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Last Updated: January 23, 2022

Affordable Computer Science Programs

Computer and Information Sciences is a field of study that allows students to manage information through computing. They will both be familiar with programming languages and the knowledge of computer architecture and organization. The main attraction that studying computer information sciences has over a degree in computer science is that students will be dealing with information that can help businesses through the use of technology.

Since the program is in high demand, almost every private and public university offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in the subject. The duration of a bachelor’s degree is around 4 years whereas the duration for a master’s program in the subject is around 2 years. Due to the long duration of the programs and the demand that the degree has, universities offer this subject for a high tuition fee. Apart from the tuition fee, students will have to spend a considerable amount on lab fees and other educational expenses that are incurred as part of their study. This also runs true for expenses that they might have while doing internships and projects as part of the program. The tuition fee is often the highest in the best universities and one thing that students cannot compromise on while taking the degree is the quality of education. For most students, the only option feasible will be to find universities that offer the program for affordable rates.

Cost of Cheapest Best Computer Science Programs

The following table contains fee information for affordable CS programs in the country.
Institution In-State Yearly CostOut-of-State Yearly Cost
Florida International University$14,500$30,900
University of North Florida$7,500
University of Iowa$14,000$33,000
Michigan State University$15,000$30,000
Auburn University$12,000$31,000
Illinois Institute of Technology$24,000
Washington State University$13,000$28,000
University of Utah$9,300$30,300

Popular Computer and Information Sciences Programs

The most common undergraduate degree that students can take in computer science is a BA or BS in the subject. While a BA is often generalized in nature and allows students to choose computer science as a major or minor, BS programs allow students to take up computer science as their main subject. In a BS program, students will also be able to take electives that specialize in a field of computer science. An undergraduate program in computer and information sciences will allow students to get entry-level jobs in the IT industry.

While an entry-level job in the IT industry can be high paying, it often benefits students to take a master’s degree in the subject in order to do specialized jobs within their field of interest. Taking a master’s degree in the subject also allows students to regain the investment they have made in their education.

Top Affordable Programs

Florida International University

The Florida International University offers an MS in Computer Science that is extremely affordable for students. The same program is offered in an online mode as well for students who do not wish to take up the on-campus classes. The subjects that are included in the program are communications & networking, advanced malware reverse engineering, random signal principles, cybersecurity, computer communication networks, advanced digital forensics, etc. Students are required to complete 9 graduate courses where both core courses and electives are included. Apart from these subjects, they are also required to complete a master’s thesis on a topic of their choice.

The fee for the program is $14,500 for resident students and $30,900 for non-resident students. The fee per credit for Florida residents is around $455 and for non-residents is $1001. The program has 30 credits in all.

University of North Florida

This university offers an MS program for both Computer and Information Sciences. The program has three areas of concentration which are computer science, information systems, and software engineering. Students have the option of taking a thesis or non-thesis form of the course as per their discretion. The subjects that are included in the program are information assurance, computing practicum, data structures, computer networks, parallel computing, etc. The electives one can take include- The fee for a Florida resident is $500 per credit hour.

University of Iowa

This university offers a Ph.D. program and a Master’s program in computer science called MCS. Though they also offer an MS in computer science this is only provided to candidates who are in the pursuit of a doctorate in the subject. The master’s degree in computer science is a professional program that does not focus on research. Candidates are required to complete 32 credit hours to complete the program. These 32 credits are split into 3 hours of theory course, 3 hours of algorithms course, 2 hours of colloquium series, and 24 hours of additional upper-level electives that students will be able to choose for themselves based on their interest.

The estimated tuition fee for Iowa residents is $14,000 per year whereas that for non-residents is estimated to be around $33,000 per year.

Michigan State University

This university offers an MS in computer science through their College of Engineering. The course is of 30 credits and students have the option of completing the degree with a thesis and without it. Students are supposed to complete 18 credits of core courses. The subjects they will learn to include distributed systems, parallel computing, computer & network security, algorithm graph theory, foundations of computing, data analysis, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, etc.

The fee for in-state students per year is $15,000 and the estimated fee for out-of-state students is $30,000.

Auburn University

Auburn University offers an MS in Computer Science and Software Engineering program. Students have the option of choosing a thesis or non-thesis option as part of the course. The subjects that are taught as part of the course include advanced algorithms, computer architecture, operating systems, etc. Students are required to complete 30 credits as part of the course. The areas in which students can specialize include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data science, etc.

The fee that students have to pay is dependent on whether they are in-state candidate or out-of-state candidate. The in-state tuition fee for students is $6,000 per semester and the out-of-state fee is $16,000 per semester.

Illinois Institute of Technology

The MS in Computer Science program offered by the Illinois Institute of Technology is a research-oriented program that mainly deals with programming, systems, and theory. Students have the option of completing the program by only focusing on the coursework and they are also provided with the option of completing a thesis as part of the course. The program has 32 credits in all with core courses like computer graphics, computer vision, parallel and distributed proc, cloud computing, wireless networking, computational geometry, etc.

The fee for the program is $1,600 per credit hour for all main campus graduate students.

Washington State University

The School of Engineering at Washington State University offers an MS degree in Computer Science. It is a research-oriented degree where students will be able to choose to do a thesis or focus only on the coursework assigned for the term. For more details on the program and the curriculum, students will have to request the official website of the university.

The fee for resident students is around $6,300 per year, and that for non-resident students is around $13,500 per year for graduate programs.

University of Utah

The School of Computing at the University of Utah offers an MS in Computer Science where students can choose to take up a thesis or focus on coursework according to their discretion. Students will have the choice of taking up electives as part of the course apart from the emphasis areas of the program. The emphasis areas of the program include educational software, algorithms & computational geometry, graphics, databases & information management, machine learning, robotics, visualization, image processing, etc.

This university offers tuition waivers for students that have enrolled in the program. Depending on the assistance they receive they might even be exempted from paying the tuition fee for the program. MS students get a tuition waiver for 2 years. The tuition fee for residents is around $9,300 and that for non-residents is around $30,300 per year.

Choosing an Affordable Computer and Information Sciences Program

While choosing an affordable program for computer and information sciences, students will not only have to consider the tuition fee and other educational expenses. They will also have to consider the quality of the education that affordable programs offer. This is because receiving a degree will ultimately not matter if the student has not learned enough from the program to match the job skills that they have to meet upon graduation. The program that the student has opted for should be accredited either regionally or internationally in order for them to get the best of jobs once they graduate.

Other factors that students have to consider include the cost of educational apparel like books, stationery, in-state, and out-of-state tuition difference, etc. Sometimes, it will be more cost-effective for students to study in their own state of residence than moving to a university in another state due to a lower tuition fee since the out-of-state fees can be almost double the amount the student would otherwise have to pay. Living expenses and accommodation expenses will also be factors they have to consider while moving to another state for education.

An option that is gaining traction especially during the pandemic is that of online education. Students will be able to enroll in online programs in computer and information sciences which are equally valuable as on-campus programs in the subject. Online programs allow students to cut down on travel and living expenses which will also allow them to invest in better programs.

Computer Science Degree Programs