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Purdue University Global

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Capella University

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Grand Canyon University

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Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs

Explore 50 of the best schools that offer online bachelor's degree programs to students of various educational backgrounds. Learn what programs are available, how long they take, and what type of costs they might involve.

Top Schools for Online Bachelor's Degrees

When considering schools for an online bachelor's degree program, students should consider what type of subject they're most interested in, how many courses they want to take each semester, institutional performance and cost.

1. Eastern Washington University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Cheney, WA $7,323 94%

Eastern Washington University offers 20 bachelor's degree programs online including dental hygiene, health science, international business and history. In-state undergraduate students have a tuition rate of $218 per credit hour while out-of-state students have a rate of $802 per credit hour. EWU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and has maintained accreditation with the agency since 1919. Eastern Washington University was named the #1 college of diversity in 2019 by INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine and boasts a 22:1 student-faculty ratio.

2. Siena Heights University

Location Tuition & Fees % Receiving Financial Aid
Adrian, MI $27,124 100%

Siena Heights University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report in their 2019 Best Online Bachelor's Programs, and the online programs have been ranked as some of the best in Michigan. The school offers 10 online bachelor's degree programs including marketing, business administration, nursing and professional communication. Online undergraduate programs are offered in 8-week terms and have a fixed tuition rate of $26,558 per year (2019-2020, 12 to 18 credit hours). Siena Heights University has been offering online programs for 15 years and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

3. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

Location Tuition & Fees % Receiving Financial Aid
University Park, PA $13,988 72%

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus offers 37 online bachelor's degree programs, including ones in strategic communications, organizational leadership, political science and criminal justice. All students have a tuition fee of $576 to $617 per credit hour if studying part-time, or $6,994 to $7,549 per semester for 12 or more credit hours. The school has been offering distance education for 125 years. Their programs offer asynchronous courses so that students can log in and work at their convenience.

4. Bellevue University

Location Tuition & Fees % Receiving Financial Aid
Bellevue, NE $7,827 89%

Students can earn any one of more than fifty bachelor's degrees online at Bellevue University, such as degrees in web development, sport management, investigations and legal studies. Online students have a tuition rate of $425 per credit hour, except for qualifying military personnel and their spouses, who have a tuition rate of $250 per credit for select programs. Bellevue University is regularly ranked as a top distance learning institution, especially when it comes to value. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers specialized accreditation for many programs such as the Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

5. Arizona State University-Skysong

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Scottsdale, AZ $10,317 82%

There are 89 bachelor's degree programs available online through Arizona State University-Skysong, including programs in corporate accounting, digital audiences, criminology and engineering management. Students have a flat-rate cost of $530 to $728 per credit hour, which includes tuition and fees. ASU has been ranked #1 in college innovation by U.S. News & World Report from 2016 to 2020, and was ranked #2 for online undergraduate degree programs in 2019.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH $31,136 75%
7 National University La Jolla, CA $13,320 0%
8 Shorter University Rome, GA $22,370 100%
9 Florida International University Miami, FL $6,556 89%
10 Granite State College Concord, NH $7,761 84%
11 Purdue University Global Davenport, IA $14,343 25%
12 Oral Roberts University Tulsa, OK $27,728 90%
13 New England College Henniker, NH $37,914 95%
14 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX $19,582 98%
15 Franklin University Columbus, OH $12,649 86%
16 Regis University Denver, CO $36,810 99%
17 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD $7,416 53%
18 Missouri State University-Springfield Springfield, MO $7,376 91%
19 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT $6,670 Not available
20 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI $18,414 97%
21 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN $29,960 100%
22 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ $12,467 92%
23 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA $22,584 97%
24 California Baptist University Riverside, CA $33,478 95%
25 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA $8,072 90%
26 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS $8,624 94%
27 Lakeland University Plymouth, WI $28,870 100%
28 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS $5,130 98%
29 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY $9,666 99%
30 Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN $9,090 93%
31 Park University Parkville, MO $11,572 95%
32 East Carolina University Greenville, NC $7,188 81%
33 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR $11,166 86%
34 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL $6,368 90%
35 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA $10,560 93%
36 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND $8,695 90%
37 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL $23,020 100%
38 Webster University Saint Louis, MO $27,900 98%
39 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ $11,564 94%
40 University of Memphis Memphis, TN $9,317 98%
41 Upper Iowa University Fayette, IA $30,450 99%
42 Troy University Troy, AL $8,908 94%
43 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO $28,470 100%
44 Southwestern College Winfield, KS $30,150 100%
45 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN $22,275 99%
46 Wilmington University New Castle, DE $11,210 89%
47 Columbia College Columbia, MO $22,704 90%
48 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS $10,383 89%
49 Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies Fayette, MO $5,760 67%
50 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL $20,208 88%

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Online Bachelor's Degree Programs Overview

Online bachelor's degree programs are usually open to any student with at least a high school diploma or GED; most take an average of four years to complete. Students who take more courses per semester and/or have prior college credits can complete their degree programs in three years or less. Some schools offer courses in a 16-week format, which is the standard semester length, and other schools have shorter terms such as 10-week or 8-week. Students whose program runs in shorter terms have more accelerated courses but often have more flexibility within their degree plan.

Online and On-Site Components

Online bachelor's degree programs range from entirely online components to primarily online with some on-site requirements. Programs that require students to attend on-site experiences may offer seminars, labs, or practicum hours for fields such as nursing and education. When choosing a program, students should consider their time restrictions, transportation restrictions (if any), and other obligations that can impact any required face-to-face program components.

Course Structure

At the beginning of their program, students are usually required to complete some orientation activities such as registering their student email accounts and completing an online tutorial of their learning portal. Courses are usually housed on a third-party website and may contain all or part of the relevant course tools. Within their course, students can often communicate with peers and teachers, view lectures and reading assignments, and complete and submit homework and exams. Some courses also require students to use a separate site for lab work, which can include additional assignments, exams and other course components.

Course Delivery

Many online programs include courses that offer asynchronous learning, which means that students can log in at their convenience to complete course assignments. These are especially helpful for students with significant daytime obligations, as they can log in at any time of night to review and submit course requirements. Typically, students can access, modify and submit assignments during one-week periods. Alternatively, some classes require some synchronous components, which ask students to log in at scheduled times. These scheduled logins are often for items such as live lectures, exams and video presentations.

Why Accreditation Matters for Online Bachelor's Programs

Two key types of accreditation may apply to students in an online undergraduate program: program-specific and institutional. Program-specific accreditation can apply to various programs, but not all programs will have this specialized recognition. Typically, this type of accreditation is found in professional programs such as nursing, education and library sciences. Institutional accreditation applies to an entire university and can be provided through a regional or national accrediting agency.

Accreditation is a recognition of a school or program that shows that it meets specific criteria. Accrediting organizations periodically review schools or programs to see if they are meeting standards. These standards can include graduation rates, faculty information and curriculum standards. Accreditation articulates to students, potential employers and the general public that a school or program has met the required educational quality standards.

Regional Versus National Accreditation

Schools can be accredited regionally by one of six agencies, including the Higher Learning Commission and Middle States Commission on Higher Education, or they can be accredited nationally by one of eleven organizations, such as Distance Education Accrediting Commission or Council on Occupational Education. Regional school accreditation is considered more prestigious, as this type of accreditation reviews schools more closely and allows students to transfer their credits to other schools when applicable. Although regionally accredited schools may cost more in general than nationally accredited schools, graduates are more likely to qualify for tuition reimbursement from their future employers.

Those who attend schools without institutional accreditation are not eligible to receive financial aid, and may not be able to transfer their courses to other schools if they pursue further education. Also, some employers may review students' backgrounds, including their education, and require or prefer candidates who have graduated from an accredited school.

Length of Online Bachelor's Degree Programs

The length of online bachelor's degree programs varies by student prerequisites and pace of study. Full-time students without previous college experience typically finish in four years, while students studying part-time can take six or more years to finish their program. Students with qualifying previous credits can often have these courses transferred in, shortening their program and lowering their overall program cost. While the actual number of credits that students can transfer may vary, students who have earned a qualifying associate's degree can finish an online bachelor's degree program in as few as two years of full-time study.

More often than not, online bachelor's degree programs consist of around 120 credit hours. Students studying full-time take 12 credit hours or more per semester. Programs with shorter course terms (such as 8-week terms) enable students to have more flexibility with their curriculum and possibly finish their program sooner. A student without prior college credits can finish a standard 16-week course program in four years or less of full-time study (12 credits per 16-week term) while a student in an 8-week term formatted course can finish their degree in just over three years (12 credits every two terms).

Cost of an Online Bachelor's Degree

The total cost for an online bachelor's degree program can range from less than $20,000 to more than $90,000. The required costs vary by student, program, and several other factors.

Program Costs

In general, students are required to pay tuition and fees for their program and there are often various other costs. These itemized costs can include technology fees, registration fees, course materials fees, electronic fees and more. Students need to review all fees that are associated with their desired program because the itemized fees can add up to several thousand dollars. However, some programs do combine all the fees associated with a program into a flat rate, which may be set by credit hour, semester, or total program.

Additional Costs

In addition to the costs associated with online bachelor's degree programs, there are other expenses that students may incur. For example, while many schools offer free applications to new students, some schools require students to pay around $50 to apply. Students may also have to pay fees associated with their graduation, usually around $100.

Many programs will require students to meet certain technical requirements, which often include having a relatively powerful personal computer or laptop and reliable internet access. Students who do not already meet these requirements should consider both the initial cost of each as well as the regular costs associated with maintaining internet access and any other requirements.

Most Popular Online Bachelor's Degrees

There are dozens of options for students interested in earning a bachelor's degree online, many of which can be completed without setting foot on campus. Listed below are some of the most popular online bachelor's degree programs, provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Business and Management

The most popular online programs for both undergraduate and graduate students are business and management. Students can pursue various types of business/management degrees such as a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Business Management. There are usually concentration options in these programs, such as accounting, finance, marketing, sustainability and business data analytics. Students typically take courses in economics, communication, business strategy and accounting to prepare for professional roles in the industry.

Computer and Information Sciences

The second-most popular online undergraduate program is computer and information sciences. Students can choose from programs like information technology, software engineering, web development and computer science. These technical programs provide students with an extensive understanding of computer and information processes and methods, and ready them for roles in the ever-evolving world of technology.

Healthcare

Another popular online undergraduate subject area is healthcare, which is increasing in popularity as the demand for healthcare providers continues to grow. Undergraduate students interested in healthcare can pursue online degrees in specific fields such as community health, nursing, health promotion, public health, nutrition and integrative health. These programs give students a broad base of knowledge of their respective area and prepare them for roles such as registered nurses, health services managers and nutritionists.

Education

The fourth most popular area for undergraduate online degrees is those in education, preparing students for roles as educators, administrators and assistants. Online programs in education are available in areas such as educational studies, early childhood education, adult education, special education and elementary education. Depending on their program, students often study topics such as psychology and development, teaching methods and educational regulations.

Humanities

Online undergraduate humanities programs are extremely diverse and popular, preparing students for a multitude of careers. Several areas of study within humanities that are available online are psychology, philosophy, sociology, women's studies, religious studies, community health and social work.