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Top 10 Affordable Online Master’s Software Engineering Degree Programs 2021

CVO-Most AffordableIn this article, we profile the top 10 affordable online software engineering degree programs of 2021.

Software engineering blends the design and development of software using foundational principles seen in computer science, engineering, and mathematics. Software engineers enjoy a favorable job outlook and annual salaries that can exceed $100,000 per year. To be competitive in the field, a master’s degree in software engineering is required.

Top 10 Affordable Online Master’s Software Engineering Degree Programs Methodology

We reviewed approximately 55 colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator and reputable online sources that offered online software engineering degree programs at the graduate level. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: accreditation (regional and/or national), institution and/or program rankings with at least one major publication like U.S. News and World Report, and affordability. We selected schools with a graduate tuition/fees of less than $15,000 per year. We then listed the programs according to raw affordability.

Below are the resulting selections for our 10 affordable online master’s software engineering degree programs of 2021.

#10 – Colorado Technical University

Online Master’s in Software Engineering

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Website

Colorado Technical University - Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

A top-ranked, affordable online software engineering degree! Colorado Tech!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,321

Offering a top, most affordable online software engineering degree, Colorado Technical University earns a spot on our list with its master’s in software engineering. This online graduate program offers three start dates per year and flexibly designed courses. Throughout the online software engineering master’s program, students take classes that cover a wide range of computer science and software engineering topics. These courses include computer systems architecture, design and analysis of algorithms, software design, software systems engineering process, and systems engineering methods. In addition to boasting a top-ranked engineering program, Colorado Tech is recognized and ranked by U.S. News and World Report among top national universities.

#9 – University of Michigan

Online Master’s Software Engineering

Dearborn, Michigan

Website

University of Michigan - Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

Ranked and accredited! University of Michigan’s online master’s in software engineering.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,570

The University of Michigan offers an accredited and highly affordable online master’s software engineering. This program is designed as a 30-credit hour interdisciplinary degree jointly administered by two departments – the CIS and electrical and computer engineering departments. To be eligible for admission to the master’s in software engineering online program, students must have an earned BS in computer science or computer engineering from an accredited college or university. Some of the core courses offered throughout the program cover topics in data analytics in software engineering, embedded systems, software engineering, and software quality assurance. UM at Dearborn is a regionally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #33 in best regional universities in the Midwest.

#8 – Washington State University

Online Master’s in Software Engineering

Pullman, Washington

Website

Washington State University - Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

Part-time and full-time options! WSU’s online software engineering degree programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,095

The affordable online software engineering degree program at Washington State University is open to graduate students seeking online instruction in software engineering. This flexible program offers more than just online classes. The program offers part-time and full-time enrollment options designed to accommodate working professionals. Courses are taught by WSU’s esteemed professors and cover both foundational and advanced topics in software engineering. These courses include advanced algorithms, software maintenance, software quality, and software testing. In addition to offering affordable graduate tuition, WSU is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, WSU ranks #166 in best national universities and #21 in best online master’s in engineering programs.

#7 – Arizona State University

Online Master’s in Engineering – Software Engineering

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Arizona State University - Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

Ranked and accredited! ASU offers one of the most affordable online master’s in software engineering degrees.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,608

One of the most affordable online master’s software engineering programs on our list is the degree offered at Arizona State University. A total of 30 credit hours and ten classes are required to complete the master’s in software engineering online. Upon completion of the program, students are well-equipped for careers in the industry. Online courses cover topics like information assurance and security, software engineering principles and concepts, and software verification and validation. Recent graduates of the ASU program have landed career opportunities as computer system analysts, electronics engineering technicians, and software developers. ASU, in addition to being affordable, is ranked with U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.

#6 – West Virginia University

Online Master’s in Software Engineering

Morgantown, West Virginia

Website

West Virginia University - Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

Only 11 courses for WVU’s online master’s in software engineering!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,134

West Virginia University offers an accredited online software engineering master’s degree program that costs nearly $10,000 per year. This program consists of 11 courses and 33 credits, which may be completed entirely online. With classes taught by WVU faculty, online students receive the same instruction as their on-campus colleagues. Courses cover topics like advanced software project management, cloud computing for the Internet of Things, enterprise architecture framework, object-oriented design, and software project management. Not only is WVU an affordable institution for online graduate studies, but also ranked with U.S. News and World Report as the 228th best national university and 109th top public school.

#5 – University of Houston

Online Master’s in Software Engineering

Houston, Texas

Website

University of Houston - Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

Less than $9,500 per year and in just 15 months! University of Houston – a top choice for affordable online software engineering degrees.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,334

University of Houston’s online software engineering degree programs include the master’s in software engineering online. For less than $9,500 per year, graduate students can earn a degree that makes them competitive in one of the fastest growing job markets. Three online classes can be taken each semester, allowing students to earn their degree in just 15 months. These courses cover topics like agile software development, engineering software, software architecture, and software engineering life cycle. Near the end of the program, students are also required to complete a capstone project or thesis. University of Houston offers affordability and accreditation. Also, the school ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 185th best national university.

#4 – University of Maryland

Online Master’s in Information Technology – Software Engineering

Adelphi, Maryland

Website

University of Maryland - Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

Offering a highly affordable online software engineering degree program – University of Maryland.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,910

University of Maryland’s online master’s software engineering program is one of the few that cost less than $9,000 per year. Upon completion, students earn a master’s in information technology with a specialization in software engineering. The program consists of 36 credits that can be completed entirely online. Courses, taught by university professors, cover topics like computer systems architecture, modern software methodologies, relational database systems, and software design and implementation. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher at all times and fulfill degree requirements within five consecutive years. In addition to offering an affordable graduate program, UM ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

#3 – Texas Tech University

Online Master’s in Software Engineering

Lubbock, Texas

Website

Texas Tech University - Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

Ranked with U.S. News! Texas Tech’s online master’s in software engineering is one of the most affordable on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,181

One of the cheapest online software engineering degree programs on our list is the master’s in software engineering at Texas Tech University. Recognized among the best online software engineering degree programs, the MSSE at Texas Tech offers online instruction from industry leaders and esteemed faculty. Courses cover topics like fault-tolerant computer systems, software modeling and architecture, software project management, software verification and validation, and systems theory. While a bachelor’s degree in computer science is recommended for admission, related coursework in math, statistics, and computer science may be accepted. Texas Tech ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 218th best national university and 105th top public school.

#2 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in Software Engineering

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

East Carolina University - Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

East Carolina University’s master’s in software engineering online program costs $7,500 per year.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,535

The online software engineering master’s program at East Carolina University costs less than $7,500 and is an industry-recognized program. To be admitted to one of the best online software engineering degree programs on our list, applicants must provide satisfactory grades, scores on either the MAT or GRE, and letters of reference. Courses are delivered online and taught by ECU’s experienced faculty. These courses cover topics like foundations of software testing, software engineering foundations, and software project management. In addition to offering affordable and quality software engineering programs, ECU ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, these rankings include #228 in best national universities and #109 in top public schools.

#1 – Kennesaw State University

Online Master’s in Software Engineering

Kennesaw, Georgia

Website

Kennesaw State University - Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

#1 most affordable online software engineering degree! Kennesaw State University!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,334

Kennesaw State University’s online software engineering degree program is the most affordable master’s degree on our list. For approximately $7,300 per year, students may earn a top-ranked engineering degree. But more than affordability makes the program one of the best online software engineering degree programs on our list. Flexible admission requirements and online completion options add to the degree’s appeal. All courses are delivered online and cover topics like requirements engineering, software architecture, software project planning and management, and software testing and verification. Also, Kennesaw State ranks with U.S. News and World Report as a top national institution and the 72nd most innovative school in the country.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with an online software engineering degree?

Software engineers work in various industries, such as aerospace, cybersecurity, government, health care administration, intelligence, nonprofit, and telecommunications. They are often the creative minds behind computer applications, equipment, games, and systems that run devices. No matter the industry, jobs are available at all levels. Below are a few career options for those earning an online software engineering degree.

Senior software engineer: A senior software engineer manages teams of engineers that interface with clients. These teams design and create software applications, write and debug software, and carry out duties designed to meet the needs of clients. Senior software engineers oversee the teams and ensure projects stay on task and deadline.

Software architect: A software architect typically works for larger organizations that create programs for clients. The programs are often customized to meet the needs of clients. These specialized architects also manage budgets for clients and stay on top of the latest technology.

Software developer: Software developers are responsible for creating and modifying computer applications that perform desired tasks. A familiarity with various computer languages is often required.

Software engineer: Software engineers take on the functions developed by design teams and integrate them into software applications. They identify bugs, make improvements, and help turn the application into a finished product.

How long does it take to earn an online software engineering degree?

The time it takes to earn an online software engineering degree varies by program and institution. However, the average completion time for an online master’s in software engineering degree is 20 months.

Earning an online master’s in software engineering generally requires 34 to 36 credits. In fact, most of the programs on our list require an average of 36 credits. For programs that require more credits, more time is spent taking classes. But some programs offer accelerated pathways. An accelerated completion time means earning a degree in less than two years. These programs allow students to complete degree requirements in an average of 15 months.

Part-time and full-time enrollment options also impact completion time. While most full-time enrollment options require a heavier course load, they also lead to a degree faster than part-time programs. If you want to earn your degree quickly, full-time enrollment is often required. However, if working full-time, the flexibility of a part-time program may be beneficial.

Since completion time varies by program and school, it is important to address your needs before applying. Consider the time you will spend for the required course load and the time you have outside of class that can be devoted to studies. This is especially important for students with families and employment.

What are the admission requirements for an online software engineering degree?

Once you have determined the accredited schools and programs you want to apply to, it is important to evaluate admission requirements. Much like completion time, admission requirements vary by program and institution. However, some similarities do exist.

The most common admission requirement for a graduate online software engineering degree is an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited program and school. While the schools on our list require an earned undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution, some programs are open to accepting undergraduate degrees from nationally accredited schools.

Your undergraduate major is also important for admission. Many programs on our list require an earned bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a closely related degree. While it is not necessary to hold an undergraduate degree in software engineering, it is expected that you have a solid background in computer science, math, and science. In some cases, programs require the completion of certain prerequisites to be eligible for admission.

Beyond the undergraduate degree requirement for admission, there are additional criteria that will make or break your application. Some of the most common admission requirements for online master’s in software engineering programs include competitive undergraduate GPAs, letters of recommendation, and satisfactory graduate test scores (such as the GRE or MAT).

What professional associations can I join with an online software engineering degree?

You don’t have to wait until graduation to join a professional association. Students earning an online master’s in software engineering can take advantage of the many professional associations open to them. These associations offer networking opportunities, access to workshops, ongoing education, and industry-specific publications. Below are three professional associations to consider joining while you earn your online software engineering degree.

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

The ACM offers plentiful benefits to its members. By joining the Association for Computing Machinery, you will gain access to career development opportunities and take advantage of resource sharing. Other benefits of this professional association include networking with industry leaders and gaining insightful global awareness of the issues that computing faces in various countries. ACM offers student memberships.

CompTIA Association of IT Professionals (CompTIA AITP)

CompTIA AITP is a professional association open to graduate students. This association offers an array of member benefits like mentorships, networking opportunities, and training events. Access to the association’s career resources helps prepare students for job advancement.

Technical Council on Software Engineering (TCSE)

As one of the few software engineering associations available, TCSE provides access to professional development opportunities in research and practice. As a member of TCSE, you will receive access to networking events and workshops. TCSE is the software engineering branch of the IEE Computer Society.

What is the job outlook for individuals with an online software engineering degree?

With a surge in demand for new technology, job growth for computer scientists and engineers is inevitable. Job growth is expected for software engineers as business and organizations engage in more data collection and cloud computing. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports employment of software engineers and developers is projected to grow 21 percent through 2028. This growth rate is much faster than the average expected for all other occupations.

The primary reason for the anticipated growth in software engineering and development is due to the large increase in demand for computer software. With a growing demand for new applications on tablets and smart phones, new software applications are constantly evolving and emerging. Due to this demand, more software engineers and developers are needed.

According to BLS, job prospects will be best for educated software engineers. Applicants with advanced degrees, such as an online master’s in software engineering, and knowledge of contemporary programming tools should see the best job prospects. Also, individuals with proficiency in more than one programming language should also expect good job prospects.

Another area of software engineering that should see significant job growth is computer and software security. Computer network protection is critical to businesses. Earning a specialization or taking additional classes that emphasize the protection of electronic infrastructure could also improve your job prospects.

CVO Staff
September 2020

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This concludes our list of the top 10 affordable online software engineering degree programs of 2021.

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