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2024’s Most Affordable Online Master’s in Computer Science Programs

Finding the right accredited online Master of Computer Science programs that rank highly in affordability can be daunting. Our guide discusses other ways to lower the cost of your master’s degree and this year’s degree programs that offer you the most value.

Author: Michael Hoffman

Editor: Staff Editor

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If you’re looking for a way to affordably launch or advance your career as a leader in the lucrative and expanding field of computer science, choosing a top program and finding the best funding options is essential. You also want a program that is fully accredited and able to help you reach your professional goals.

This guide introduces you to the most affordable online master’s in computer science degree programs. By affordable we don’t mean low-quality, though. These programs are offered by accredited colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Keep reading to find out how to earn your master’s in computer science without going broke.

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Computer Science Programs for 2024

Affordability is a major concern for most master’s students. Though it’s often the main focus, it’s also important to take into account other crucial elements when selecting an affordable online program. Our ranking of the most affordable online master’s in computer science programs below is based on data provided by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which considers affordability along with other quality-minded metrics. For details on how our rankings were calculated, click on the “About the Ranking” button below.

About the ranking
1
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

LaSalle University’s MS in Computer Information Science is a 30-credit, fully online program that can be completed in as little as two years. In this program, students learn a variety of database and coding technologies according to the latest innovations, including XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, ADO.NET, PHP, and MySQL. You will also complete a capstone project with the help of a faculty advisor; your project will be personalized to your career goals. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applications are evaluated holistically, so you aren’t required to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

Program Highlights:

MS in Computer Information Science

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Two years
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation MSCHE
2
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

Southern Arkansas University offers a flexible, fully online Master of Computer and Information Science degree that can be completed in as little as two years. In this program, you will complete core courses in programming, database management, networking, and information security, as well as choosing from electives in data science, machine learning, and more. To apply, you must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree in computer science or, for those with a bachelor’s in another field, complete introductory computer science courses prior to your graduate studies.

Program Highlights:

Master of Computer and Information Science

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Two years
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
3
Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

The flexible, 33-credit MS in Computer Science at Fitchburg State University can be completed entirely online or on campus. This program is highly flexible; students can take up to six years to complete it, although some finish in as little as two years. Students choose their course schedule in close collaboration with faculty advisors, selecting from topics including object-oriented systems development, graphics, networks, and database systems. Classes begin twice per year, with two application deadlines.

Program Highlights:

Computer Science, MS

  • Credits: 33
  • Length: Two to six years
  • Mode: Fully online or in-person
  • Accreditation: ABET

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation NECHE
4
San Diego, California
Type:
Private for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation ACICS
5
Carrollton, Georgia
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
6
Springfield, Illinois
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
7
San Angelo, Texas
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
8
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
9
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
10
Greensboro, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
11
Madison, South Dakota
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
12
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
13
Columbus, Georgia
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
14
Greenville, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
15
Kennesaw, Georgia
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
16
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
17
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
18
Mequon, Wisconsin
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
19
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation MSCHE
20
Lubbock, Texas
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
21
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
22
Jacksonville, Alabama
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
23
Terre Haute, Indiana
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
24
Troy, Alabama
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
25
Moscow, Idaho
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation NWCCU
26
Scottsdale, Arizona
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
27
Johnson City, Tennessee
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
28
Mississippi State, Mississippi
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
29
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
30
West Lafayette, Indiana
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
31
Huntington, West Virginia
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
32
Norfolk, Virginia
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
33
Normal, Alabama
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
34
Dearborn, Michigan
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
35
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
36
Romeoville, Illinois
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
37
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
38
Manhattan, Kansas
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
39
Fairfax, Virginia
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
40
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
41
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
42
Columbia, South Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
43
Bronx, New York
Type:
Private for-profit
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation MSCHE
44
Amherst, Massachusetts
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation NECHE
45
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
46
Dobbs Ferry, New York
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation MSCHE
47
Chicago, Illinois
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
48
North Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation NECHE
49
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation MSCHE

Funding Your Online Master’s Degree in Computer Science: 5 Ways to Save

There’s more to college affordability than just low tuition rates. If you’re serious about saving money on your master’s degree, you must also factor in the many financial aid opportunities and payment options available with each program. Here’s a look at five of the most common ways to fund your online master’s degree in computer science:

  1. Apply to scholarships, grants, and fellowships created for Computer Science Master’s students.

    There’s no better way to lower the cost of your college education than through “free money” funding sources like scholarships, grants, and fellowships. Unlike loans, students who receive these do not have to pay them back. Scholarships and fellowships are typically merit-based while grants are usually based on financial need. For more on these funding sources, visit OMD’s scholarships and resources guide for master’s degree students.

  2. Work-Study or Assistantships

    Staples of most college and university graduate school departments, assistantships, and work-study programs help fund many students’ masters’ degrees. Assistantships are normally based on student merit and program need, and compensation comes as money stipends and tuition/fee waivers. Work-study jobs are for students with demonstrated financial need. Both funding opportunities are harder to find for online computer science master’s programs, but they do exist. Boston University’s partially online MS in Computer Science, for example, makes research assistantships available to online students.

  3. Employer Tuition Reimbursement Programs

    Employer tuition reimbursement programs provide employees with financial support to pay for a portion of their education costs in return for, in most cases, continued employment with the employer during and/or after the reimbursement period. Like with the Online Computer Science Master’s Degree Program at Rice University, your computer science master’s program may work directly with employers to provide tuition reimbursement opportunities. Speak with your supervisor or HR office about the availability of tuition reimbursement from your employer.

  4. Payment Plans

    Tuition payment (i.e., installment) plans allow students to make incremental payments over the term instead of all at once upfront. These plans may or may not charge interest, but you’ll most likely have to pay an enrollment fee. Arizona State University and the Georgia Institution of Technology both offer tuition payment plans to their online computer science master’s students.

  5. Paid Internships

    Internships provide computer science master’s students the opportunity to gain professional experience with real companies in a range of industries. They are often part of the curricula of master’s in computer science programs. Internships may be mandatory as part of capstone projects in non-thesis programs or optional. For students, it is their responsibility to land an internship independent of the degree program itself. The majority of internship opportunities are often well-paid positions.

FAQs about Affordable Master’s Programs in Computer Science

Q. What impacts the affordability of an online master’s program?

One of the biggest factors of affordability is the generally lower cost of online learning itself. Other factors include residence, with public colleges and universities charging higher tuition rates to non-residents, and whether an institution is public or private since private schools generally charge higher tuition rates than public schools. Finally, financial aid also significantly impacts whether an online master’s program is affordable.

Q. What is the ROI of an online master’s degree in Computer Science?

The ROI of your online MS in computer science depends on several variables, including the specific occupation and cost of the specific degree program, but you can expect a strong ROI for your master’s in computer science degree. According to PayScale, the current average annual base salary for workers with a master’s in computer science is $106,000, more than 20% greater than that for those with bachelor’s degrees ($88,000).

Q. How can I ensure that an affordable Master’s in Computer Science program is high-quality?

Any discussion of a degree program’s quality starts with the subject of accreditation. Accreditation is how colleges and universities and their degree programs are determined to have met certain minimum standards of academic quality. There are two primary forms of postsecondary accreditation, institutional and programmatic. There are currently no accrediting agencies that specifically accredit computer science MS programs in the U.S. However, U.S. colleges and universities are institutionally accredited by several accrediting agencies recognized by the Department of Education. Make sure your degree is from an accredited school.

Q. Is an online master’s degree more affordable than an in-person?

Some programs charge an additional fee for online courses while others feature discounted tuition rates for online programs. Also, some schools charge a lower tuition rate to out-of-state residents for their online programs than they do to out-of-state residents for on-campus programs. Most students find that their online master’s in computer science program is less expensive overall when compared to a traditional campus degree program simply due to savings on things like the cost of transportation to and from campus.

Q. Can job experience count towards a master’s degree and help cut costs?

Job experience in the computer science field is a big plus and may be a prerequisite for admission to some online computer science MS programs. However, most online Master of Computer Science programs do not count work experience towards degree requirements. Inquire about credit for work experience when speaking to program reps.

Q. How can I know if an affordable master’s degree program is right for me?

To start your decision process, ask yourself if a program will help you reach your career goals. Also consider the program’s features (e.g., if it’s fully online, program cost, completion time, etc.). Systematically investigating the various elements of any program of interest should help you determine whether a particular computer science master’s program is right for you.