10 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Computer Software Engineering for 2020

Computer software engineers speak the language of the future. Unlock a lucrative and exciting career with an online Master’s in Computer Software Engineering.

A career in computer software engineering is a guaranteed win for job security, innovation, and salary potential. This degree will equip you with skills that you can transfer to practically any sector: government, tech, education, non-profit — you name it! If you are a visionary brainiac who loves math, logic equations, and (of course) computers, then you’ve landed in the right spot!

What is a Computer Software Engineering Master’s degree?

In its most basic form, software engineering is all about applying mathematical algorithms to develop computer software. The larger spectrum of the job includes assessing the needs of a data system, designing new software, improving existing networks, mastering programming languages, and more.

This degree demands both technical command and big-picture vision. While the end goal might be a career in software engineering, earning this degree will also provide you with the skills to become a network architect, database administrator, computer programmer, and more.

How much can you earn with a Computer Software Engineering Master’s degree?

As our world becomes more and more digitized, jobs in this field are in high demand. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer software engineering jobs have seen a 26 percent uptick in demand.

The paycheck is nothing to scoff at either. The average annual salary for software engineers is around $103,000. The higher end of the salary range is for folks who work in systems software, while the lower range tends to be engineers who develop apps. Either way, you’re looking at a potential six-figure salary.

What is required for a Computer Software Engineering Master’s degree?

Most master’s programs in computer software engineering require anywhere from 30 to 36 credit hours. If you’re attending one of these programs full-time, you have the potential to complete your degree in just over one year. The programs on this list are all unique in that they are offered 100 percent online, giving you the flexibility and freedom to work at your own pace.

Because this degree can take you in so many different directions, most programs offer job-specific specialty tracks. Some of these include Robotics Software, Network Security, Gaming, Software Project Management, and more. No matter which area you choose, you will graduate with a set of incredibly marketable skills.

What are the best online Computer Software Engineering degrees?

OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program-specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.

The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.

  1. Stevens Institute of Technology

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $34,494(in state) / $34,494(out of state)
    • 30 required credit hours (10 courses)
    • GRE scores are required for admission
    • 25% tuition discount for new students

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction71.20%
    Admission Rate44%
    Programs offered onlineNot Reported

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,084
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School68.92%
    100%
    OSR Score

    This online MS in Software Engineering degree gives students access to the entire suite of computer engineering skills, from algorithms to development. The coursework is divided into seven core classes and seven electives. Additionally, online graduate certificates are available in areas like Advanced Systems Engineering, Data Exploration, Integrated Ship Systems, and more.

  2. California State University-Fullerton

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $7,176(in state) / $16,680(out of state)
    • 30 required credit hours (10 courses)
    • New students only accepted in fall semester
    • Optional on-campus orientation and midpoint symposium

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75.20%
    Admission Rate46%
    Programs offered online2

    Program Level

    Median Debt$33,527
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School3.06%
    82%
    OSR Score

    Over the course of 22 months, students at California State University-Fullerton will complete the online MS in Software Engineering. Students move through the program as a cohort, starting together during the fall term. Course topics covered include software architectural design, process assessment and improvement, and more.

  3. East Carolina University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $4,749(in state) / $17,898(out of state)
    • 30 required credit hours (10 courses) 
    • GRE scores in 30th percentile required
    • Open to students without computer background

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75.40%
    Admission Rate79%
    Programs offered online19

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School2.33%
    81%
    OSR Score

    At East Carolina University, online students completing the MS in Software Engineering degree will have a plethora of options. They can choose the coursework-only pathway, project pathway, or thesis pathway. Additionally, the curriculum includes 21 credits of electives, allowing students to customize according to their interests.

  4. Washington State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $11,224(in state) / $24,656(out of state)
    • 30 required credit hours (10 courses) 
    • Full-time or part-time study options
    • Same tuition rate for residents and non-residents

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72.60%
    Admission Rate73%
    Programs offered online13

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School10.52%
    80%
    OSR Score

    The curriculum for the MS in Software Engineering at WSU is delivered 100 percent online. Students are expected to have a BS degree in a related field and some industry experience. Courses include Advanced Algorithms, Software Testing, Advanced Databases, and more.

  5. Texas Tech University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $5,724(in state) / $13,068(out of state)
    • 36 required credit hours (12 courses)
    • Online students eligible for financial aid
    • GRE scores required for admission

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74.60%
    Admission Rate69%
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School12.79%
    78%
    OSR Score

    Texas Tech delivers an online Master of Science in Software Engineering through its Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering. The degree covers everything from quality assurance to system production and design. Online students must complete the non-thesis track, which includes a final comprehensive exam.

  6. University of Utah

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $6,725(in state) / $23,740(out of state)
    • 30 required credit hours (10 courses)
    • No on-campus requirements (100% online)
    • Higher total tuition for part-time students

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75.20%
    Admission Rate66%
    Programs offered online113

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School9.08%
    78%
    OSR Score

    At the University of Utah, students will tackle an online MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering. This rigorous curriculum covers ten courses that can be taken in any order. Although there is no room for elective courses, highlight classes include Power Systems Analysis, Micro Actuators, and more.

  7. West Virginia University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $9,450(in state) / $24,390(out of state)
    • 33 required credit hours (11 courses)
    • Courses delivered in live online sessions
    • No on-campus attendance required 

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75.80%
    Admission Rate72%
    Programs offered online8

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School14.11%
    76%
    OSR Score

    The MS in Software Engineering program at WVU is a fully online degree that is geared toward working professionals. Courses are offered in the evening through live sessions. Wrapped into the coursework is instruction on Java programming languages, data structures, defensive programming, and database applications.

  8. University of Houston-Clear Lake

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $7,308(in state) / $16,290(out of state)
    • 30 required credit hours (10 courses)
    • Possible to complete the degree in 15 months
    • GRE required for students with less than 3.0 GPA

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.20%
    Admission Rate72%
    Programs offered online5

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School1.69%
    76%
    OSR Score

    The 30-credit-hour MS in Software Engineering program at the University of Houston-Clear Lake devotes most of the curriculum to core coursework. However, students have the option of four career-based specializations: Gaming, Robotics Software, Software Project Management, or Software Development. Incoming students must be proficient in two programming languages.

  9. Drexel University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $33,156(in state) / $33,156(out of state)
    • 45 required quarter credit hours 
    • Up to 9 transfer credits accepted (3 courses)
    • Same online tuition rate regardless of residency

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction71.00%
    Admission Rate79%
    Programs offered online14

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School21.30%
    73%
    OSR Score

    The online MS in Software Engineering program at Drexel is designed for professionals already in the field. This degree is highly customizable, with the ability to take 12 breadth credits. These include options like Human-Computer Interaction, Information Visualization, Network Security, and more.

  10. Mercer University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $14,370(in state) / $14,370(out of state)
    • 30 required credit hours (10 courses)
    • GRE scores required for admission
    • California out of distance learning authorization

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74.60%
    Admission Rate73%
    Programs offered online5

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School8.07%
    72%
    OSR Score

    At Mercer University, students will earn an online MS in Software Engineering and Software Systems. The curriculum covers both broader skills of the field and more technical skills. For example, students will both become experts in Java, C++, and C# as well as design software architectures, object-oriented programming, and more.