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How Associate’s Degrees Compare with Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science

Higher Education Articles January 29, 2014

It is important to know the difference between an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree when looking into a computer science program. Coursework and degree requirements are primary differences, as well as long-term salary and career possibilities.

Associate’s Degrees Compared to Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science

An associate’s degree differs from a bachelor’s degree in computer science in a couple of key ways. First of all, it takes about two years to complete an associate degree, while it generally takes four years to complete a bachelor’s. The additional time spent on earning a bachelor’s degree implies additional coursework which in turn implies a more well-rounded education that imparts in-depth knowledge to students.

The median salary graduates can expect to be paid and the positions they can aspire for are other major points of difference between associate and bachelor’s degrees in computer science. Those holding a bachelor’s degree can expect to find better paying jobs at a higher level than those with mere associate degrees.

Degree Prerequisites

It takes about 64 semester hours of coursework to earn most associate degrees. Coursework includes general education prerequisites including science, English, math, arts and humanities, and social science. Coursework related to the major area of concentration includes topic areas like database management systems, applied calculus, discrete mathematics, computer architecture, data structures and algorithms, and object-oriented programming.

It takes approximately 128 semester hours of coursework to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science though this can vary from school to school. Bachelor’s degree programs have similar requirements as associate programs in relation to major courses and general education; however there are some additional requirements related to courses pertinent to major areas of concentration.

Additional coursework in a bachelor’s program includes a computer science practicum to augment additional subject areas such as software design, computer languages, operating systems, computer networks, human computer interaction, and application server programming.

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Showing schools in your area

5 Program(s) Found
  • Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels
  • No standardized testing if student meets admission requirements
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • 87% of Liberty University students receive some form of financial aid
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Online and on-campus programs include Cloud Technologies (BS), Mobile Development (BS), and Web Design and Development (BS)
  • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career in tech by immersing students in a project-based learning environment
  • Students can learn how to manage cloud technology or gain coding skills for apps, websites, and software
  • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Averett University is a top-ranked, fully-accredited institution that offers students over 30 undergraduate majors, minors and special programs, and 5 master's programs.
  • Accelerated programs designed for convenience: choose from weekly evening courses at one of Averett's Virginia locations or study online and on your own time.
  • Averett University was named one of Virginia’s top colleges for return on investment, and their average scholarship package lowers the cost of attendance further by almost 40%.
  • Averett offers students learning experiences that mirror real-life situations. This means you can put today's lesson to the test during tomorrow’s workday.
  • Averett University's 12:1 student-professor ratio makes your education a collaborative endeavor based on close relationships between students and faculty.
  • Online Courses
4 Program(s) Found
  • Hallmark University's degree programs in Information Technology and Cybersecurity are built to prepare graduates for the evolving world of business and security.
  • With thousands of available IT jobs, we are preparing students to fill these roles through real-world scenarios and simulation exercises. 
  • Hallmark University partners with a number of organizations, like Microsoft and Cisco, to ensure our students learn the most up-to-date technical knowledge and earn industry certifications.
  • By utilizing compressed, objective-driven courses, you can complete your education in nearly half the time of a similar program at a traditional college or university.
  • Each of our courses are designed to include scenario-based activities. You get to practice what you learn so you're ready for the challenges you will face when you graduate.
  • Don't settle for learning in large lecture halls. Get the attention needed to succeed.
  • Online Courses

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