Why This Matters


    The need for innovative software in the healthcare industry and the increasing number of people who use digital platforms will keep job growth for software engineers significantly higher than all U.S. occupations.


    The median annual wage for software developers is more than twice that of the average U.S. worker. The median annual salary for software publishers is $122,110.


    It’s estimated there will be 1,785,200 software developers in the United States by the end of the next decade.

Our Research

This list covers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in software engineering. Students receive instruction that prepares them for careers as applications, web, and game developers, cybersecurity analysts, and information systems managers. Degrees offered include Associate in Software Development, Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development, Bachelor of Applied Science Program Development/Software Development, and Master of Science in Software Engineering. Students can choose from online, on-campus, and hybrid learning formats.

National and regional accreditation organizations recognize software engineering programs that meet specific academic criteria. Schools on our list are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best Software Engineering Degree program are affordable, respected, and flexible. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 80 hours to write this article
  • 157 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 309 education programs we compared

The Top 42 Software Engineering Degree Programs

Best Software Engineering Degree Program
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What You Should Know About This Degree

When choosing a career in software design and development, consider which job roles you would like to pursue. Associate degree programs prepare students for future education in computer science and software engineering, but most entry-level positions in the field require a bachelor’s degree. Students who pursue a master’s degree can hold senior-level positions such as lead software engineer or information systems managers. If you’re unsure of which area of engineering you’d like to specialize in, consider a generalized degree in engineering. You might also consider a degree in computer science if you’d like to pursue a career in technology but are unsure of which field is right your you.

Technology is constantly evolving, and graduates will need to enhance their skills to create real-world software solutions. Certifications help software engineers learn new skills and also demonstrate their expertise in certain areas. Consider obtaining certifications such as Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), CIW Web Foundations Associate, CIW Web & Mobile Design Professional, and CIW Web Development Professional.

Graduates can expect a positive job outlook over the next decade as specialized software products are needed across every industry.

What’s Next?

Ask yourself the following questions when pursuing a degree in software engineering:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Students who wish to obtain an associate or bachelor’s degree in software engineering must hold a high school diploma or equivalent. Coursework in mathematics, computer science, and statistics might be required, as well as a minimum GPA and standardized test score. Master’s programs require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and might have other requirements, such as a minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Each degree level has different requirements to graduate. Associate and graduate degree programs take two years of full-time study to complete. Bachelor programs require four years of full-time study. The bachelor programs on our list require a minimum of 120 credits to graduate.

Every program has entry requirements and application deadlines. Visit the school’s website or contact the admissions department for detailed information.

Pursuing a higher education requires a financial investment, and you should consider how you will cover the costs of your studies. You might be eligible for federal student aid, scholarships, and grants. Some employers might cover tuition fees as well.