Why This Matters

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 302,500 MORE OF YOU BY 2026

    Employment of software engineers is expected to grow by 24% in the next several years, as demand for apps increases, and more electronics have built-in computer systems.

  • DEMAND FOR DEVELOPERS WILL INCREASE BY 15%

    Web development is another potential career path for those with a software engineering education. A bachelor’s degree makes you a more attractive job candidate.

  • EARN $39,000 MORE WITH A MASTER’S DEGREE

    Computer and information systems managers, who typically have master’s degrees, earn a median annual wage of $142,530, compared to $103,620 for software developers.

Our Research

Software engineering degrees are offered at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Whether you are looking at a bachelor’s or master’s degree depends on your current educational status and career goals. This list includes both undergraduate and graduate programs, but please note – because of the highly specialized knowledge needed for software engineering, most master’s programs require students to have an undergraduate degree in a computer-related field.

The ABET accredits degree programs at regionally-accredited institutions that demonstrate high standards of education in STEM subjects like computing and engineering. While all of the programs on our list have regional accreditation, our list includes both ABET-accredited and non-accredited programs.

Once we narrowed out list of software engineering degrees, we evaluated each program’s courses, flexibility, cost, and reputation. Using this data, we calculated their Intelligent Scores on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best software engineering degree are respected, accredited, and affordable.(For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 77 hours to write this article
  • 181 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 414 education programs we compared

The Top 31 Online Software Engineering Degrees

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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 field. 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.