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Top 18 Second Bachelor’s Computer Science Programs 2024

Are you thinking about going back to school to pursue your dream career in computer science? We are here to help. If you have already completed a Bachelor’s degree in another field, you may be struggling to find programs that will let you re-start your college education and get a second Bachelor’s degree in computer science. After all, many universities close their doors to those who wish to get a second chance at getting their major right.

In this article, we will review the process of getting a second Bachelor’s Computer Science degree and present a list of schools that accept students for both on-campus and online the second undergraduate degrees in CS.

What is a second Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science?

Second Bachelor’s degree in computer science is an undergraduate program which is open for students who wish to gain second higher education in the field of computer science. Second Bachelor’s degree in CS is often identical to a classic (first) Bachelor’s degree. Some colleges design their second Bachelor’s programs in a way that students could complete the program in a shorter timeframe than traditional 4-year degree.

Why attend a second Bachelor’s Computer Science degree?

You may wish to consider getting a second Bachelor’s degree in computer science if you had a change of heart regarding your primary profession and want to transition into the world of tech.

Another reason you may want to pursue a second undergraduate degree in computer science is if you are considering combining two disciplines in your future work (I.e. biology and computer science or accounting and computer science).

Student in a second Bachelor's in computer science degree writing on a whiteboard
Photo by Barney Yau @ Unsplash

Second Bachelor’s or Master’s in Computer Science?

One of the decisions you will have to make when choosing how to transition to a career in computer science is whether to attend a second Bachelor’s program or a Master’s program in CS. (Yes, you may attend a Master’s program for non-majors even without a CS Bachelor’s.) Both options are viable and will give you all the necessary knowledge to succeed in your new tech career. However, there are several important points you would need to consider when deciding which program to attend.

  • Degree type – second Bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate program, while Master’s degree is considered a graduate program. Whether or not you acquire similar type of knowledge in either program, you should be cognizant of the differences these two programs represent.
  • Coursework – a Bachelor’s degree will mostly focus on the fundamental knowledge and undergraduate-level courses, while Master’s degree will likely offer both foundational and advanced courses.
  • Duration – Master’s degree will likely take less time to graduate from, with 1-2 years for Master’s and 2-4 years for Bachelor’s programs to complete.
  • Scholarship opportunities – unfortunately there aren’t many funding opportunities for Master’s degree programs, and most students are responsible for covering their own expenses, usually by taking on student loans. Bachelor’s degrees, on the other hand, often have merit- and need-based scholarships available for covering tuition and living expenses.
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On-campus vs. online second Bachelors Computer Science degree

Along with traditional on-campus Bachelor’s programs, some universities offer online education in computer science. But is it a good idea to pursue your degree virtually? As it turns out, computer science is one of the few disciplines that can be perfectly adapted to online learning. Synchronous or asynchronous lectures, homework problems, and coding assignments can all be done remotely.

Surely, students are missing out on face-to-face interactions, on-campus activities, and in-classroom peer discussions, but if you are a self-starter and do not have problems making your own schedule, online education could be a good option for you.

Getting a second Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science

Getting a second Bachelor’s degree in computer science is a demanding process. In order to gain acceptance to a second Bachelor’s in CS, you have to fill out an application and upload all of the necessary supporting materials.

You should submit your application by the announced deadline, which is usually in winter for the most prestigious schools, and later on in spring or summer for others. You may expect the admission decisions by the end of summer.

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug
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Application materials

You should have the following documents ready for online submission by the application deadline:

Duration of the program

Traditional Bachelor’s degree takes 4 years to complete, which is usually also the case with a second Bachelor’s degree. However, being second-time students, some individuals take increased course load and attempt to graduate in shorter amount of time. Many universities, similarly, offer shortened curriculum for second degree students, and design their programs in a way that could be completed in only half the time.

Additionally, many programs will count some of the courses from your first Bachelor’s towards your second degree, thus decreasing the course load you need to graduate. Overall, it takes 2-4 years to finish your second Bachelor’s in computer science.

Coursework

If you are starting a university degree in computer science, be ready for a demanding curriculum. Computer science courses are notoriously difficult, with professors not going easy on the lengthy problem sets and coding assignments. You can expect to take courses in the following subfields:

  • Mathematics – such as linear math, calculus, and discrete math
  • Computer Architecture
  • Object-Oriented Programming
  • Operating Systems
  • Data Structures & Algorithms
  • Electives of your choice

Extracurricular activities

One of the positives of going back to school to attend a second Bachelor’s degree in computer science is being on campus, boosting your social life, and joining extracurricular activities and clubs. These can range from sports and hobbies to professional societies and engineering teams.

You may also join research labs and gain experience in academic publishing. We recommend having at least a couple of things going besides your fixed coursework in order to make the most out of your (second) college experience and have things to put on your resume for future job hunt.

Job prospects

Once you graduate from your Bachelor’s degree in computer science, you will likely proceed to searching for employment. You may wonder what types of jobs you would be able to qualify for as a young tech professional. In truth, getting education as comprehensive as a college degree, you will be eligible to apply for almost any type of entry-level developer positions. These include software engineering, web development, mobile development, cybersecurity, data science, machine learning, computational research, and many more.

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Woman-student in Yellow Shirt Writing on White Paper in preparation for a second Bachelor's computer science degree
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio @ Pexels

Salary expectations

You may wonder what you could be earning as a holder of a Bachelor’s degree in computer science once you join the workforce. According to Payscale’s 2021 College Salary Report, computer science Bachelor’s degree graduates earned an average early career salary of $75,100 and a mid-career salary of $123,400. Senior developers at big tech companies are known to earn severalfold of that. Needless to say, computer science is a lucrative and rewarding field with many known perks and great work-life balance.

Top 18 Second Bachelor’s Computer Science degree programs

Unfortunately, some top programs in the United States choose not to accept students who apply for a second Bachelor’s degree. There are, however, quite a few schools among the best universities, which do admit students for a second undergraduate degree in computer science.

Top On-Campus Second Bachelor’s degrees in CS

  1. Carnegie Mellon University – this university, which is known as one of the three best schools for computer science (the other two being MIT and Stanford), welcomes applications from students with non-traditional academic backgrounds, including those who are seeking a second bachelor’s degree.
  2. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – this top university encourages you to contact the college in which you want to earn your second degree, and they’ll tell you about the procedure. Otherwise, you should apply as a transfer student.
  3. University of Michigan – is open to admitting second degree students only if their first Bachelor’s field is sufficiently different from computer science.
  4. Northeastern University – to earn a second bachelor’s degree, a student must be admitted to the second program, and complete all required courses for the second major.
  5. University of Waterloo – to be admitted to university’s computer science program, students must possess excellent grades from their first program of study and apply as a transfer student for admission.        
  6. New York University – The Tandon School of Engineering offers second bachelor’s degrees in all undergraduate majors within Tandon, regardless of a student’s original field of study.
  7. University of British Columbia – The Bachelor of Computer Science degree (Integrated Computer Science program), or simply BCS, is a unique, 20-month, second degree program.
  8. Northwestern University – you must apply as a transfer student if you are considering a second degree in computer science
  9. Rutgers University – applicants are welcome to apply for second Bachelor’s degree in computer science.
  10. Stony Brook University – students who wish to pursue a second Bachelor’s degree in computer science need to apply as transfer students and ensure that their first degree is sufficiently different from CS. Admissions of such applicants is very limited.
  11. Boston University – you may apply for admission to a second Bachelor’s degree as a freshman, if you already possess an undergraduate degree in another field.
  12. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Rensselaer considers any student with 12 or more transferable college credits as a transfer student.
  13. Rochester Institute of Technology – You should apply to RIT as a transfer if you have attended any college as an undergraduate student.
  14. Temple University – students should consult with the Office of the Dean of the school or college offering computer science degree in order to be considered for admission to a second Bachelor’s degree program (as a transfer student). Their primary field of study must be sufficiently different from computer science.
  15. University of Massachusetts, Lowell – a student who has earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts Lowell or at another accredited bachelor’s institution may be admitted to the university to pursue an additional bachelor’s degree. Application for admission to the university as a candidate for an additional bachelor’s degree is made through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
  16. University of Massachusetts, Boston – student as allowed to apply for admission as a second Bachelor’s degree students.
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Online Second Bachelor’s in Computer Science programs

  1. Oregon State University – this fully online degree is geared toward non-CS Bachelor’s degree holders who wish to transition to computer science by earning a BSCS. Theis rigorous and comprehensive program is composed of 15 courses that can be completed in 1-2 years.
  2. University of Colorado, Boulder – another fully online data science-focused BSCS program for anyone with an existing bachelor’s degree looking to advance in their current career, make a career pivot and/or prepare for a master’s degree. The rigorous curriculum consists of 45 credit hours, which can be completed in 1-3 years.
Woman in a second bachelor's in computer science program holding books
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio @ Pexels

Other CS education options

Attending a second Bachelor’s program is an excellent way to acquire all-round knowledge in computer science, if you already possess a Bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field. However, it is certainly not the only way to get into the industry and kickstart your CS career. You may also wish to consider other options for education to help you break into computer science. These include:

Each of these options has different advantages, which we review in 5 Proven Ways To Switch Careers To Computer Science. Also, for those who are interested in tech entrepreneurship, management positions in tech, and business & software development in general, I also recommend you to check out the joint MBA/MSCS programs. They are an excellent opportunity to get education in both the business part and development part of software engineering and increase your salary severalfold!

Final thoughts

Going back to school for a second Bachelor’s computer science degree is something to get excited about! You will get to learn a new discipline, experience the fun and fulfilling college life, and make new professional connections. Try to make the most of your time, study hard, get an internship, and absorb each moment of your education.

Career change can be hard, but it is also a decision characteristic of a strong and determined individual. We hope this article will help you make the right choice of school and ease your switch to your future career in tech.