Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, religiously affiliated school with a wide selection of online undergraduate and graduate degrees. Those seeking an online bachelor's can choose from eight business pathways, along with degrees in fields such as digital communication, addictions counseling, criminal justice, and licensure or non-licensure early childhood education. Indiana Wesleyan also offers several online graduate programs, including English-language and Spanish-language master's degrees in divinity and ministry; several graduate-level nursing tracks are also available.
CityU has an exceptionally generous transfer policy which allows students to transfer up to 135 credits into a program. The University also offers discounted military tuition, scholarships and credit for prior learning (like work experience or military service). And CityU partners with national, regional, and local organizations to ensure that current and former U.S. service members and their families have the support they need while attending school.
If your goal is to apply scientific skills to real world problems, engineering is a field you should explore. Online engineering programs are available at the introductory level for new students, with a number of options at both the associate and bachelor’s level. For those more experienced in the field, online master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering are available as well. Interested students should also research what engineering specializations appeal them, as online programs are available in areas such as electrical engineering, civil engineering, software engineering and mechanical engineering. Graduates of an online engineering degree program may find work at research labs, governmental agencies, large corporations, construction sites, or small companies.
The school offers a cutting-edge experience for distance learners that integrates online proctoring for exams and biometric identification technology to prevent cheating. Programs allow for full accessibility, with closed captioning for students with impaired hearing and specialized software for the vision impaired. All video lectures come with complete transcripts for students to use as study aids.
Brandman University makes it easy to transfer in college credit—whether it be from one of Brandman’s partner community colleges, alternative course credit that applies to your degree, or hands-on training from a military or professional background. Brandman has been ranked among top online schools for several years and boasts exceptionally high graduation rates—a key indicator of quality.

Fully online programs at the school do not require any campus visits, and primarily online pathways include occasional on-campus requirements. Most online programs mirror their brick-and-mortar counterparts and consist of mostly synchronous coursework. Students nearing graduation can access career counseling services through HireABlazer -- an online job management platform for students and alumni -- through the school's career and professional development services department.


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.
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.
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:
Well known as one of the most innovative institutions in the country, Arizona State University has established itself as a leader in online education. ASU is one of the best online colleges in terms of accessibility, degree offerings and quality, and a lot of their success is due to their innovative spirit. Students that choose to study online will find that there is no shortage of options at any level. ASU has an impressive list of online programs offered, which can be completed entirely online. The online programs are accredited, and classes start each quarter, so students can study toward a degree at their own pace. These degrees are perfect for students who are unable to commute to campus but still want to earn an ASU education.
Are you interested in pursuing a career related to law enforcement, the correctional system, the courts, or perhaps all three? If so, an online degree in criminal justice, or related subjects such as forensics, corrections, and criminology may be of interest to you. Learn about crime from a social perspective with an online criminology degree, of which there are multiple levels available, even an online doctorate. Or, take a more hands-on approach to dealing with crime by studying law enforcement online, and preparing for career in the police force or police administration. Those interested in cracking cases might be interested in exploring available online options for degrees in crime scene investigation or forensic science.
Online students at WSU Global Campus benefit from many student supports including personal academic assistance, a worldwide alumni network, and access to their unique Global Connections program. WSU is constantly expanding online course offerings—and these programs constantly garner national acclaim. WSU has ranked at the top of U.S. News & World Report’s online rankings for Bachelor’s, MBA, and Graduate Engineering programs.
Columbia uses the popular edX platform, so you can find their online classes at ColumbiaX. The university offers more than 20 standalone courses that you can take for free online. Topics include Corporate Finance, Machine Learning, Marketing, Python, and more. Some of them are self-paced and some are actually instructor-led, so you can get the full college experience. All of these courses can be audited for free or you can choose to pay a small fee to earn a certificate of completion. These classes are available internationally, with the exception of Cuba and Iran due to some sanctions that the United States has in place.

Ask questions as soon as you have them. There's nothing worse than convincing yourself that you will eventually learn the subject and find out a week later that you still do not understand the topic. Generally with online classes, one week is built off the knowledge of the past week. If you do not understand week 1, you will have greater difficulty in week 2, and so on.
Cornell University is a private Ivy League, sea-grant, space-grant, and private land-grant doctoral research university. It is the only private land-grant university in the state of New York, one of only three in the country. The school has consistently been a non-sectarian and co-educational institute since it was established, never discriminating on the basis of race or religion. This is incredibly unique for its time, as was the original mission of the school to provide all students with an education in any field.
Are you considering a return to school? Do you feel uncertain about your ability to pick up where you left off? Browse our collection of student resources for a little peace of mind. Our guides are designed to help students at any level enter the classroom with confidence. Whether at home or on campus, find the help you need to get the most out of your education. Below you'll find some of our more popular resources.
With over 200 degree programs offered online by Southern New Hampshire University, it’s easy to see why many consider it one of the best online colleges for students looking to improve their careers. Each online degree program is designed to help students improve or change their current professional position. With the aid of affordable tuition and the flexibility to study at their own pace, students find that SNHU not only meets their expectations, but offers more than they thought an online school might: they also get access to the large SNHU alumni network, which can help them secure a new job after graduation. SNHU is among the best online schools in terms of services available to virtual students, which include an online library, tutoring and around-the-clock support.
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.
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.

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.
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.
A nationally-ranked public university, Washington State University fulfills its mission to reach beyond campus boundaries through its online portal—WSU Global Campus. The University has been offering online programs since 2010 and currently serves over 2000 online students with over 20 high-quality, accredited degree possibilities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
A wide range of healthcare related degrees are available online, including programs in nursing, pharmacy, nutrition, personal training, public health, respiratory therapy, healthcare administration and medical and dental assisting. These online degree programs prepare students interested promoting health and wellness to ensure others maintain healthy lives. Careers in healthcare vary from hands-on positions, like working as a dental assistant, to more administrative positions, such as working behind the scenes to provide others with exceptional care. Online degrees in healthcare related fields are available at all levels, with a variety of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and certificate degrees to choose from.

Most full-time students can earn a online bachelor's degree in four years. If you have a high school diploma or some college credits to your name, an online bachelor's program may be the right choice for you. Some colleges even offer degree completion programs specifically for students who have earned an associate degree and would like to finish a bachelor's program. A bachelor's degree is perhaps the single best way to increase your earning potential. According to PayScale.com, employes with a bachelor's degree can earn over $1,000,000 more over a 20-year career than someone with just a high school diploma. Most entry-level positions at professional organizations require at least a four-year degree. Business, healthcare, tech and other sectors prefer to hire candidates who are well-rounded and have good critical thinking and communication skills. An online bachelor's degree provides students with all of these skills, making them desirable to employers.


With a focus on flexibility and accessibility,  CityU’s online classes are designed for working adults and students who need an education that will fit into their busy lives. CityU offers their online programs through a virtual classroom where students can log-in to check assignments, video, and discussions. Online students collaborate and discuss topics with one another and faculty on a portal within this virtual classroom and through the Blackboard system.
Graduate students may be interested in continuing their education with an online program offered at Columbia University in the City of New York. The school’s online programs lead to either a master’s degree or a graduate level certificate of professional achievement, and the Columbia also offers many free learning opportunities through MOOCs and other online programs. Online students who wish to integrate with their campus community may wish to consider studying in a hybrid format, which will allow the student to spend half of their time at home and the other half on the Columbia University Campus. Hybrid students will have more schedule flexibility, as well as the option to participate in campus clubs and organizations.
Online learning benefits each student differently. Some students may need the time flexibility, where they can hop online and submit materials after hours or early in the morning before work. Others gravitate toward the location flexibility, being able to work from home, a coffee shop or anywhere else that fits into their lifestyle. And for those who need a hands-on element to their education, many online programs have the best of both worlds, allowing for remote coursework but including campus-based or other on-site laboratory experiences.
Columbia University is a private Ivy League Research University, which is officially known as Columbia University in the City of New York. It is one of the most exclusive and prestigious universities in the country, and in the Ivy League, with a very rich history. It was the first school in America to grant a Doctor of Medicine degree; was the birthplace of inventions such as the laser and the FM radio; and is also where the first uranium atom was split on North American territory.

Examine the different majors offered by a variety of top online colleges that relate to the field of study you are interested in. Research what specific courses are required in each major. Also consider what specific hard and soft skills will be most valuable to the work you want to be doing. You can explore our collection of academic program rankings to learn more about other fields of study and potential career paths.
It's important to note that tuition prices for online students do not always match those of their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Many colleges and universities offer a flat tuition rate for online students, regardless of their state of residence. These rates vary by school, but generally fall between the rates for in-state and out-of-state learners.
One of the main reasons that you might be considering an online college is because it frees you up from having to visit a campus, meaning you could attend college anywhere, regardless of where you live or work. This is absolutely true, and it means that you can consider colleges and online degree programs that wouldn't be available to you if you had to attend traditional in-person classes.
Established in 1888, Tiffin University has developed an innovative online program serving 4,282 students at home in Ohio and around the world. It offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in business administration, bachelor and master's degrees in criminal justice, and baccalaureate and master's degrees in the arts and sciences. As one of the nation's best online colleges, Tiffin was ranked in U.S. News and World Report's 2018 edition of the Best Colleges and Regional Universities. Classes are small, averaging 10-15 students to allow close, personalized educational experiences with the faculty. Online degree programs begin each year in January, March, May, July, August and October.
A name brand school, Penn State World Campus (part of the Pennsylvania State University system), has been offering students an alternative to traditional on-campus education since 1998. Penn State World Campus offers over 150 degree and certificate programs all delivered online. These courses are developed and taught by Penn State professors, ensuring the highest quality course content. The university is focused on offering an education to suit current market-based needs. Online courses are offered from the Bachelors to the Doctoral level, and include programs such as Nursing, Nutritional Science, and Geographic Information Systems.
Brown University currently offers online masters programs, undergraduate courses, and pre-college courses that help to prepare aspiring students of the university. Programs include an MBA, a Master in Cybersecurity, a Master of Healthcare Leadership, and a Master in Science and Technology Leadership. Online classes for undergraduate students and incoming students take place throughout the academic year as well as during special summer and winter sessions. Throughout the year, online classes are the traditional length of 15 weeks. Summer session courses are seven weeks and winter session courses are only four weeks.
UMass Amherst offers a selection of online degrees for undergraduates and graduate students. The school makes bachelor's in business degrees available through The Isenberg School of Management, and offerings include an online business administration bachelor's degree with concentrations in accounting, finance, management, marketing, and operations and information management.

Online students attending Lehigh University can receive a well-rounded education that will help them to obtain a position in their field of interest. Online learning at Lehigh is characterized by specialized virtual programs, experienced faculty members, and convenient accessibility. Students will be able to stay in contact with their peers and professors through video chats, discussion boards, and emails. If a student is looking to experience a more traditional college experience, but also wants to maintain the flexibility of online learning, they may wish to consider dividing their study time between home and school with a hybrid program.
Two organizations oversee the accreditation process and officially recognize accrediting agencies: the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a nongovernmental organization. Both the Department of Education and CHEA maintain exhaustive lists of all recognized regional, national, and programmatic accrediting agencies. These organizations also list the accreditation status of each participating school, including the best regionally accredited online colleges and universities. Students comparing colleges and universities should check both lists to ensure a recognized agency has evaluated the school they select.
Another school that is no stranger to national rankings, the University of Florida—located in the city of Gainesville—is breaking down geographical barriers to higher education. The University of Florida offers access to more than 200 online undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs. And as a student, you’ll be a member of The Gator Nation, along with thousands of students and alumni around the world.
The University of Illinois at Springfield is well known for their small class sizes and focused curriculum. However, it's their online school that sets them apart from most other institutions. U of I offers various different undergraduate and graduate degrees online, all of which can be completed without having to commute to campus. This gives students the flexibility to study at their own pace while still earning a high-quality education. U of I's online programs are so well crafted that they are often considered one of the best online colleges for bachelor's degrees and graduate degrees in business, as well as one of the top schools for military members. There are also plenty of certificates and licenses offered online, so students can graduate with the education, degree and requirements necessary to begin their professional career.
Are you interested in pursuing a career related to law enforcement, the correctional system, the courts, or perhaps all three? If so, an online degree in criminal justice, or related subjects such as forensics, corrections, and criminology may be of interest to you. Learn about crime from a social perspective with an online criminology degree, of which there are multiple levels available, even an online doctorate. Or, take a more hands-on approach to dealing with crime by studying law enforcement online, and preparing for career in the police force or police administration. Those interested in cracking cases might be interested in exploring available online options for degrees in crime scene investigation or forensic science.

Harvard University is arguably the most prestigious university in the world. It is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was originally established in 1636. Harvard University was the first institution of higher education in the country, and has many impressive accolades because of its rich and extensive history. It is home to the largest university library system in the United States, the largest university endowment, and has educated eight former U.S. Presidents, more than 60 living billionaires, and hundreds of varying types of scholars.
In March 1906, the Kentucky General Assembly approved the establishment of the Bowling Green school that was to become Western Kentucky University. Today, more than 100 majors lead to the baccalaureate degree, and students can choose from 111 academic minors. U.S. News and World Report has ranked WKU 12th in The Best Online Bachelor's Programs and 12th in Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs . Among the best online schools in the region, WKU offers 20 online undergraduate degrees, 30 wholly online master's degrees, and online 45 graduate/undergraduate certificates. Students may also enroll in one of more than 100 courses offered through the on-demand program that offers for-credit classes in 7-week semesters.
If you have credits to transfer to a university program, Pace University may be a good fit. Pace University Online maintains a generous transfer credit policy that aims to give students the maximum amount of transfer credit from previous college experience towards your desired program. And U.S. News & World Report currently ranks Pace University’s online Bachelor’s program as one of the top ten best programs for veterans.
If you have children, you’ll need to plan for their care when you return to college. For most working adults, the option of professional childcare is an expensive one. Moreover, most professional daycare centers are not open weekends or late at night, the times when most adults are in classes. Be creative when scouting for childcare options. Use these tips for success.
Although online learning has removed many time and place barriers, it’s important to see which colleges in your state offer online programs. Attending a local college or university with online programs makes it easier to take advantage of physical resources or, if necessary, enroll in a hybrid program. Select a state below to learn more about its online learning landscape.
WGU offers a total of 66 fully online bachelor's and master's degrees. Nearly half of these programs focus on teaching and include nine specialized bachelor's degrees, five graduate-level tracks for educators seeking licensure, and more than a dozen master's concentrations for licensed teachers. Additional offerings include nine bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing and an MBA in healthcare management. WGU's remaining degrees focus on business and/or information technology.
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