Software engineering is a growing field with immense potential. Most of best jobs in America, such as data scientist, Java developer, or cloud engineer, require solid software engineering skills. With the best online PhD in Software Engineering, you can learn the most advanced skills and get a competitive salary.
An online PhD in Software Engineering allows you to learn essential skills while working a part-time or full-time job. This degree is advanced, flexible, and lets students study at their own pace. In this career guide, we will tell you how to pursue a software engineering PhD online. You will also learn about the highest-paying software engineering jobs.
Can You Get a PhD in Software Engineering Online?
Yes, you can get a PhD in Software Engineering online. Many universities offer flexible PhD programs for students and working professionals interested in online learning. Prospective students can design their program and make their study plan with the help of a university counselor.
You can either get a PhD in Software Engineering or enroll in a PhD in Computer Science that offers a software engineering concentration. Most online PhD programs require students to complete the core coursework and work on independent research. Many universities also provide specialized online PhD programs in big data, information, and computer systems.
Is an Online PhD Respected?
Yes, an online PhD is respected. Students with an online software engineering PhD learn the exact same skills as an in-person student while gaining work experience. Some employers might even prefer these candidates. Like a traditional doctoral program, students enrolled in an online PhD have to work on intensive research and complete their dissertation.
As many as 200 accredited institutions offer online doctorate programs in the US. Hence, online PhDs are gaining popularity each year. Employers have also started focusing on hiring skill-based talent because of the growing demand for software engineers.
What Is the Best Online PhD Program in Software Engineering?
The best online PhD program in software engineering is offered by North Dakota State University. Admission to this program requires a solid understanding of high-level programming languages. Both bachelor’s and master’s graduates with a GPA of 3.25 or higher can enroll in this program.
Why North Dakota State University Has the Best Online PhD Program in Software Engineering
North Dakota State University (NDSU) has the best online PhD program in software engineering because students learn modern software development. This guarantees that their education covers in-demand skills. Further, NDSU is an R1 classified research institution, which means it offers top-of-the-line resources to its PhD students.
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Online PhD in Software Engineering Admission Requirements
The admission requirements for an online PhD in Software Engineering include a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited institution in software engineering or a related field. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is the standard minimum. Prospective students need to submit a statement of purpose or personal essay, letters of recommendation, and official transcripts.
Students may have to showcase work experience and demonstrate their ability before a committee to get admission into the program. Some programs might require students to submit a research proposal. Each program is different, so please review each school’s requirements carefully.
Online PhD in Software Engineering Admission Requirements
- Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field from an accredited institution
- Relevant work experience
- A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal essays or statement of purpose
Best Online PhDs in Software Engineering: Top Degree Program Details
|Doctor of Science in Computer Science
|PhD in Computer Science and Software Engineering
|Colorado Technical University
|PhD in Computer Science
|Dakota State University
|PhD in Information Systems
|Mississippi State University
|Doctor of Philosophy in Computational Engineering
|Nova Southeastern University
|Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science
|Texas A&M University
|Online Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Engineering
|The George Washington University
|PhD in Systems Engineering
|University of Fairfax
|Doctorate in Software Development
|Wright State University
|PhD in Computer Science and Engineering
Best Online PhDs in Software Engineering: Top University Programs to Get a PhD in Software Engineering Online
The top university programs to get a PhD in Software Engineering online enable students to get transferable skills. Such programs are highly flexible and offer excellent learning resources. To help you get started, we’ve created a list of the best online PhDs in Software Engineering. All of these programs are offered by accredited universities and offer quality education.
Online Software Engineering PhD Graduation Rates: How Hard Is It to Complete an Online PhD Program in Software Engineering?
It is extremely hard to complete an online PhD in Software Engineering. A PhD is the most advanced degree after postdoctoral programs and can take a long time to finish. Not only are PhDs lengthy, but they require students to conduct intensive research. It may take up to eight years to complete a PhD program.
As reported by Statista, only 2,414 candidates completed their PhD in Computer Science in 2020 in the United States. Before enrolling in a PhD program, you should consider the course load and outcomes of your chosen program to see if it fits you.
How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Software Engineering Online?
It can take anywhere between three to eight years to complete a PhD in Software Engineering. The average time to get a PhD in the United States is seven and a half years, according to Statista. To get a PhD, you have to complete the required credit hours, submit a research proposal and finish your dissertation.
Students can complete online PhDs in less time as their schedules can be customized according to the prospective student. How long it takes to complete a PhD also depends if a student is attending a part-time or full-time program.
How Hard Is an Online Doctorate in Software Engineering?
An online PhD in Software Engineering is very hard. It is an advanced degree that requires students to gain expertise in a technical subject. Students have to finish a rigorous course of 60-90 credit hours and must submit a dissertation. Often, students must pass a qualifying exam before starting their dissertation.
Online PhDs have more flexible schedules than on-campus PhDs. However, students are still required to spend a significant amount of time studying their core subject and conducting intensive research. Universities may need students to spend 25 to 50 hours a week to complete their PhD program in a reasonable amount of time.
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What Courses Are in an Online Software Engineering PhD Program?
The courses in an online PhD in Software Engineering include advanced programming languages, machine learning, network design, artificial intelligence, network architecture, cyber security, cloud computing, and quantum computing. Software engineering has a wide range of subfields, so every university offers different coursework.
Main Areas of Study in a Software Engineering PhD Program
- Machine learning
- Artificial intelligence
- Network design and architecture
- Database management
- Operating systems
- Network architecture
How Much Does Getting an Online Software Engineering PhD Cost?
It costs $19,314 per year to get a PhD in Software Engineering, according to a 2018-19 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Students have to pay $12,171 per year to attend a PhD program at a public institution, while private institutions have an average tuition of $25,929.
Apart from the tuition, students enrolled in online PhDs also have to pay technology fees, application fees, and other online resources expenses. These expenses can significantly increase the total cost of the program.
How to Pay for an Online PhD Program in Software Engineering
You can pay for an online PhD program in software engineering through various financial aid options available at the university. Many universities offer grants, scholarships, loans, tuition waivers, teaching and research assistantships, and scholarships to doctoral students. Most schools recommend submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
It is challenging to find a university that offers a fully-funded PhD program. However, many universities provide tuition waivers for exceptionally talented students. Some universities also provide minimum tuition support, wherein students only have to pay a portion of the tuition fee.
How to Get an Online PhD for Free
You cannot get an online PhD in Software Engineering or any computer science-related subject for free. PhD programs are among the most advanced degrees. Universities have to provide excellent research facilities and online resources to help students conduct their research.
Many universities do offer fully-funded PhD programs in software engineering. However, those programs are on-campus degrees and require students to attend classes physically. You can also apply for scholarships, fellowships, and grants to afford the online PhD program.
What Is the Most Affordable Online PhD in Software Engineering Degree Program?
The most affordable online PhD degree program is the PhD in Computer Engineering by North Dakota State University. The cost per credit hour at NDSU for this program is $464,90. Though, you will also have several other expenses such as a technology fee, dissertation fee, and graduation fee.
Most Affordable Online PhD Programs in Software Engineering: In Brief
|North Dakota State University
|PhD in Computer Engineering
|PhD in Computer Science
|$450 per credit
|Mississippi State University
|PhD in Computer Science
|$514 per credit
|Online PhD in Information Technology
|$545 per credit
|Dakota State University
|Online PhD in Information Systems
|$580.60 per credit
Why You Should Get an Online PhD in Software Engineering
You should get an online PhD in Software Engineering because it is a promising field with ample career opportunities. A PhD in Software Engineering can help you get a managerial or a leadership position that usually requires a lot of work experience.
You will build strong research and problem-solving skills. You can become a researcher and help develop cutting-edge technologies to solve real-world problems. A doctoral degree is also an excellent way to showcase your hard work, passion, and dedication toward a specific field.
Top Reasons for Getting a PhD in Software Engineering
- Transferable skills. A PhD can help you gain transferable skills, which almost every employer desires in their employees. These skills can make you eligible for nearly every job in the software industry.
- Managerial position opportunities. Often, employers require someone highly experienced for a managerial position. You’re more likely to be considered for such positions if you have a PhD as it proves your dedication and expertise.
- Specialization options. PhDs are an excellent way to understand a particular subject in-depth. You can gain expertise in data science, machine learning, or artificial intelligence and pursue a career in that field.
- Wide range of career opportunities. Many job opportunities are available only to doctoral graduates. Instead of having to climb your way up the work ladder, you can explore career opportunities and get a competitive salary right after graduation.
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What Is the Difference Between an On-Campus Software Engineering PhD and an Online PhD in Software Engineering?
The difference between an online and on-campus software engineering PhD is the learning format. In an online PhD, students can design their study plan and customize the schedule as per their availability. However, on-campus PhDs have a strict schedule that students must follow.
Choosing whether to attend an in-person or online PhD program can be challenging. Here are some factors that can help you make an informed decision and choose the best software engineering PhD.
Online PhD vs On-Campus PhD: Key Differences
- Flexible schedule. Online students can design and manage their schedules and do the coursework at their own pace. They can even talk to the university to extend the program timeline.
- Network opportunities. On-campus students have a higher chance of networking with their peers, professors, and other working professionals. They also spend a lot of time with their professors conducting research. On the flip side, online students get to interact virtually with students from all over the world.
- Greater diversity. Since the online program is available to everyone, there’s likely to be more diversity in the virtual classroom. Greater diversity can help in fruitful discussions and lead to innovative ideas.
- Access to campus facilities. On-campus students have access to many campus facilities such as student welfare programs, research facilities, and career fairs. Although universities offer online learning resources, they are not as common.
How to Get a PhD in Software Engineering Online: A Step-by-Step Guide
To get a PhD in Software Engineering, you need to find and apply to a program that fits your personal and professional goals. Keep reading to learn how to apply, pass your qualifications, complete your coursework, and conduct your dissertation.
Online PhD in Software Engineering Salary and Job Outlook
According to PayScale, a PhD holder in software engineering can annually earn anywhere between $77,000 and $182,000 per year. Software engineering is a vast field with immense career opportunities. Your salary depends on the place you’re living in, the skillset you possess, and your job role.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 22 percent employment growth for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers. This growth is considered much faster than average.
What Can You Do With an Online Doctorate in Software Engineering?
With an online Doctorate in Software Engineering, you can get the best tech jobs such as IT manager, computer research scientist, machine learning engineer, and DevOps engineer. Computer science is a booming field that presents lots of promising career opportunities. You can also become a professor and teach university students.
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 work experience.
Best Jobs with a PhD in Software Engineering
- Computer and Information Systems Manager
- Computer and Information Research Scientists
- Computer Network Architects
- Software Developer
- Database Administrator
Potential Careers With a Software Engineering Degree
What Is the Average Salary for an Online PhD Holder in Software Engineering?
According to PayScale, the average salary of an online PhD holder in software engineering is $103,000 per year in the United States. Computer science is a promising field that can offer various roles to PhD holders, which causes this number to fluctuate. Your annual salary may also depend on your position, location, and the skillset you possess.
Highest-Paying Software Engineering Jobs for PhD Grads
|Online Software Engineering PhD Jobs
|Computer and Information Systems Manager
|Computer and Information Research Scientist
|Computer Network Architect
Best Software Engineering Jobs for Online PhD Holders
The best software engineering jobs for online PhD holders require advanced skills and experience. We’ve created a list of the highest-paying jobs that online software engineering doctorates can get after finishing the degree program.
Is It Worth It to Do a PhD in Software Engineering Online?
Yes, it is worth it to do a PhD in Software Engineering online. An online doctoral program can help you gain the most in-demand skills without having to leave your job. Further, students also develop transferable skills that increase their chance of getting a high-paying job in any field.
The demand for software engineers is increasing every day, and every company requires software engineers to help them step into the digital world. That’s why software development employment is expected to grow 22 percent by 2030.
Additional Reading About Software Engineering
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Online PhD in Software Engineering FAQ
A software engineer with a PhD can make a median salary of $103,000, according to PayScale. The salary of software engineers often depends on the job type, location, and skillset. A PhD can be an excellent way to develop an advanced skillset and prepare yourself for a senior position.
Yes, online PhD programs are valid in the US when they come from an accredited institution. Accreditation of an online university showcases that the program maintains a quality standard and provides a great learning environment. Most employers like Google, Microsoft, Meta, or Amazon hire online PhD graduates.
You can do an online PhD while working a job as these programs are highly flexible and can be personalized as per your career goals. Many programs are 100 percent online and don’t require students to go to classes. Additionally, you can talk to the university to schedule online lectures.
You can get an on-campus PhD in Software Engineering from Boston College, Columbia University, University of Alabama, Johns Hopkins University, and Cornell University. You can also consider the University of Illinois, Washington State University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
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