Professionals who are interested in earning an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree are in good company. These professionals are among the pioneers that are changing the face of society as a whole; from social media to productivity apps, messaging tools to video call sites, the field is changing how Americans shop, interact with each other and even work. So it should come as no surprise that as the field develops, so too does the demand for high-quality professionals.

Software engineers work incredibly hard and most will never have the time to commit to a traditional on-campus program. They can, however, commit to an online program with few residency requirements, that offer live courses at different times to accommodate all working adults, and can be completed in two years or less. And because software engineering programs are now finding online homes, it has become important to dedicate an updated ranking to this very field.

Methodology

This ranking began with research that compiled data from the National Center of Education Statistics and its publicly available College Navigator database. The result was an initial pool of 35 schools that met the base requirement for online Master’s in Software Engineering degrees. Each program was then independently reviewed and ranked based on several factors, including tuition rates and estimated time to completion rates. The final 25 programs, which are listed below, were chosen based on the total estimated in-state graduate tuition cost for the program.

Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Software Engineering

25. Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, New Jersey

Online Master’s in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $46,563

Stevens Institute of Technology confers an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that will provide students with an advanced foundation in the software development lifecycle process. This program is available to students from different backgrounds; a background in software engineering is not required for access into the program. Students will find that this degree is offered 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. All courses are housed within the school’s learning management system. Classes are offered asynchronously or synchronously and in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will be expected to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, a two-step capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Software Requirements Analysis and Engineering, Agile Methods for Software Development Method, and Software Architecture and Component-Based Design.

24. DePaul University

Chicago, Illinois

Online Master of Science of Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $44,200

Students at DePaul University will be offered the chance to complete an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that can be completed in two years. Developed by experienced professionals, the curriculum focuses on the skills and tools professionals will need in order to become competent leaders in the field. There are four concentrations available with this degree: Entrepreneurship and Technology Leadership, Real-Time Game Systems, Software Architecture, and Software Development. This program is offered entirely online with no residency requirements. Students can enroll during any one of the four start dates during the year. Students will find that their classes are offered asynchronously or synchronously in 16-week sessions, meaning that if they take a full course load every term, they will graduate in two years. This degree requires 52 credit hours of coursework, the Software Engineering Studio, and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Gaming and Entertainment Technology, User Centered Development, and Software Engineering Research.

23. Regis University

Denver, Colorado

Online Master of Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $41,004

Regis University confers an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that is available to be completed in two years. Students interested in this program may also be curious about the related stand-alone graduate certificates available within this degree; these include Software Engineering, Information Assurance Policy Management, and Enterprise Java Software Development. This program is offered entirely online; there are no residency requirements. Students will take all of their courses through the school’s learning management system; courses are offered primarily live, but on-demand classes also exist. This school follows the accelerated eight-week format, making it possible for students to complete this degree in two years when they study part-time. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a culminating experience of their choice, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Advanced Enterprise Java Software Development, Enterprise Android Software Development, and Web Software Development.

22. Southern Methodist University

Dallas, Texas

Online Master of Science with a Major in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $40,500

Students at Southern Methodist University are offered the chance to complete an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree. This program is open to students with a work or education background in software engineering, computer science, or a related field. This degree comes with six concentrations: Computer Architecture, Database Management Systems, Data Structures and Algorithms, Networks and Distributed Systems, and Programming Languages. Students will complete their degree entirely online through the use of the school’s virtual portal; courses are delivered through the asynchronous or synchronous formats and in the traditional 16-week academic term format. It is possible for a student to complete this degree in just two years when they study full-time. Graduation from this program requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a culminating experience of their choice, and a comprehensive exit survey. Sample courses include Object-Oriented Analysis and Design, Advanced Application Programming, and User Interface Design.

21. Brandeis University

Waltham, Massachusetts

Online Master of Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $35,370

Brandeis University provides professionals with an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that was designed to be completed in two years. This degree is offered 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. Students will engage in their coursework online through the school’s learning management system. Sessions on the platform are offered live or on-demand and are held in 16-week sessions. It is possible for a student to take three courses every term and graduate in less than two years. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, the Software Engineering Studio capstone, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Advanced Software Development Methodologies, Foundations of Software Quality Assurance, and Computer Communication: Redefining the Internet.

20. Penn State World Campus

University Park, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $35,100

The accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that is delivered by Penn State World Campus is a program that is perfect for professionals with a background in the field. This degree focuses students on learning how to develop their own software products and services, providing them with a foundation in the business of the field. This is a 100 percent online, cohort program; students will take all of their courses, which can be found on school’s virtual portal, along with the same group of classmates for the duration of the program. Courses are offered live and in the evenings or on the weekends in order to ensure that students are able to attend class. Sessions last for seven weeks each, providing students with a part-time plan of study that can be completed in two years. This degree requires that students complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a software project. Sample courses include Database Design Concepts, Software Systems Architecture, and Applied Human-Computer Interaction.

19. Harvard Extension School

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Online Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies: Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $33,000

The Harvard Extension School is a great opportunity for professionals who are interested in building their own accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree. The program was developed to ensure that professionals have an understanding of both current and emerging technologies as well as learning the ability to adapt those technologies into their work. This program is offered as a low-residency program; students will need to take at least one course on campus to fulfill the residency requirement. All other courses can be completed online as live sessions through the school’s learning management system. All sessions last for 15 weeks. Students will be able to graduate in two years when they choose to take on a full course load every term. The program requires that students complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or team project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Web GIS: Technologies and Applications, Software testing and Test-Driven Development, and Introduction to Game Development.

18. Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Online Master of Science in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Tuition: $29,520

Nova Southeastern University’s online software engineering master’s program requires 36 credit hours of coursework. The program focuses on software engineering foundations, which includes topics such as human-computer interaction, testing, and development to name a few. Students in this program will incorporate practice with theory in a learning experience that builds skills that will apply to the future job market. Sample courses includes Software Requirements Engineering, Object-Oriented Design,  and Interaction Design.

17. Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas

Online Master of Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $28,300

Kansas State University confers an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that was designed to prepare students for the different applications the field will have on computer software. This degree is available entirely online; there are no residency requirements. All courses are housed in the school’s online learning management system and are accessed as either live or on-demand sessions that follow the traditional 16-week academic term format. The program requires that students choose a specialty sequence; these include Bioinformatics, Data Mining and Information Retrieval, Distributed Systems, Intelligent Systems, Security, and Web-based Systems. Students will be able to complete this degree in two years should they choose a full-time plan of study. This degree requires that students complete 33 credit hours and the Master’s Project for graduation. Sample courses include Software Testing Techniques, Introduction to Genomics and Bioinformatics, and Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition.

16. Colorado Technical University

Denver, Colorado

Online Master of Science in Computer Science, Concentration in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $28,080

Students at Colorado Technical University will find a fantastic accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree waiting for them. This degree focuses on advanced software engineering aspects and is perfect for professionals interested in upward mobility within the field. This degree is available 100 percent online; courses are delivered through the school’s virtual portal and feature live or on-demand sessions that last for 16 weeks. It is possible for a professional who studies full-time and every term to graduate within two years. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework, the Computer Science capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Computer Systems Security Foundations, Software Systems Engineering Process, and Computer Systems Architecture.

15. Mercer University

Atlanta, Georgia

Online Master of Science in Engineering, Concentration in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $27,000

Mercer University delivers an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that will prepare students to be problem-solvers in the field. This degree is offered entirely online; there are no residency requirements. Students will instead complete all of their coursework through the school’s learning management system. The platform provides classes that are offered on-demand or as live sessions; live sessions are always held in the evenings or on the weekends in order to accommodate working professionals. The program adheres to the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will be able to complete this degree in two years or less when they choose to pursue a full-time plan of study. More information on this degree, graduation requirements and a list of course offerings can be found by speaking the school’s graduate admissions office.

14. Stratford University

Falls Church, Virginia

Master of Science in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $26,730

The accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that is available from Stratford University was designed for professionals who are ready to move up in the field and will commit to a 15-month plan of study to accomplish that goal. This program offers students that chance to complete a 100 percent online course of study; there are no residency requirements. The program lives on the school’s virtual portal; this is the platform that provides students access with asynchronous or synchronous sessions, simulated labs, and more. Courses are held in sessions that last between five to ten weeks, making it possible to complete this degree in 15 months just by taking two courses every term. Students will find that this degree’s graduation requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework, the Software Engineering Capstone, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Database Systems Technology, Ethics and Professional Practice Issues in Information Technology, and Object-Oriented Analysis and Design.

13. Lewis University

Romeoville, Illinois

Online Master of Science in Computer Science, Concentration in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Tuition: $25,440

Lewis University confers an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that was designed as a practical degree for professionals who are already in the field or who have just completed their undergraduate degree. This program is offered entirely online; there are no residency requirements. Students will participate in their asynchronous or synchronous courses through the school’s learning management system. Sessions for this degree last approximately 16 weeks; students who study full-time will graduate in two years. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 32 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Large-Scale Data Storage Systems, Pervasive Application Development, and Programming for Digital Forensics.

12. The University of Michigan at Dearborn

Dearborn, Michigan

Online Master of Science in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $24,450

Students enrolled at the University of Michigan at Dearborn are offered the opportunity to complete an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree in two years. This degree was developed for software engineering professionals and provides them with a wide range of electives and application courses that will enable them to create a specialization that they tailor to their specific needs. The curriculum is held entirely online and students will never have to attend campus. Courses are delivered through the school’s virtual portal; courses are found as asynchronous or synchronous sessions that last for 16 weeks. Students can expect to complete this degree in two years or less when they take on a full course load every term. This degree requires that students complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a project or a thesis, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Advanced Software Techniques in Engineering Applications and Principles of Social Network Science.

11. Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

Online Master of Science in Computer Science and Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $20,684

Auburn University confers an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that will meet the needs of software professionals, regardless if they are looking for a practical or research-based degree. This school confers two different graduate degrees, both of which can be found online. The first is the non-thesis Master of Software Engineering, a program dedicated to the practical application of the field. The second is the Master of Science in Computer Science and Software Engineering, a research-based degree aimed at researchers and academics. Both degrees require a student meet the prerequisite course requirements prior to entering the program; students will note that an undergraduate degree in software engineering is not required for admission. This program is offered entirely online; courses can be found through the school’s learning management system and are delivered as asynchronous or synchronous courses that are held in 16-week sessions. Degree requirements include 33 credit hours of coursework and the Master of Software Engineering Design Project.

10. The University of Houston at Clear Lake

Houston, Texas

Online Master of Science in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $19,428

The accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that is available from the University of Houston at Clear Lake was created to prepare students for a career in the field. This program is currently open to professionals who have either a work or education background in computer science or software engineering. The plan of study is delivered three courses every term with a graduation timeline of 15 months. Students will engage in their asynchronous or synchronous coursework online through the school’s virtual portal; courses are offered in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will be required to complete 37 credit hours of coursework and the Software Engineering Capstone project for those who take this option. Sample courses include Gaming Software Development with Service Oriented Architecture, Requirements Engineering, and Software Design Patterns.

9. West Virginia University

Morgantown, West Virginia

Online Master of Science in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $19,050

West Virginia University delivers an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that can be earned in just two years. This program was designed to be completed in one year and has no residency requirements. Students will note that this is a part-time program; it is possible to earn access to a full-time program of study but this requires approval from the head of the department. All courses for this degree are available asynchronously or synchronously in a 16-week academic term format. Students will be able to complete this degree in two years with full-time study. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Software Analysis and Design, Introduction to Object-Oriented Design, and Software Project Management.

8. The University of Alabama at Huntsville

Huntsville, Alabama

Online Master of Science in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Tuition: $17,720

Students at the University of Alabama at Huntsville confers an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree for professionals who are ready to participate in advanced education within the field. This program has been developed to be a wholly online course of study; there are no residency requirements. Students will be able to take on a concentration in Cyber Security to help them meet the coursework requirements. This degree is housed in the school’s learning management system; courses are offered on-demand or in live sessions that are offered in the evenings or on weekends to accommodate all working professionals. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours, a thesis, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Software Engineering Process, Advanced Computer Systems Architecture, and Advanced Operating Systems.

7. Washington State University

Seattle, Washington

Online Master’s Degree in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $17,457

Washington State University’s accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree is the perfect degree for working professionals who are interested in an advanced degree. This course of study can be completed in two years or less when students choose to take on a full course load every term. The entire program is offered 100 percent online and has no residency requirements. All coursework is available through the school’s online learning management system and is offered in asynchronous or synchronous sessions that last 16 weeks. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone course, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Software Design and Architecture, Advanced Algorithms, and Project Management.

6. The University of Maryland University College

University Park, Maryland

Online Master of Science in Information Technology with a Specialization in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $16,488

The accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that is available from the University of Maryland University College is a unique degree for professionals. This program is based in information technology that offers a specialization in software engineering, creating a curriculum that provides students with insight into how the entire development process works. The program is offered entirely online with no residency requirements. Students complete all of their coursework through the school’s virtual portal; sessions are offered asynchronously or synchronously in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will be able to graduate from this degree in two years when they choose to study full-time. This program requires that students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, the Software Engineering Project capstone, and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Advanced Software Design and Implementation, Modern Software Methodologies, and Relational Database Systems.

5. Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Online Master of Science in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $15,890

Texas Tech University is home to an excellent accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree. This program is offered entirely online to students who hold an undergraduate degree in software engineering or a related field; there are no residency requirements. Students will find that their courses are accessed through the school’s learning management system and are delivered as live or on-demand sessions that last for 16 weeks. It is possible to complete this degree in two years or less when students choose to study full-time. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework as well as a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Systems Theory, Parallel Processors and Processing, and Software Project Management.

4. North Dakota State University

Fargo, North Dakota

Online Master of Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Tuition: $14,270

The affordable accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree from North Dakota State University was designed for working professionals to have a two-year plan of study that will fit into their lifestyle. This degree is offered entirely online; courses are delivered asynchronously or synchronously and follow the traditional 16-week format. Students will also need to take on a two-term final project, one in which they must present their project to the department. Other degree requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Database Systems, Software Testing and Debugging, and Development of Distributed Systems.

3. Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, Georgia

Online Master of Science in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $11,490

Kennesaw State University delivers an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that is offered to working software professionals. This degree is open to all students; however, prerequisite courses must be completed before full enrollment into the program. Students will find that this degree is available 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. Courses are delivered through the school’s learning management system and are offered as live or on-demand sessions that last 16 weeks. It is possible to graduate from this program in two years. This degree requires that students complete a minimum of 39 credit hours of coursework, a master’s thesis or capstone course, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Software Architecture, Formal Methods in Software Engineering, and Software Project Planning and Management.

2. California State University at Fullerton

Fullerton, California

Online Master of Science in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $10,410

Students who are interested in the accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree will find what they are looking for at California State University at Fullerton. This degree was designed specifically for working professionals in the field and can be completed in two years or less with full-time study. As a 100 percent online course of study, students can expect to complete all of their coursework online through the school’s virtual portal. All courses are delivered either live or on demand and in 16-week sessions. More information on this program, graduation requirements and course offerings can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

1. East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

Online Master of Science in Software Engineering

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Software Engineering Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $7,478

East Carolina University provides students with an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree that was developed to be completed in two years or less. This degree does not have any residency requirements and is instead completed entirely online. Students will attend class and turn in assignments through the school’s learning management system. Courses are either offered on-demand, enabling students to choose when and where they study or live in sessions during the weekend or in the evenings to accommodate working professionals. All courses follow the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework, a project or a thesis if they have opted out of the coursework option, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Software Project Management, Foundations of Software Testing, and Software Engineering Foundations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Affordable Accelerated Online Master’s in Software Engineering?

  • Applications Developer
  • Penetration Tester
  • Database Administrator
  • Forensic Computer Analyst
  • Software Architect
  • Automotive Software Engineer
  • Web Developer
  • Systems Software Developer
  • Information Security Specialist
  • Core Java Software Engineer
  • Vice President of Engineer
  • Software Program Developer
  • Cyber Security Analyst
  • Senior Data Scientist
  • Video Game Developer

How Much Can You Earn in this Field?

The median salary for software engineers is $98,260. The salary range for this field is from $69,000 to $150,000. Professionals will notice that metropolitan cities, such as Los Angeles and Baltimore, pay employees in this field more than rural areas. Professionals will also note that there is a strong chance that bonus forms of compensation, such as commissions and contract incentives, may also exist outside of their annual salary.

Professionals will find that entry-level positions in the field often begin around $70,000 and may reach upwards of $120,000 when they reach the late-career stage. However, it should be noted that the salary range for each specific job within the field varies by industry and sector; video game developers, for instance, may make more money than mobile application developers and so on.

Another factor to note is the type and level of certification or endorsement that a professional has. These qualifications have a direct impact on how much money they can make in the industry. Depending on their specific career field, they may make about $5,000 to $10,000 more every year based on just one qualification. Therefore, students should seriously consider programs that offer access to these certifications.

What are the Various Disciplines of Software Engineering?

Software engineering is itself a sub-discipline of engineering. It is the application, maintenance and analysis of software to networks and hardware. The major disciplines in this field include engineering, computer science, programming, science, mathematics, design, analysis, development, and coding.

Professionals in this field will also come across the opportunity to specialize in the field. This is commonplace as the field is large and encompasses over a dozen sub-disciplines. Professionals generally pick one specialization at the undergraduate level and develop their skills in that area over time, which then translates into their graduate education.

Samples of concentrations in this field include software maintenance, software development process, software design, software programming, and software engineering management. These are some of the most common disciplines; however, all schools may provide concentrations that they feel would best fit with the programs on offer.

Software engineering informs nearly every technological advancement that has happened in the last two decades. From building up the internet to creating smartphones, none of it would be operational without the software engineering that preceded it. And while some professionals make their mark in the field with just an undergraduate degree, it might be useful for some of them to consider earning an accelerated online Master’s in Software Engineering degree; it may just offer them the career opportunities that they have always wanted.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Software Engineering Online.