Top 10 Affordable Online Master’s Software Engineering Degree Programs 2022

In this article, we profile the top 10 affordable online software engineering degree programs.

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

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

We reviewed approximately 55 colleges and universities. 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
  • affordability

We selected schools with 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 for 2022.

#10 – Colorado Technical University

Online Master’s in Software Engineering

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Website

Logo of Colorado Technical University

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,312

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. The programs offer flexible coursework. 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
  • systems engineering methods

U.S. News and World Report ranks Colorado Tech among the top national universities.

#9 – University of Michigan

Online Master’s Software Engineering

Dearborn, Michigan

Website

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,510 (in-state) $25,552 (out of state)

The University of Michigan offers an affordable online master’s software engineering. This program is designed as a 30-credit-hour interdisciplinary degree. It is jointly administered by two departments:

  • Computer and Information Science
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

To be eligible for the degree, 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
  • software quality assurance

UM at Dearborn is a regionally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks 33rd among the best regional universities in the Midwest.

#8 – Washington State University

Online Master’s in Software Engineering

Pullman, Washington

Website

Logo of Washington State University

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,740 (in-state) $21,890 (out of state)

Washington State University offers an affordable online master’s in software engineering. It 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
  • software testing

WSU is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, WSU ranks #166 among the 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

Logo of Arizona State University

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,982

Arizona State University has one of the most affordable programs on our list. 30 credit hours and ten classes are required to complete the online master’s in software engineering. 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
  • software verification and validation

Recent graduates of the ASU program have landed career opportunities as:

  • computer system analysts
  • electronics engineering technicians
  • software developers

ASU is ranked by 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

Logo of West Virginia University for our ranking of Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,332 (in-state) $26,676 (out of state)

West Virginia University offers an affordable online software engineering master’s degree. The program costs just over $10,000 per year (in-state tuition). This program consists of 11 courses and 33 credits. It may be completed entirely online. Online students receive the same instruction from faculty 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
  • software project management

WVU is ranked by 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

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,964 (in-state) $18,990 (out of state)

University of Houston offers an online master’s in software engineering. The program is less than $9,500 per year (in-state). Students can earn a degree that makes them competitive in a fast-growing job market. Three online classes can be taken each semester. This allows students to earn their degree in just 15 months. These courses cover topics like:

  • agile software development
  • engineering software
  • software architecture
  • software engineering life cycle

Near the end of the program, students are also required to complete a capstone project or thesis. The 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

Logo of University of Maryland for our ranking of Top 10 Affordable Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,342 (in-state) $12,132 (out of state)

University of Maryland offers an online master’s in software engineering program. It is one of the few that cost less than $10,000 per year. The program is 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
  • software design and implementation

Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher at all times. They must fulfill degree requirements within five consecutive years. 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

Logo of Texas Tech University

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,518 (in-state) $17,698 (out of state)

Texas Tech offers one of the cheapest software engineering programs on our list. It is 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
  • systems theory

A bachelor’s degree in computer science is recommended for admission. Related coursework may be accepted, including degrees in:

  • math
  • statistics
  • computer science

U.S. News and World Report ranks TTU the 218th best national university and 105th top public school.

#2 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in Software Engineering

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

Logo of East Carolina University for our ranking of Best Online Master's in Software Engineering

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,495 (in-state) $20,743 (out of state)

The software engineering master’s program at ECU costs less than $7,500 (in-state). It is an industry-recognized program. It is considered one of the best online software engineering degrees. To be admitted, applicants must provide:

  • satisfactory grades
  • scores on either the MAT or GRE
  • 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
  • software project management

ECU ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. 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

Logo of Kennesaw State University

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,224 (in-state) $21,174 (out of state)

Kennesaw State University’s has an online software engineering program. For Georgia residents, is the most affordable master’s degree on our list. For approximately $7,350 per year, students may earn a top-ranked engineering degree. Affordability is not the only thing that makes KSU a great choice. 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
  • software testing and verification

Kennesaw State ranks with U.S. News and World Report as a top national institution. It was also named the 72nd most innovative school in the country.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with an online master’s in software engineering?

Those with a degree in software engineering work in various industries, such as:

  • aerospace
  • cybersecurity
  • government
  • health care administration
  • intelligence
  • nonprofit
  • telecommunications

They are 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
  • carry out duties designed to meet the needs of clients

Senior 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 create and modify computer applications that perform desired tasks. 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 master’s in software engineering varies by program and institution. However, the average completion time for an online master’s in software engineering 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 master’s in software engineering?

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 an online master’s in software engineering degree is an earned bachelor’s degree, preferably in computer science or other related degrees, 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 students working towards a master’s in software engineering. 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 those with computer science and engineering degrees 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 the large increase in demand for computer software. With a growing demand for new applications on tablets and smartphones, 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

Related:

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