The best schools for software engineering provide students with in-demand technical and soft skills, preparing them for a successful career. However, given the popularity of this field, there are numerous programs out there, and it can be difficult to know which school to choose. Our list of the best software engineering schools can help make your decision easier.
We considered key education factors, including program quality and duration, graduation rate, and recent school rankings, when selecting the best software engineering colleges and universities for our lists. This guide contains everything you need to know about the best software engineering degrees, where you can get them, and the jobs and salaries that will be available to you after completing your education.
Best Software Engineering College and University Rankings: Top 10 Software Engineering Schools at a Glance
|School||State||Formats Available||US News Ranking|
|Arizona State University||AZ||In-person, online||#117 (Overall)|
|Fairfield University||CT||In-person||#3 (Best Regional Universities: North)|
|Iowa State University||IA||In-person||#122 (Overall)|
|Liberty University||VA||In-person||#299-391 (Overall)|
|Miami University||OH||In-person||#103 (Overall)|
|Stevens Institute of Technology||NJ||In-person, online||#83 (Overall)|
|University of California-Irvine||CA||In-person||#36 (Overall)|
|University of Maryland||MD||In-person||#59 (Overall)|
|University of Michigan-Dearborn||MI||In-person, online||#31 (Best Regional Universities: Midwest)|
|University of Texas at Dallas||TX||In-person||#136 (Overall)|
Software Engineering School Rankings: Best Software Engineering Colleges and Universities
Below is a list of the best software engineering universities in the US. We have provided details such as the school type, degrees offered, accreditation, rankings, and available programs for each school in alphabetic order.
The Best Schools for Software Engineering: Types of College Degrees and University Programs Offered
The best schools for software engineering aren’t just the ones that offer degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Some other top schools offer certificates, associate degrees, dual degrees, and other postsecondary education programs in this popular field.
Comparing Popular Degree Options
Best Software Engineering Schools: Other Software Engineering University Rankings
Software engineering is a challenging and rapidly growing field, but the best schools for software engineering help prepare students for the industry through a variety of different degrees and programs, as outlined above. Here are some additional categories for the best software engineering schools.
Best Online Software Engineering Schools
- Arizona State University. Arizona State University is a public research institution in Tempe, Arizona. It offers one of the best online software engineering degrees, as determined by US News & World Report.
- Pennsylvania State University-World Campus. Penn State World Campus is a public university offering solely online programs, which have been recognized among the best online bachelor’s programs by US News & World Report.
- Southern New Hampshire University. This private institution has been called the most innovative school in the nation by US News & World Report, and one of the best in undergraduate software engineering and coding programs.
Best Community Colleges for Software Engineering
- Montgomery County Community College. Montgomery County Community College is a two-year public institution that offers associate degrees and certificates, including an Associate Degree in Computer Science and Technologies, and a certificate in computer programming.
- Sandhills Community College. Sandhills Community College is ranked among the best community colleges in North Carolina. It is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It offers an associate program in computer programming and development.
- Anne Arundel Community College. This is a two-year public institution located in Arnold, Maryland. It offers transfer-eligible Associate Degrees in Computer Science and Information Systems.
Best Undergraduate Schools for Software Engineering
- Carnegie Mellon University. This private research institute in Pittsburgh has been ranked by US News & World Report among the top 25 best universities in the nation and its software engineering undergraduate program ranks number one.
- University of California-Berkeley. The University of California-Berkeley offers the US’s number-two ranked software engineering undergraduate program, according to US News & World Report.
- Georgia Institute of Technology. This research institute’s undergraduate software engineering program ranks number three in the US by US News & World Report. It offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering.
Best Graduate Schools for Software Engineering
- Florida Institute of Technology. Florida Institute of Technology is a research-focused institute located in Melbourne, Florida. It offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering.
- University of California-Berkeley. The University of California-Berkeley is a public institution ranked by US News & World Report among the top 25 universities in America. It offers several software engineering graduate degree programs through its Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.
- Carnegie Mellon University. Carnegie Mellon University is a private research institute in Pittsburgh. It has been ranked the 25th best university in the nation by US News & World Report. It offers several software engineering-related degree programs.
Best Software Engineering Schools With Dual Degree Programs
- The University of Wisconsin | Dual Degree in Computer Science and Master of Software Engineering. This five-year program offers a combined Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Master’s Degree in Software Engineering.
- Carroll University | BS in Computer Science and Master of Software Engineering. Graduates of this five-year program at Carroll University will acquire professional software engineering and development skills.
- Gannon University | Dual Computer Science and Software Engineering Bachelor of Science. This program teaches students how to integrate the principles of computing and engineering into the designing, creating, evaluating, and testing of software.
Best Schools With Accelerated Software Engineering Programs
- Arizona State University | Software Engineering 4+1 Program. This program provides undergraduates majoring in software engineering at Arizona State University the opportunity to earn a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering in just one additional year of study.
- Quinnipiac University | BS in Software Engineering/MS in Cybersecurity. This program allows students to get both a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and a Master of Science in Cybersecurity in just four years.
- California State University Fullerton | Accelerated Master of Science in Software Engineering. Students of this MS in Software Engineering program can graduate in a span of just 17 months, instead of the usual 24 months required by typical master’s programs.
Easy Colleges to Get Into
Is Graduate School for Software Engineering Worth It?
Yes, it is worth going to graduate school for software engineering. The high demand for software engineers increases your chances of getting employment, and a graduate degree increases them even further. A Master’s Degree in Software Engineering will also qualify you for more advanced positions with higher salaries.
What Jobs Can You Do With a Software Engineering Degree?
The jobs you can do with a software engineering degree include software architect, solutions architect, computer network architect, software engineer, software developer, software security analyst, mobile applications developer, quality assurance engineer, chief technology officer, and cyber security manager.
Some of the best software engineering schools are affiliated with tech companies seeking graduates to fill positions like these, so be sure to seek and utilize any such student services available.
How Much Can I Earn With a Degree in Software Engineering?
The average software engineer’s salary is $88,592, according to PayScale. This figure will vary based on factors like your degree level, your experience level, the company you work for, the position you hold, and the company’s location. Gaining further degrees will help you earn a higher annual salary.
Highest-Paying Software Engineering Careers
|Profession||Minimum Education||Average Salary|
|Computer and Information Research Scientist||Master’s degree||$131,490|
|Software Architect||Bachelor’s degree||$124,690|
|Solutions Architect||Bachelor’s degree||$121,579|
|Computer Network Architect||Bachelor’s degree||$120,520|
|Quality Assurance Engineer||Bachelor’s degree||$110,140|
|Computer Programmer||Bachelor’s degree||$93,000|
|Software Engineer||Bachelor’s degree||$88,592|
|Web Developer||Bachelor’s degree||$77,200|
|Mobile Applications Developer||Bachelor’s degree||$75,603|
Best Jobs With a Software Engineering Degree
The best jobs requiring a software engineering degree are typically high-paying and require an in-depth knowledge of programming languages and other software engineering skills. However, the minimum education requirement for each career path typically differs according to the specific job title. Whatever level of education you have reached, there is an opportunity for you.
How Can I Pay for Software Engineering School?
You can pay for software engineering school through loans, scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and federal aid. Many PhD programs offer full tuition coverage for qualifying students. To qualify for federal aid, fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
- Loans. This federal aid has to be paid back in full, along with accrued interest.
- School-Based Scholarships. Many schools offer a variety of scholarships, such as merit-based, athletic, and academic scholarships.
- Pell Grants. Pell Grants are federal grants typically available to undergraduate students, with the amount awarded depending on the recipient’s financial needs.
- Federal Work-Study. This program provides part-time employment for students who need financial aid.
How to Pay for Your Chosen School Education Path
Choosing the Best Software Engineering School for You
To choose the best school for you, consider the reputation of the school, which must include its accreditation. Other important factors to consider include tuition and other costs, the student-to-faculty ratio, the programs offered, and the flexibility of the program format. More about choosing the best software engineering school can be found below.
Confirm the accreditation status of any software engineering school you intend to apply to. A degree from an accredited school ensures the quality and integrity of your education. Most schools and employers do not consider degrees from unaccredited schools to be valid. Therefore, receiving your education from an accredited school will help guarantee your future employment and education success.
Look closely into the full cost of the software engineering education you wish to pursue. This includes but is not limited to tuition. Some schools offer a flat tuition rate past a certain number of credit hours per semester, e.g., your tuition might increase per credit hour up until you reach 12 credit hours, at which point it stops increasing.
There are also fees associated with each program. Other things to consider are whether you will be working while going to school or receiving any financial aid, like grants, loans, or scholarships.
Some software engineering schools provide flexibility via offering on-campus, online, and hybrid programs. Some allow you to complete all coursework online but require you to come to campus for exams or labs.
Some online programs offer live classes that you must fit into your schedule, while others provide recorded classes that you can “attend” anytime. Whatever the case, make sure that the program meets your needs for flexibility.
Degree Levels Offered
It is generally true that the more software engineering degree levels and programs a school offers, the more robust and comprehensive the education you receive will be. Plus, it will be easier for you to continue your education in the future, should you choose to do so, because these schools tend to make it easy for returning students to transfer credits or apply for additional programs.
Each school’s student-to-faculty ratio can usually be found on its website. Look for a low ratio, with less students per faculty member, so that you can have easier access to professors, advisors, and other college faculty. It is also easier to build key faculty relationships at schools with lower student-to-faculty ratios.
How to Get Into the Right School for Your Profession
Does It Matter What College I Go to for Software Engineering?
Yes, it does matter what college you go to for software engineering. Getting a degree from a top-tier institution increases your ability to thrive in the rigorous conditions of the industry. In addition, students often benefit from the school’s “brand” via networking and employment opportunities. They also get access to cutting-edge technology, highly experienced faculty, and top-quality learning materials.
Software Engineering University Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Schools for Software Engineering
We ranked the best software engineering schools by consulting the university rankings by US News & World Report and Times Higher Education. To further refine our software engineering university ranking methodology, we gave special consideration to things like school reputation, graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, and breadth and depth of software engineering degree program offerings.
Additional Reading About Software Engineering
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Best Software Engineering Schools FAQ
Yes, you can become a software engineer without a degree. It is possible to learn some of the skills and techniques applied in software engineering completely on your own. However, this will limit your job prospects, and future employers may require you to earn a degree to advance in your career.
The best software engineering degree will depend on your career goals. A bachelor’s degree is the entry-level requirement for most software engineering positions, a master’s degree is a good way to advance in your career and earn more money, and a doctorate will qualify you for several top-paying and specialized positions in the field of software engineering
If you don’t have any programming skills, attending a software engineering bootcamp will arm you with skills that will make your software engineering school experience more enjoyable. Besides, you don’t have to pick one over another; some of the best coding bootcamps are available as part-time or self-paced programs, allowing you to complete many more easily.
Some soft skills for software engineering are communication, creativity, critical thinking, empathy, problem-solving, time management, adaptability, patience, and open-mindedness.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.