Most online programs at the university follow a fast-track schedule consisting of eight-week terms in the fall and spring and four-week or eight-week sessions during the summer semester. This timetable enables students to focus on 1-2 courses at a time and potentially graduate at a faster pace. Most online bachelor's pathways are asynchronous and do not require any campus visits, but some may include mandatory on-campus exams or presentations.


Online students face a set of unique issues. Whether you’re wondering about online student disability services, LGBT support at online colleges, or paying for your online degree, our library of guides is here to help you. Planning to transfer credits from an online college? We’ll walk you through the importance of enrolling in accredited online colleges to ensure your hard work does not go to waste. We collected questions from parents, educators, and students to discover the most pressing issues they faced, and then put our team of experts to work finding in-depth answers.

UMass Amherst also offers these majors in degree completion pathways for transfer students. Additionally, those with previously earned credits may choose the University Without Walls track, enabling them to complete degrees in fields such as advocacy and social justice, children's learning and development, human services, and writing. The school's transfer policy allows incoming students to apply up to 105 credits toward their bachelor's degrees.
Indiana University offers a wide selection of online undergraduate and graduate degrees, including 23 bachelor's degree programs in fields such as business administration, labor studies, medical imaging technology, and an RN-to-BSN. Several of these pathways serve as degree completion programs that exclusively admit students with a two-year degree; others serve as standalone, four-year tracks. Graduate students at Indiana University can select from 31 online master's programs and six online doctoral degrees, most of which focus on management and/or healthcare.
The University of Florida is committed to removing barriers to higher education.  And their tuition and fees—which are the lowest among public universities who are members of the prestigious American Association of Universities—reflect that commitment. UF online programs combine rigorous academics in an accessible platform with access to student supports (like peer tutoring and career services) that will help you succeed. Top degree programs include:
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Specific details about licensing and certification requirements for public school teachers can be found in our guide to teaching degrees. The licensing process for public school principals is more rigorous than the process for obtaining a teaching certificate, as administrators are expected to have advanced leadership skills and knowledge about operating a school or school district. To become a principal, most states require candidates to have a master's degree from a regionally accredited school, a teaching certificate, and at least three years of teaching experience.

Located in Virginia Beach, VA, Regent University is a private, Christian research university that is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to online programs. The school has invested heavily in its online offerings and currently offers 128 online degrees at the undergraduate through doctoral levels—many of which have found their way onto national rankings like U.S. News and World Report.
The career opportunities available after completing an education certificate will depend on the graduate’s previous education and experience. Many use the certificate to take a state licensing exam, either to become a kindergarten-through-12th-grade teacher or a school principal. Education certificates can also be useful for teachers interested in moving into policy or research roles in local, state, and federal governments. Other programs are used by practicing teachers to deepen their curriculum and cement their role in their current school.
Harvard tied for a first-place ranking on U.S. News and World Report's most recent list of schools with the best biology programs from 2014. Harvard's life sciences major offers concentrations that include chemical and physical biology, human developmental and regenerative biology, human evolutionary biology, integrated biology/organismic and evolutionary biology, molecular and cellular biology, and neurobiology. Students may participate in life sciences research at one of Harvard's labs. A master's degree is also available.
Located in Tempe, Arizona, Arizona State University (ASU Online) is one of the top providers of online education in the country. The University serves a huge online student body, with over 25,000 students enrolled in one of their 150+ undergraduate and graduate programs. Through their multiple online education platforms, ASU Online is constantly removing barriers for students to attend a nationally-ranked university.

To get a degree in this field, expect to study a lot of math and science, as well as more focused classes such as engineering economics, facilities planning and design and inventory management. Also, if you’re interested in getting some hands-on experience and a master’s degree, some colleges offer a five- or six-year cooperative education plans that combine regular classes with practical and paid work.
A new spin on classic chemistry, this field applies the science to different materials, such as ceramics, plastics and metals, to enhance existing variations and create new ones. Demand for this kind of knowledge spans industries, from electronics and energy to transportation and food, as businesses are constantly looking for cheaper, safer and better quality materials for their respective purposes.

Full-time students can typically earn an associate degree in two years. An online associate degree is ideal for those who have a high school diploma and who want to quickly gain practical career skills. Associate degrees are less expensive than a bachelor's degree, and many online community colleges offer programs that open the door to vocational and administrative support positions such as legal assistant, medical assistant, and medical biller and coder. An online associate degree program is also a cost-effective way to complete general education requirements before transferring to a four-year program.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the primary programmatic accrediting body for education degrees. Accreditation is very important for online education degrees, especially for students looking to earn a teaching license. Prospective students should make sure that the online programs they are considering are recognized by the teaching board in the state where they hope to earn licensure.


The University of North Carolina at Wilmington features an online Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. The program focus is on developing professional competency for teaching and school leadership. It will result in North Carolina licensure to teach K-6. Admission requires a minimum of 24 credits with a 2.5 GPA. In addition to the core curriculum, an 18 hour concentration is required, chosen from science and health, fine arts, ESL, international studies, math, and technology. The field requirements include some on-campus practicums and the student teaching must be done in North Carolina. Classes in the program include Teaching Diverse Learners K-6, Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction K-6, and Psychological Foundations of Teaching. Online tuition for state residents is $150.10 per credit and $625.27 per credit for nonresidents.
National University features an online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. The program focus is on inclusive curricula and best practices for educating children birth to age 5.  Admission requires a diploma with a minimum GPA of 2.0 or the GED. Transfer students should also have a minimum GPA of 2.0. Policies on transfer credit and credit for prior experience are generous. Classes are offered in a one class per four-week term format. Courses offered include Partnering with Families, Music, Movements, Drama, Dance, and Crisis Trauma and Abuse. Online tuition is $370 per quarter credit. National University's home campus is in San Diego. The program requires a teaching practicum, and a background check is mandatory. NU is extremely military friendly. Arkansas residents should check with the admissions office regarding program availability.

Mississippi State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEE) with concentrations in either early childhood or middle school. Freshman admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA, diploma and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA. The Early Childhood program focuses on Pre-K to grade 6 and includes early childhood. Add-on endorsements are available. The Middle School program requires two 21 credit endorsements chosen from English, General Science, Math, Music, Art, Phys Ed, Language and Social Science. Upon graduation, students are licensed to teach in Mississippi. These programs are currently not available in Georgia. Online tuition is $356 per credit.


If you’re willing to take those risks, expect to study plenty of math and science. At the University of Texas, a top school for this field, some courses for the petroleum engineering degree include: engineering, energy and the environment in the first year; mechanics of solids in the second year; petrophysics in the third year; and reservoir geomechanics in the final year.
In some cases, individual programs may also be accredited by an independent board. One example is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which evaluates academic programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. These agencies assess the competence of both on-campus and online degree programs giving students the peace of mind that their school's department offers a reputable program.
Excelsior College, a private nonprofit institution, offers online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees spanning several academic fields. Online undergraduate options include multi-concentration bachelor's degrees in fields such as business, health sciences, criminal justice, and electrical engineering technology. Excelsior's bridge degrees allow students to earn a bachelor's and a master's in an accelerated timeline. Examples include a BS in healthcare management with an MBA or master's in health science and a BS in nuclear engineering management with an MBA. The school makes dual-degree bachelor's pathways available too.

Finance isn’t strictly considered a STEM field, but you can still expect to work with numbers a great deal. High school students interested in finance can prepare for this major by studying statistics and calculus. In college, you'll add to your schedule accounting, financial markets and investing, as well as microeconomics, macroeconomics and economic theory. If you pursue a bachelor of arts degree in this field, you likely have to take liberal arts and foreign language classes, too.
An academic major is the academic discipline to which an undergraduate student formally commits. A student who successfully completes all courses required for the major qualifies for a graduate degree. The word major is also sometimes used administratively to refer to the academic discipline pursued by a graduate student or postgraduate student in a master's or doctoral program.
Associate degrees and bachelor's degrees that feature an instructional technology option are more likely to be degrees in education or teaching with an instructional technology specialization option. Students will study teaching techniques, curriculum development, evaluation techniques, and classroom management, all while learning about how they can use technology to enhance their teaching skills. Some schools require that students who are applying for master's in instructional technology already have official teaching experience. Doctoral programs may even require curriculum development or teacher leadership experience.
Through Bachelor of Arts completion programs and self-paced graduate programs, students will experience a customizable education experience with career-focused content. DU’s philosophy is to embrace technology to improve and accelerate learning for busy adults. Online classes present the same content and are driven by the same academic outcomes as campus-based classes but in a flexible, accessible, and affordable format.
WSU’s Global Campus strives to provide online students with a true campus experience—including online events, career fairs, webinars from university experts, and a digital pavilion where students can showcase their research. And at WSU Global Campus busy students—including undergraduates—can take accelerated online courses which propel them through coursework at a faster than usual pace. Top degree programs include:

Consider the rapid growth in the number of online degree programs available between 2012 and 2014. Over the last three academic years, we've seen a 45% increase in the number of online programs offered across the United States, for a total of 13,092 in 2014-2015. You can choose from over 550 individual degree programs alone that are offered by the 4-year colleges featured within our list of the best online universities.


One-year education administration or education leadership graduate certificate programs are available for students who are currently earning or have already earned a master's degree. They are typically designed for education professionals who would like to advance into a career as a school leader or school district leader. Associate and bachelor’s degrees in educational administration give a broader and more in-depth liberal arts experience. An undergraduate degree program in early childhood education administration provides students with an understanding of the education industry, helps them gain advanced organizational management skills and trains them in the theories of child development.
Arkansas State University offers a handful of online degrees for students at the undergraduate and graduate level. Bachelor's options for online students include degrees in business fields such as organizational supervision, strategic communications and social media management, and business administration. Other major fields include creative media, criminology, and digital innovation, and an accelerated RN-to-BSN track that students can complete in 12 months or less. Arkansas State also offers 10 online master's degrees concentrating in education and teaching fields.

Because Appalachian State exclusively offers degree completion programs at the bachelor's level, incoming students need at least 30 credits from another accredited institution. The school also reserves several institutional scholarships for transfer students. Appalachian State University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The competency-based online pathway focuses on individualized learning. Students complete their courses asynchronously, allowing them to complete their degree ahead of schedule. The school offers a competency-based online format for students working through bachelor's degrees in computer information technology, liberal arts, management, nursing, and small business administration -- along with five undergraduate minors and two master's degrees.

Students enrolled at Washington State University's Global Campus can choose from a broad selection of online bachelor's programs. These include several options for business majors -- such as degrees in economics, hospitality business management, and integrated strategic communication -- along with a bachelor's in business administration with four concentration options.
Today’s students should expect convenient access, affordability and academic value from online colleges. That’s why we only consider accredited online colleges for our rankings. The accreditation process guarantees that a school’s facilities, instructors, and curriculum meet a rigorous set of standards established by industry leaders. To ensure they invest in a universally respected degree, students should only consider accredited online colleges, like those on our list.
This major takes the study of chemistry and materials science one step further into the process of producing commercial goods by adding engineering. As a student of this field, you’ll learn how to use raw materials to create products such as clothes, food, fuel, drugs and much more. Typical courses for this path include biochemistry, chemical kinetics and thermodynamics, as well as many other types of math and science.
Roughly 90% of the university's students receive some form of financial aid, and Midway charges online students a flat, per-credit rate for in-state and out-of-state students. Transfer students from institutions in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System qualify for a $1,000 transfer scholarship. Additionally, the school charges lower tuition rates for those seeking an online RN-to-BSN degree. Midway University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Central Michigan University is a public research university—the largest university in Michigan—and a highly regarded provider of online education. CMU Global Campus (which houses their online programs) offers 27 degrees and multiple professional certificates from undergraduate through doctoral levels. CMU has been highly ranked for their online Bachelors, Graduate Education, and MBA programs (U.S. News & World Report).
Chemical engineers harness chemical reactions to produce things people want. It's a very broad field that overlaps considerably with other branches of engineering , chemistry , and biochemistry . Chemical engineering majors learn how to reorganize the structure of molecules and how to design chemical processes through which chemicals, petroleum, foods, and pharmaceuticals can undergo. You'll learn how to build and operate industrial plants where raw materials are chemically altered. You'll learn how to keep the environment safe from potential pollution and hazardous waste, too. Paper mills, manufacturers of fertilizers, pharmaceutical companies, plastics makers, and tons of other kinds of firms will be looking for your expertise.

Our rankings of the best online colleges and universities are a jumping off point to help you build your own list of prospective programs that meet your needs. Remember, many factors that contribute to the quality of a degree program are intangible. You won't find data points here or elsewhere that fully capture the level of faculty support, peer networking or academic and professional stimulation found in one program versus another. Please contact your schools directly for more information.


eCampus, our innovative learning platform, allows you to ask questions, discuss topics and collaborate with your classmates from around the world. This gives you the ability to work in teams, talk to your instructor and access course materials any time of the day or night. Your schedule will be provided to you by your Academic Advisor and can be accessed in eCampus under the Quick Links section.

Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He's often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.

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