The field of web development has had its ups and downs, but the internet has been a fixture of American life for decades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developers make nearly $70K/year on average, and the profession is expected to experience much higher than average growth between 2016 and 2026. Industries everywhere are looking for professionals to take their website to the next level.
Interested in becoming a web developer? You're in the right place. This is our list of the 10 best small colleges for web development majors on a budget. In order to land a spot on our list, these colleges have to meet our high standards:
- At least one full program for students seeking a degree in web development or a related area
- Overall undergraduate graduation rate of at least 40%
- Estimated annual costs of less than $31,000 a year (as reported by College Navigator)
The question remains: which college is the most affordable? Check out #1 down below to find out!
10. Simmons College
A women's college located in the heart of Boston, Simmons provides a dedicated B.S. in Web Design and Development. The degree program at this top web design school consists of five clearly-defined "steps," from taking core classes to fulfilling two semesters of independent learning. You can meet the latter requirement with an internship or a research project, and Simmons opens its on-campus research positions to all students — including freshmen. And if you have a specific career goal in mind, Simmons faculty are on hand to help develop a customized course of study. You can also enroll in complementary courses in the computer science department or opt for a dual-degree program.
Net Price: $30,232/yr
9. Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson stands out on this affordable web design programs ranking in part because of its graduation rate (the highest on this list). Additionally, its Computing and Information Studies program shines thanks to a unique multidisciplinary approach. Majors in the department can expect to take courses in a variety of subjects, from the expected (like computational thinking and systems development) to the more unusual (psychology and art). If you elect the Web and Mobile Technologies emphasis, you'll focus more granularly on design, implementation, and production issues. The result? You'll graduate with an impressive skill set, the ability to solve problems creatively, and top-notch communications skills – all valuable assets in any workplace.
Net Price: $27,315/yr
8. Oakland City University
Oakland City, IN
Oakland does something a little unique with its web design program, making it an emphasis in the Communications major alongside more traditional Comms programs like journalism and public relations. This designation underscores the program's focus on using technology as a means of sharing ideas. Expect much of your work to be project-based, giving you hands-on experience in usability and accessibility and providing you with a ready-made portfolio when you graduate. Majors can also take electives elsewhere in the Communications department, helping to make Oakland one of the best small colleges for web development majors who want to study technology as a means to an end, not for its own sake.
Net Price: $26,112/yr
7. Rockford University
Located about two hours from Chicago, this top college for a web design and development degree frequently receives accolades for its student engagement initiatives and overall dedication to community service. So it's no surprise that Rockford values experiential and service learning. This attitude extends to the computer science major, which supports an emphasis in web development – and which requires program members to complete an internship, potentially with a local nonprofit. You can also expect your course of study to focus heavily on the technology side of web development, and you'll graduate with proficiency in multiple programming languages plus a solid grounding in graphic design.
Net Price: $21,294/yr
6. Silver Lake College
If you'd like to attend an affordable small school for web design and development that embraces Catholic values and traditions, give Silver Lake a look. With an enrollment of approximately 400 students, Silver Lake offers an average class size of eight and an impressive student to faculty ratio of just 7:1. The so-called Franciscan Way of Knowing informs all studies, integrating Christian values and ethics with personal development. You can also attend school-sponsored service trips over breaks. Note that although there's no web development major as such, you can opt for a web publishing emphasis within the Information Technology major.
Net Price: $20,215/yr
5. Bridgewater College
Bridgewater's strength lies in its methodical approach to teaching web design basics. Technically a concentration in the computer science department, the web design and development program gradually introduces participants to more complex concepts. As you attend this top college for a web design and development degree, you'll start by learning basic web development programs like Java and HTML5 before moving on to more in-depth topics like animation and dynamic content creation. Program members also have access to the school's chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery, which provides access to conferences and networking opportunities.
Net Price: $20,058/yr
4. Greenville College
Ambitious students, take note: At Greenville, you can complete a three-year B.S. in Digital Media with a minor in Business, a combination that leaves you well-prepared for work in myriad fields. Internet Development is available as a track within the B.S. in Digital Media at this affordable small college for web development majors, and the program provides a great blend of technical, design, and marketing skills. In fact, Digital Media majors must complete a 200-level marketing course (which emphasizes mass market messaging) as part of their degree. This focus on the real-world application of web development helps set Greenville's Internet Development track apart from similar programs of study.
Net Price: $19,788/yr
3. Mount St. Joseph University
At Mount St. Joseph, web development majors are spoiled for choice – this top web design school provides quite a few courses of study in this topic. For a broad overview of the field, select the major in Web and Mobile App Development, which emphasizes creative problem-solving while encouraging students to consider ethical questions (like access to personal data and intellectual property). Within the major, you can choose a technical track or one in graphic design; the former requires 18 credit hours and focuses on mathematics, while the latter requires 24 credit hours and highlights digital literacy and the foundations of quality design.
Net Price: $18,140/yr
2. University of St. Francis
The Web Application Development major at USF prioritizes the technical underpinnings of website design and implementation. Thanks to this focus, USF could be the best small school for web design and development for students who need to understand exactly how things work. This nuts-and-bolts approach to web development includes instruction in server development and site planning as well as coursework in network fundamentals and database management. However, you can also take courses in digital photography and design principles to round out your skill set and graduate with a resume that should appeal to a variety of employers.
Net Price: $17,616/yr
1. Graceland University – Lamoni
With the lowest net price on this top web design programs ranking, Graceland University – Lamoni provides a quality degree that's also uniquely affordable. Located in Iowa, the school has more than 100 years of experience providing a nonsectarian liberal arts education (note that the Community of Christ currently sponsors the university). Coursework in the web design major focuses heavily on programming and design, and you'll need to complete either a graphic design or computer science/IT internship. By offering both options, Graceland lets you narrow your studies to a topic that fits your career goals.
Net Price: $17,125/yr
Want to find out exactly how much it will cost for you to attend one of these affordable small schools for web design and development? Check out the U.S. Department of Education's Net Price Calculator Center.
For information about our methodology, click here.
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By Iris Stone