Types of Computer Science Degrees
The type of degree you pursue directly affects tuition costs. While prices vary by school, associate degrees and certification programs typically cost less than graduate or postgraduate degrees. The table below examines the most common types of computer science degrees and career paths associated with each.
Students with no prior knowledge of programming or computer science learn the fundamentals of computing and information technology, including programming languages, operating system design, and software engineering.
- Development Team Member
- Applications Developer
- Associate Degree
In addition to programming techniques and languages, networking maintenance, and hardware, coursework covers mathematical concepts integral to the field of computer science. Students develop web pages and apps.
- Computer User Support Specialist
- Web Developer
- Bachelor's Degree
Bachelor’s programs offer in-depth instruction in network architecture, software construction, data structures, and algorithms. Some programs allow students to pursue specific learning tracks, such as engineering or security.
- Software Applications Developer
- Network Systems Administrator
- Business Intelligence Analyst
- Master’s Degree
Graduate programs explore advanced concepts in computer science and introduce topics such as artificial intelligence, systems security, and machine learning. Students may be required to complete a thesis or final project.
- Software Engineer
- Network Architect
- Information Technology Auditor
- Doctorate Degree
PhD candidates must demonstrate competency in multiple subfields of computer science. In addition to completing advanced coursework, they must defend a dissertation and/or pass a final exam.
- Senior Software Engineer
- College Professor
- Research Scientist
How Much Does a Computer Science Degree Cost?
A program’s cost depends on more than the type of degree awarded. Students seeking a traditional, on-campus college experience pay more than those pursuing online education, particularly at for-profit colleges. These institutions, which operate like businesses, are known for frequent tuition hikes and higher fees. Like private colleges, the bulk of for-profit institutions’ funding comes from tuition. Public schools, on the other hand, run mainly on federal contributions. Grants and endowments allow public and nonprofit schools to keep tuition rates steady and relatively low. Additionally, some public universities offer distance learning programs, which can often be completed much more quickly than traditional programs.
Financing Your Computer Science Degree
Comparing financial aid options — such as grants, loans, and scholarships — for computer science programs can be overwhelming. Completing the FAFSA helps you determine what kind and how much federal financial aid you are eligible to receive. Many students cover remaining expenses with private loans, although high interest rates and inflexible repayment plans should make them a last resort.
Scholarships are the most economical way to finance your degree. There’s no limit to the number you can apply for and receive, and unlike student loans, they don’t need to be paid back. You are not limited to computer science scholarships, either. There are many types of scholarships, and you may be eligible for more than one.
Types of Scholarships
There is a scholarship for every student, regardless of academic or career aspirations. While some scholarships are awarded according to financial need, others are merit-based and reward exceptional academic, artistic, or athletic performance. Many colleges and universities offer institutional scholarships, but institutions such as nonprofit groups, religious denominations, private organizations, and city governments also grant awards. Research scholarships such as those listed below to discover all the options available to you.