2024 Guide to Ivy League Online Master’s Degrees in Computer Science

By Joy Cromwelle
Updated on June 19, 2024
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An Ivy League online master’s in computer science can significantly enhance your career prospects. These prestigious programs offer the flexibility to study from anywhere while maintaining the rigorous standards and networking opportunities associated with Ivy League institutions.

Guide to Ivy League Online Master’s Degrees in Computer Science

In this article, we’ll explore the various online master’s in computer science programs available, their admission requirements, curriculum, costs, and career outcomes. Whether you’re looking to advance in your current field or pivot to a new one, an Ivy League online degree can provide the skills and credentials you need to succeed.

We’ve outlined Ivy League schools offering online master’s programs in computer science or related fields. While Columbia and Harvard have direct programs, Brown, Dartmouth, and UPenn offer similar degrees that you might find interesting.

Let’s dive into what these programs have to offer!

Ivy League Schools Offering Masters in Computer Science Programs Online

Methodology: To be included, the school must be an Ivy League institution offering an online master’s in computer science or in a related field, either fully online or hybrid. Additionally, the school must hold regional accreditation.

Columbia University

Program name: Master of Science in Computer Science
Format: Fully online
Duration: Typically 2 years (full-time), 30 credits

Overview: This program provides a comprehensive education in computer science, emphasizing both theoretical and practical aspects. Students can explore a broad range of upper-level courses in areas such as artificial intelligence, computational complexity, databases, and software systems.

Unique Features: Access to Columbia’s extensive network, industry partnerships, and opportunities for hands-on projects. The program offers flexibility to fit both work and personal schedules.

Tuition: $2,462 per credit hour, with an estimated total cost of $77,915 for the entire program. Additional fees include a $395 non-refundable fee per course and a $105 transcript fee.

Admission Requirements: Bachelor’s degree (preferably in computer science), with at least six prerequisite courses (four in computer science and two in mathematics). Applicants must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.7 and meet specific course requirements. GRE is optional but not required.

Columbia University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Harvard University

Program name: Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies, Field: Computer Science
Format: Primarily online with one 3-week on-campus course
Duration: Typically 2-5 years (part-time), 12 courses

Overview: This program offers a rigorous education in advanced computer science theories and applications. Students will learn from expert faculty and industry professionals, gaining skills to design, develop, and maintain complex computer and software systems. The curriculum includes core courses in data structures, algorithms, and programming languages, with electives in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, software engineering, and cloud computing.

Unique Features: Customizable online curriculum, real-world capstone project with industry partners, access to Harvard’s Innovation Labs, and membership in the Harvard Alumni Association upon graduation. The program is designed for flexibility, accommodating international students and those with variable work schedules.

Tuition: $3,220 per course, with an estimated total cost of $38,640

Admission Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, completion of two prerequisite courses (one programming language course and one data structures course) with a grade of B or higher, and a unique “earn your way in” admissions process. No GRE required.

Harvard University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Brown University

Program name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
Format: Fully online
Duration: Typically 2 years (full-time), 8 courses

Overview: This program offers an interdisciplinary approach, providing technical skills and an extensive understanding of technology, policy, and business. Students can choose between the Computer Science Track and the Policy Track, both designed to prepare them for real-world cybersecurity challenges.

Unique Features: Access to world-class faculty, industry experts, and the ability to attend live sessions or view recorded lectures. The program is structured with set deadlines, ensuring a rigorous and engaging learning experience.

Tuition: $9,168 per course unit

Admission Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, three letters of recommendation, personal statement, and TOEFL/IELTS for non-native English speakers. No GRE required.

Brown University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Dartmouth College

Program name: Master of Engineering in Computer Engineering
Format: Fully online
Duration: 15-27 months, 9 courses

Overview: This program equips students with expertise in artificial intelligence technologies embedded in intelligent systems like self-driving cars, robots, virtual assistants, and augmented reality. The curriculum covers extracting information from data using machine learning, signal processing, and computer vision, implementing algorithms on specialized hardware, designing and building sensing/computing components, and collaborating on projects.

Unique Features: Developed and taught by Dartmouth Engineering faculty, the program leverages Coursera’s platform for an interactive learning experience with video lectures, assignments, discussion forums, and virtual office hours. Students can attend live sessions or view recorded lectures, and have the option to attend commencement ceremonies on campus. The program follows a “pay-as-you-go” model, allowing students to pay only for the courses they enroll in each term.

Tuition: $4,900 per course, with an estimated total cost of $44,000

Admission Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, physics, or a related STEM field. Relevant coursework in areas like linear algebra, calculus, programming, digital logic, and analog circuits is recommended. No GRE required.

Dartmouth College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

University of Pennsylvania

Program name: Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT)
Format: Fully online
Duration: Typically 2-3 years (part-time), 10 courses

Overview: The MCIT Online program is designed for students without a background in computer science. It provides a comprehensive education in computer science, covering both theoretical and practical aspects. The curriculum includes six core courses and four electives, allowing students to build a strong foundation in computer science and gain real-world coding skills.

Unique Features: The program provides the flexibility to learn at your own pace with pre-recorded lectures, individual and group assignments, and discussion forums. Students have access to Penn Engineering faculty and TAs through live office hours and discussion forums. The program also includes real-world projects using tools like TensorFlow and Amazon Cloud.

Tuition: $3,500 per course unit, with additional online services fees of $156 per course unit. The estimated total cost for the program is $35,000.

Admission Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in any field, with no specific undergraduate GPA requirement, though successful applicants typically have a GPA above 3.0. No GRE required. Applicants must submit transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation.

The UPenn is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Overview of Ivy League Online Education

When you think of Ivy League schools, you probably imagine historic campuses, elite professors, and rigorous academic standards. But did you know that many of these prestigious institutions now offer online education? This means you can access top-tier education without having to relocate or disrupt your current lifestyle.

Ivy League universities like Columbia, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania have embraced online learning, offering a variety of master’s programs in fields such as computer science, business, and public health. These programs are designed to maintain the high standards associated with Ivy League education, providing you with the same quality of instruction and networking opportunities as their on-campus counterparts.

One of the biggest advantages of these online programs is flexibility. You can study at your own pace, fitting coursework around your job and personal commitments. Plus, you’ll have the chance to interact with a diverse group of peers from around the world, enriching your learning experience.

Whether you’re looking to advance your career or pivot to a new field, an Ivy League online master’s degree can open doors and provide you with a prestigious credential that is recognized globally.

Admission Requirements and Application Process

Applying to an Ivy League online master’s program in computer science can be competitive, but understanding the requirements and process can help you prepare effectively.

Here is our list of the typical requirements from these prestigious schools:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: You must have a U.S. or internationally recognized bachelor’s degree.
  • Transcripts: Submit transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended.
  • GPA: Most programs require a minimum GPA, typically around 3.0 to 3.5.
  • Standardized Tests: GRE scores may be optional or required, depending on the program.
  • Letters of Recommendation: You usually need three letters from professors or professional supervisors.
  • Personal Statement: Prepare a statement of purpose outlining your academic and career goals.
  • Resume/CV: Detail your academic, professional, and extracurricular achievements.
  • Application Fee: Expect to pay a non-refundable fee, typically around $100.

Tips for a successful application:

  • Start early to gather all necessary documents.
  • Tailor your personal statement to highlight your unique strengths and fit for the program.
  • Seek strong recommendation letters from individuals who know your work well.

By understanding and preparing for these requirements, we believe you can enhance your application and increase your chances of joining an Ivy League online master’s program.

Curriculum and Coursework

When you enroll in an Ivy League online master’s program in computer science, you can expect a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum designed to equip you with advanced skills and knowledge.

Here is our list of what you can look forward to:

  • Core Courses: You’ll start with foundational courses in programming languages, data structures, algorithms, and discrete mathematics. These courses ensure you have a solid base to build upon.
  • Specializations: Depending on your interests, you can choose from various concentration tracks such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, software engineering, and cloud computing. For example, Columbia University offers multiple tracks to tailor your learning experience.
  • Hands-On Projects: Engage in real-world projects and capstone experiences. At Harvard, you’ll complete a capstone project that involves collaboration with industry partners, providing practical experience.
  • Flexible Learning: Courses are primarily asynchronous, allowing you to study at your own pace. Dartmouth’s program, for instance, leverages Coursera’s platform for flexible, interactive learning.
  • Advanced Electives: Dive deeper into specialized topics with elective courses. UPenn’s MCIT Online program includes electives in areas like data science, artificial intelligence, and software systems.

These programs are designed to be both challenging and rewarding, helping you advance your career while balancing your personal and professional commitments.

Costs and Financial Aid

Pursuing an Ivy League online master’s in computer science is a significant investment, but there are various financial aid opportunities to help you manage costs. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Federal Aid: You can apply for federal student aid by completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This can provide grants, loans, and work-study opportunities. Learn more and apply at FAFSA.
  • State Aid: Many states offer financial aid programs for residents. We recommend you check your state’s education department for specific opportunities.
  • Employer Programs: Some employers offer tuition reimbursement or sponsorship programs. Check with your HR department to see if you qualify.
  • Scholarships: Look for scholarships specific to your field of study or offered by the university. Ivy League schools often have their own scholarship funds.
  • Private Loans: If needed, you can also explore private student loans to cover any remaining costs.

By exploring these options, you can find the financial support you need to make your educational goals a reality.

Career Outcomes and Networking Opportunities

Earning an online master’s degree in computer science from an Ivy League school can open doors to a variety of exciting career opportunities. The field of computer science is dynamic and continually evolving, offering numerous paths for specialization and advancement.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations, reflecting the high demand for skilled professionals.

Here are five potential career paths you may pursue, along with their annual median salaries:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Computer and Information Research Scientist $145,080
Software Developer $132,270
Information Security Analyst $120,360
Data Scientist $108,020
Web Developer $84,960

Networking is also crucial in this field. Engaging with peers, professors, and industry professionals can provide valuable insights and opportunities. Many Ivy League programs offer robust alumni networks, career fairs, and industry partnerships to help you build connections and advance your career.

Advantages and Challenges of Online Learning

Online learning offers a range of benefits and challenges that can impact your educational experience. Here’s a closer look at both:

Online learning offers numerous benefits that can enhance your educational experience. Here are a few that we’d like to share with you:

  • Flexibility: Online learning allows you to study at your own pace and schedule, making it easier to balance education with work and personal commitments.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Online programs often have lower tuition fees and eliminate commuting costs, making education more affordable.
  • Accessibility: You can attend classes from any location, which is particularly beneficial if you live in a remote area or have mobility issues.
  • Enhanced Technical Skills: Navigating online learning platforms helps you develop digital literacy and technical skills that are valuable in today’s job market.
  • Personalized Learning: Online courses can be tailored to suit different learning styles, whether you prefer visual, auditory, or hands-on learning methods.

Despite its benefits, online learning also presents several challenges we want you to consider:

  • Time Management: Online learning requires strong self discipline and time management skills to stay on track with deadlines and coursework.
  • Technical Issues: Reliable internet access and proper computer equipment are essential, and technical difficulties can disrupt your learning experience.
  • Limited Social Interaction: The lack of face-to-face interaction can lead to feelings of isolation and make it harder to stay engaged and motivated.
  • Repetitive Structure: Some online courses may have a repetitive format, which can lead to disengagement over time.
  • Hands-On Learning: Certain subjects that require practical, hands-on experience can be challenging to learn online.

By understanding these advantages and challenges, you can better prepare yourself for a successful online learning experience.


Find our quick answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

Do These Online Degrees Have the Same Value as On-Campus Degrees?

Yes, online degrees have the same value as on-campus degrees. According to Georgetown University, numerous studies have shown that online degrees are comparable in quality to traditional programs, with some students even performing better online.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that the growth in online education has led to greater respect for these degrees among employers. Additionally, a survey by Learning House revealed that 86% of online students believe the value of their degree matches or surpasses the cost they paid for it.

Employers appreciate the flexibility, time management, and professional drive demonstrated by online graduates, making your online degree a valuable asset.

Is an Ivy League Online Master’s in Computer Science Worth It?

Yes, an Ivy League online master’s in computer science is worth it for many students.

According to the US Department of Labor, employment in computer and IT occupations is projected to grow 14.6% through the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for these roles was $97,430, more than twice the median for all occupations.

An Ivy League degree can enhance your credentials, providing access to prestigious networks and advanced career opportunities. While outcomes can vary, the combination of high demand and strong earning potential makes this degree a valuable investment.

Getting Your Ivy League Computer Science Master’s Degree Online

A young woman studying at her desk in a library, surrounded by Ivy League university logos, imagining graduating from one of their computer science programs.

In conclusion, pursuing an online master’s in computer science from an Ivy League school offers a prestigious and flexible way to advance your career.

These programs provide rigorous coursework, access to esteemed faculty, and valuable networking opportunities. While the investment is significant, the potential benefits in terms of career advancement and earning potential can be substantial.

We encourage you to explore the various programs offered by accredited institutions to find the one that best fits your goals and lifestyle. Let us help you take the next step towards achieving your educational and professional aspirations with an Ivy League online degree.

Ready to start your journey?