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.
University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (http://hlcommission.org). Since 1978, University of Phoenix has been continually accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and its predecessor. University of Phoenix obtained its most recent 10-year Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2012–13. A comprehensive evaluation is scheduled for 2016–17, and the next Reaffirmation of Accreditation is scheduled for 2022–23.

This special education teaching degree program prepares you to teach students with mild-to-moderate disabilities, with courses in the foundations of teaching, instructional planning and presentation, assessment, and classroom management. Core elementary and special education courses focus on diversity, disciplinary literacy, elementary education methods, and special education topics such as law, assessment, and behavioral management. This program requires in-classroom observation and a term of full-time demonstration teaching.
Demand for expertise in this field is building. Expectations for population and business growth in the U.S. for the next several years fuels the need for new homes, office buildings, hospitals, schools and structures of all kinds, as well as the improvement and maintenance of existing buildings and infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and sewer pipe systems. That means growing opportunities for construction managers, an obvious professional goal for this academic path. Plus, their median income is a solid $71,781 a year.
At Kiplinger, we totally get that money matters can be complex, and many of us—especially the growing number of people rapidly approaching retirement age—need help understanding and managing them. No wonder workers with financial knowledge are in such high demand. New regulations, more products and increasingly complex investment portfolios don’t hurt either. And that need translates into plenty of opportunities and generous pay for workers in this field. Financial analysts, who evaluate investment opportunities for businesses, earn a median salary of $83,824 a year and are expecting 11.0% job growth over the next decade. Personal financial advisers, who are expected to add 12.0% more positions by 2027, typically earn about $86,715 a year.
Due to the rapid evolution of online coursework, online programs are quickly becoming some of the most high-quality degree options available. To date, well over 2,000 colleges offer accredited online programs. While our list of the best online colleges and universities is a good starting point for researching programs, we've outlined additional steps you can take to narrow your list of potential schools.
As a student, you have many options available to fund your education. Some of the most common financial options include Federal Financial Aid, scholarships, grants, the cash plan, the third-party billing plan, the military or government billing plan, tribal funding and third-party private student loans. Learn about each option to determine your eligibility. 
If you’re interested in Photography, you may enjoy related majors including Animation & Video Graphics; Audiovisual Technician; Commercial & Advertising Art; Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services; Communications Technology/Technician; Computer Graphics; Computer Media Applications; Computer Typography and Composition Equipment Operator; Design & Visual Communications; Design and Applied Arts; Film/Video & Cinematography; General Graphic Communications; Graphic and Printing Equipment Operator, General Production; Graphic Design; Illustration; Intermedia/Multimedia; Other Graphic Communications; Photographic and Film/ Video Technology/Technician and Assistant; Platemaker/Imager; Printing Management; Printing Press Operator; Publishing & Digital Imaging; Radio & Television Technician; Recording Arts Technology; and Web Design.
A big reason for the growth in online education is demand. Online college programs make college more accessible to a much larger population than traditional on-campus learning. Thanks to technology, you can earn an online associate degree, online bachelor's degree or online master's degree without having to sacrifice your job or time caring for your family.

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).

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.
I would 100% recommended WGU based on my experience! I completed the M.Ed. in Learning and Technology at my own pace for only $3,000 per 6 months. I had been in a government training position for about 2.5 years before starting this program. Between then and now (finished the program about 2 years ago), I received two promotions internally and now have competing job offers externally. This degree has opened me up to so many new corporate instructional design positions and made me a top candidate!
UMC Online offers access to world-class teaching, learning, and research resources, as well as internship and undergraduate research opportunities. Students experience small class sizes and individualized attention—with a faculty that serves as true mentors for online learners. And UMC’s online courses utilize a broad variety of technological tools that make learning online intuitive and engaging. Top degree programs include:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked as the seventh best national university on U.S. News and World Report's 2017 list. MIT's Department of Biology offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology, as well as a minor in biology for students who may be interested in other disciplines. Students within the department have access to 14 research programs, including those dealing with cancer, cloning, stem cells, and cellular biology. Biology majors at MIT can choose between two programs: one which prepares students for careers in research, known as Course VII, or on for students not pursuing lab research roles, known as Course VII-A. Ph.D. programs are also available through specializations in areas like developmental biology, cell biology, biochemistry, immunology, and neurobiology.
CSU-Global Campus has worked hard to earn a reputation as one of the best online schools for working professionals. The school is constantly pushing innovation in teaching methods, making online learning both rigorous and engaging. And CSU-Global emphasizes individualized support for students from registration to graduation, with a wide range of student resources—from tutoring to tech support. Top online degrees include:

One obvious career goal when studying this field: Become a chemical engineer, a lucrative profession that boasts a median income of $102,170 a year. But it’s a small market with just 35,350 or so of these professionals now working in the U.S. Still, those positions have been growing and should continue to grow, up 17.5% over the past decade and expected to rise another 8.0% over the next decade. Other jobs this major can help prepare you for include: chemist, materials scientist, petroleum engineer and pharmacist.
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.

Core classes in the education program explore the structure of public education, major topics and issues in public education, cultural effects on student achievement, education around the world, and the political state of education. Other classes explore curriculum development, evaluation techniques, and teaching techniques. To earn a four-year degree in education, students also take a number of general courses in math,biology, the arts, and the humanities.

Regionally accredited colleges are typically nonprofit and state-operated. In the U.S., there are seven regional accrediting agencies that evaluate two-year and four-year colleges. Some states also have their own accrediting bodies independent of the regional agencies. You can learn more about each individual agency, and its jurisdiction, through the Office of Postsecondary Education.
A public, four-year university, University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) is a member of the acclaimed University of Minnesota system and a provider of nationally-ranked online Bachelor’s degrees. UMC prides itself on their high-quality educational programs designed for nontraditional or continuing students, community organizations, and the workforce.
Most online courses at Missouri State are asynchronous, and students generally earn their bachelor's in four years or less. All baccalaureate degrees culminate in a capstone assignment that requires students to construct a public affairs project or presentation around their major. The university allows students to transfer up to 90 credits toward their undergraduate degrees.
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.

With a bachelor’s in this field, you can become a chemist, but note that certain research positions may require you to also have a master’s or doctoral degree. This job is expected to see a modest increase of about 7.4% in their numbers by 2027, slower than the projected 9.7% growth for all jobs. And the potential pay is generous: Chemists earn an median income of $74,755 a year. Another option is to extend your education and get a Doctor of Pharmacy. Pharmacists earn a median income of $123,864 a year—far more than the median $43,992 for all jobs.
One of the country's largest providers of online degrees, Old Dominion University offers online bachelor's pathways -- with a majority being degree completion programs geared toward students who already earned an associate degree. These include degrees in specialized technical fields such as cybersecurity and cybercrime, mechanical engineering technology, medical laboratory science, and power systems technology.
Whether you want to study Photography at a technical school, career college, community college, online school, 4-year college or university, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. To select the right program, look at course requirements—some schools approach Photography as a fine art while others prepare you for careers in photojournalism, fashion photography and the like. You should also take a look at the photo labs and ask about the types of cameras and computer software you’ll learn.
Graduate degree programs provide highly advanced education in education administration. A master’s degree program in educational leadership offers aspiring principals, deans, and other administrators an opportunity to further develop their professional skills and prepares them to effectively manage the way a school operates. Educational leadership doctorates introduce current educators to advanced theories in educational psychology, educational leadership and public relations, school law, and leadership ethics.
Stanford University was ranked fifth among national universities by U.S. News and World Report for 2017. The bachelor's degree in biology at Stanford has three degree routes: general biology with or without honors, or the biology major with a field of study and honors. The general biology curriculum consists of courses in biology and core science principles, while the field of study option lets students focus on one of six areas of concentration. Students can enroll in biology courses as early as sophomore year, once they've completed the 1st-year core requirements and prerequisites.

This elementary education degree program includes courses in the foundations of teacher education, instructional planning and presentation, assessment, and classroom management. Core teacher education courses focus on diversity, disciplinary literacy, elementary education methods, and pedagogy. It requires in-classroom observation and a term of full-time demonstration teaching.
You can, of course, expect to take a variety of economics classes in college, including micro- and macroeconomics as well as business economics and economic theory. If you pursue a bachelor of science, your focus will be on math, statistics and other quantitative studies. A bachelor of arts likely requires liberal arts and foreign language classes, too.
The University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the second-largest degree-granting institution in its state, offers a handful of online undergraduate degrees. These include fully online bachelor's pathways in business administration, management, English, liberal arts, and psychology -- along with a degree in information technology with a business minor. Other bachelor's degrees at UMass Lowell, such as the RN-to-BSN track and engineering fields, are available in a blended format. The school also offers 12 master's degrees and a doctorate in educational leadership fully online.
Online courses at Creighton University make use of real-time web-conferencing, audio-visual learning materials, discussion boards, and other technologies to ensure that students are engaged in the learning process. Most courses are asynchronous—but not self-paced—combining flexibility for your busy schedule with the structure of assignment due dates.  And you’ll have access to student supports like online tutoring and library services.
Three of the best colleges for undergraduate biology programs are Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University. These schools offer students a variety of program options and research opportunities. Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Harvard University offer some of the best degree programs in biology, and all three are highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Biology majors at these universities can participate in classroom instruction and perform research in state-of-the-art campus laboratories. Students might be able to specialize in subjects like ecology and evolution, marine biology, or biochemistry.
UF online programs have three start dates per year (in August, January, and May), and the school offers multiple pathways (like degree completion programs) for students depending on their educational background. In addition to the many degree programs offered online, the University of Florida also offers a number of professional development courses online for working professionals.
The University of Alabama is committed to delivering higher education in innovative and flexible formats—Bama by Distance is fulfilling that mission through diverse and accessible programs. As a distance learning student, you will interact with the same college professors and meet the same learning standards as an on-campus student and have access to the same UA resources. Top online degrees include:
Concordia University Saint Paul offers the benefits of a liberal arts education immersed in an online program. Online programs at CSP are designed to give students highly marketable job skills and knowledge.  And CSP’s commitment to experiential learning means that online students apply academic concepts to real-world settings, developing practical knowledge and abilities. Top online degree programs at CSP include:
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.
Mayville State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education, and two online Bachelor of Science in Education (BSED) degrees: one in Mathematics Education and one in Special Education. All programs reflect Mayville's concept of "the Reflective Experiential Teacher." Freshman admission requires a diploma and a 2.0 GPA. Transfer students also need a 2.0 GPA. The Early Childhood program focuses on preparation for teaching and administration. It is only available in ND, MN, MT, SD and WY. The BSED Math degree is for grades 5-12 and requires a minor. The BSED Special Education program has several emphases available and is also available as a double degree. Online tuition is $295 per credit. The school is located in Mayville, North Dakota.
A Set of Courses. A college major is a group of courses required by a college in order to receive a degree –– an area you specialize in, like Accounting or Chemistry. There are certain "core courses" in the specialization that everyone is required to take, along with several "elective courses". A college major may be called an "academic major", "major", or "major concentration".

Available online master's degrees include 12 programs in specialized fields such as biomedical engineering, government accountancy, music education, and supply chain management. In addition to full degrees, Rutgers students can also draw from three Rutgers campuses for individual online courses. The university hosts an annual online learning conference that includes panel discussions and demonstrations on emerging technology, learning management software, and related topics.
In many universities, an academic concentration is a focus within a specific academic major, that is a field of study within a specific academic major. For example, interdisciplinary programs in humanities or social sciences will require a student to pick a specific academic concentration as a focus within their academic major, such as an academic major in Interdisciplinary Humanities with an academic concentration in Film or an academic major in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences with an academic concentration in Geography. At several art schools and liberal arts colleges, an academic concentration serves a similar function to an academic minor at other universities, that is an academic discipline outside of the student's academic major in which he or she takes a small number of classes. At Brown University and Harvard University, concentrations serve the same function as majors at other institutions.
The courses in the master’s program depend on the type of training the student is seeking. Some programs are entry-level degrees, aimed at individuals with no previous teaching experience. These programs cover the theory of education and instructional techniques for a particular grade level or subject. These degrees also include teaching practicums and internships that help students master hands-on teaching skills. Other master's degrees are aimed at current teachers who want to deepen their understanding of a particular subject area or gain leadership skills. These programs may focus in areas like special education, technology in education, reading and literature, or curriculum and instruction.

How do I choose a major? Take courses in areas that appeal to you early in your academic path, and then try to focus on a subject that motivates you. Make sure that you have genuine interest, though. You'll do better in class when you’re interested, and your motivation will continue through college and into a job if you pursue a professional degree.  Read more about choosing a college major and utilize the College Major Checklist to evaluate them...
The Center for Online Education understands online colleges have a dynamic future as new technologies and new uses for existing tools change the way we communicate, connect, and collaborate. In the coming years, virtual reality, blended program delivery, makerspaces, predictive learning platforms, gigabit Internet speeds, and other emerging technologies will push the limits of what was once thought possible at online colleges. Social media and networking sites will continue to impact online teaching and learning, providing a virtual space for authentic interaction, relationship building, and participation in professional communities. Our in-house team, and panel of contributors, are all graduates of accredited colleges and are here to help inform your online college journey.
If you can handle those kinds of ebbs and flows, plan on studying architectural design basics, architectural history, architectural technology and other similar subjects. Learning about eco-friendly designs, too, can help give your career a boost as demand for energy-efficient buildings and structures increases. Also note that many bachelor of architecture programs can take five years to complete on schedule. And after graduation, you need to work a paid internship for up to three years and then pass the Architect Registration Examination in order to earn your license as an architect. Find out more through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.
Webster University is a private nonprofit institution that offers five online bachelor's programs. These include degrees in management and data analytics through the university's School of Business and Technology and bachelor of arts tracks in media communications and religion and global society. The school also makes an RN-to-BSN pathway available for nurses. Master's degrees include options in specialized fields such as gerontology, environmental management, advertising and marketing communications, and public relations -- along with nine business-oriented programs and four teaching tracks.
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