Without a doubt, earning a Doctor of Computer Science degree is a smart move. Technological advances are a relevant component to our economic growth and security in today’s world. With either a Doctor of Computer Science or a Ph.D. in Computer Science degree, you will qualify for a career in academics, research, or any other upper-level non-academic position.

Online Doctor Computer Science - fact

As you make extraordinary contributions to the field of computer science, you can expect to be rewarded with a prestigious Ph.D. in Computer Science or a Doctor of Computer Science degree, your choice of career positions, a lucrative salary, job security, and the personal satisfaction of having made a positive impact in computer science to benefit the technology of tomorrow.

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Table of Contents

Methodology:

Our hope is that the following school suggestions offering the Best Online Doctor of Computer Science Degree Programs will assist you in pursuing an online educational program that fits your doctoral degree needs and career aspirations.

The below-referenced schools are all exceptional schools; therefore, Online-PhD-Degrees.com has chosen to rank these educators in random order, for all exhibit equivalent attributes, such as:

  • 100% Online Availability; flexible schedules,
  • Easy-to-use online Learning Management Systems and Credit transfers,
  • Financial Aid opportunities,
  • Offers in-depth instruction in topics related to Computer Science
  • Computer Science research, theory and dissertation process,
  • Internship and resident opportunities,
  • Provides innovative and cutting-edge developments in the field of Computer Science,
  • Curriculum designed to prepare students for management, leadership or career advancements in Computer Science,
  • Instruction by highly respected and experience Faculty members,
  • Offers concentrations within the field of Computer Science,
  • Hones critical-thinking, problem-solving, and research skills,
  • Properly Accredited.

To learn more, please see our Methodology page.

computer scientist at work

Best Online Doctor of Computer Science Degree Programs

ASPEN UNIVERSITY

ASPEN UNIVERSITY

PROGRAM STANDOUTS:

Aspen University was established in 1987 and offers many high-quality web-based programs at a reasonable cost to each student. One of their offerings is the Doctor of Computer Science degree which is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of theoretical concepts and practical applications of computer science in the context of advanced research and analysis methods.

It covers areas related to computer architecture, data science, and application designed. The doctoral curriculum combines fundamental research courses with core courses. Students will tackle courses like:

  • Algorithm Design,
  • Artificial Intelligence,
  • System Metrics,
  • Risk Analysis,
  • Doctoral Writing
  • Inquiry into Research and Technology
  • and Innovation Management, among others.

This degree will give students the advanced skills they need for a high-level career in computer science. 

CAMPUS LOCATION: Denver, CO

ACCREDITATION:

  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
    1101 17th Street NW, Suite 808
    Washington, D.C. 20036
    www.deac.org, 202 234 5100
  • Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
    One Dupont Center NW, Suite510 
    Washington, D.C. 20036
    202 915 0818

TYPES OF AID: Federal Grants, Direct Loan Program – Subsidized and Unsubsidized, Direct PLUS Loans, Standard Payment Plans, Tuition Deferment, Assistance and Discounts, Military Payment Options, and Affiliation Award Programs

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: You may submit your application online and there is no application fee. You will also need to submit your master’s degree program transcript reflecting at least a 3.0 GPA, resumé or curriculum vitae, and a statement of goals.

Students are expected to have appropriate knowledge of computer science before entering a doctorate degree program.

PROGRAM FLEXIBILITY: Aspen University offers a convenient way to earn your degree. All you need is a computer, a reliable Internet connection with the basic Microsoft software package. Each week you can log in to access your assignments, complete them and submit them with a push of a button.

You can contact professors by phone or email and interact with other students in the online classroom. You can participate in the online classroom several times a week whenever it is convenient for you.

Classes are 10-weeks in length. Doctoral programs require a minimum requirement of two years, with a maximum of ten years to complete.

DEGREE OUTCOMES: Upon graduation from Aspen, you will qualify for positions, such as a Computer Systems Engineer/Architect, Postsecondary Computer Science Teacher, or Computer and Information Systems Manager, among many others.

You will have the skills needed to evaluate existing technology and implement change where needed, in addition to, learning advanced skills in research and analytical thinking conducive for upper-level computer science careers.

Did You Know?
Since 1993, Aspen University has acquired national accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council (now known as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). It has since then offered a range of online certificates as well as online associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in three schools. This includes the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, School of Business and Technology, and School of Education. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT ASPEN UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF SCIENCE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAM

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NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

Nova Southeastern University

PROGRAM STANDOUTS:

Nova Southeastern University was founded in 1964, with a class of 17 students. NSU presently offers its students many doctoral blended learning opportunities. Their online Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Computer Science degree program focuses on coursework, original research, and then, of course, a dissertation.

The program gives students the capabilities needed to create innovative solutions to real-world challenges in computer science. The program’s distinction lies in its unique format which is a blend of both traditional and online instruction, allowing professionals the opportunity to pursue their graduate study while continuing to grow in their current career.

Courses offered include:

  • Theory and Principles of Programming,
  • Artificial Intelligence,
  • Data Communications,
  • Computer Networking
  • and Computer Graphics, among others.

Students with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science and other related fields are most suitable for this program.

The Ph.D. in Computer Science pathway covers computer science knowledge in:

  • programming languages,
  • operating systems,
  • software engineering,
  • database management systems,
  • and design & analysis of algorithms.

CAMPUS LOCATION: Davie, FL

ACCREDITATION:

  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago,
    IL 60604-1441, www.hlcommission.org  
    Ph: (800)621-7440

TYPES OF AID: Scholarships, Grants, Veterans Benefits, Student Employment, Federal Direct Loans, GRAD Plus Loans, Private Loans, Payment Plans

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Admission into Nova’s doctorate degree program can be competitive, therefore, even if you meet the requirements, you are not guaranteed admission. NSU will take into consideration your academic and professional accomplishments, as well as, your potential for success and contributions to the field of computer science.

To apply, you must have a GPA of at least 3.25 from an accredited master’s degree program with an appropriate major. Submit your application online with a non-refundable $50 application fee, appropriate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, your resumé or curriculum vitae reflecting your academic or professional history, in addition to, an essay.

Due to the extensive writing requirements in this program, please be confident in your writing abilities before signing on. Additional documentation may be required.

PROGRAM FLEXIBILITY: At NSU, the doctoral program is a “blended format” requiring on-campus attendance, in addition to, online distance learning. You can participate in online discussions and activities with faculty and fellow classmates.

DEGREE OUTCOMES: Let Nova Southeastern University help you achieve your dreams. As a graduate, you will be prepared for all types of upper-level computer science positions, in addition to, teaching and research opportunities.

Your degree will provide you with the advanced understanding required to excel in the field of computer science and you’ll learn the skills required to communicate professionally and ethically about all related topics. Your research and findings will help you and others advance in the world of today’s computer technology.

Did You Know?
At its current location, Nova Southeaster University’s campus roads were previously known as a naval training landing airfield during World War II. Rich with history, Nova Southeastern University’s motto encourages each student to engage, inspire and achieve.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAM

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NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY

NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY

PROGRAM STANDOUTS:

Northcentral University is an online university based in San Diego, CA. They specialize in the virtual learning experience. Northcentral takes pride in providing all students with a convenient and flexible format to suit everyone’s needs. Through their Ph.D. program, you will learn to focus on research and theory to contribute to the field of computer science.

Would you like to have a hand in solving the world’s problems? With an online Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science degree from Northcentral University, you are encouraged to combine your interest in technology with your own creativity.

Secure a lucrative future for yourself, as well as, develop innovative technology for society’s future. Prepare to delve deep into perfecting your expertise in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, software engineering, data mining, in addition to, the analysis of advanced computing problems.

The cutting-edge curriculum is designed and taught by highly experienced and respected industry experts, ensuring that you are exposed to the latest concepts, methods, and technology. 

CAMPUS LOCATION: San Diego, CA

ACCREDITATION:

TYPES OF AID: Scholarships, Grants, Veterans Benefits, Tuition Assistance at Work, Private Education Loans, Payment Plans

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: To enroll in Northcentral University’s doctoral program, you must have your master’s degree from an accredited institution. You may complete your online application, at which time you will be given a personal identification number to access your account. They will also need your official transcripts.

PROGRAM FLEXIBILITY: At NCU, you can easily earn your doctorate degree online, which provides the same challenging and comprehensive programs as the traditional brick-and-mortar university. Courses are offered weekly; therefore, you may start any time it is convenient for you.

DEGREE OUTCOMES:

While only 3% of people in the United States own a doctorate degree, let Northcentral help you reach your goal to become a portion of that elite group. Upon graduation, students are proficient in computer science applications, theories, and perspectives, as well as, in ethics and risk management. At NCU, you are a classroom of “one,” therefore, your faculty members can give you the personal assistance you need.

NCU students have many job options to choose from, such as:

  • Computer and Information Systems Managers
  • Research Scientists,
  • Postsecondary Computer Educators,
  • Information Security Analysts,
  • Computer Network Support Specialists,
  • and Computer Systems Engineers and Architects, among many others.

Northcentral University makes online learning accessible and manageable, as well as, challenging and rewarding.

Did You Know?
Drawing from its rich tradition of providing premier education to students, Northcentral University utilizes a one-to-one learning model. Their courses start weekly and are taught by 100% doctoral faculty. Currently, they offer more than 40 master’s and doctoral degree programs. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAM

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COLORADO TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY

COLORADO TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY

PROGRAM STANDOUTS:

Colorado Technical University was established in 1965 and currently has 92% of its students excelling in the variety of online courses that they are proud to offer. Colorado Technical University can help you earn your Doctor of Computer Science degree.

This program is designed to provide you with a comprehensive study of computer science specializations, such as predicting trends, researching and analyzing future projects in hopes of making a positive impact on tomorrow’s technology. 

In this program, you will concentrate on:

  • Enterprise Information Systems,
  • Cybersecurity,
  • Information Assurance,
  • and Big Data Analytics.

You will also experience in-person symposiums, an online curriculum with residency opportunities and dissertation development will be integrated into your coursework.

At CTU, you can achieve your goals at an affordable price. The program is specifically designed for computer science professionals, academics, and consultants with core degree and concentrations in Big Data Analytics and Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. 

CAMPUS LOCATION: Colorado Springs, CO

ACCREDITATION:

  • Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission,
    230 South LaSalle St., Suite 7-500,
    Chicago, IL 60604-1441, www.hlcommission.org  
    Ph: (800)621-7440

TYPES OF AID: Federal Loans, State Aid, Scholarships, Grants, Military Benefits

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: You will need to connect with an Admissions Advisor to explore your degree options, however, you will also need to complete their online application. They will need your prior educational transcripts and an entrance essay, if applicable. A CTU representative will set up an appointment, either by phone or in person, to conduct a doctoral interview.

PROGRAM FLEXIBILITY:

Colorado Technical University is dedicated to making your online experience pleasant yet challenging and rewarding. Their asynchronous format allows students to study and access their coursework at any time of the day, night, or weekend.

CTU is, of course, up-to-date on the latest technology designed in bringing the virtual classroom to your kitchen table. Through their innovative technology, you can connect from wherever you have internet access using their self-directed courses, participate in online discussion forums and connect with CTU professors, when needed.

DEGREE OUTCOMES: Upon graduation from Colorado Technical University’s Doctorate degree program in Computer Science, rest assured, you will have gained the valuable skills needed to be successful in today’s real-world workplace as you explore high-level design issues, develop software improvement plans and as you test theories and implement change relevant to the computer industry.

Did You Know?

Colorado Technical University has a rich tradition of hybrid and online learning. In fact, just nine years after implementing their online degree programs, its Virtual Campus was named the “Best of the Best” under the Academia and Education category in 2009 during the Computerworld Honors program. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT COLORADO TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAM

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CLARKSON UNIVERSITY

Clarkson University 1

PROGRAM STANDOUTS: 

Clarkson University was founded in 1896 in honor of Thomas S. Clarkson, a pioneering entrepreneur and humanitarian. This private, national research university has been leading in technological education and sustainable economic development. Its graduate programs in Computer Programs are jointly offered by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science. 

Students are expected to take courses in both departments. The wide variety of topics range from theoretical to applied. The Doctor of Computer Science degree program requires students to complete at least 36 credit hours, including four required courses across three areas such CS541 (theory), CS547 (theory), CS544 (systems) and CS545 (languages).

It is important that students maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to meet graduation requirements. They also need to complete elective courses, including:

  • Introduction to Automata Theory and Formal Languages,
  • Computer Ethics and Society,
  • Current Issues in Machine Learning,
  • and Automated Reasoning, among others. 

Clarkson is also notable for its high-ranking position in the American News and World Report for its online Master in Business Administration program.

CAMPUS LOCATION: Beacon, New York

ACCREDITATION: 

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
    3624 Market Street,
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-2680
    www.msche.org, 215-662-5606.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: In order to be admitted into the program, students must first fill out an online application form. They also need to prepare required documents such as collegiate transcripts, GRE or GMAT scores, two to three letters of recommendation from a faculty member or professional reference, 250-500 words essay, and an application fee of $50. 

PROGRAM FLEXIBILITY: Since the program is designed to fit the lifestyle of professionals, the Doctor of Computer Science degree is available online. They can also choose the hybrid option along with the full-time and part-time options. Students have the flexibility they need to create a plan that will help them reach their goals. 

DEGREE OUTCOMES: With its excellent reputation in the field of science and technology, Clarkson University provides students with the foundation and support they need to work on leading companies in North-East US.

The strong focus of the curriculum on artificial intelligence, software, department span theory, graphics and visualization, systems, networking, and security gives them an edge over their competitors as those are skills that are often sought after by many companies. 

Did You Know?
Known for its incredible hands-on professional experiences and high career placement rates, Clarkson University ensures students get jobs in competent industries in the country and beyond. They do this by providing students with opportunity to take part in co-op and internship experiences in real companies. Their award-winning Career Center hosts two Career Fairs each year, bringing in nearly 200 companies over the course of three days. During this time, information sessions, interviews, and meets and greets are held. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT CLARKSON UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTOR OF COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAM

computer scientist

Differences Between Doctor of Computer Science and Ph.D. in Computer Science Online Programs

Both are considered terminal degrees in computer sciences but these are different in terms of curriculum, program length and workplace application. The Doctor of Computer Science (DCS) degree is a three-year applied research degree with applications in research and development. The Ph.D. in Computer Science degree is an advanced research degree with theoretical research at its core, and it can be completed in 4-5 years.

Most doctoral degree programs have the Ph.D. title, but computer science doctoral candidates in both DCS and PhD online programs prepare students for a wide variety of careers in the computer science field. Every doctoral program enables its students to develop their interdisciplinary research skills, computing competency, and advanced math foundations, all underlined by academic excellence.

Typical Milestones in Doctor of Computer Science Online Programs

While online doctoral programs have unique curriculum, these share milestones that mark the academic progress of doctoral students and enable faculty members to provide guidance.

Year One establishes the advanced technology education of graduate students that will set the foundation for their written thesis, comprehensive exams and other academic requirements. The courses cover topics on computer science theory, machine learning, software design, and research methods. The selection of a Ph.D. in Computer Science advisor and submission of a plan of study also occur here.

Years Two and Three of a typical online doctorate program are dedicated to completing the academic requirements while also establishing the foundations of an independent research project.

Years Four and Five see doctoral students engaging in an original research project including writing, presenting and defending their dissertation research. Aside from an independent major research project, doctoral students may also engage in an internship and/or work with faculty members in the pursuit of mutual research interests.

Depending on the program’s structure as defined by the computer science department, students may be required to attend an on-campus orientation program, seminar courses, and internships. But most computer science online programs conduct the majority of their activities via Internet technologies, and it’s important to check the technology requirements for this purpose.

Credits and Cost

Most programs require students to earn 60 credits with a five-year time-to-completion, but the degree can be earned in 3-7 years depending on your graduate courses.

Online computer science programs vary in total cost of attendance, too, with per-credit tuition ranging from $450 to $1,000. State universities typically have more affordable tuition that when combined with federal financial aid means the doctorate degree becomes more accessible.

computer scientists in laboratory

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Computer Science major?

Computer Science refers to the study of computers and algorithmic processes. This includes their principles, applications, hardware and software designs and how they impact society. It also encompasses various disciplines within the field, including programming languages, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, database management, and machine learning. 

Those who study this major often go on to become computer scientists. They are responsible for creating and developing systems and programs that benefit a wide variety of people, such as students, teachers, and administrators. 

What are the skills needed to earn a degree in Computer Science?

Graduate students in computer science online programs must possess strong technical skills in computer sciences including the areas of programming languages, hardware and software, and data science. Students learn vital technical skills necessary for their career success including analytical, problem-solving and communication skills as well as attention to detail.

How do you earn a Doctor of Computer Science degree?

Many universities in the US offer a Doctor of Computer Science degree program. Getting admitted into one requires students to accomplish the application process, often done online, and meet the admission requirements.

These include minimum GPA, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree with prerequisite undergraduate and graduate courses completed, and official transcripts. Your resume, letters of recommendation and statement of purpose may also be required for consideration.

Many programs have selective criteria for its prospective students, thus, personal or virtual interviews may also be conducted. Basic knowledge of research methods learnt through undergraduate and graduate courses is also a common requirement. Prospective students may also present editorially independent information published in research journals from their graduate studies in their resume.

The components of typical online computer science programs consist of didactic coursework, qualifying and comprehensive exams, and an independent research project, usually an original dissertation research. The dissertation usually covers a pressing issue or a current question in the computer sciences field, and it’s generally worthy of publication and peer scrutiny. The independent research should also contribute new knowledge that will advance computer and information science.

Students who want to earn a Doctor in Computer Science degree should keep in mind that programs vary from university to university. They must choose one with accreditation to ensure the quality of education that they will receive. The abovementioned school rankings feature accredited universities, meaning these institutions of higher education meet or exceed the standard criteria for academic excellence and other measures of performance.

Some programs can be earned part-time or full-time. New York Columbia University, for example, only accepts full-time students. Stevens Institute of Technology and University of Rhode Island accepts part-time graduate students.

Others are offered both in traditional and online formats. Some programs also offer combination degrees, such as NY Syracuse University through its Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science and Engineering.

What are your career options for a Doctor of Computer Science degree?

Earning a doctorate in computer science degree will help prepare graduates for advanced research and academic positions. There are numerous opportunities for them in a variety of fields, including the tech industry, government, and healthcare, among others.

One of the most popular and lucrative career paths for doctor of computer science degree holders is working as a computer scientist. Responsible for developing computer-based tools for organizations, computer scientists often work on the development of algorithms, improvement of system efficiency, and designing databases. They are often proficient in program languages such as Java, Python, SQL, XML, C++, and many more. 

Many graduates of a Doctor in Computer Science degree went on to become computer systems engineers. They usually study an organization’s procedures and computer systems along with designing solutions to help them operate the business effectively and efficiently. 

Another popular choice among graduates is the academe. As a computer science professor, one helps students understand the computational processes and designs of computers. They can teach in a variety of fields, too, including computer engineering, information technology, and other allied fields. 

Computer network architects, who can earn $120,520 in median annual wage, design and build wider area networks, local area networks, and Intranets according to the unique communication needs of an organization. Information security, network support and research about new technologies are among their duties, too.

IT managers are in charge of the planning, management and evaluation of computer-related activities. These include the analysis of computer needs; planning and installation of computer systems; and evaluation of computer security needs including cost and benefit analysis.

How much can a graduate of Computer Science degree earn?

Graduate students in doctorate in computer science programs can look forward to a robust 13% growth in employment for the 2020-2030 period. The faster-than-average growth means 667,600 new jobs will be added during the decade, and it’s fueled by the increasing demand for computer and information science professionals. With cloud computing, information security, and big data being topmost priorities for diverse industries, a Ph.D. in Computer Science will be more valuable than ever!

Ph.D. in Computer Science graduates often become leading researchers in relevant fields. Knowledge and expertise in artificial intelligence can give them an even more rewarding and lucrative career as it is an in-demand field. 

Computer and information technology professionals earn a median annual wage of $97,430 (May 2021), and it’s more than twice the median annual wage for all occupations! Computer and information research scientists can earn $131,490 per year (median wage).

But it isn’t just the financial rewards that matter to these professionals! The opportunity to make a positive difference in their workplaces, possibly the world, is just as important. Being on the cutting-edge of computer technology is also exciting, particularly when you’re engaged in research and development.

In conclusion, pursuing an online Ph.D. in Computer Science or a DSC is extremely challenging considering the intensive academic and research requirements. But it also has its share of rewards, from exchanging ideas with your peers and professors to contributing new knowledge to the field and getting lucrative career advancement opportunities.