16 Online Degree Programs From Top Universities

According to data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 16.6% of all U.S. higher education students (about 3.3 million) in fall 2018 were enrolled in institutions offering exclusively distance education courses. More than 35% were enrolled in hybrid institutions that combine distance education and in-person instruction, a class that includes some of the largest universities in the United States.

Whether you are enrolling in a higher education program for the first time or returning to school after working full time for years, it is possible to end up in a college or university that offers online learning opportunities, even if you are not looking explicitly for them.

And if you prefer to enroll in an online university rather than live on campus (potentially far from your hometown and probably at a significant premium compared to nearby affordable rental housing due to room and board margins at many residential colleges ) or endure a long commute to class? Then it’s easy to find an institution and program that meets your needs and goals, without having to move or spend more time than you’d like to….

These days, many of the best online colleges and universities are directly associated with top traditional institutions, including top state universities and top private research schools. While online degree programs were dominated primarily by for-profit institutions that did little to prepare students for the workplace, the playing field today is much more balanced and student-friendly. If you recognize many of the names on this list, it is precisely because many world-class institutions recognize the need to provide world-class remote learning opportunities in the digital age.

Pro Tip : When you’re ready to start working toward your degree online, start your search with edX. They offer undergraduate and graduate programs from some of the best colleges and universities.

Top Universities with Accredited Online Degree Programs:

These online colleges and degree programs are among the best in the US They are all associated with traditional four-year colleges and universities, but do not require distance education students to appear in person.

Each institution’s list includes key information about the institution itself:

Institution type: Public universities receive substantial state funding and, although they are largely autonomous, they are more closely supervised and regulated by state governments. Private universities are even more autonomous and can be either non-profit or for-profit, and the former are generally considered to provide higher quality education.

Approximate number of online degree programs: The number provided is a rough count of currently available distance education degrees. The exact number is subject to change.

Accreditation: This line item denotes the main accrediting authority. At larger universities, accreditation may be school specific. In this case, the list of accreditation bodies is not necessarily complete.

6-year graduation rate:  The percentage provided is the total proportion of students, including transfers, graduating from any four-year institution within six years of initial enrollment at the institution. For reference, the average 6-year graduation rate at U.S. public colleges and universities was 60% versus 66% at private non-profit colleges and universities and only 21% at colleges and universities. for profit, according to the NCES . The three classes of institutions include hybrid, classroom-only, and online-only schools. According to US News, students enrolled in online degree programs are significantly less likely to graduate in a timely manner than students from traditional universities. However, disagreement persists on the degree of difference.

Total net cost: This metric ranks total net cost (all expenses, including tuition and fees, minus all sources of financial aid, including discounts on in-state tuition for home-state online students of public universities) for online assistance. Because expenses and aid vary by student and can change each year, the figure is expressed in a range of four levels: $ (least expensive) to $$$$ (most expensive).

1. UCF online:

UCF Online is the distance learning arm of the huge Orlando-based University of Central Florida. With around 50 undergraduate and graduate degree options and another 20 graduate certificate programs, it offers a wide range of opportunities for both incoming and returning students.

Institution type: Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : 70
Accreditation : University Commission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC)
6-year graduation rate : 73%
Total net cost (range) : $$

The degree programs include:

Healthcare : nursing, psychology, health informatics and information management
Hospitality : hotel management, senior housing management
Criminal justice and pre- law: criminal justice, legal studies, political science

The graduate programs include:

Healthcare : Nursing (Master of Science in Nursing, or MSN), Social Work, Healthcare Systems Engineering, Health Administration
Engineering : Civil Engineering , Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Management.
Hospitality : hotel and tourism management, travel technology and analysis
Criminal Justice and Pre-law : Digital Forensics, Forensic Science

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UCF Online is popular with transfer students, so while it’s not a bargain for some public institutions that award degrees online, the net cost for many students is reasonable.

2. Southern New Hampshire University:

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) saw the writing on the wall long before most of its larger and better-known peers in the expensive realm of private four-year college education. As SNHU continues to educate roughly 20 students online for every student on campus, many of those peer institutions now look into the financial abyss as the next generation of college students wonder if the dizzying cost of a college education is really worth it.

SNHU’s tag price is the highest of all the institutions on this list, but most distance education students pay nothing of the kind for the four years. This is because SNHU is extremely popular with transfer students, who start their studies elsewhere (often a community college) and enroll at SNHU to complete their degree programs or move from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree.

Institution type : private, non-profit
Approximate number of online degree programs : more than 200
Accreditation : New England Commission of Higher Education
6-year graduation rate : 52%
Total net cost (range) : $$$$

The SNHU most popular degree programs include:

Accounting and Finance : General Accounting, Forensic Accounting, Accounting Science
Engineering and technology : Data analysis, Software engineering
Social Sciences : Public Safety Administration, Global Health, Forensic Psychology
Business : Healthcare Administration, Nonprofit Organization Management, Business Communication

Notable graduate degree and certificate programs include:

Accounting and Finance : Audit, Corporate Finance, Quantitative Analysis
Engineering and technology : Engineering Management, Information Technology (IT) Management, Health Informatics
Social Sciences : Public Safety Administration, Global Health, Forensic Psychology
Business : Corporate finance, Emergency management

3. OSU Online

OSU Online, the distance learning branch of Oklahoma State University, is a reasonably priced option with around 50 undergraduate and graduate programs and certificates online. It is also popular with transfer students and adult students seeking degrees while continuing to work full time. And OSU’s extensive list of courses designed specifically for active duty military and honorably discharged veterans is a vital resource for service members looking to advance their careers in or out of the military.

Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : 50
Accreditation : Higher Education Commission (HLC)
6-year graduation rate : 61%
Total net cost (range) : $$

The OSU Online Bachelor Program Include:

  • Multiple Nursing Programs (RN through Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
  • Computer’s science
  • Psychology
  • Marketing
  • Management

The OSU Online Graduate Program Include:

  • Electric engineering
  • Public health
  • Family financial planning
  • Business Analytics and Data Science
  • Health care administration
  • Special education
  • International agriculture

4. Bellevue University

Nebraska-based Bellevue University is extraordinarily affordable, often cheaper than out-of-state tuition at the flagship public universities on this list. Its low tuition and fee costs are especially impressive given the small class sizes, reasonable faculty-to-student ratio, and wide range of online degree programs for graduate and undergraduate students.

Institution type : Private, Non-profit
Approximate number of online degree programs : 60
Accreditation : HLC
6-year graduation rate : 72%
Total net cost (range) : $

Most prominent degree program include:

Science and IT : Computer information systems, IT operations management, Cybersecurity
Education : Mathematics, Biology, Public Health Education.
Healthcare : Psychology, Behavioral Sciences, Healthcare Management
Public service : Criminal justice, Legal studies, Security Management
Business and management : Accounting, Business Administration, Hotel Management

Most prominent graduate program include:

Science and IT : Data science, Computer information science
Healthcare : Clinical Counseling in Mental Health, Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Public Service : Master of Public Administration, Master of Professional Studies
Business and Management : Master of Business Administration (MBA), Business Analytics, Data Analytics

5. ASU online

ASU Online, the online program of the renowned Arizona State University, has one of the most extensive lines of online degree programs – more than 200. It is also very reasonably priced. And unlike many hybrid institutions that adhere to a traditional semester or quarter schedule, ASU offers six start date options per year. That’s good news for adult learners looking to get started on their own time rather than waiting for August or January to roll around.

Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : More than 200
Accreditation : HLC
6-year graduation rate : 69%
Total net cost (range) : $

The ASU Popular Degree Options Include:

  • Multiple business, management and leadership programs.
  • Economic Sciences
  • Educational studies
  • Computational information systems
  • Health Sciences
  • Political Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Information technology
  • Multiple nursing programs
  • Supply chain management
  • Sustainability

The ASU Popular Graduate Options Include:

  • Behavioral health (clinical and management)
  • Aging studies (gerontology)
  • Computer’s science
  • Cyber ​​security
  • Electric engineering
  • Global security
  • Medical nutrition
  • Nursing

6. PennState World Campus

PennState World Campus is the online arm of Pennsylvania State University, available to students anywhere in the US.

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Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : more than 150
Accreditation : Middle States Commission on Higher Education
6-year graduation rate : Not available (85% for Penn State main campus)
Total net cost (range) : $$$

The Most Popular Online College Degrees In the state of Pennsylvania University include:

  • Human and labor resources
  • Health policy and administration
  • Criminal justice
  • Cybersecurity analysis and operations
  • Accounting
  • Psychology
  • Software Engineering

The Most Popular Online Graduate Degrees In the state of Pennsylvania University include:

  • Accounting
  • Educational leadership
  • Finance
  • Industrial engineering
  • Nuclear engineering
  • Strategic communications

7. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University: Worldwide and Online

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University: Worldwide & Online is a fairly specialized institution serving students interested in (or already immersed in) aviation and aeronautics. Thanks to a universal tuition hiatus for active duty students and close ties to the defense industry, it is extremely popular with service members and veterans. The low graduation rate is an artifact of this unique approach, as many students enroll in specific courses or concentrations without intending to complete four-year degrees.

Institution type : Private, Non-profit
Approximate number of online degree programs : 60
Accreditation : SACSCOC
6-year graduation rate : 19%
Total net cost (range) : $$

Many undergraduate and graduate programs at Embry-Riddle focus on specific aviation or disciplines adjacent to aviation, such as aeronautics, aviation maintenance, and aviation business management. But here there are also general-purpose options, such as communications and supply chain management.

8. Ohio State University:

Ohio State Online is the online arm of Ohio State University, one of the largest and best-known state schools in the country. Like PennState World Campus, Ohio State Online is not the most affordable public option. But the high quality of instruction and strong range of graduate degree program options make it a good choice for returning students.

Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : 40
Accreditation : HLC
6-year graduation rate : 84%
Total net cost (range) : $$$

The Ohio State Online undergraduate programs are a bit sparse: multiple options nursing, health sciences, radiologic sciences and dental hygiene. The scope of graduate programs is more in line with Penn State World Campus, ohio online graduate program include:

  • Engineering management
  • Public administration
  • Social work
  • Business analysis
  • Bioethics

9. FIU Online:

FIU Online from Florida International University is an extremely affordable public option with more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. While its graduation rate is not surprising, the breadth of the programs makes it a solid choice for motivated students, especially those who can take advantage of the in-state tuition recess.

Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : 100+
Accreditation : SACSCOC
6-year graduation rate : 58%
Total net cost (range) : $

The notable undergraduate programs include:

  • Biology
  • Criminal justice
  • Economic Sciences
  • Computer’s science
  • Finance
  • Multiple hotel management options
  • Human resources management
  • Information technology

The graduate programs include a lot of options, Engineering, an MBA in health care and an MA in public administration.

10. Appalachian State University:

App State Online is Appalachian State University’s distance learning solution, you can’t miss out on visiting the state’s beautiful mountain side campus near Boone, North Carolina. A great college town for all-round living and also get some of the benefits, including a very reasonable tuition and a full lineup of undergraduate and graduate programs.

Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : 45
Accreditation : SACSCOC
6-year graduation rate : 72%
Total net cost (range) : $

Notable undergraduate options include:

  • Various nursing options
  • Child development
  • Communication studies
  • Leadership and workforce development

Notable graduate options include:

  • MBA
  • Elementary education
  • Health care administration
  • The science of the library
  • School’s administration

You can find a list of your undergraduate and graduate options using the yellow tabs at the top of website.

11. Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University has a lot in common with its neighbor, Florida International University, including an impressively low tuition and a tropical location in South Florida. Unfortunately, with only about 20 programs at the moment, it lacks FIU’s breadth of curriculum. However, it is a good option for distance students who have no interest in dealing with Boca Raton’s congestion and high cost of living.

Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : 20
Accreditation : SACSCOC
6-year graduation rate : 52%
Total net cost (range) : $

The most popular undergraduate options at Florida Atlantic include:

  • Computer science
  • Multiple nursing programs
  • Multiple business management options, including hospitality and marketing management.
  • Geoscience

The best options for high school graduates include:

  • Multiple Master of Education options, including educational psychology and leadership in higher education
  • Informatics Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Information technology and management

12. Oregon State University Ecampus

Oregon State University Ecampus has over 70 hybrid and online-only course options, making it a great option for students who don’t have easy access to the institution’s main campus in beautiful Corvallis. If low cost is paramount and you’re not an Oregon resident, you’re best suited to the single dollar sign option.

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Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : 75
Accreditation : Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
6-year graduation rate : 67%
Total net cost (range) : $$$

If you decide that Ecampus is right for you, you can choose between programs of undergraduate as:

  • Multiple agricultural options, including crop and soil sciences and fish and wildlife sciences.
  • Business Administration
  • Business analysis
  • Political Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Popular options for graduates include:

  • Higher and adult education
  • Public politics
  • Environmental sciences
  • Various MBA options
  • Organic agriculture
  • Rural policy

13. UNM Online

UNM Online is the online learning arm of the University of New Mexico, whose main campus is a tour for students residing outside of the Albuquerque metropolitan area. Fortunately, UNM Online is among the more reasonably priced options on this list, making it a fantastic option for both out-of-state students and students from across the United States.

Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : 25
Accreditation : HLC
6-year graduation rate : 49%
Total net cost (range) : $

Notable undergraduate options include:

  • Strategic communication
  • Business Administration
  • Native American Studies
  • Chicano and Chicana Studies
  • Radiological science
  • Dental hygiene

The best graduate programs include:

  • Construction management
  • Computer Engineering (Internet of Things Approach)
  • Space systems engineering (mechanical or electrical engineering approach)
  • Educational leadership

You can find a list of their undergraduate and graduate programs using the interactive menu on their website.

14. U of M Global

U of M Global is the online campus of the University of Memphis. With over 60 graduate and undergraduate programs to choose from and a reasonable tuition schedule that’s especially easy on the wallets of Tennessee residents, U of M Global is a second home for thousands of students who don’t live close enough to Memphis.

Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : 60
Accreditation : SACSCOC
6-year graduation rate : 48%
Total net cost (range) : $$

U of M Global’s best undergraduate programs include:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Public relations
  • Marketing management
  • Information and business technology

The popular graduate programs include:

  • Accounting
  • MBA
  • Master of Professional Studies
  • Various education options

15. Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison State University (TESU) is the “online campus” of New Jersey’s 11 state colleges and universities. Its curriculum is primarily designed to accommodate career-oriented students, including those returning to school after years in the workplace. Although historically a commuter school, TESU began to focus on distance learning years ago, and its early investments have paid off, producing dozens of quality undergraduate and graduate programs. TESU is also one of the cheapest options on this list, especially for New Jersey residents.

Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : 100
Accreditation : Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
6-year graduation rate : not reported
Total net cost (range) : $

Popular undergraduate programs at TESU include:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Accounting
  • Health management
  • Science and data analysis
  • Energy systems technology
  • Criminal justice

Popular graduate programs include:

  • MBA
  • Public service leadership
  • Information technology
  • Educational leadership
  • Educational technology and online learning

You can find a complete list of their degree programs on their website.

16. Dakota State University Online

Not to be confused with South Dakota State University, another South Dakota-based public institution, Dakota State University Online offers around 50 online undergraduate and graduate programs to students, whether or not they are in within the borders of its sparsely populated state. Although initially conceived as a teacher training university, the breadth of the state of Dakota has expanded considerably in recent decades. Its line of degree programs is now closing in on its larger rivals, with a particular focus on the computer science and computer science disciplines.

Institution type : Public
Approximate number of online degree programs : 45
Accreditation : Higher Studies Commission
6-year graduation rate : 43%
Total net cost (range) : $$

Notable undergraduate options include:

  • Cyber ​​intelligence and leadership
  • Cyber ​​operations
  • Health information technology
  • Business technology
  • Elementary education

Popular graduate programs include:

  • MBA
  • Analytics
  • Computer’s science
  • Educational technology
  • Cyber ​​defense

You can find a list of their undergraduate and graduate programs in the interactive menu on their website.

Conclusion:

These are some of the best-accredited colleges and universities offering online degree programs to US-based students, regardless of geography or state residential status. But new online degree programs, and entirely new digital education institutions, are emerging with impressive regularity these days. If you are considering taking a gap year or putting off applying to college altogether until next year, you would do well to review your options again.

Thinking of applying to an accredited online college or degree program? Which ones attract your attention?

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