Most Affordable Online Master’s in Computer Science Programs

This page highlights accredited online Master of Computer Science programs that rank highly in affordability and discusses other ways to lower the cost of your master’s degree. Read on to learn if these affordable online master’s programs are right for you and find out how to fund your master’s degree.

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 2022

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
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

Program customization is a key feature of the Master of Science in Computer Science offered by Texas A&M University – Kingsville. Along with required core courses in subjects like advanced computer architecture, data management systems, and computer communications networks, students also take courses in one of three specializations: Cybersecurity, Data Science, or Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning. Additional electives round out the program. Additionally, students choose from three culminating activities – thesis option, research project option, or courses-only option – to complete their degree programs.All courses are offered in-person and online, and online students attend classes synchronously via live stream or recording later.

Admission into the MS in Computer Science program at Texas A & M requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a closely-related discipline. Applicants with bachelor’s degrees not in computer science can be admitted by agreeing to take the Foundations of Computer Science course during their first semester plus up to five approved undergraduate STEM courses.

Program Highlights:

Masters in Computer Science

  • Credits: 30 (thesis option) or 36 (project and courses-online options)
  • Length: Two to three years
  • Cost: $6,157/semester (resident); $14,345/semester (non-resident)
  • Format: Fully-online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)

School Services & Accreditation

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

Fitchburg State University is a public school offering two online computer science master’s degree options. The Computer Science, MS teaches marketable skills in computer hardware, software, and networking through courses covering database systems, graphics, networks, and object-oriented systems development. The program is 100% online with no required campus visits, but students can complete an internship that requires in-person participation. A thesis is also optional.

Students interested in mining, analyzing, integrating, and managing big data can opt for the Data Science Concentration, Computer Science, MS. This hybrid program requires attendance at all or part of some courses on the Fitchburg campus.

Both programs require 33 credits of coursework. Programs can take two to six years to allow working students the time necessary to complete their degrees. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, mathematics, or a related field.

Program Highlights:

Computer Science, MS; Data Science Concentration, Computer Science, MS

  • Credits: 33
  • Length: Two to six years
  • Cost: $405/credit
  • Format: Fully-online; Partially-online
  • Accreditation: NECHE (school)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation NECHE
3
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

The online Master of Science in Computer Science program at Georgia Southwestern State University features a 100% online format that makes it a great choice for working professionals. Its low tuition makes it one of the cheapest online master’s of computer science programs available. This 30-credit program includes core required courses in information security, distributed operating systems, and advanced database design along with elective courses in data mining, intelligent systems, cloud computing, and more. Students can also complete an optional internship that may require in-person attendance.

Both thesis and non-thesis options are available. This MS in computer science can be completed in as little as two years, but students can take up to seven years if needed.

Program Highlights:

MS in Computer Science

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Two to seven years
  • Cost: $257/credit
  • Format: Fully-online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services No
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
4
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

Along with affordability, the Master of Science in Computer Science program at Texas A&M University – Commerce is noteworthy for its study convenience and curriculum options. Distance students can choose either a fully-online or partially-online format. They can also customize their programs through a concentration track in artificial intelligence, big data, computer networks, cybersecurity, or software engineering. Both thesis and non-thesis options are offered for all concentrations. In addition to program courses, students must also pass a comprehensive examination in their final semesters.

Admission into Texas A & M’s Computer Science program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, a minimum of one year of university-level science, completion of Calculus I, knowledge of higher-level programming languages, understanding of computer fundamentals, and the ability to develop algorithms and solve programming problems. Applications are accepted year-round for U.S.-based students, and students can begin in the fall, spring, or summer terms.

Program Highlights:

Computer Science MS

  • Credits: 30 (thesis) or 37 (non-thesis)
  • Length: Two to three years
  • Cost: $2,578/semester (resident); $5,026/semester (non-resident)
  • Format: Fully-online; Blended
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
5
Winston-Salem, NC
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

Winston-Salem State University offers its Master of Computer Science & Information Technology (MCST) degree in a hybrid format that combines online and face-to-face components. Students complete core advanced-level courses in operating systems, software engineering, and database management plus elective courses in a range of computer science subjects.They also select either the computer science or the information technology concentration. The computer science concentration requires either a research project or comprehensive examination while the IT concentration involves either writing a thesis or passing a comprehensive exam as the culmination of the program.

Admissions requirements for the MCST program include a bachelor’s degree in a CS-related field. Applicants with a bachelor’s in any other field may be admitted with evidence of prerequisite coursework or equivalent experience in architecture, data structures, operating systems, and programming. Students can begin their studies in either the fall or spring semesters.

Program Highlights:

Master of Computer Science & Information Technology

  • Credits: 30 (thesis option) or 33 (project and exam options)
  • Length: Two to six years
  • Cost: $189.90/credit (in-state); $706.21/credit (out-of-state)
  • Format: Partially-online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services No
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
6
San Angelo, TX
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
7
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
Greenville, NC
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
10
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
11
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
12
Type:
Public
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC

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.