Earn Your Computer Science Associate Degree
- $320/credit (60 credits)
- No application fee or SAT/ACT scores required
- Transfer up to 45 credits
- Learn Python, Java and C++
- Develop a digital portfolio to show employers
- Transfer all 60 credits into SNHU's BS in Computer Science
Associate in Computer Science Program Overview
Today's computer-driven world calls for software analysts, designers and developers. With your Associate of Science (AS) in Computer Science, you're on the path to fill this demand.
With coursework emphasizing the design and development of computer software, this online degree program can help you gain a solid foundation in problem solving using technology and algorithmic thinking.
Throughout the program, you'll learn applied programming skills using Python, Java and C++. You'll also use design and testing tools – including Netbeans and Eclipse – to support all aspects of the software development life cycle. To prepare you for work on a development team, the program also teaches you how agile project management works.
Learn how to:
- Analyze complex computing problems and use computing principles to solve them
- Design, implement and evaluate computing-based solutions to meet a given set of computing requirements
- Communicate professionally and effectively in a variety of situations
- Apply computer science theory and software development to create computing-based solutions
Get Credit or Get Ready
If you've earned IT certifications through organizations like Cisco, CompTIA, (ISC)2 or Thinkful, you may be eligible to receive credit toward your degree program. If you’re seeking certification, some IT courses can help you prepare for specific exams.
Deciding to build a solid computer science skill set is a great career move. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12% from 2018 to 2028.1
"The world is becoming increasingly reliant on software systems and is becoming increasingly connected," said Dr. Curtis George, technical program facilitator for computer science at SNHU. "With an associate degree in computer science, students can begin an exciting career as an application developer, software engineer or game developer."
The 2-year associate in computer science program is a great option if you're already working in a computer science role and want to formalize your abilities with a degree. It's also a smart choice if you want to explore the field of computer science without committing to a 4-year bachelor's degree.
When you graduate from the associate in computer science program, you'll have developed new skills or further developed some that you already had in your toolkit. Earning your degree and strengthening your technical expertise could help position you for computing jobs like:
- Help desk technician. Help customers troubleshoot their computer problems by offering technical support virtually or in person. If you have a background in customer service and are adept at problem-solving, this could be a great job for you.
- Application software developer. Design the kind of applications you're already familiar with, like word processors, presentation programs, weather apps and mobile games. You might even create customized applications or databases for clients.
- Systems software developer. Create the underlying operating systems that allow computers to function and design the computer system's user interface that allows people without coding knowledge to use computers.
- Computer programmer. Bring life to the ideas software developers create by writing the code that gives computer applications functionality.
- Applications analyst. Make administration, monitoring and maintenance of applications your responsibility. You'll be a technical point of contact, in charge of fixing application and systems issues on the spot.
Earning this degree not only prepares you for entry-level technology jobs, but it lays a great foundation for continuing your education. If you want to earn a bachelor's degree online, or on campus, you'll have the background you need to take your knowledge and skills even further.
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Computer Science Degree
Why SNHU for Your Associate in Computer Science
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits for a bachelor's degree and 45 credits for an associate degree from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
- 2019 INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine award for Inspiring Programs in STEM
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
We are committed to expanding access to education – and our technology department is no exception. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to encouraging and supporting underrepresented students in STEM fields. Below are just some opportunities our students have access to:
- Grace Hopper Celebration. AnitaB.org hosts an annual conference for women and underrepresented groups in technology. In the past, our students have used this opportunity to network and land job offers.
- Women in Cybersecurity Conference. Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) is dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity. WiCyS Conference gives companies a way to connect with women students to recruit them into open positions.
- Richard Tapia Conference. The ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing brings together people in computing from all backgrounds and ethnicities to celebrate, connect, learn and inspire.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.2 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
How to Apply
Simply work with an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. Start by:
- Completing a free undergraduate application
- Providing previous institutions attended – so we can retrieve transcripts for you at no cost
Test scores are not required as part of your application.
Courses & Curriculum
The associate in computer science curriculum was developed by experts in the computer science industry whose years of experience are embedded into each course. With a heavy focus on experiential and applied learning, this program will allow you to work on real-world problems while developing a digital portfolio of artifacts. Upon graduating, your portfolio can give you a way to demonstrate the technical skills you have gained to potential employers.
You'll work on honing your programming techniques and mathematical computation and quantitative reasoning skills in major courses such as:
- Programming Languages. Using best practices and several programming languages, you'll develop programs that comply with industry regulations. You'll learn the importance of developing code that focuses not only on functionality, but also security and efficiency.
- Data Structures and Algorithms: Analysis and Design. Learn how to develop code and use non-coding development methodologies in algorithmic design and problem solving. You'll use advanced algorithmic designs to evaluate complex data structures.
- Software Development Lifecycle. Explore the stages of the software development lifecycle. Taking on the perspective of developers and testers, you'll examine the characteristics, documentation and purpose of each stage.
- Operating Platforms. Develop a deeper understanding of operating platforms and architectures by analyzing and evaluating their characteristics, advantages and weaknesses. You'll learn about software design templates as well as how to use them to solve problems.
- System Analysis and Design. Explore the principles, methods and techniques used in systems development to create system models using appropriate industry tools. As a part of creating system models, students will also learn to effectively communicate technical concepts and design decisions to various audiences in a professional manner.
Through hands-on, experiential-learning opportunities you'll have in your courses – and beyond – you can demonstrate your skills in a tangible way, giving you real experiences you can talk about with potential employers.
“It provides resume-building opportunities,” said Dr. Gwen Britton, associate vice president of STEM professions at SNHU. “As a student engages in an experiential-learning opportunity, they are acquiring skills and knowledge that involve doing. As they are doing, they are generating artifacts and ‘stories’ that can be used to describe these skills and knowledge and, oftentimes, result in something they can share.”
As an associate in computer science student, you could gain experience by getting involved in these opportunities:
- National Cyber League. Competitions held by this collegiate cybersecurity league give you an opportunity to show off ethical hacking skills. With 2 seasons to join annually (spring and fall), there's ample opportunity to put your cybersecurity skills to the test.
- Teradata University Network Data Challenge. Through TUN's annual data and analytics challenges, you can contribute solutions to a real-world problem. As part of a team, you'll examine, analyze and visualize data to answer business questions.
The 60-credit AS in Computer Science can help prepare you for entry-level positions, but it's also a great stepping stone to your bachelor's. You might also decide to pursue the following programs available at SNHU:
- BS in Computer Science. Our associate degree directly aligns with our bachelor's in computer science. This means that upon completing the AS in Computer Science, you could have half of your BS in Computer Science completed.
- BS in Cybersecurity. Add to your computer science knowledge with skills that defend against cybersecurity attacks and assess risks that threaten the safety of an organization's data.
- BS in Computer Information Systems. Learn how to develop information systems that support executive decision-making. The 18 free electives in this program make it a great option for utilizing your associate in computer science credits.
- BS in Information Technologies. Learn how to create and apply technologies that support business operations. You can then specialize your skill set with one of the 5-course concentrations.
- BA in Information Technologies. While the Bachelor of Arts in Information Technologies program has the same IT courses as the BS in IT, its 21 free electives may allow you to apply more transfer credits – saving you time and money.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
- General education courses: All online associate degree students are required to take general education classes, if not obtained in prior coursework. Through these foundation, exploration and integration courses, students learn to think critically, creatively and collaboratively, giving you the edge employers are looking for.
- Technology resources: We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.
- Earn math credits for what you already know: Save time and tuition with our Pathways to Math Success assessments. Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|AS in Computer Science|
|Courses May Include|
|AS in Computer Science|
|CS 210||Programming Languages||Students will develop functional programs that comply with industry regulations and best practices using various programming languages. Special attention will be paid to the importance of developing code that is not only functional, but also secure, efficient, and professional.|
|CS 230||Operating Platforms||Students will develop a deeper understanding of operating platforms and architectures through the analysis and evaluation of the characteristics, advantages, and weaknesses of each. Students will learn the value of utilizing software design templates as well as how to utilize them to solve problems.|
|CS 250||Software Development Lifecycle||Students will explore the stages of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) through the lens of developers and testers to examine the characteristics, documentation, and purpose of each stage. Through applying SDLC stages within an agile development environment, students will learn the principles and best practices used to develop high quality software while also assessing the impact of communication, documentation, and ethics on the SDLC.|
|CS 255||System Analysis and Design||Students will explore the principles, methods, and techniques used in systems development so that they can create system models using appropriate industry tools. As a part of creating system models, students will also learn to effectively communicate technical concepts and design decisions to various audiences in a professional manner.|
|CS 300||Modeling and Simulations for the Sciences||This course introduces the student to developing computer models and simulation for a variety of industries. Current tools and technologies for computer modeling and simulation are covered.|
|Total Credits: 60|
Tuition & Fees
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Undergraduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 30 credits|
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between an associate in computer science and an associate in IT?
To put it simply, computer science is the creation of technology while information technology (IT) is the application of the technology.
In computer science programs, you'll focus on learning to design and develop programs and applications using theory and mathematics. This includes courses involving programming, coding and engineering software to create new applications or improve existing ones.
In IT programs, you'll learn about the installation, maintenance and operation of those programs. Jobs in IT often involve more interaction as they may have duties that involve anything from solving business problems to troubleshooting technical issues with customers.
Overall, computer science programs teach you transferable skills like computation and reasoning. The knowledge and skills you'll gain in an associate in computer science program are broadly applicable across the field of computer and information technology and beyond.
Can you get an associate degree in computer science?
While bachelor's programs are more common, it is possible to earn your associate degree in computer science.
Few schools offer computer science degrees at the associate level, but at Southern New Hampshire University, you can choose to pursue both associate and bachelor's degrees in computer science online. Whether you're already working in the field or looking to get your foot in the door, the 60-credit associate program is great for anyone interested in computer science.
"The associate in computer science introduces students to programming," said Dr. Cheryl Frederick, associate dean of STEM programs at SNHU. "It is great for those wanting to get into the software development industry."
Students will learn scripting and object-oriented programming languages including Python, Java and C++. The coursework emphasizes industry best practices for developing quality software programs.
What's even better is that our associate program is aligned with our 120-credit bachelor's in computer science program. This means you're halfway to your bachelor's once you've successfully completed your AS in Computer Science, should you decide to continue your education.
The online computer science associate program is a great option if you're trying to juggle earning your degree with all of life's responsibilities, including family and work. Because SNHU's online programs have no mandatory login times, you can complete your weekly assignments whenever it's most convenient for you.
What can I do with an associate degree in computer science?
Getting your associate degree in computer science is a great way to kick off a career in the field or take on more computer science-related responsibilities in your current role. Earning your associate degree online could help prepare you for entry-level roles in the computer science field, including:
- Help desk technician
- Software developer
- Computer programmer
- Applications analyst
- Applications developer
To further solidify your abilities as a candidate for these jobs, you may need documented experience or a bachelor's degree. Luckily, Southern New Hampshire University's computer science associate degree program can help in both of these departments. In the program, you'll build a digital portfolio that you can show to potential employers, and earning your associate degree is a milestone in your journey to earning a bachelor's degree.
Once you've earned your computer science associate degree, you might find yourself interested in other areas of computing and technology. You could continue your education, specializing your knowledge in areas like cybersecurity, information technologies, game programming and development or even project management.
How much can you make with an associate degree in computer science?
How much money you make with your associate degree in computer science depends on several factors.
Computer science is a broad technology degree, giving you knowledge to work in many fields and positions beyond the obvious. Overall, earning your associate degree puts you at an advantage. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, workers with an associate degree had median weekly earnings of $887, compared with $746 for people with a high school diploma alone.1 That's a difference of almost 19% in wages.
If you're just starting your career in computer science, it's important to know that landing a high-paying position in areas such as software development and computer programming may require at least a bachelor's degree.
Is an associate in computer science worth it?
Whether you already have computer science knowledge or not, having a degree helps formalize your abilities. This means earning your associate degree in computer science could make your resume more attractive to employers.
Numbers back up the value of earning your associate degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with associate degrees are less likely to face unemployment than those with a high school diploma alone. The unemployment rate in 2019 was 2.7% for those with associate degrees versus 3.7% for workers with no college experience.1
Of course, continuing your education and earning your bachelor's can open even more doors, but there are plenty of reasons to enroll in an associate program first:
- Starting your career. If you're just kicking off a career in computing and technology, the computer science associate degree is a great way to dip your toes in the water. Upon graduating, you can decide to go into the workforce or continue onto a bachelor's program.
- Taking your career further. If you've already worked in a computer science role but need credentials in order to take your career further, earning your associate degree might be a smart choice. This 2-year program is half as long as a bachelor's and you'll graduate with a degree that formalizes your knowledge and skill set.
Providing education you can afford is our priority. At Southern New Hampshire University, tuition for a computer science associate degree is $19,200. SNHU has some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, and by transferring in up to 45 credits and work experience, you could lower your final cost even further. Our staff is ready to help you with the financial aid process, because we want to help you see yourself succeed.
Which computer degree pays the most?
Because computer and information technology jobs are technical in nature, they often pay well. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $88,240 in May 2019 – much higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $39,810.1
There are many fields of study to consider in the world of computing. You could pursue a degree in computer science, cybersecurity, information technologies, computer information systems and beyond.
According to 2019 median annual salary information from the BLS,1 some top-paying computer and IT occupations include:
- Computer and information research scientists
- Computer network architects
- Software developers
- Information security analysts
It's important to note that a computer science job that pays 6 figures will likely require a minimum of a bachelor's degree and years of experience. Going on to earn your master's degree can also help you climb the ranks further in your computer science career.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education as well as several other accrediting bodies.
Sources & Citations (1, 2)
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm (viewed May 21, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm (viewed May 21, 2020).
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
2According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.