Top Ranked Software Engineering School - Reston, VA

School and Ranking Information

There are a few local schools offering programs in software engineering for students in the Reston, Virginia, area. The schools are mainly mid-sized public schools. All three schools mentioned below were nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Reports in 2013. They were also chosen based on their available programs in software engineering and their graduation rates.

  • Winner : George Mason University is a 4-year public school. It was recognized as the most up-and-coming school in the country in 2013. The school offers a graduate degree and certificates in software engineering.
  • Runner Up #1 : Towson University has been named as one of the top public schools in the country. It offers its postgraduate certificate programs in software engineering to students with any type of bachelor's degrees.
  • Runner Up #2 : University of the District of Columbia has a top-ranking undergraduate program in engineering. The school offers a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering with an emphasis in computer engineering.

School Comparison Chart

Category George Mason University Towson University University of the District of Columbia
Rankings Ranked the 70th top public school in the nation in 2013*
Ranked the #1 up-and-coming school in 2013*
Ranked the 10th top public school in the nation in 2013*
Ranked the 44th top regional university in the north in 2013*
Undergraduate engineering program is ranked 184th in the country*
Location Fairfax, VA (8.3 miles from downtown Reston, VA) Towson, MD (49.5 miles from downtown Reston, VA) District of Columbia (15.3 miles from downtown Reston, VA)
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, public 4-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $9,620 (in-state, undergraduate), $27,764 (out-of-state, undergraduate); $11,690 (in-state, graduate), $27,620 (out-of-state, graduate)** $8,132 (in-state, undergraduate), $19,754 (out-of-state, undergraduate); $8,154 (in-state, graduate), $15,102 (out-of-state, graduate)** $7,244 (in-state, undergraduate), $14,540 (out-of-state, undergraduate); $8,504 (in-state, graduate), $14,540 (out-of-state, graduate)**
Software Engineering Degrees Offered Master's degrees and postgraduate certificates** Postgraduate certificates** Bachelor's degrees**
Software Engineering Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in (2011-2012) 43** 5** 0**
Most Popular Software Engineering Program (2011-2012) Master's degrees (38 awarded)** Postgraduate certificates (5 awarded)** N/A
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class 64%** 64%** 17%**
Noteworthy Software engineering courses are scheduled in the late afternoon and evening for students who work during the day. Both IT and non-IT students may pursue a certificate in software engineering. Graduates have received employment offers from IBM, Verizon and PEPCO; they've also been accepted to top graduate programs.

Sources: *US News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: George Mason University

  • George Mason University is ranked in the top 200 colleges in America by Forbes in 2013.
  • A software engineering minor is available for computer science and engineering majors.

The Volgenau School of Engineering offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering and graduate certificates for those with a software engineering background. Graduate students are expected to know an object-oriented programming language and understand topics in discrete mathematics. It is also recommended that applicants have work experience with software systems. Graduate certificates are available in software engineering and software engineering for C4I. The former is meant for students who do not wish to earn a master's degree.

Runner-Up #1: Towson University

  • Kiplinger's Personal Finance named Towson University in the top 100 best values in public universities in 2013.
  • The credits for the graduate certificate may be counted towards the master's degree program in applied information technology.

Less than 10 miles outside of Baltimore, MD, Towson University is known as one the best regional public schools in the country. The Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in software engineering that is meant to build on the curriculum of undergraduate programs in information technology, computer science or computer information systems, although students with any baccalaureate degree may apply. Coursework includes information technology infrastructure, system development process and software engineering fundamentals.

Runner-Up #2: University of the District of Columbia

  • The school traces its roots back to 1851, making it one of the oldest public institutions of higher education in the District.
  • The University of the District of Columbia is committed to sustainability and working towards a 'green' campus.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of District of Columbia has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering with a computer engineering emphasis. Students will earn a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE). Individuals who choose to complete the computer engineering option will take courses in advanced design topics. They must also complete a senior project and electives in computer science.

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