Why This Matters

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 411,400 MORE OF YOU BY 2031

    Employment of software engineers is expected to grow by 25% in the next decade, as demand for apps increases and more electronics have built-in computer systems.

  • EARN OVER $100,000 PER YEAR

    Regardless of their level of education, the average software developer earns an annual salary of $120,730.


    Computer and information systems managers, who typically have master’s degrees, earn a median annual wage of $159,010.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online software engineering degree programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. The programs on our list have been accredited by reputable organizations, such as the Higher Learning Commission and New England Commission of Higher Education, that assess the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of colleges and universities.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online software engineering degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The Top 36 Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

Best Software Engineering Degree Programs 2023
Intelligent Pick
Arizona State University
Best Public Institution
Kennesaw State University
Best Private Institution
Southern New Hampshire University
Most Innovative Curriculum
St. Cloud State University
Most Versatile Program
Penn State World Campus

What You Should Know About This Degree

Software engineers need a diverse range of aptitudes to be successful, including mathematical, coding, critical-thinking, and creative problem-solving skills. Those entering the field should be prepared to take classes in mathematics, probability and statistics, computer programming, and more.

Since software engineers work in many different industries, it can also be beneficial to have specialized knowledge of the industry in which you plan to work, like finance or healthcare. Some employers may seek out job candidates who have a blend of knowledge in software engineering and another specific fields. You can acquire this additional knowledge with a minor or concentration.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in software engineering and are trying to get into a management role, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) might provide better preparation for your career goals. Some MBA programs offer a focus in computer-related fields like informational technology while also providing the business skills needed for managerial roles.

Many of the programs on our list have coursework that can be completed online, but they may have internships that require in-person attendance. When reviewing programs, make sure you can fit any in-person requirements into your schedule.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Software Engineering programs:

  • Is this school authorized to provide online education in my state? Regulations for providing online education vary state by state, and not all schools are authorized to provide online education to students in all states. Check with your program of interest to verify they can grant you a degree based on the state you live in and that your state will recognize your degree.
  • Am I eligible for this program? At the master’s level, most programs expect students to have a bachelor’s degree in a computer science-related field and/or professional experience. Students who do not have this background may have to take prerequisite coursework before enrolling in a master’s program.

In the course of your research, you should also learn about the program’s application requirements and admissions deadlines. You can get this information from the school’s website or by contacting the admissions department. You should also find out what funding options are available to you, including financial aid, scholarships, and tuition assistance benefits from your employer.