online phd in computer engineering

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

An online Ph.D. in Computer Science degree used to be difficult for a professional to complete, but with the advancements in technology and the Internet, it has become an easier goal to obtain. Professionals and business owners understand the need for this program to become available online and so most schools have made it priority to offer this program online. That’s why rankings like this one need to be continually updated; students need the most up-to-date information in order to make a decision.

Computer science professionals who are looking for an online degree have unique requirements. This degree must be offered partially or fully online in order to be worth the time and effort of a profession. They must also be an affordable option; students will not be interested in expensive programs that take too long to complete. This updated ranking of programs shows the best degrees available for computer science professionals all across the country with a variety of features that will make them perfect for any doctoral candidate.


This ranking was made possible by the research that was conducted through the use of the National Center for Educational Statistics and its publicly available College Navigator database. The initial group of 15 schools was identified simply by searching for online Ph.D. in Computer Science programs. The programs were then individually reviewed based on a variety of factors. The final 10 were chosen based on the school’s estimated in-state graduate tuition rate for the entire program. They are listed below in descending order.

Columbia University



TUITION: $60,540

Columbia University confers an affordable online Ph.D. in Computer Science degree that was developed exclusively for Columbia M.S. Computer Science professionals only. This is a hybrid program; regular attendance for core courses is required for graduation from this program. Students will note that the best way to obtain admittance into this program is through the Columbia Master of Science in Computer Science degree program; all other students will be considered on a conditional basis. This doctoral program requires the submission of a thesis and an oral defense of the thesis; this is completed on campus and is required for graduation. Students will note that this program covers the most advanced topics available in the subject and will fulfill the terminal education requirements for the program. More information on this degree, its graduation requirements and a list of its course offerings can be completed by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office and presenting a student’s Columbia University ID.

Colorado Technical University



TUITION: $59,800

The affordable Ph.D. in Computer Science online degree that is available from Colorado Technical University was developed as a low-residency program that will provide students with an expert concentration in their chosen field of interest. This program has three concentrations: Big Data Analytics, Enterprise Information Systems, and Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. All three concentrations require a residency component that can be completed in short intensives that take place throughout a student’s course of study. Students will find that their curriculum choices depend on their chosen concentration, making the program tailored to fit their needs. All students will be expected to complete a minimum of 100 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, a series of doctoral symposiums, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Futuring and Innovation, Current Topics in Computer Science and Information Systems, and Principles of Research Methods and Design.

The University of Rhode Island



TUITION: $52,920

The University of Rhode Island confers an online Ph.D. in Computer Science that is research-based and can be completed in four years when students choose to study full-time. A part-time option is also available but may take up to six years to complete. Students have no concentrations to choose from; instead, a group of directed electives will serve to tailor a student’s area of interest. This degree focuses on the intricacies of computer science, from web development to network security. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 90 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, and a series of comprehensive written and oral exit exams. Sample coursework includes Survey of Computer Science, Introductory Topics in Computing, and Fundamentals of Programming Languages.

The University of Idaho



TUITION: $38,480

The University of Idaho offers students the chance to complete an online Ph.D. in Computer Science that will provide students with a research degree that will enable them to reach the heights of their career. This is a terminal degree that will enable students to take their previous work experience and combine it with advanced theories and concepts that they may not have had access to yet. This program was developed for professionals in the field that need access to a 100 percent online program; there are no residency requirements. This program requires a minimum of 90 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, and a comprehensive final written and oral exit exam. More information on this degree, graduation requirements and a list of course offerings can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

Aspen University



TUITION: $29,900

Aspen University confers an online Ph.D. in Computer Science that was developed for professionals who understand the need for advanced knowledge in this field. This degree was built to be completed 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Students will complete all of their work online, engaging in a curriculum that focuses on the most advanced skills and subjects in the field. The curriculum features courses on the entire field of computer science, from algorithm design to database construction. The degree requires that students complete a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Managerial Economics and Business Theory, Techniques and Interpretation for Advanced Statistical Research, and Operations and Supply Chain Management.

Nova Southeastern University



TUITION: $28,736

The online Ph.D. in Computer Science that is available from NOVA Southeastern University was developed for professionals who have the commitment and passion to complete a terminal degree in the subject. Students will find that the degree requires a great deal of academic and personal rigor. This degree requires a variety of defenses, from the dissertation proposal to its final defense. Therefore, it is best suited to professionals who have a vested interest in the field and who are committed to completing their education within. This is a tailored degree; students will be able to choose their own focus and core requirements. All students will need to complete a minimum of 64 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, and a comprehensive final exam. Sample courses include Knowledge Discovery in Databases, Database Management Systems, and Secure Systems Analysis and Design.

There has never been a better time to consider a high-level computer science job. Scholars in Computer and Information Research Science not only operate at the cutting edge of innovation, are engaging in a field that defines innovation with every new idea. Online computer science Ph.D. programs are making the Mathematicians and Engineers of yesterday and rebranding them as the data architects and software creators of today. A doctorate in one of the many areas of computer science will establish any scholar as an expert on their particular focus.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that the field will grow by 5,400 jobs by the year 2026. Although this seems like a small amount, given that the field is so small, this accounts for an up to 19% growth. For those who wonder if getting an online Ph.D. in computer science is worth it, the BLS data seems to point to a resounding yes. People who go into areas like software publishing and research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences average a salary of $130,000 per year, nearly 500% the national average salary. For workers in the computer systems design industry and the federal government, the figure is closer to $112 thousand. Post-secondary educators and researchers average closer to $80 thousand according to BLS.


Doctoral degrees in Computer Science are in demand more now than ever before. For the Ph.D. seeker who is also hoping for a fully online educational experience are in luck, because more schools are offering this option every year. The following top 20 Online Doctoral Programs in Computer Science are the best examples of this option available. The degree options include Ph.D. programs in Computer Science, Computer Science and Engineering, Informatics, Information Science, Intelligent Systems Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, a Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Computer Science or in Information Systems, and one option for a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) with an Emphasis in Data Analytics from Grand Canyon University. Many schools offer an embedded master’s degree program, but some require graduate courses already underway before admission. Some institutions, including UPenn, Johns Hopkins, and Columbia promote the option of being funded with the right combination of grades and prior coursework, and nearly all of these programs require recent completion of the GRE.

Many of these programs focus exclusively on research in the field of computer science and take the innovative aspects of the field very seriously when advising on doctoral research. For the subject matter, the online can also be hands-on, as many of the programs are project-based and problem-solving focused. The Schools were evaluated for this ranking based on their affordability, reputation, and track record. The metrics are:

  • Cost (from IPEDS data)
  • Reputation (from Niche rating)
  • ROI (from College Scorecard data)

Just like your own education, these programs were born out of a commitment to developing the field of computer science beyond what was ever believed to be possible, by pushing the limits of what has ever come before.

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