Since its founding in 1887 as a college for agriculture and mechanic arts, North Carolina State University has grown dramatically into a major comprehensive public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research institution. Situated on a sprawling 2,100-acre urban campus in the thriving Research Triangle with the capital of Raleigh, NC State still retains its strengths in educating students in engineering and the sciences. Enrolling more than 34,700 students annually, NC State is North Carolina’s largest university offering over 270 academic degree options. In fact, North Carolina State University hosts 68 fully online degrees in its Distance Education program, including an accredited Online Master of Computer Science.

With a reputation for academic excellence, NC State is currently ranked the nation’s 95th best university, 43rd top public school, and 18th best college for veterans by the U.S. News and World Report. In particular, the survey recognized NC State for having the 48th best graduate computer science program and 7th top online graduate computer information technology degrees in America. NC State has also been placed in the top 25 recruiting colleges nationwide in the Wall Street Journal and the country’s 6th best value in public education by the Princeton Review. On a global scale, North Carolina State University was named the 29th best university worldwide for technology and computer science by ARWU.

North Carolina State University Accreditation Details

NC State was reaffirmed for another 10 years by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in 2014. As one of the regional accrediting bodies approved by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the SACSCOC certified that North Carolina State University can award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Furthermore, NC State has been granted discipline-specific approval from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Computer science programs are specifically accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC). It’s also important to note that Computer Science Department at NC State was named a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance by the NSA.

North Carolina State University Application Requirements

Since there’s an acceptance rate of 46.9% at NC State, students can expect the admissions process to be more selective than many other online universities. Graduate students seeking their Online Master of Computer Science must already hold a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited higher learning institution or its foreign equivalent. Students must have a strong background in computer science to fulfill pre-requisites in calculus, linear algebra, statistics, programming, data structures, operating systems, discrete mathematics, and algorithms. It’s also mandated that incoming computer science majors have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 in their final two years of undergraduate studies.

Before the semester’s deadline date, interested students wishing to attend North Carolina State University will need to submit a completed Graduate School application form online with:

• Official college transcripts or academic records.
• Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores.
• TOEFL or IELTS testing reports for international students.
• Three professional signed letters of recommendation.
• A two-page curriculum vitae (CV) of previous work or volunteer service.
• Up to 500 words describing their goals in computer science.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Online students at North Carolina State University will pay a different tuition rate than their on-campus counterparts attending live classes in Raleigh. For North Carolina residents, the online graduate tuition rate for the master’s degrees in engineering and computer science is $385 per credit hour. If students enroll full-time with nine credits, the total semester cost would be calculated at $3,465. On the other hand, non-residents of North Carolina must afford $870 per online credit hour to obtain their master’s degree. For full-time enrollment with nine credits, this equals a total of $7,830 each semester. It’s essential that students also leave room for required academic fees which usually total around $1,400 each year for full-time online studies.

To cover these tuition expenses, NC State automatically considers graduate students for a wide variety of financial aid options when their FAFSA form is filed before March 1st. Students can choose to borrow money through Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, PLUS Loans, and private education loans, but these must be repaid with interest. Free gift money is made available for financially needy students through the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, ELS Grant, and UNC Need Based Grant. North Carolina State University also offers a virtually endless list of institutional scholarships for added funding. For instance, there’s the Park Scholarship Program, Goodnight Scholars Program for STEM, General Hugh Shelton Leadership Scholarship, Diversity Enhancement Grant, and Caldwell Fellowship.

NC State’s Online Master of Computer Science

Offered to students living in the United States and military personnel serving abroad, the Master of Science Distance Education (MCS-DE) program is designed to provide a terminal professional degree with the flexibility of online learning. The program blends academic coursework with lively online discussions to prepare graduates for obtaining leadership in computer science. Students have access to the same expert faculty for interaction, but all courses are provided in streaming video form over the Internet. Assignments will be exchanged digitally and tests will be proctored at each student’s unique site. No hands-on research, master’s thesis project, or culminating comprehensive exam are required.

Within the 31-credit curriculum, students will begin by completing an online orientation before delving into advanced computer science courses. Topics covered in the program will include computational applied logic, algorithms, compiler construction, numerical analysis, operating systems, database administration, graphics, network management, artificial intelligence, software engineering, and parallel architectures. There’s a unique master track for Data Science provided for online computer science majors interested in gaining insights into “Big Data” for a career in analytical intelligence. All graduates will be well-equipped with the technical abilities to create innovative computer solutions in government, industry, or business.

In collaboration with NC State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, there’s also an Online Master of Science in Computer Networking (MSCN) offered. This program is only available for U.S. students who have already obtained an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, or electrical engineering. With a more in-depth look at engineering principles, this 31-credit program requires zero trips to campus and no master’s thesis project. Students can choose from four specialized tracks in Networking Design, Network Hardware, Network Software, and Networking Services to meet their unique needs.

Overall, when you’re looking for a high-quality master’s program for computer science online, NC State is worth a consideration. Students in their online accredited programs access the same award-winning curricula without interrupting their professional career or moving their geographic location. North Carolina State University is clearly a top pick for affordable online education with several concentrated computer science learning options.

Another excellent resource:

Ultimate Computer Science Degree Shootout: Top 15 Affordable vs. Top 15 Cost-no-object Programs