Skip to main content
X

Explore your training options in 10 minutes

Best Online Doctorates in Computer Science: Top PhD Programs, Career Paths, and Salary

Preeti Soni - June 09, 2022


The field of computer science has an immense predicted growth over the next few years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer science and information technology jobs will see a 13 percent employment growth by 2026. The best online PhD in Computer Science can help you learn the most in-demand tech skills needed to get one of these lucrative jobs.

The growing e-learning environment makes it now possible to earn a computer science PhD from the comfort of your home. An online PhD in Computer Science is highly flexible and will give you the same competitive edge as an in-person PhD . In this guide, we’ve put together a detailed list of the best online computer science PhD programs and best computer science jobs for PhD holders.

Can You Get a PhD in Computer Science Online?

Yes, you can get a PhD in Computer Science online. Many universities offer a 100 percent online program for computer science doctoral degree students interested in distance learning education. These doctoral programs are flexible and can be customized to your career goals. This flexibility lets online students work while they study, making them great for upskilling computer science professionals.

Get offers and scholarships from top coding schools illustration

Find Your Bootcamp Match

  • Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
  • Access exclusive scholarships and prep courses










By continuing you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy , and you consent to receive offers and opportunities from Career Karma by telephone, text message, and email.

Most online computer science programs require students to complete a required number of credit hours. Doctoral students can specialize in artificial intelligence, machine learning, database management, or project management, depending on the program they’ve enrolled in and the subject of their doctoral dissertation.

Is an Online PhD Respected?

Yes, an online PhD is respected. Online learning is gaining popularity and, according to Franklin University, there are now about 1,000 online doctorate programs in the country . A respected online PhD degree has been accredited by external agencies recognized by the US Department of Education, meaning it’s been thoroughly reviewed and maintains high quality standards.

Online doctoral programs are an excellent, affordable option for working professionals who can’t attend on campus classes. These programs are as intensive as any traditional doctoral program and students get access to various online resources, guides, and career counseling services. Employers have also started recognizing online degrees, making them even more valuable.

What Is the Best Online PhD Program in Computer Science?

The best online PhD program in computer science is offered by the University of California, Berkeley. The reason it’s the best is the extremely high quality of education it provides as well as the prestige that comes with having attended this university. This graduate program is open to both bachelor’s and master’s graduates. Doctoral students can complete it in three to six years.

Why the University of California, Berkeley Has the Best Online PhD Program in Computer Science

The University of California, Berkeley has the best online PhD program in computer science because it offers ten specializations. Open to both bachelor’s and master’s graduates, UC Berkeley also offers two online options covering a wide range of subjects in electrical and computer engineering.

This graduate program focuses on providing both research and teaching experience. According to US News and World Report, UC Berkeley is not only one of the best national universities but is also the fourth-best university in the world and has excellent faculty and online resources for all of its students. If you can pass the application process, there is no better graduate program you could attend.

Best Online Master’s Degrees

[query_class_embed] online-*subject-masters-degrees

Online PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for an online PhD in Computer Science are different from school to school, but commonly require having a master’s degree from an accredited institution, work experience, and letters of recommendation. Most schools require students to submit their official transcripts, resumes, and a statement of purpose indicating their interest in the program.

Each program has its own admission process and many universities only consider applications from students who’ve scored a minimum college GPA of 3.0. Others require students to have a solid background in computer science. Students usually need to send GRE scores, although some universities have waived this requirement due to the pandemic.

Online PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • A Master’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field from an accredited institution
  • Relevant work experience
  • A minimum college GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0
  • A resume
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A personal essay or statement of purpose

Best Online PhDs in Computer Science: Top Degree Program Details

School Program Estimated Length
Auburn University PhD in Computer Science and Software Engineering 4 years
Capella University Phd in Information Technology 4 years
Dakota State University Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems Up to 7 years
Indiana University PhD in Computer Science 5 years
Mississippi State University PhD in Computer Science N/A
Northcentral University PhD in Computer Science 4 years
University of California, Berkeley Phd in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences 3-6 years
University of North Dakota PhD in Computer Science 4-5 years
University Of South Carolina PhD in Computer Science N/A
Wright State University PhD in Computer Science and Engineering N/A

Best Online PhDs in Computer Science: Top University Programs to Get a PhD in Computer Science Online

Finding the right online PhD program in computer science can be challenging. The program should align with your career goals and help you excel. You should also need to be able to afford the program. To help you begin your school search, we’ve listed our picks of the best online PhDs in Computer Science.

1

Auburn University

Auburn, AL

Auburn University is one of the best universities in Alabama . It is also one of the top 50 public universities in the country , according to US News and World Report. AU was set up in 1856 and is a public land-grant research institution consisting of 15 schools and colleges which offer over 150 majors. The university is home to over 300 clubs and student organizations.

PhD in Computer Science and Software Engineering

This PhD program at Auburn University helps students develop their research skills using cutting-edge computer technology and is one of the few doctoral programs that allow undergraduate students to enroll. Students with a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science, software engineering, or cyber security engineering are eligible to apply.

PhD in Computer Science and Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $630/credit

PhD in Computer Science and Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Your official transcripts
  • A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Computer Science , Software Engineering, or Cybersecurity Engineering with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • A written statement of purpose
  • Your resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A minimum cumulative GRE score of 300 with a minimum of 150 in the verbal and quantitative sections, and three in the written section

2

Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Established in 1993, Capella University is a four-year private institution located in Minnesota. It offers 53 degree programs with over 140 specializations in the areas of business, nursing, health sciences, information technology, social work, and psychology. The university currently has over 38,000 students from around the country enrolled in its various programs.

Doctor of Information Technology

Students in this graduate program learns to develop technical solutions for troubleshooting complex business problems. This PhD program’s graduation requirements include the completion of 70 credits from eight core courses, four specialization courses, two virtual residencies, and one dissertation.

Doctor of Information Technology Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $750/credit

Doctor of Information Technology Admission Requirements

  • A master’s degree from an accredited US institution or an internationally recognized institution
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Your official transcripts
  • For international students, a minimum acceptable score on an English proficiency test

3

Dakota State University

Daytona Beach, FL

Dakota State University was originally founded in 1881 as a teacher's college and is one of the most affordable universities in the country. According to the university website, 74 percent of students receive an average of $10,160 in financial aid annually. Dakota State University offers half of its undergraduate and graduate programs online.

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems

The PhD in Information Systems at Dakota State University is best suited for those who want a career in a data-intensive industry like banking or finance. Students learn the foundation of information systems, applied statistics, and emerging technologies through a wide range of coursework and a 12-credit dissertation to help them solve real-world problems.

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Program Length: Up to 7 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $580.60/credit

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems Admission Requirements

  • A degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0
  • GRE scores, no minimum specified and can be waived if the applicant has a GPA above 3.25
  • Background in business and information systems

4

Indiana University

Bloomington, IN

Founded in 1820, Indiana University is one of the top public research universities in the country. More than 71,000 undergraduate and 19,000 graduate students are enrolled in Indiana University’s over 930 academic programs spread across its online campus and seven in-person campuses.

PhD in Computer Science

Indiana University offers a unique multidisciplinary graduate program. Students can conduct research in computer science or study it along with other disciplines like statistics or biology. Some of the subjects students will study include artificial intelligence, programming languages, data science, bioinformatics, and security. Students also get access to supercomputer resources.

PhD in Computer Science Overview

  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission
  • Program Length: 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $418.03/credit (in-state); $1,330.51/credit (out-of-state)

PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • A three or four-year bachelor's degree
  • A master's degree
  • A GPA of 3.5 (B+) or above
  • Applicants must have completed coursework in data structures, machine organization, assembly language, and discrete structures
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Excellent GPA in undergraduate and graduate degree programs
  • GRE scores, no minimum specified

5

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State, MS

Mississippi State University (MSU) is a public-land grant state university founded in 1878. Consisting of eight colleges offering over 160 undergraduate and graduate programs, MSU has a total enrollment of around 20,000 students. According to the National Science Foundation, MSU is one of the top 100 research institutions in the country.

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

In this program, students learn advanced algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence concepts through live and pre-recorded classes. The program curriculum includes core courses, a primary specialization, and a secondary specialization. Recent graduates work for Microsoft, Palo Alto Research Center, Fairmont State University, and Jackson State University.

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Program Length: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $539/credit

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • A master's degree from a recognized university in the US or equivalent
  • Your official university transcripts
  • An online application as an unclassified student
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0
  • GRE scores, no minimum specified
  • Three letters of recommendation

6

Northcentral University

San Diego, CA

Northcentral University was established in 1996 and has been a part of the National University System since 2019. This private university offers over 60 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs on campus and online across its six schools of study. The university is home to approximately 10,500 students.

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

NCU's PhD in Computer Science is a flexible program with no scheduled lecture hours. Students can schedule the courses as per their professional and personal requirements. During the PhD, students develop a deep understanding of information systems. They also learn about the current theories and applications of computer science.

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $1,094/credit

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • A master's degree from an accredited academic institution
  • Your official transcripts
  • A copy of your current resume
  • An online application form

7

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university founded in 1868. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 17.8 to one, the university offers over 350 degree programs in various career fields. As previously mentioned, this school is ranked fourth among global universities by US News and Global reports and is among the top national universities.

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

Berkeley's PhD in Computer Science focuses on providing a thorough research and teaching experience to its students. With ten specializations, students can research artificial intelligence, database management systems, human-computer interaction, and programming systems.  Students with a bachelor's degree can also enroll in the program and finish in five to six years.

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC)
  • Program Length: 3-6 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $10,123.75/semester (in-state); $17,674.75/student (out-of-state)

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited institution
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • An online application form
  • A statement of purpose
  • A copy of your current resume

8

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

The University of North Dakota was founded in 1883 and is the oldest and largest university in the state. The university welcomes over 13,000 students every year and offers over 225 majors across the fields of business, engineering, law, and more. In fact, it is the only university in North Dakota to have law and medical schools.

PhD in Computer Science

In this PhD program, students develop the skills they need to be able to solve real-world problems using computational technology. Some of the program's core courses include data engineering and management, computer forensics, and computer networks. Students can also specialize in dynamic branches in bioinformatics, atmospheric science, and software design.

PhD in Computer Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Program Length: 4-5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $616.59/credit (North Dakota resident); $763.77/credit (Minnesota resident); $889.16/credit (non-resident)

PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • Master's or bachelor's degree in an engineering or science-related field
  • Your official college transcripts
  • An undergraduate or graduate GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0
  • A written statement of goals
  • Three references
  • GRE scores, no minimum specified

9

University Of South Carolina

Columbia, SC

The University of South Carolina is a 200-year-old public research university located in Columbia, South Carolina. The university is made up of nine schools and six colleges offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It has a total enrolment of 35,388 in 2021.

PhD in Computer Science

This program’s curriculum includes core coursework covering computer architecture, compiler construction, and algorithms analysis. Students also need to complete a 12-credit dissertation, including a dissertation proposal and defense. The university offers ten specialization options including artificial intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, quantum computing, and robotics.

PhD in Computer Science Overview

PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • An undergraduate degree from a recognized university
  • A GRE quantitative score of 165 or higher and a GRE verbal score of 150 or better
  • Your official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A copy of your resume
  • A written personal statement

10

Wright State University

Dayton, OH

Wright State University was established in 1964 and is a public university that offers 276 different undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The university is composed of five colleges and two schools and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1.

PhD in Computer Science and Engineering

This PhD program is an excellent option for those wanting to focus on learning advanced concepts in researching, designing, and testing computer systems. Some of the program’s core courses cover topics in computer programming, operating systems, computer organization, and data structures and algorithms.

PhD in Computer Science and Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Program Length: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $7,149/semester (in-state, full-time); $12,143/semester (out-of-state, full-time)

PhD in Computer Science and Engineering Admission Requirements

  • A Bachelor of Science or a Master of Science in computer science, computer engineering, or a similar related discipline from an accredited institution with a grade point average of 3.3 or higher
  • Your official transcripts
  • Strong knowledge of high-level programming languages and data structures, computer organization, and architecture
  • Understanding of operating systems, calculus, probability and statistics, linear algebra, and discrete mathematics

Online Computer Science PhD Graduation Rates: How Hard Is It to Complete an Online PhD Program in Computer Science?

It is extremely hard to complete an online PhD in Computer Science. According to a recent study, almost half of all students don’t graduate from their online PhD programs. A computer science PhD requires extensive independent study and is characterized by extended program length, intensive research, and complex courses.

In fact, the total number of doctoral candidates who’ve earned a PhD in Computer Science is low. According to Statista, only 2414 computer and information science PhD candidates graduated in 2019-20, further demonstrating that earning your doctorate online is challenging.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Computer Science Online?

It takes about three to seven years to get a PhD in Computer Science online, depending on the university and its graduation requirements. Factors like the school’s PhD timeline, dissertation process, and policies can impact the amount of time it takes for you to complete your PhD. According to Statista, the average time to earn a PhD is 7.5 years .

Many students choose to enroll in an online degree program because of the increased flexibility, as many of them can be customized according to your needs. Online students can more easily work while they earn their PhD, which can add to the time it takes to complete. That being said, this also allows you to build work experience and a PhD degree. Most universities set a cap on the amount of time you get to finish PhD, but you can always apply to extend your PhD timeline.

How Hard Is an Online Doctorate in Computer Science?

An online PhD in Computer Science is very hard. A PhD is an advanced degree where you develop a deep and specialized body of knowledge. Students are required to complete 60-70 credits of advanced courses on top of conducting independent research for their dissertation and passing comprehensive examinations.

While online PhDs are more flexible than on-campus programs, doctoral students still have to spend a lot of time reading online resources and doing laboratory work. Many students have to dedicate up to 50 hours a week to their PhD program to finish their work in a timely manner.

Before starting their dissertation, students have to pass a qualifying exam and later a preliminary exam. These comprehensive examinations are used by the teaching staff at colleges and universities to make sure that students can handle the work that comes with completing their dissertations.

Best PhD Programs

[query_class_embed] phd-in-*subject

What Courses Are in an Online Computer Science PhD Program?

The courses in an online PhD in Computer Science include computer programming, algorithm design, artificial intelligence, network architecture and security, and technology management. Computer science is an extremely vast field pertinent to many industries, meaning that every PhD degree will have its own unique curriculum and graduate courses.

During your school search, you should check each program’s core courses, elective courses, and thesis courses to find the one that is most in line with your interests. You can also talk to the admission counselor to help you determine if their PhD program fits you. Below are some of the most common areas of study you’ll encounter in a PhD program in this field.

Main Areas of Study in a Computer Science PhD Program

  1. Machine learning.
  2. Artificial intelligence.
  3. Information management.
  4. Database management.
  5. Operating systems.
  6. Network architecture.

How Much Does Getting an Online Computer Science PhD Cost?

On average, it costs $19,314 per year to get a PhD in Computer Science according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Keep in mind that the average tuition at a public research institution will be significantly lower than the tuition fees of a private research institution.

Some schools also charge non-billable expenses like technology fees or e-library fees from students studying online programs. That being said, an online PhD or even a hybrid program will typically be a lot cheaper than a fully on-campus PhD program in computer science.

How to Pay for an Online PhD Program in Computer Science

You can pay for an online PhD program in computer science by applying for financial aid options such as scholarships, grants, and fellowships. Prospective students are eligible to apply for several fully-funded scholarships. Several universities offer a tuition minimum support which allows students to get a PhD degree without having to pay the tuition.

Most universities also offer some apprenticeships or hire students to assist professors in conducting research work. Students can also apply for paid teaching assistantships to lower their tuition rates.

Students should also submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. The federal government offers much financial aid to help talented students. Most universities recommend students fill out their FAFSA application during their admission process.

If you are a working professional, you can pay for your online PhD program through your salary or by getting your employer to fund your higher education. Online PhD programs are highly flexible and allow their students to design their programs so they can work side-by-side. Getting a bank loan is also another option.

How to Get an Online PhD for Free

You cannot get an online PhD in Computer Science for free. PhD programs are advanced degree programs that use a university’s top-of-the-line research facilities. That said, some universities offer minimum tuition support to PhD students.

The best way to reduce your tuition is to apply for scholarships, fellowships, and grant options provided by your university. While some universities, like Brown University and Rhode Island University, offer fully-funded PhD programs in computer science, they are rare and only for on-campus programs, and have extremely selective application processes.

What Is the Most Affordable Online PhD in Computer Science Degree Program?

The most affordable online PhD degree program is PhD in Computer Science offered by the University of Utah. This university’s tuition fees sit at around $300.58 per credit before other expenses like technology fees and graduation fees. Even when considering additional fees, the tuition for this school is significantly less expensive than that of UC Berkeley, the most expensive on our list.

Most Affordable Online PhD Programs in Computer Science: In Brief

School Program Tuition
University of Utah PhD in Computer Science $300.58 per credit hour
Aspen University PhD in Computer Science $450 per credit
Mississippi State University PhD in Computer Science $539 per credit
Dakota State University PhD in Information Systems $580.60 per credit
Northcentral University Online Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Technology Management $1,111 per credit

Why You Should Get an Online PhD in Computer Science

You should get an online PhD in Computer Science because it is a growing field with a wide variety of promising career opportunities. With a PhD, you can get access to various high-paying job positions thanks to your expertise in a specialized topic and in-demand tech skills.

A PhD will also help you build problem-solving skills and teach you how to create innovative tech solutions. Additionally, having a doctorate is an excellent way to demonstrate your skills to potential employers, allowing you to pursue a career as a computer scientist and create advanced technology that can improve the lives of people around the world.

Top Reasons for Getting a PhD in Computer Science

  • Advanced skills. Computer science is the fastest-growing field in the world. Thanks to the highly advanced skillset provided by a PhD, PhD grads are eligible for senior-level positions. Additionally, PhDs are research-based programs that teach students how to conduct research and develop new skills which is extremely attractive to employers.
  • Higher chances of getting a high-paying job. The more advanced your degree is, the more you are likely to be considered for a high-paying job. Earning a doctorate makes you eligible for managerial and leadership roles and provides you with a higher earning potential than other degrees.
  • Wide range of Career Opportunities. Students with a PhD can explore a wide variety of career opportunities unavailable to bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates. In this field, there are many job opportunities that require a PhD.
  • Gain specialization and build expertise. A PhD program allows students to specialize and understand a particular subject in-depth. For instance, you can gain expertise in cyber security, machine learning, artificial intelligence, or technology management through a PhD program.

Best Master’s Degree Programs

[query_class_embed] *subject-masters-degrees

What Is the Difference Between an On-Campus Computer Science PhD and an Online PhD in Computer Science?

The primary difference between an online and on-campus computer science PhD is the delivery format. Students must attend in-person classes and follow a strict schedule when attending an on-campus PhD. In contrast, students learning online watch pre-recorded or live lectures from wherever they have access to the Internet.

It is in a university’s best interest to ensure that online and on-campus programs offer similar learning and other student facilities. That being said, not all degrees are suitable for everyone. Choosing whether to attend online or on-campus can be challenging. Below are some factors that can help you decide which type of program is better for you.

Online PhD vs On-Campus PhD: Key Differences

  • Personalization . Online PhDs are often designed for working professionals and allow students to more easily customize their schedules to their needs. On-Campus PhDs follow a more strict structure.
  • End Goal . The student’s focus during an online PhD is to work on independent research. In contrast, an on-campus PhD allows students to work on more collaborative innovative research projects to improve the field of computer science.
  • Learning Format . In an online PhD, students can complete the program without ever having to visit the campus. Contrary to this, the delivery of coursework for on-campus PhD programs is done entirely through in-person lectures and labs.
  • Cost of Attendance . Online PhDs are often cheaper than on-campus PhDs as students use fewer of the school’s facilities. Students also incur fewer costs indirectly related to their studies like transportation or student housing.

How to Get a PhD in Computer Science Online: A Step-by-Step Guide

Two people writing lines of code
An online PhD program will offer advanced courses that teach both the theoretical and practical applications of computer science concepts.

To get a PhD in Computer Science online, you first need to find and apply to a program that fits your educational and career goals. The next step is to complete the degree completion requirements set by the university. These requirements include earning a specific number of credits from courses and conducting research for your dissertation project before submitting it.

1

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's or Master’s Degree

Having a bachelor's or a master's degree is a mandatory admission requirement of all PhD programs, meaning you’ll first need to earn a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science or a related field before applying. While you’re earning your bachelor's or master's degree program, make sure you keep in mind any prerequisite course requirements from your chosen  PhD program.

2

Step 2: Fill out an Online Application for Admission

Once you've earned your degree, you can start your graduate school search. Make a list of the schools you're interested in and submit your admission forms. Keep in mind that the admission process can be lengthy, so start early. Additionally, you will have to send in your official transcripts, GRE scores, personal essays, and letters of recommendation.

3

Step 3: Prepare for the Computer Science Qualifying Examination

Universities also require prospective PhD students to undertake a qualifying exam after being accepted. This qualifying examination usually takes place before a student starts working on a dissertation and is an oral presentation of their research proposal. During it, the university committee evaluates whether the student can conduct the research required to qualify for the degree.

4

Step 4: Complete Required Credit Hours

After gaining admission into a PhD program, your first milestone will be to meet the credit hour requirements. Usually, students have to finish 60 to 90 credits to earn a PhD degree. These are earned from core courses on topics such as database management, programming language, network architecture, machine learning, and systems design.

5

Step 5: Conduct Independent Research

Once you've completed your coursework, you’ll be required to conduct an independent study. This means you will have to conduct extensive research to propose a practical solution for a real-world proposal. This will typically require you to write a number of research papers.

6

Step 6: Submit and Defend Dissertation

Finally, you will have to work on your dissertation project. A dissertation project is the culmination of all the research you’ve done up to this point in your PhD and demonstrates the testing of an existing theory and your proposed solution. You will also have to successfully defend your dissertation before a university committee to earn your PhD.

Online PhD in Computer Science Salary and Job Outlook

According to Payscale, a computer science PhD holder has a median salary of $131,000 . An online PhD can make you eligible for jobs that require intensive research and work experience. You could work in academia or as a research scientist, software engineer, or machine learning expert.

While PhD graduates usually work in the tech industry, one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, they can also work in a wide variety of other industries. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer science and information technology jobs will witness a growth of 13 percent by 2030.

What Can You Do With an Online Doctorate in Computer Science?

With an online doctorate in computer science, you can get a high-paying tech job as an IT manager, computer research scientist, machine learning engineering, or a DevOps Engineer. You could also become a professor or specialize in machine learning or artificial intelligence. You’ll need to be able to show your original research when applying for any of these positions.

We’ve prepared a list of the best-paying jobs in the tech industry to help you start your research about career outcomes. These mid-senior-level positions usually require higher education, such as a doctoral degree, and a significant amount of work experience.

Best Jobs with a PhD in Computer Science

  • Computer and information systems manager
  • Computer and information research scientist
  • Computer hardware engineer
  • Computer network architects
  • Software developer

Potential Careers With a Computer Science Degree

[query_class_embed] how-to-become-a-*profession

What Is the Average Salary for an Online PhD Holder in Computer Science?

The average salary for a PhD in Computer Science is $133,000, according to Payscale. Computer science is a growing field in which PhD holders are eligible for just about any position relevant to their specialization. Your actual annual salary will depend on your job title, location, employer, and skillset.

Highest-Paying Computer Science Jobs for PhD Grads

Online Computer Science Jobs PhD Jobs Average Salary
Computer and Information Systems Manager $159,010
Computer and Information Research Scientist $131,490
Computer Hardware Engineer $128,170
Computer Network Architect $120,520
Software Developer $110,140

Best Computer Science Jobs for Online PhD Holders

The best computer science jobs for online PhD holders make full use of the advanced skills and experience you’ll have developed during your online PhD program. Your body of knowledge will  qualify you for leadership roles and managerial positions across the tech industry. Below is a detailed list of best-paying jobs online computer science PhD holders can get after graduating.

1

Computer and Information Systems Manager

PhD Salary: $159,010

Computer and information systems managers analyze the technological need of the company they work for. Also known as IT managers, they plan and oversee the installation and maintenance of computer hardware and software and make efforts to ensure the security of an organization's networks and databases. To become an IT manager , you’ll need advanced skills and work experience.

2

Computer and Information Research Scientist

PhD Salary: $131,490

Computer and information scientists identify challenges in the field of computer science and software development then perform research to create innovative ways to solve those challenges. Computer scientists also work on developing modern programming languages.

3

Computer Hardware Engineer

PhD Salary: $128,170

Computer hardware engineers are responsible for researching, designing, building, and testing computer systems. They upgrade the existing computer models and make sure that the upgrades integrate perfectly with the software. They also oversee the manufacturing process for the computer hardware.

4

Computer Network Architect

PhD Salary: $120,520

Computer network architects are responsible for modeling, securing, and installing networks in local area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WANs). They also conduct extensive research to create new networking technologies. You can become a computer network architect with the right technical and business skills.

5

Software Developer

PhD Salary: $110,140

Software developers create, test, and maintain software programs. They also upgrade existing software to smoothen the user experience. Software developers create a wide range of models to demonstrate their software applications and have a solid knowledge of advanced programming languages.

Is It Worth It to Do a PhD in Computer Science Online?

Yes, it is worth it to do a PhD in Computer Science online. Getting a doctoral degree can open you up to various opportunities in the tech industry. You can learn advanced skills and gain expertise in machine learning, artificial intelligence, or network security. An online PhD can set you up for the best tech jobs .

Computer science is a booming career option. According to Statista, the number of tech workers is likely to reach 5.2 million in 2020 and 6 million by 2030 . With a PhD, you can kickstart your career in tech. Keep in mind that a PhD is no piece of cake, so you can always consider other alternatives like coding bootcamp.

Additional Reading About Computer Science

[query_class_embed] https://careerkarma.com/blog/what-is-computer-science/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/computer-science-bachelors-degrees/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/best-online-computer-science-masters-degrees/

Online PhD in Computer Science FAQ

Can you get a PhD in Computer Science online?

Yes, you can get a PhD in Computer Science online. Online doctoral programs are becoming more popular due to being highly flexible and customizable. When looking for an online PhD, you should only consider accredited online schools . Studying at an accredited university ensures that you will get a quality education.

Is a PhD in Computer Science worth it?

Yes, a PhD in Computer Science is worth it. Computer science is one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer science and information technology jobs will witness a 13 percent growth by 2030. A PhD can help you learn advanced skills and get you a high-level position with a competitive salary.

How long does a PhD in Computer Science take?

A PhD in Computer Science is usually three to seven years long. Doctoral students must complete 60-70 credit hours to finish the graduate program. The program length depends on your chosen university. Some universities offer personalized programs that students can design according to their career goals.

Is a PhD in Computer Science hard?

Yes, a PhD in Computer Science is harder than an undergraduate and master’s degree program. However, with consistent hard work and dedication, you can gain a solid knowledge of computer science. You will also develop advanced skills and work on a research project.

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.

What's Next?

Preeti Soni

About the author: Preeti is a content writer who has written for publications like Business Insider and Doordarshan. Her experience working with career coaches and edtech founders as well as teaching underprivileged children in New Delhi helped her build her passion for helping others. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Banasthali University.

Previous Article

Next Article

Skip to main content