one of the best values for aspiring programmers.

19. Limestone College

Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science: Programming

Limestone College is unique on this list in that it offers a specific programming concentration within its B.S. in Computer Science degree. As such, the curriculum provides slightly more instruction in coding and algorithm development than many other CS programs do. In fact, the degree requirements include a three-course sequence in programming that covers imperative and object-oriented languages as well as advanced algorithms and data structures. Separate classes in C#, Internet Programming (i.e. Java) and Visual Programming (i.e. Visual Basic) will help round out your repertoire of languages. This online computer programming degree then culminates in a final capstone course, for which students must “plan, research, and develop a large-scale project in conjunction with [their] major.”
Average Tuition & Fees: $23,900/yr
Score: 18.8

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