Top 20 Cheap Online Computer Programming Degree Programs (Bachelor’s)

Badge - BVS - Most Affordable Online Degree ProgramsWelcome 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.

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.

Featured Programs

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.

University of Florida Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

UF offers an affordable online programming degree that incorporates several topics typically found in computer and electrical engineering programs.

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 College Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

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

Regent University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

Earn a computer programming degree online from Regent University and be prepared for careers in a wide variety of fields.

18. Regent University

Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Regent University’s versatile, accredited online computer science degree prepares undergrads for careers in everything from software development and video game design to data science and network administration. Understandably, it requires a diverse curriculum to train students for so many different fields. The core sequence spans topics like database fundamentals, operating systems, and even smart computing. This does not leave a ton of room for courses that focus explicitly on coding. Even so, aspiring software developers will pick up plenty of information from two basic programming classes (introductory and intermediate level), plus required courses in “Parallel and Distributive Programming” and “Software Engineering.”
Average Tuition & Fees: $16,438/yr
Score: 22.299999999999997

Hodges University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

For focused, career-oriented learners, Hodges offers one of the best computer programming degrees online.

17. Hodges University

Online Bachelor of Science in Software Development

If you prefer to learn by zooming in on one subject rather than skimming the surface of several, you may want to earn your degree in computer science online from Hodges University. At Hodges, you won’t have to waste time learning about every facet of the computer science industry. In fact, the bulk of this program’s core curriculum is divided into just two sub-cores: software development and computer information technology. Within them, you’ll find classes like “Advanced Object-Oriented Programming with C++,” “Program Design and Problem Solving,” and “Mobile Application Development.” The curriculum also includes four required business classes, but it’s worth it to gain skills that will help you navigate the 21st-century corporate world.
Average Tuition & Fees: $13,220/yr
Score: 23.7

Fort Hays State University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

FHSU has a top online computer programming degree for students who also have an interest in business or networking.

16. Fort Hays State University

Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Computer scientists are in high demand across a number of industries – and not just because of their technical abilities. CS majors, including those at Fort Hays State University, also develop superior problem-solving skills. At FHSU, the emphasis is on using software applications to devise efficient solutions to complex problems. Meeting this goal requires a solid foundation in programming, and the BS in Computer Science curriculum covers all the basics: Java, data structures and algorithms, and a two-part sequence in software engineering. And unlike many accredited online programming degrees, FHSU’s program also offers concentrations in Business and Networking.
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,665/yr
Score: 24.3

Old Dominion University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

CS majors who work in the industry can apply their experience toward ODU’s top online programming degree and graduate in less time.

15. Old Dominion University

Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Old Dominion University’s affordable online computer science degree is available as both a four-year and completion program. But even if you have already earned many of the credits you need for your bachelor’s degree, you’ll take many of your upper-level CS classes at ODU. This is good news for future coders and software developers, as about half of the required core courses are programming-related. You’ll cover all the expected topics – principles of programming, object-oriented languages, and algorithms – and get an introduction to software engineering as well. And if you complete an internship or work in a CS-related field, you could get course credit for your on-the-job experience.
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,240/yr
Score: 26.6

Franklin University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

If you want to become an expert in Java, Franklin has one of the best degrees in computer science online.

14. Franklin University

Online Computer Science Degree Program

Some schools take a wide-angle approach to computer programming by offering instruction in every possible language and platform. However, Franklin University understands that a broad, shallow education is not necessarily better than a narrow, deep one. As such, the university has designed what it calls a “language independent” curriculum that emphasizes practical skills and applications over complete linguistic fluency. And since the goal of its affordable online computer programming degree is to prepare students for jobs in software and web development, coursework puts an unusually strong emphasis on object-oriented programming using Java. Through a four-part course sequence, you’ll learn the ins and outs of data structures, algorithms, design patterns, and software analysis.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,641/yr
Score: 26.7

Virginia International University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

VIU offers plenty of interesting elective courses, which you can use to customize its online programming degree to suit your goals.

13. Virginia International University

Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Founded less than two decades ago, Virginia International University is relatively new to the world of higher education. And unlike many older colleges, VIU has made online, non-traditional programs a priority from the very beginning. One of many web-based degrees that it offers, the BS in Computer Science covers all the field’s most essential theories and practices. The major curriculum consists of four units: Fundamentals (21 credits), Programming (12 credits), Applications (21 credits), and Electives (30 credits). Note the sizeable elective component, which grants you the freedom to explore other coding languages (like C/C++) and unique topics (like computer forensics) while earning this cheap computer programming degree online.
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,968/yr
Score: 26.900000000000002

Pennsylvania State University World Campus Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

Penn State’s World Campus boasts one of the only ABET-accredited online computer programming degrees for aspiring software engineers.

12. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

Online Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering

Of the 20 undergraduate programs on this top online computer science degrees ranking, only two focus specifically on software engineering. Not only does Penn State have one of those two programs, but its BS in Software Engineering is also ABET-accredited! And this high-quality curriculum is also highly challenging. You’ll need to earn at least 126 credits and complete a capstone course by designing your own software engineering project. Along the way, you’ll accumulate a heap of coding knowledge through classes like “Programming Language Concepts,” “Object-Oriented Software Design and Construction,” and “Net-Centric Computing” (which covers JavaScript, AJAX, and XML).
Average Tuition & Fees: $13,678/yr
Score: 27.3

Central Methodist University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

With an annual tuition rate that barely tops $5k, CMU undoubtedly has the most affordable computer programming degree online.

11. Central Methodist University

Online Bachelor of Arts/Science in Computer Science

Like many CS programs, Central Methodist University delivers a curriculum that emphasizes “a broad understanding of computer languages.” The coursework also seeks to produce versatile graduates who have the analytical and critical thinking skills to succeed in a number of industries. At the same time, you’ll have an opportunity to tailor your experience to your specific goals. For example, you’ll get to pick three programming classes to take from a list that includes topics like web design and development, scientific computing, mobile apps, game design, Java, Visual Basic, and more. And by offering this cheap degree in computer science online in both BA and BS forms, CMU makes it easy for transfer students to match credits with their prior coursework.
Average Tuition & Fees: $5,280/yr
Score: 27.5

Bellevue University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

Bellevue’s practical approach to career preparation makes this one of the top computer programming degrees online.

10. Bellevue University

Online Bachelor of Science in Software Development

A career-focused approach and an emphasis on software development distinguish Bellevue from other top cheap online programming degrees. Combining technical and computation-based classes with coursework in business and project management, the curriculum prepares you to succeed in a real-world professional environment. There are even classes like “Business System Programming” that blend technological and commercial topics in a single syllabus. Speaking of programming, Bellevue’s curriculum features a diverse set list of skills, including SQL, Java, Ruby, and other object-oriented languages. Top these off with a few courses in telecommunications, information security, and web scripting to broaden your career opportunities.
Average Tuition & Fees: $7,050/yr
Score: 29.2

Davenport University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

One of the best online programming degrees, Davenport’s program goes above and beyond to help its students earn certifications that will boost their job prospects.

9. Davenport University

Online Database Systems and Programming BS

It may be one of the more expensive options on this ranking of affordable online computer programming degrees, but Davenport’s BS in Database Systems and Programming is still one of the best investments for a future coder. A thorough curriculum ensures that graduates are familiar with C++, C#, and Java and can write scripts in Perl and Python for all the main operating systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux/Unix). Davenport also highly encourages computer programming majors to apply for professional certificates that will strengthen their prospects in the job market. The university even offers a list of what courses you’ll need to qualify for specific certifications from CompTIA, Cisco, Microsoft, and Oracle, among others.
Average Tuition & Fees: $15,952/yr
Score: 29.300000000000004

University of Illinois at Springfield Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

If you want to be challenged from start to finish, UIS has one of the best online computer science degrees for you.

8. University of Illinois at Springfield

Online Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree

If you choose to earn an accredited degree in computer science online from the University of Illinois at Springfield, note that you will not be able to apply directly to the major as a freshman. Instead, you will need to start by taking prerequisite courses in calculus, discrete math, and statistics. You’ll also need to have at least two semesters of Java programming experience – and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA! But once you’re in, you’ll quickly accumulate expertise in all the standard topics, from algorithms to operating systems. UIS also requires all seniors to take an “exit assessment” in order to “assess the body of knowledge they’ve attained.”
Average Tuition & Fees: $16,176/yr
Score: 31.6

University of Maine Augusta Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

With four unique concentrations, UMA’s CIS program stands out as one of the top degrees in computer science online.

7. University of Maine-Augusta

Online BS in Computer Information Systems: Software Development

The University of Maine is the only school to make this best online computer programming degrees ranking with a B.S. in Computer Information Systems (and Cybersecurity). Although CIS programs typically encompass a wide range of topics, UMA allows its CIS majors to tailor their studies through specific concentrations. One such option, in Software Development, emphasizes “the ability to reason and apply algorithmic thinking” while covering “a variety of programming languages.” Indeed, this track requires undergrads to take classes in Visual Basic, Java, C++, C#, and .Net, not to mention software engineering and quality assurance. Alternatively, you choose the Web Development concentration and learn about JavaScript, PHP, and MySQL.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,248/yr
Score: 31.800000000000004

Dakota State University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

Earn an accredited computer programming degree online from DSU and graduate with in-depth knowledge and a wide breadth of career options.

6. Dakota State University

Online Computer Science BS

Dakota State University is well-known in the Midwest as a top provider of both online education and tech-centric programs. Fortunately for commute-limited computer geeks, DSU has combined these two areas of expertise into one impressively cheap online computer science degree. The curriculum provides the resources and experience that you’ll need to work as a software engineer, programmer, systems administrator, or even in cybersecurity. And for a broad-based CS degree, the program is also surprisingly code-focused. Indeed, more than half of the required major courses – including “Object-Oriented Design,” “Data Structures,” and “Assembly Language” – are programming-related.
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,385/yr
Score: 32.400000000000006

Southern University and A and M College Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

If you want a career in mobile app development, Southern University has one of the best computer programming degrees online.

5. Southern University and A-and-M College

Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Although Southern University’s BS in CS isn’t labeled as an online computer programming degree, it might as well be. The core curriculum alone offers more coding-based classes than some colleges offer in their entire course catalog. You’ll take a two-course introductory sequence to programming before jumping into more advanced topics like data structures, object-oriented programming, and software engineering – not to mention an entire class on Java. What’s more, this online program allows you to double-down on your coding knowledge by concentrating in Mobile Applications. In this track, you’ll expand your skillset to include web and mobile development, cloud computing, and more.
Average Tuition & Fees: $14,332/yr
Score: 33.5

Florida State University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

Employers will no doubt be impressed when they see FSU’s accredited online computer science degree plus math/physical sciences minor on your résumé.

4. Florida State University

Online Computer Science BS

At Florida State University, CS majors develop proficiency “in C, C++, and Assembly Language” as well as a familiarity with “Java, C#, Ada, Lisp, Scheme, Prolog, Perl, and HTML.” Few schools can compete with this kind of guarantee, making FSU a clear leader in the world of top online computer science degrees. But course designers at Florida State didn’t stop there. What makes the curriculum even better is its “embedded” minor in math and physical sciences. Not only is this minor ABET-accredited, but it will also boost your credentials and provide an easier transition to graduate school, should you decide to earn a master’s degree.
Average Tuition & Fees: $14,090/yr
Score: 37

Arizona State University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

Experienced software engineers will surely agree that ASU has one of the best degrees in computer science online for anyone who wants a career in their industry.

3. Arizona State University

Online Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering

One of only two software engineering options on this affordable online programming degrees ranking, ASU’s program is stuffed to the brim with tech-heavy, coding-oriented courses. Indeed, the curriculum includes more than a dozen such classes on its list of core requirements. You’ll start with “Principles of Programming” in your freshman year before advancing to topics like assembly language, algorithms, and web-based applications. SE majors at Arizona State also complete a five-part “Software Enterprise” course sequence that takes them through every stage of the design process, from testing and quality to construction, implementation, and elaboration.
Average Tuition & Fees: $18,420/yr
Score: 38.7

University of Maryland University College Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

One of the top degrees in computer science online, UMUC’s program will even help you become a certified Java programmer and/or Microsoft Solutions Expert (MCSE).

2. University of Maryland-University College

Online Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree

Anyone familiar with UMUC will not be surprised to see that it ranks 2nd on our list of cheap online computer programming degrees. After all, the University of Maryland is a powerhouse of online tech education. It offers bachelor’s degrees not just in computer science, but also in computer networking, cybersecurity, information systems, and software development (to name a few). And this strength is on full display in the CS curriculum. In addition to coursework in introductory, intermediate, and advanced programming, UMUC CS majors also study object-oriented and concurrent programming, data structures and analysis, web applications, and even compiler design.
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,756/yr
Score: 45.3

Western Governors University Online Computer Programming Degree Programs

Low tuition plus an efficient, career-oriented curriculum help make WGU home to one of the best, most affordable computer programming degrees online.

1. Western Governors University

Online Bachelor of Science in Software Development

With its nearly unbeatable tuition rate, Western Governors University slides past the competition and into the #1 spot on our ranking. But affordability isn’t all that this online college has to offer. In fact, WGU performed well in every metric we considered. Plus, the university conferred more than 200 computer programming bachelor’s degrees in 2016, easily making it one of the most popular options online. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of choosing WGU’s cheap online programming degree is that it actually incorporates several IT certifications into the curriculum. In fact, you could become certified in five different areas of expertise as part of your regular coursework – and for no extra charge beyond the cost of tuition!
Average Tuition & Fees: $6,070/yr
Score: 45.9

Thanks for reading our ranking of the 20 best cheap computer programming degrees online!

Bureau of Labor Statistics – Computer Programmers
IPEDS Data Center
College Navigator

See also:

Leave a Reply