2021 Best Online Masters in Computer Programming Programs

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Are you interested in earning an online masters in computer programming? Programming is an integral component of the tech industry, and a masters in programming can help you advance your computer science skills.

Masters in Computer Programming Programs

If you are wanting to enhance your expertise in computer programming languages, this could be the right degree path for you.

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There are many job opportunities available in computer science, software development, and related fields, all of which are growing rapidly.

Masters in Computer Programming Online Programs

Masters in Computer Programming Online Programs

A masters degree in computer programming can teach you advanced knowledge of a variety of computer programming languages. It can also include coursework related to the broader field of computer science.

Aside from programming languages, your course topics can include algorithms, computer logic, computation models, operating systems, and software development. Hands-on projects are common in computer programming degree programs.

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Computer programming work can sometimes be done alone, but at other times it requires collaboration. So, your degree program will likely include group assignments so that you can learn to coordinate your efforts with other people.

Common career paths in this field include:

  • Computer programmer
  • Software developer
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Database administrator
  • Network and computer systems administrator
  • Computer network architect

Almost all modern businesses need technologically literate employees, so computer programming expertise may be applicable in almost any industry.

Online computer programming degrees come in both thesis and non-thesis options. Other programs may require a capstone project that’s similar to the work you would do at an actual programming job.

Completion of a thesis may be helpful if you plan to pursue an academic or research-oriented career. You may prefer a non-thesis program, though, if your goal is to finish quickly and pursue a career outside of academics.

Computer Programming Careers & Salaries

Computer Programming Careers & Salaries

Computer programming skills can be most directly applicable to computer programmers, software developers, and web developers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for computer and information technology occupations is $91,250 per year.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Computer and Information Systems Managers $151,150
Software Developers, Software Publishers $124,050
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers $110,140
Computer Programmers, Software Publishers $103,710
Database Administrators $98,860
Computer Systems Analysts $93,730
Computer Programmers, Finance and Insurance $92,390
Computer Programmers, Manufacturing $89,530
Computer Programmers, Computer Systems Design and Related Services $88,510
Web Developers and Digital Designers $77,200

Most computer programmers are employed in computer systems design and related services. Other employers include software publishers, finance and insurance, and manufacturing. There are also a number of computer programmers who are self-employed.

Software developers most often find employment with computer systems design and related services. Other common industries include software publishers, manufacturing, management of companies and enterprises, and insurance carriers and related activities.

Computer Programming Master’s Curriculum

Computer Programming Master's

Here are some examples of courses that may be found in the curriculum of a computer programming masters degree program:

  • Database Systems Principles: This course introduces you to the basics of designing and managing electronic databases.
  • Distributed Systems: This course can teach you about systems that have different components located on networked but separate computers that must communicate with each other in order for the system to work.
  • Machine Learning: This course covers computer algorithms that are designed to improve automatically in response to new data.
  • Natural Language Processing with Deep Learning: In this course, you can study the branch of artificial intelligence that is concerned with programming computers to learn and understand language as closely as possible to the way humans do.
  • Probabilistic Graphical Models: Principles and Techniques: In this course, you can study how to apply statistical probability to machine learning.
  • Introduction to Robotics: In this course, you can learn the basics of how robots work and how to program them.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Principles and Techniques: In this course, you can explore how machines can engage in problem solving and reasoning.
  • IT Strategy and Policy: This course can teach you how to create effective and appropriate rules to guide the daily operations of technology within a company.
  • Cloud Computing: This course can teach you about data storage and other types of computing services that are delivered via the Internet.
  • Survey of System Development: In this course, you can study how to design and maintain information systems.

Exact course requirements and course titles can vary from one university to another. Some universities require the completion of a capstone project or a thesis in addition to coursework.

How to Choose an Online Computer Programming Masters Program

Computer Programming Masters Program

Here are some factors to consider when choosing which computer programming masters program you want to attend:

  • Degree type. What type of degree do you want? Do you want a degree specifically in computer programming? Or do you want a more broad-based computer science degree that allows you to specialize in computer programming?
  • Thesis options. Do you prefer to complete a thesis or a capstone project?
  • Synchronous vs. asynchronous format. Would you prefer to attend class at the same time as other students? Or do you want to complete all of your work according to your own schedule?
  • Price. How much does each prospective program cost? What financial aid options does each school offer to its students?

There are a wide variety of computer programming master’s degree programs available online. You can search for the one the best aligns with your interests and needs.

Admissions Requirements

Masters in Computer Programming Programs Admissions

Here are some common admissions requirements for master’s degree programs in computer programming:

  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in computer science or a related field
  • Minimum GPA, generally of 3.0
  • Personal essay or statement of intent
  • Letters of recommendation from instructors or other mentors

Some schools may also ask for GRE or GMAT scores, though a growing number of graduate programs no longer require them. Admissions requirements will vary at different universities.

Accreditation

Masters in Computer Programming Programs accreditation

Regionally accredited colleges and universities are regularly evaluated by outside agencies to ensure that their academic programs, faculty, and facilities meet certain standards of quality.

Enrolling in an accredited school can sometimes be a qualifier for various types of financial aid. Accreditation can also be a determining factor in your course credits’ eligibility to transfer if you decide to change schools.

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Before enrolling in a master’s degree program, you may want to make sure that the university is accredited. You can usually find out a school’s accreditation status from its website.

For more information about regional accreditation, you can visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Masters in Computer Programming Programs financial aid

If you want to attend graduate school, you may be concerned about how you will pay for it. There are many financial aid options available for graduate students who qualify, even for those who are enrolled in online degree programs.

Financial aid options can include federal aid, state aid, employer programs, grants, and scholarships. When you are applying to a university, you can ask to find out if the school has any scholarships available.

To see if you are eligible for government aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Computer Programming Professional Organizations

Computer Programming Professional Organizations

Here is a list of professional organizations for computer programmers:

Joining a professional organization can help you connect with a community of people who are in the same field. Professional organizations sometimes provide continuing education opportunities. Staying up-to-date can be especially useful in technology-related careers in which new developments and methods continue to emerge.

Organizations may also host online communities or in-person meetings where you can meet and learn from more experienced professionals.

What Is a Master’s Degree in Computer Programming?

Master's Degree in Computer Programming

A master’s degree in computer programming is a graduate program that prepares you to write, run, and debug codes and perform related technological skills. You can also get a master’s degree in computer science with an emphasis on programming.

You’ll likely work on a variety of projects to develop your problem-solving and collaboration skills. You’ll also take courses to study programming languages, algorithms, software development, and related topics. Upon graduation, you may be equipped to pursue a variety of technological career opportunities.

Can I Do a Masters in Programming Online?

Masters in Programming Online

Yes, there are institutions that offer online programs for masters degrees in programming. Studying computer programming will likely involve spending a lot of time at your computer, even if you are attending a traditional university. So, computer programming is a subject that can be readily adapted to an online or remote format.

Many computer programming and computer science degrees can be earned completely online, without ever making a trip to campus. These programs may be more practical for you if you already have a job and intend to keep working while pursuing your masters.

What Can You Do with Master’s in Computer Programming?

There are a variety of careers that you can pursue with a master’s in computer programming, depending on your work experience and expertise. Professionals in the field tend to work as computer programmers, software developers, computer systems analysts, or network and computer systems administrators.

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Almost all modern companies need employees with advanced technological knowledge. So, the knowledge you attain from a computer programming degree could potentially be useful in almost any industry.

How Much Does a Computer Programmer Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for computer programmers is $89,190. Meanwhile, the median annual salary for software developers $110,140, and the median salary for computer systems analysts is $93,730.

Computer and information technology occupations in general make a median annual salary of $91,250. In general, computer programmers are able to qualify for higher-paying jobs as they gain work experience. Software publishers are the top-paying employers for computer programmers. Programmers in this industry make a median salary of $103,710.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters Degree in Computer Programming Online?

Masters Degree in Computer Programming Online

Most online master’s degrees take 1 to 2 years to complete. The first half of the program often consists of foundational coursework, and the second half involves studying more specialized topics.

There are a number of online master’s in computer programming that are 36 credit hours long or less. In this type of program, you may be able to complete your coursework in as little as 1 year if you are enrolled full-time and you take classes during the summer.

A degree will often take longer to complete if it requires a thesis or a capstone project. You may also need more time if you intend to take classes part-time rather than full-time.

What’s the Difference Between Computer Science vs. Computer Programming?

Computer science is a broad field that covers many different aspects of computing, including but not limited to programming. Here are some more differences between the two fields:

Computer Science Computer Programming
  • Involves theoretical study of how computers work and what they can do
  • Can help you become better at programming
  • Applies computer science’s theoretical knowledge
  • Can be studied independently of computer science

If you enroll in a computer programming master’s program, you will likely study some computer science.

What’s the Difference Between a Computer Programmer vs. Software Developer?

Here’s how the role of computer programmer compares to that of software developer:

Computer Programmer Software Developer
  • Writes and tests codes to make software work
  • Works out the details
  • Must maintain up-to-date knowledge of programming languages
  • Designs and plans software
  • Thinks in terms of the big picture
  • Must maintain up-to-date knowledge of programming languages

There can often be an overlap between the work of software developers and computer programmers, and some companies may use the terms interchangeably.

What’s the Difference Between Computer Programming vs. Computer Engineering?

Here are some ways that computer programming compares to computer engineering:

Computer Programming Computer Engineering
  • Focuses on creating software
  • Involves extensive knowledge of code
  • Does not require electrical engineering knowledge
  • Focuses more on hardware and how the hardware’s operations affect the software
  • Involves the knowledge of computers’ physical components and how they work with software
  • Requires some knowledge of electrical engineering

Computer engineers focus on hardware, but coding can still be a useful skill for an engineer.

Is a Masters Degree in Computer Programming Worth It?

Masters Degree in Computer Programming professional

Yes, a masters degree in computer programming is worth it for many students. Employment in computer and information technology professions is expected to grow 11% over the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Software developers are one of the fastest growing of these professions, and they are expected to experience 22% job growth. A masters degree in programming can help you enhance your expertise and gain a competitive edge in the lucrative, growing field.

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Some employers prefer workers to have the advanced training that a graduate program can provide. In addition, a masters degree combined with work experience can help you qualify for senior or management positions in the field.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Computer Programming Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers an online Master’s in Computer Science program. To graduate, students must complete 10 courses that are 7.5 weeks long for a total of 30 credit hours. Those interested in the program must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, 2 courses of advanced calculus, and programming knowledge.

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Boston University

Boston University

Boston University offers an online program for a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems.

Students in the program have the option to add one of seven different concentrations to their degree. To graduate, students must complete 40 credit hours. Applicants must submit all college transcripts, a personal statement, and 3 letters of recommendation.

Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. The program can typically be completed in 2 years. Courses in the program are 8 weeks long. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. When applying, 3 letters of reference, a statement of purpose, and official transcripts must be submitted.

Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Colorado State University

Colorado State University

Colorado State University offers a Master of Computer Science. The online program requires 35 credit hours to graduate and can typically be completed within 2 years.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and an understanding of object-oriented programming languages such as C++.

Colorado State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Columbia University

Columbia University

Columbia University offers an online Master’s in Computer Science program. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours while maintaining a GPA of 2.7 or higher.

Those interested in the program must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.3, GRE test scores, 3 letters of recommendation, a resume, and an understanding of computer languages.

Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Columbus State University

Columbus State University

Columbus State University offers a Master of Science in Applied Computer Science. Students must select one of the following concentrations: Cybersecurity, Software Development, AI and Machine Learning, or Traditional. To graduate, 34 credit hours must be obtained. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher.

Columbus State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

DePaul University

DePaul University

DePaul University offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. To graduate, students must complete 52 credit hours while maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.5. Those interested in the program must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.5. Official college transcripts must be submitted when applying.

DePaul University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Drexel University

Drexel University

Drexel University offers an online Master of Science in Computer Science. Students must complete 45 credit hours to graduate, including a maximum of 6 credits dedicated towards a thesis.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and must submit a letter of recommendation and a personal essay.

Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Frostburg State University

Frostburg State University

Frostburg State University offers a Master of Science in Applied Computer Science. Students may choose between a concentration in Databases or Computer Science. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours and a thesis. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Frostburg State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology offers an online Master of Science in Computer Science. The program requires 30 credit hours to graduate and can typically be completed in 2 to 3 years. Each student may choose between 4 different specializations. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. The program, which can be completed online, requires students to obtain 30 credit hours to graduate and is designed to be completed in 2 years.

A specialization may be added to the degree. Those interested in the program may apply online through the school’s website.

Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Georgia Southwestern State University

Georgia Southwestern State University

Georgia Southwestern State University offers an online Master of Science in Computer Science. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours and have the option to submit a master’s thesis. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher and letters of recommendation.

Georgia Southwestern State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology offers a Master of Applied Science in Computer Science. Students may choose to complete the degree by submitting a thesis or strictly through coursework. The program also offers 10 different specializations. Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and 2 letters of recommendation.

Illinois Institute of Technology is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. To graduate, students must complete 31 credit hours. The program allows distance students to choose between writing a thesis or not. Applicants must submit 3 letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and official transcripts.

Mississippi State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. Students may choose a thesis or a non-thesis path to complete the 31 credit hours required to graduate. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Missouri University of Science and Technology is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Jersey Institute of Technology offers an online program for a Master of Science in Computer Science.

To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours. The program also offers 5 different specializations for students to add to their degree. Applicants must submit transcripts from all previously attended institutions and a letter of recommendation.

New Jersey Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University offers a Master of Computer Science degree. To graduate, students must complete 31 credit hours, with at least 3 courses in theory and systems. All graduation requirements must be completed within 6 years of enrolling. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and GRE scores.

North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. The program consists of 10 courses that are 8 weeks long, which makes it possible to graduate in only a year. Students may also choose to add one of 6 specializations to their degree. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University offers an online program for a Master of Science in Applied Computer Science. Students must complete 30 credit hours and choose between completing a thesis or a graduate project. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher from a related field.

Southeast Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern Arkansas University

Southern Arkansas University Tech

Southern Arkansas University offers a Master of Computer and Information Science. The program can typically be completed in 2 years after students have obtained 30 credit hours.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have an undergraduate degree in a related field. Official transcripts and graduate entrance test scores must be submitted to the school.

Southern Arkansas University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University offers an online program for a Master of Science in Computer Science with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence. To graduate, students must complete 8 courses. Those interested in the program must submit official transcripts, 2 professional references, and either a resume or GRE test scores.

Southern Methodist University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Stanford University

Stanford University

Stanford University offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. The program is offered online and can usually be completed in 3 to 5 years. A total of 45 credits are required to graduate. Those interested in the program must apply online with their official transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Stanford University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. The program consists of 10 online courses for a total of 30 credit hours. Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Official transcripts and 2 letters of recommendation need to be submitted when applying.

Stevens Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Idaho

University of Idaho

The University of Idaho offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. The online degree allows students to choose a thesis or a non-thesis path to complete the 30 credit hours required to graduate. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher from an undergraduate program and 3 letters of recommendation.

The University of Idaho is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of Illinois – Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield

The University of Illinois—Springfield offers a Computer Science Master’s degree. Students must complete 32 credit hours while maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher to graduate.

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in computer science with a minimum GPA of 2.7. Those who do not meet the GPA requirement may be able to receive conditional admission.

UIS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Louisville

University of Louisville

The University of Louisville offers an online Master of Science in Computer Science program. The program typically takes 2 years to complete. Students can choose between submitting a final thesis or a final project to graduate. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 2.75 or higher and 2 letters of recommendation.

The University of Louisville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Southern California

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. To graduate, students must complete 28 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all courses dedicated to the major. Applicants must submit official transcripts, GRE test scores, a resume, and a personal statement when applying.

The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Senior College and University Commission.

University of Texas – Austin

University of Texas Austin

The University of Texas—Austin offers a Master of Computer Science. The online degree program requires students to complete 10 courses to graduate. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, official transcripts, a resume, and a statement of purpose to be eligible for the program.

The University of Texas at Austin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of West Florida

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. Students must complete 30 credit hours to graduate. Courses are either 8 or 16 weeks long. Applicants must submit 2 professional references, a letter of intent, and official transcripts when applying.

The University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers an online Master of Computer Science program. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours.

Students in the program can complete a specialization in Computer Systems, Cybersecurity, AI and Machine Learning, or Big Data Analytics. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and submit 3 letters of recommendation.

WPI is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Getting Your Masters in Computer Programming Online

Masters in Computer Programming Online

Earning your master’s degree in computer programming can help you further develop your skill set to advance your technology career.

You can use computer programming knowledge to solve technological problems and to help companies create better software. Computer and information technology careers often pay higher than average salaries, with opportunities for employment expected to increase over the next few years.

There are many computer programming graduate programs available online that offer flexible scheduling and added convenience. Online programs also teach the same content that you would learn on campus in a traditional classroom.

You can start your educational journey today by exploring online programming masters degrees from accredited universities.

Ready to start your journey?
Amy Wilson
WRITTEN BY
Amy Wilson
Amy attended the University of Georgia, enrolling in both online and on-campus classes. Her research and writing focuses on how differing education methodologies can affect student outcomes, as well as making education accessible to more students.