Why This Matters

  • 546,200 NEW COMPUTER AND IT JOBS EXPECTED

    One of the fastest-growing areas of employment is in computer and information technology occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment in this field will rise 12% by 2028.

  • DEMAND FOR SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS RISING 21%

    The increasing demand for computer and mobile app software is driving the need for more software developers. Within the next 10 years, there will be 284,100 open positions in the U.S.

  • INCREASE YOUR EARNING POTENTIAL BY $25,000

    Software engineers with a master’s degree earn an average annual salary of $103,000. By comparison, those with a bachelor’s degree earn $78,000 per year.

Our Research

Our research focused on finding the best master’s degrees in software engineering. The most common graduate-level degree in this field is a Master of Science (MS).

We sought programs that are delivered primarily or completely online, to guarantee access for the greatest number of students, regardless of schedule or geographic location. In instances where coursework is offered both online and on-campus, students may have the option to complete the program in a hybrid format.

The majority of programs on this list have regional accreditation, while a few have national accreditation. Degrees and credits from regionally accredited schools tend to be more widely recognized and transferable.

Once we narrowed our list, we evaluated the programs based on outcomes, flexibility, price, faculty, and reputation, and calculated an Intelligent Score for each on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online master’s in software engineering are highly regarded, flexible, and cost-effective. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 86 hours to write this article
  • 171 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 412 education programs we compared

The Top 25 Online Master’s in Software Engineering

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What You Should Know About This Degree

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum level of education needed to qualify for most software engineering jobs. Individuals may choose to pursue a master’s degree if they are switching to software engineering from a more general computer science and information technology background, or if they want to learn advanced software engineering skills.

If you are seeking leadership or management positions, you may want to consider pursuing a master’s in engineering management, or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program with a concentration in information technology. These types of programs will teach you management and business skills through an IT lens, so that you can be prepared for senior level positions.

You may also be able to acquire the advanced skills you seek through on-the-job training, or certificate programs. These paths don’t result in a degree, but may be more cost-effective, and require less time to complete than a full master’s program. Before enrolling in a program, consider your career goals, and talk to colleagues and other professionals about the best option for achieving your goals.

While there are no required professional credentials for software engineers, you can pursue voluntary e certifications in specific areas or software programs as an added confirmation of your expertise.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Master’s in Software Engineering programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Generally master’s-level programs in software engineering expect students to have some prior experience with computers, either through their undergraduate degree or professional experience. Find out what eligibility requirements your program of interest has before applying, to confirm that you meet the minimum qualifications for acceptance.
  • How are courses in this program delivered? Online classes are delivered in either a synchronous or asynchronous format. If classes are taught synchronously, you will be expected to attend classes remotely at set times each week. In asynchronous classes, students access lessons and assignments on their own time. Be sure to find out how classes are taught in the programs you are researching, so you can select the delivery format that works best for your schedule and learning style.

At this time, you should start gathering your application materials, planning for application deadlines, and researching options for funding your graduate degree. Admissions and financial aid counselors can assist you by answering questions, and providing information about scholarships, assistantships, and student loans. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers tuition assistance benefits.