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.
Admissions requirements for international students vary depending on the program. Students must meet the English Language Proficiency requirement and, if in the U.S., provide an acceptable visa that does not prohibit educational studies at the University of Phoenix. Please speak to an Enrollment Representative to learn about program-specific requirements.
In addition to online-only pathways, the school offers many of the university's bachelor's programs in a blended format. Some of these tracks follow CityU's Regional Cohort Model, enabling degree seekers to take the same online and onsite courses with the same group of students based on their geographical area. Bachelor's programs span at least 180 credits, and students typically complete their requirements within four years.
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:

Students must meet the admission requirements for their chosen program. Credits from a regionally or nationally accredited institution may be eligible to transfer, provided that a grade of a C- or better was earned. Transfer credits typically apply toward general education and elective categories. Contact an Enrollment Representative for more information specific to your background.

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is home to a collaborative online environment designed specifically for nontraditional learners. Students can earn a top-ranked bachelor’s degree or an Master of Arts in an extensive offering of programs that range from painting, fashion, and interior design to photography, animation, and game development. Top online degrees include:
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.
Online courses frequently include at least one examination. To mitigate the risk of cheating, distance learners may need to take the exam at a testing facility with a proctor. Alternatively, the course's professor may administer the exam online and monitor students using webcams or anti-cheating software. However they are administered, these exams are typically as rigorous and demanding as those completed in classrooms.
Most online master's programs can be completed in less than three years of full-time study. Many schools offer accelerated online programs, allowing you to complete your graduate degree in just 12 months. You should consider pursuing a graduate degree if you already have a bachelor's degree but want to switch careers, qualify for more advanced leadership roles, or increase your earning potential. Some fields require a master's degree and the completion of professional licensure and certification. Example careers include licensed counselors, social workers, and certified public health employees.
Texas A&M University is a public, coeducational land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university based in College Station, Texas. It is the only university in Texas to have all three (land, sea, and space) designations, reflecting a range of research projects funded by NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Science Foundation. The university is the largest by enrollment in the state of Texas with a student body of over 60,000.
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.
There are many different ways students can pursue an excellent education at the University of Virginia. Students who study on campus have access to many different schools, each with their own set of accredited degrees. Also useful for students is the online education offered by UVA. Because of the size and scope of the school, UVA offers different types of online programs. One popular option is their School of Continuing and Professional Studies, best for students that want to further their career either with a bachelor's degree, graduate degree or certificate. Also available is a master's degree in engineering. UVA is considered to be one of the best online schools in the nation for an online master's in engineering, so students who want to earn a graduate degree that fits their schedule may find this is the perfect fit.
Distance learning has a wide appeal to a diverse population of Americans. It offers students a number of advantages, many of which dovetail with other social or lifestyle needs. Online courses and degree programs suit working professionals who are looking to move up to management roles, often with their employers paying part or all of their tuition. It's a powerful option for stay-at-home parents who are preparing for a new or re-entry career when they head back to work. Pearson Learning Solutions Senior VP Todd Hitchcock reports:

If you have a creative bent, then you know that it can be more difficult to find online programs that match your interests. The Savannah College of Art and Design—a private, nonprofit university— has addressed this need by offering high-quality online programs tailored to meet the needs of nontraditional students. And their programs, offered at the undergraduate and graduate level—have found their way to national rankings.  
One of the best ways to be successful is to group together with some study buddies. The friends I have made have been invaluable for surviving and passing online courses. We are there for each other to bounce ideas, work out task requirements, cram for exams and offload when stressed. We are encouraging and remind one another that it will all be worth it.
In addition to the standard bachelor's pathways listed above, transfer students with an associate degree can follow an accelerated cohort track with the same group of students and complete their undergraduate studies in two years or less. Other available options include course clusters that combine three interrelated courses into a single 12-week term. The school offers open enrollment, so students may begin their coursework at various points throughout the calendar year.
Mississippi State University has created a history of excellence, and it all starts with their degree programs. Regardless of what students study, each degree is meant to give students all the resources they need to succeed throughout their life. The same philosophy is applied to their online program, often considered one of the best online colleges in the nation. Students can study online while learning from faculty who also teach on-campus courses, meaning the quality of the education is consistent from on-campus to online. Also, Mississippi State offers in-state tuition to all online students, not just residents of Mississippi. Degrees can be earned entirely online from start to finish for students all around the world.
For many people, earning a college degree is about much more than just the degree. Newman University knows that many people earn a degree to improve their career, so they offer degree programs that don't just educate, but prepare students for life after college. The same can be said about the online degrees offered at Newman University. Designed for working adults who cannot regularly attend scheduled classes, and students that live away from campus, the degrees offered through the online school will help students learn the skills to change or improve their career. Because of the quality and direction of the master's programs, Newman University is considered one the best online schools for students who want to advance their career, particularly if they are involved in theology or education.
An important part of the online classroom is classroom participation and discussion. Posts that engage others in a back and forth repartee aid in the conceptualization of research papers and slide presentations that are assigned as homework. Although class participation does not amount to a large percentage of my grade, it does guide my though processes for the entire class. It accounts for the A-grade point average that I've maintained throughout the course of my online study.

Northern Arizona University offers two pathways for distance learners: traditional online or competency-based online programs. Traditional online degrees mirror brick-and-mortar bachelor's programs in terms of course and credit requirements. Traditional online bachelor's options include specialized fields such as hotel and restaurant management, parks and recreation management, and 10 fields related to health professions. The school also makes 21 master's degrees and a doctorate in nursing practice available in the traditional online format.


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.

One in three U.S. college students is now taking at least one class online, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Many leaders in education predict digital learning will become even more of an everyday experience for college students and recommend that high schools require students to take one online course before graduation, a requirement many high schools have already adopted.

Midway University, founded in 1847 by Dr. Lewis L. Pinkerton, was one of the nation's first schools to serve disadvantaged or orphaned women. Today, the coeducational Midway offers its 1,005 students over 30 academic majors in many of the region's top-demand fields of business, teacher education, nursing/healthcare, and equine studies. For distance education, Midway is among the best online colleges in the region. Students can earn their associate degree online, one of more than 20 baccalaureate degrees, or a 100-percent-online MBA, M.Ed., or MSN graduate degree. Online options for a bachelor's degree in education include more than 12 areas of specialization. Midway's Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) program may grant course credits for online students based on their work experience or career preparation outside the classroom.
If you are passionate about teaching, pursuing an online education degree will equip you will the skills necessary to make a difference in the lives of others through education. Of the education degrees available fully online, students will find degrees tailored to a wide variety of specialties. With elementary education degrees, early childhood education degrees, online degrees in curriculum and instruction, online degrees in administration and leadership, higher education degrees, reading and literacy online degrees, and online degrees in special education to choose from, students picking an online degree program in education should keep their career goals in mind. There are also online degree options available at every level, from associate to doctoral. Pursuing a degree in online education degree will help students realize their dreams of becoming teachers, principals, higher education administrators, and more.
A college degree is the best way to increase your earning potential - but different careers require different degrees. Think specifically about the types of job titles you hope to be eligible for after you graduate and the types of employers you want to work for. Research the kinds of skills and degrees people at those jobs have, and use that research to narrow down the degree programs you are considering.

Beginning with the establishment of a campus in Moscow in 1889, the University of Idaho today serves more than 12,000 through its home campus, education centers in Coeur d'Alene, Boise and Idaho Falls. U of I also provides educational programs at extension offices in 42 Idaho counties and online. Students have a selection of 93 undergraduate and 67 graduate majors, leading to degrees and certificates. Graduates of the university have received National Science Foundation Fellowships, Rhodes Scholarships, and Fulbright Awards. The university has one of the best online colleges in the region, and was has been recognized for its online graduate education programs. Master's level education degrees are offered in adult organizational learning and leadership, educational leadership, curriculum and instruction, physical education, and special education. More than 25 online degrees are offered at U of I, including the M.S., M.Ed., M.S., M.Engr., P.S.M., M.A.T., M.P.A., and Ph.D.
Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission, California Baptist University is one of the best online schools for students who want to find their spiritual, social and professional purpose in life. Founded by the California Southern Baptist Convention in 1950, the school encourages students to practice the skills they learn in the classroom with integrity and glory to God. To that end, the school offers a variety of online degree programs that are catered to adult learners looking for quality, flexibility, and Christianity in their education. California Baptist University has bachelor's degrees in public relations, kinesiology, English, human services, Christian ministries, and psychology. On the graduate level, students can study technology management, public administration, counseling psychology, organizational leadership, and communication.

Three types of accreditation are awarded in the U.S. The first two types, regional and national, are institutional accreditations bestowed on the college or university as a whole. Regional accreditation is typically reserved for nonprofit schools that offer degrees in the liberal arts and sciences. A total of seven regional accrediting agencies evaluate schools in all 50 states and U.S. territories. National accreditation, on the other hand, is generally offered to for-profit schools, vocational learning centers, and religious institutions. A total of 10 national accrediting agencies — including the Distance Education Accrediting Commission — assess schools nationwide.
For many online students, their graduation date marks the first time they set foot on their school's campus. Online students are often invited to participate in cap-and-gown ceremonies with on-campus graduates, where they receive their official diploma. Smaller ceremonies may be held to honor online graduates in specific programs. Some online colleges hold live-streamed commencement ceremonies and will mail diplomas to each graduate at a later date.
At CMU Global Campus, online students experience a comprehensive education with the flexibility of customizable degree programs. Many programs offer students the ability to choose a specialization within the major—making the degree a personalized fit for your career goals.  And students benefit from wrap-around services like academic advising, an Online Learning Resource Center, and peer assistance through the Online Ally program. Top degree programs include:
The university is home to the Peabody College of Education and Human Development, which is where its distance education options are housed. The two degrees you can earn 100% online at Vanderbilt are a Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations and a Master of Education in Human Development Counseling. Classes feature interactive coursework that is accessible 24/7 where you can read case studies and view recorded lectures. Students will also take place in weekly discussions, collaborative projects, and have opportunities for on-campus immersions, internships, and more. Studying online at Vanderbilt will give you a world-class education and foster strong peer relationships without interrupting your lifestyle and responsibilities.
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:
Considered the oldest and largest online degree-providing institution in the state, Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers web-based programs at all degree levels. Bachelor's options include degrees in fields such as addiction studies, business administration, and social work; the psychology and unified public safety administration fields offer multiple concentrations.

Park University has a recommendation rate of 79% from 14 student reviews. Park University offers 40 undergraduate degrees and 19 master’s degrees. There are five start dates throughout the year in January, March, June, August, and October. All courses are offered in 8 week segments and students are able to access the material on their own timetable. Online courses are certified by Quality Matters. Park University also has a Zero Textbook Cost program that allows students who are pursuing their degree online or at a distance campus center to qualify for free textbooks. Annual tuition is $11,470 for online undergraduate students and an affordable $7,575 for online graduate students. 

Not all students are able to study toward a degree in a traditional manner. To reach out to these students, Jackson State University has created an online program that allows students to earn a degree entirely online while also receiving the same benefits that traditional students receive. One of the best online schools in Mississippi, JSU designed their online degree programs to help students who want to improve their long term career outlook. Each degree offered online teaches students how to succeed in their field while also giving them the credentials to advance. Because JSU places such an emphasis on the career outlook for students, most of their online degree programs end with a master's degree. For students who want a mix of online and on-campus, some of the programs offered can be completed in a hybrid format.
A college degree is the best way to increase your earning potential - but different careers require different degrees. Think specifically about the types of job titles you hope to be eligible for after you graduate and the types of employers you want to work for. Research the kinds of skills and degrees people at those jobs have, and use that research to narrow down the degree programs you are considering.
In a recent survey conducted by BestColleges.com of over 1,000 online learners, an overwhelming 65% of respondents cite flexibility as the top reason for pursuing an online education. These respondents were also less concerned about curriculum specifics or access to on-campus activities. While traditional factors such as affordability, academic excellence and delivery format remain major determining factors, our survey results suggest a majority of students choose to take courses online because they are more convenient.
Most online bachelor's programs at the university offer degree completion pathways designed for transfer students, and these programs may cover anywhere from 31-51 credits of core coursework. Students with associate degrees can typically complete the programs within two years or less. The school offers tuition at a flat per-credit rate regardless of the student's state residency status. Active-duty military personnel can earn associate or bachelor's degrees at a discounted tuition rate.
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.
Distance learning students at Bama by Distance have many resources available to help them succeed—from online library resources to tutoring assistance and technical support. And your degree will be highly respected. Bama by Distance offers one of the top-ranked, AACSB-accredited online graduate business programs in the country (according to U.S. News & World Report) as well as one of the top 50 online graduate engineering programs.
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.
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.
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.
Columbia Southern University offers 28 online undergraduate degrees and 12 online graduate degrees. CSU also partners with over 2,500 organizations to offer a 10% tuition discount for working professionals. The recommendation rate for this university is 80% by the 164 students who review their experiences there. Columbia Southern University offers two track schedules to give students flexibility in when they begin their coursework. Track A and Track B dates overlap but have different start and end dates for more flexibility. CSU also offers a program called LifePace Learning that offers even more flexibility where students can either complete a course in four weeks or extend up to 18 weeks. Tuition is an affordable $6,600 per year or $225 per credit hour for undergraduates and $300 per credit hour for graduate courses. Textbooks are included in these tuition costs for online students.
In order to be one of the best online colleges, an institution must provide the tools students need for success. Western Kentucky University does just that by providing an in-depth orientation through its Online Learning 101 program-where students learn how to use the school's learning management system-and a robust Student Resource Portalwhere people can get the extra help they need with research, writing, and math. In addition, the school offers a variety of graduate and undergraduate degree programs. On the undergraduate level, students can get an associate's degree in interdisciplinary studies and early childhood education and a bachelor's degree in sociology, criminology, health sciences, and organizational leadership. On the graduate level, students can earn master's degrees in biology, recreation and sport administration, history, mathematics, and social work.
Southeast Missouri State University provides several online pathways for undergraduates and graduate students. Online bachelor's degree options include tech-oriented subjects such as applied technology, computer information systems, and technology management. Other options include business administration, criminal justice, family studies, and RN-to-BSN completion program. Graduate students may select from a total of 18 online master's tracks, most of which focus on management and/or education.
Due to its religious affiliations, students at LeTourneau must complete courses in biblical study and other related fields as part of their general education requirements; weekly chapel services are also required. The school boasts a graduation job placement rate of 95% or higher for all academic programs. LeTourneau University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
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