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Best Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering 2021

Best Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering 2021

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Software engineering degrees can lead to many professional opportunities working with technology.

Nearly all businesses and industries use computers in some way, and they all need software developers and computer programmers to help ensure efficiency and security.

Students who earn a degree for software engineering enjoy strong job prospects. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects software developer positions to increase 22% between 2019-2029. These developers earn a median annual salary of over $107,510.

This guide ranks the top online bachelor's in software engineering degrees in the country. It also covers important information for prospective students, including common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.

Top Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Programs 2021

#1 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA
#2 Florida International University Miami, FL
#3 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
#4 Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
#5 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
#6 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
#7 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
#8 Hodges University Naples, FL
#9 Husson University Bangor, ME
#10 Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud, MN

What Is an Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Degree?

Bachelor's degrees in software engineering train students in programming languages, computer networks, coding, security, and software design. The curriculum builds the technical skills necessary to find and implement solutions to technological problems. Degree-seekers also learn to consider aesthetic factors, usability, and purpose when designing project-specific software and programs.

Bachelor's degrees in software engineering train students in programming languages, computer networks, coding, security, and software design.

Students with problem-solving, communication, and analytical thinking skills thrive in software engineering programs. They also need a love of learning, since the development of new technologies makes software engineering a constantly changing field.

Choosing an Online Program

When researching prospective online bachelor's in software engineering degrees, students should consider factors like cost, concentration options, and course delivery formats. For instance, some programs offer synchronous courses, which require set meeting times, while others use an asynchronous format, which allows students to access course material at any time. Learners who work full time may prefer the flexibility of asynchronous courses.

How To Choose Your Major

What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Software Engineering Program?

Courses vary by program, but bachelor's in software engineering students typically study network security, computer architecture, and software. They may also complete projects related to programming or software development. In addition to major coursework, students complete general education and elective courses.

Software Engineering Curriculum

  • Principles of Programming: This software engineering class explores foundational programming concepts, including programming languages, memory management, parameter passing, and algorithm development. Courses often focus on object-oriented programming and train students to identify and fix software issues.
  • User Interface Design: In this course, students learn to create efficient and user-friendly interfaces, with attention to visual elements like typography and color. Students may build trial versions and test products for usability and safety.
  • Data Analytics: This course examines how to gather, interpret, organize, and analyze data. Learners study concepts like user approval, efficiency, and risk management, which can help them build and improve software.

Software Engineering Careers

Graduates with a bachelor's in software engineering degree can pursue careers in any field that uses software or computer systems. Software engineering programs also build problem-solving, data management, and communication skills applicable to non-technical roles, like human resource manager, executive, or marketing specialist. Students should note, though, that these careers may require additional credentials, such as advanced degrees, certifications, or professional experience.

Software Developers

Software developers create software and build network systems for companies. They may write software, suggest improvements for current technologies, and perform maintenance operations to keep programs running smoothly. These professionals need a bachelor's degree in software engineering or a related area and strong problem-solving and communication skills.

Median Annual Salary

$107,510

Projected Growth Rate

22%

Computer Hardware Engineers

These engineers create hardware like routers, circuit boards, and processors. They must test these projects for efficiency and make changes when necessary. They also consult software developers and adjust organizational technology choices as new software surfaces. Professionals typically need at least a bachelor's degree and strong critical thinking, programming, and communication skills.

Median Annual Salary

$117,220

Projected Growth Rate

2%

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write computer code using programming languages like Java and C++. They test programs and correct codes if problems surface. They may also perform software development tasks. These professionals typically need a bachelor's degree in software engineering or a related field. Companies may also look for work experience and certifications in programming languages or products. Programmers need strong problem-solving and troubleshooting skills.

Median Annual Salary

$86,550

Projected Growth Rate

-9%

Software Engineering Professional Organizations

Software engineering students and professionals should take advantage of professional organizations. Many organizations offer benefits like networking, professional development, and continuing education opportunities. Organizations may also offer exclusive job boards, professional discounts, and access to industry publications.

  • IAENG Society of Software Engineering Established in 1968, this nonprofit organization has over 140,000 members. Members can access online journals, workshops, and international conferences that relate to computer science. The website also offers resources on topics like data mining, ethics, and scholarships.
  • IEEE Computer Society Members of IEEE have access to over 780,000 articles through the group's digital library as well as domestic and international conferences. They can also pursue certifications for associate software developers, professional software developers, and professional software engineering masters.
  • Association for Software Engineering Excellence This association hosts meetings, conferences, and symposiums that may count toward continuing education hours. The group is affiliated with the Software Process Improvement Network (SPIN), which offers additional conferences and is linked to organizations like the American Society for Quality and the International Standards Organization.

The Best Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Programs

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4

Arizona State University-Skysong 

Scottsdale, AZ Apply Now

About this school

Starting in a four-room classroom with 33 students, ASU opened its doors for the first time in 1886. Every year, ASU graduates over 27,000 students.

ASU's online bachelor of science in software engineering leads students toward careers in application development, database administration, software development, and more.

The project-based curriculum covers skills such as computer and operating system management, database management, programming fundamentals, and more. This program teaches students about building code, cybersecurity concepts, and programming languages.

Students need 120 credits to graduate.

Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
14%
Percent Receiving Loans
55%
Online Enrollment
97%
5

Davenport University 

Grand Rapids, MI Apply Now

About this school

After launching in 1866 with 16 students, DU is now Michigan's second-largest private, nonprofit college or university. DU currently serves over 6,500 students.

DU's bachelor of science in computer information systems offers a specialty in secure software development. Courses help students develop skills in computation, in-demand programming languages, and development through numerous hands-on learning opportunities.

Students need 120 credits to graduate. DU guarantees employment for qualified graduates of this program.

Davenport University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
45%
Percent Receiving Loans
59%
Online Enrollment
73%
6

Oregon State University 

Corvallis, OR Apply Now

About this school

Since opening its doors in 1868, OSU has grown to offer its first distance learning program in 1982 and a fully online program in 1996. Today, OSU serves nearly 33,000 students.

OSU's bachelor of science degree in computer science introduces students to problem-solving for software engineering, mobile and web development, and computer systems. Coursework helps students acquire skills in coordinating cloud data centers, programming customer sensor boards, and more.

To graduate, students must complete 180 quarter credits and a capstone senior design project.

Oregon State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Graduation Rate
67%
Percent Receiving Loans
43%
Online Enrollment
43%
7

University of Illinois at Springfield 

Springfield, IL Apply Now

About this school

Established in 1969, UIS has a 746-acre campus serving over 4,000 students. UIS currently offers 52 online degree programs.

UIS offers an online bachelor of science in computer science that familiarizes undergraduates with fundamental skills in data structures, programming languages, and software engineering.

Prerequisites for this 120 credit program include at least two semesters of Java programming experience and one semester each of calculus, finite or discrete math, and statistics. Students may take these courses at UIS.

University of Illinois Springfield is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
51%
Percent Receiving Loans
46%
Online Enrollment
68%
8

Hodges University 

Naples, FL Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1990, Hodges began teaching students online in 1995. Today, this private university serves nearly 2,000 students.

Hodges offers a bachelor of science in software development that prepares students for developing software, web projects, and games. Students hone their skills in key programming languages such as C++, HTML, and Javascript while also learning to create an ideal user experience.

Prior to graduation, students may take industry certification exams at a student rate and for course credit.

Hodges University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Graduation Rate
22%
Percent Receiving Loans
56%
Online Enrollment
92%
9

Husson University 

Bangor, ME Apply Now

About this school

Since 1898, Husson has offered a small college experience with hands-on learning opportunities. Today, Husson serves over 3,000 undergraduate students.

Husson's online bachelor of science in integrated technology - software development gives students skills in creating, developing, and modifying enterprise software. Graduates of this 121 to 122 credit program have expertise in areas ranging from enterprise application development to building direct hardware interfaces.

Full-time students transferring 60-90 credits may complete the degree in as little as 12 months.

Husson University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Graduation Rate
55%
Percent Receiving Loans
78%
Online Enrollment
50%
10

Saint Cloud State University 

Saint Cloud, MN Apply Now

About this school

Established in 1869, SCSU offers 200 undergraduate and 60 graduate programs to more than 14,000 students annually.

SCSU's bachelor of science in software engineering degree teaches students through opportunities to complete hands-on projects that build critical thinking and problem-solving skills for game design, software cybersecurity, and app development.

This 122 credit program blends computing skills, engineering principles, project management, and software construction. Graduates possess a comprehensive understanding of the industry and preparation for working in the field or additional studies.

Saint Cloud State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
44%
Percent Receiving Loans
41%
Online Enrollment
31%
11

Saint Leo University 

Saint Leo, FL Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1889, Saint Leo holds the distinction of being Florida's oldest Catholic institute for higher education. The university enrolls over 2,000 students annually.

Saint Leo's bachelor of science in software engineering degree prepares undergraduates for the ever-evolving computer science industry. This 120 credit program includes courses in programming languages, systems analysis and design, and software architecture.

Graduates complete a capstone project to demonstrate their ability to apply software processes to real-world problems in the design, evaluation, implementation, and specification of computer-based programs.

Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Graduation Rate
45%
Percent Receiving Loans
55%
Online Enrollment
74%
12

Champlain College 

Burlington, VT Apply Now

About this school

Established in 1878 as a private, nonprofit college, Champlain offers over 60 online degree programs to approximately 2,500 students annually.

Champlain's online bachelor of science in software development is a 120 credit-hour program that prepares students for careers as computer programmers, software developers, and more. Courses include web page development, networking fundamentals, C++ programming, cybersecurity foundations, and more.

Students take most courses in seven-week terms. They can also earn specialized software development certificates in C++ programming and software development.

Champlain College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Graduation Rate
64%
Percent Receiving Loans
54%
Online Enrollment
52%
13

Limestone College 

Gaffney, SC Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1845 as Limestone College, this non-denominational Christian institution changed its name to Limestone University in July of 2020. Limestone currently serves over 2,000 students.

Limestone's bachelor of science in computer science - programming prepares students for careers as software engineers, program managers, application developers, and more. Students take asynchronous courses in programming, applications, and project management. Courses last eight weeks each.

This degree prepares undergraduates for information technology's key areas, including architecture, programming, security, and system administration. Students need 120 credits to graduate.

Limestone College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Graduation Rate
35%
Percent Receiving Loans
72%
Online Enrollment
56%
14

Bellevue University 

Bellevue, NE Apply Now

About this school

In 1966, BU launched as a nonprofit, open-access institute. It currently offers more than 75 online degree programs.

BU's 100% online bachelor of science in software development degree teaches students how to develop software applications, apply best practices for application design, evaluate software quality, and demonstrate effective teamwork.

Courses include database development and use, interactive development with JavaScript, DevOps, server-side development, and more. Graduates can also qualify for CompTIA+ certification upon completion of the program's 127 credits.

Students may transfer up to 60 credits, or a completed associate's degree. Active duty military and their spouses qualify for reduced tuition.

Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
0%
Percent Receiving Loans
40%
Online Enrollment
85%
15

Western Governors University 

Salt Lake City, UT Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1997, WGU is a nonprofit online university founded by U.S. governors. WGU currently serves nearly 120,000 students annually.

WGU's online bachelor of science in software development teaches students how to become enterprise-level C# or Java application developers at home.

The competency-based curriculum allows students to work at their own pace, and 60% of students graduate within 30 months. Students prepare for careers as computer programmers, computer software engineers, web developers, and more. This degree program also incorporates certifications for CompTIA A+, CompTIA Project+, and CIW User Interface Designer.

Western Governors University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Graduation Rate
29%
Percent Receiving Loans
55%
Online Enrollment
100%
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End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Programs

Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Bachelor's in Software Engineering Program?

Most bachelor's in software engineering programs take four years of full-time study to complete, though some programs offer accelerated timelines.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Software Engineering?

Graduates can pursue roles as software developers, computer programmers, computer systems analysts, and video game designers.

How Much Do You Make in Software Engineering?

Salaries vary by location, experience, and industry, but the BLS reports that software developers and computer hardware engineers both make median salaries of over $100,000 per year.

What Is Software Engineering?

Software engineering involves creating and altering computer software to perform specific actions or fulfill specific purposes, such as database management or communication. These professionals must ensure their final products are user-friendly and secure.

What Is a Bachelor's in Software Engineering?

A bachelor's in software engineering is a four-year degree that teaches students how to create and test software and computer programs across different industries. Students gain technological, problem-solving, and mathematical skills.

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