The degree program provides students with knowledge in the fields of software development and information technology.

Degree Benefits:

  • Acquisition of knowledge in multiple fields (computer programming, fundamentals of hardware, networking, etc.)
  • Competitive salary (Median annual salary for Software Developers is $110,140*)
  • Excellent job growth outlook (22%)*

Career Options Include:

  • Software Developer
  • Web Developer
  • Automotive Software Engineer
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Software Developers, on the Internet at (visited March 24, 2022).

Find an online bachelor's or master's degree:


Students can complete a bachelor’s degree in software engineering online in four years. Some online courses can permit acceleration through testing and summer sessions to shorten the time required. Whereas part-time attendance will lengthen the term of study. In four-year on-campus programs, many schools have completion rates at about 60% at the six-year mark, while on average the majority of students do not complete within four years.

The costs of a four-year bachelor’s degree when adding tuition, expenses, and room and board are in the range of $190,000 for private schools, $160,000 for public schools at out-of-state rates, and about $85,000 for public schools at in-state rates. However, this cost can vary wildly by region and population density, so make sure to check the costs associated with any school you are considering

Schools can house the software engineering major in the department of computer science, the department of engineering, or in a grouping like information technology. Students should make sure that the school offers a true software engineering major and not a computer science degree or engineering degree with a concentration in software engineering.

The rate of graduation in four years has changed sharply in recent years; there is a substantial shift towards completion in 150% of the four-year cycle, or about 6 years. Most students graduate at the six-year mark rather than the four-year, “on-time” mark. The impact of this trend is reflected in school ratings as employers tend to look for schools that retain a high percent and graduate a majority of their student body on time in four years.

Four-year public schools:

  • Four-years: 35%
  • Six-years: 65%

Four-year private schools:

  • Four-years: 53%
  • Six-years: 68%

There are some significant differences in accreditation that students should understand. The US Department of Education appoints accreditation agencies that provide rigorous assessments of schools and approve those that meet the applicable standards. The accreditation agencies work in regions, providing regional accreditation. Another type of accreditation is national accreditation. This type works for certain types of schools but it is not as widely accepted as regional accreditation.

Within regional accreditation, there are two further types: the program accreditation and institutional accreditation. Institutional accreditation reviews the entire organization such as a University and all its schools and colleges. The second type of regional accreditation is programmatic, which involves a narrow focus on a single program, school, or department. For example, the accreditor might grant programmatic approval to the Department of Computer Science.

Accreditation affects the acceptance and usefulness of a degree. The ideal combination might be to select a school with regional accreditation and a computer science department with program accreditation.

University HQ considers Post-graduate job assistance and career counseling as a priority item when selecting a school for a software engineering degree. The degree-granting schools are in strong positions to assist their graduates during the final year of school and after graduation. Most schools have a broad community of partners, supporters, business associates and alumni. This community is a resource for networking referrals and hires for graduates.

Students should look carefully at the level of resources that the school commits to career counseling, outreach, and interview preparation. Getting off to a good start after graduating can be a key to long-term success.

The average income of recent graduates is one of the strong factors in college rankings. Rankings are a prominent part of selection and recruitment by many employers. In terms of rankings and job prospects, the rating assigned to a college or university is a factor in graduate success. When selecting a college or university for a software engineering degree, students should consider the ranking.

The ranking may not be as important to student success as other factors like the experience of faculty, library, and research resources, or the educational environment. Student success may depend more on such factors. The income level of recent graduates will not likely predict whether a student will do well in classes or enjoy the time spent in school. To the extent that income and job success matter, then rankings are an important consideration.

Each student must decide the weight to give to rankings and salary considerations. When selecting among school choices that may seem otherwise equal, the ranking can be an excellent deciding factor because it relates to the investment and the return on investment for a college degree.

Accreditation is important when selecting colleges or schools for software engineering. Employers and other educational institutions use accreditation as a level of assurance that the program provides high-quality education. Accreditation is an independent assessment by a professional group appointed by the US Department of Education. The more impressive type of accreditation is regional accreditation. The ideal combination is to attend a school that has regional accreditation for the entire school and program accreditation for the department that teaches the software engineering majors you want. University HQ strongly recommends selecting an accredited school or program.