Top 10 Best Accredited Online Colleges and Universities

Top 10 Best Accredited Online Colleges and Universities

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Pursuing a degree from an online college or university has certain advantages over earning the same degree from a brick-and-mortar school. Online programs follow the same rigorous curricula as their on-campus counterparts, preparing graduates for successful careers. Additionally, many online degrees follow an asynchronous schedule that allows students to complete their required assignments and exams on their own schedule. Asynchronous programs can be particularly beneficial for students with full-time jobs, small children, and other commitments that may interfere with traditional on-campus studies.

BestColleges.com evaluates the educational quality and student outcomes of online programs across the country. This comprehensive guide addresses some of the most common questions and concerns about distance learning, including cost expectations, the application process, and the challenges associated with online studies. We’ve also included our picks for the top 50 accredited online colleges and universities.

What are the Best Online Colleges?

When evaluating different online colleges, we take several factors into consideration. These factors include student outcomes that demonstrate high retention and graduation rates, affordable tuition, and low student debt for graduates. Accreditation status is also important because it affects student eligibility for federal financial aid, and may also impact credit transfers when students move from school to school. Our complete methodology can be reviewed here.

We have reviewed thousands of accredited online colleges to help you find the best distance learning program to meets your preferences and long-term career goals. Our final list includes the 50 best online schools in the country. Each ranked school is a fully accredited, nonprofit institution that offers at least ten fully-online four-year degrees and three fully-online graduate programs. We made our assessments using qualitative measures and data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, as well as the schools themselves.

Use this list of the 50 best online colleges to begin your search for a distance learning program that will work with your budget, your schedule, and your learning style. Each entry includes information about available subjects and majors, as well as notable student outcomes for that school. Below our ranking of the best online colleges, you can learn more about choosing an online school that fits your unique needs.

1 University of Florida

The University of Florida was launched in 2014 to provide both new and transferring students full-time, high-quality baccalaureate degree programs. Prospective Gators have an opportunity to study in one of 200 online programs with flexible learning options, world-class faculty, and a worldwide alumni network of 415,000 Gators.

Florida offers bachelor’s of arts degrees in anthropology, biology, criminology, geography, geology, psychology, and sociology. Students can also pursue BS degrees in fields such as business administration, computer science, environmental management, fire and emergency services, nursing, public relations, sports management, and telecommunication, media, and society.

Florida has a comprehensive list of master’s degree offerings, including programs in art education, business administration, educational leadership, aerospace engineering, fire and emergency services, and gerontology. Notable online programs include the 30-credit master’s in veterinary forensics science, a program for professionals working in veterinary medicine and forensic science. Areas of study include animal crime scene processing, scientific and legal principles of forensic evidence, cruelty to animals, and interpersonal violence. The school’s 32-credit master of science in pharmaceutical sciences has several areas of emphasis, including forensic science, pharmaceutical regulation, and forensic DNA and serology. The school also offers a selection of undergraduate and graduate certificates in various fields.

Most courses are delivered asynchronously. Students may enroll full-time or part-time and can even take time away from their studies. Other notable school features include affordable tuition and comprehensive financial aid offerings, virtual career fairs, and access to job boards.

2 University of Central Florida

Founded in 1963, this Orlando-based university is the largest postsecondary institution in the United States by overall enrollment, as well as undergraduate enrollment. UCF currently serves more than 63,000 students, many of whom are enrolled in online courses and degree programs through the school’s robust distance learning program.

All online courses at UCF are led by the same professors and faculty members that teach the same subjects on campus. A total of 18 fully online bachelor’s degrees are available for undergraduate distance learners. These include Bachelor of Arts degrees in core subjects like history, English and political science, as well as niche fields like communication and conflict and Latin American studies. A BSN program is also offered for prospective nurses. In addition to full degrees, online undergrads can also choose from 29 minors in five academic areas: arts and humanities; education and human performance; health and public affairs; hospitality management; and sciences. All of these options are available as ‘2+2 baccalaureate completion’ programs for students who have completed some college in the past without earning a four-year degree. As an extra perk, UCF Online students are not charged administrative fees for resources exclusively used by brick-and-mortar students.

UCF also features 24 fully online master’s degrees for graduate-level students. These programs cover a wide range of academic subjects. Master of Arts (M.A.) options include degrees in applied learning and instruction, educational leadership and English-technical communication. Alternatively, online students at UCF can earn Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in fields like criminal justice and digital forensics. UCF also offers web-based master’s degrees in seven specialized engineering fields, a dual public administration and criminal justice master’s, and an MSN option for nurses. Some UCF Online master’s programs are 30 to 35 credits in length, and may be completed in as little as one year of full-time enrollment.

3 Northeastern University

Northeastern University Global Network is the name given to the school’s collective satellite campuses and worldwide research partnerships. The online degrees/certificates themselves are offered through Northeastern University.

Established in 1898, this institution of nearly 25,000 students functions as a private research university. In addition to four Boston-area campuses, the university’s ‘Global Network‘ extends to satellite campuses in Charlotte, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Toronto. Northeastern also holds partnerships with education and research facilities in more than 150 countries.

Northeastern currently offers 10 online bachelor’s degrees for distance learners. Three management-related bachelor’s degrees are offered — general management, finance and accounting management and health management — as well as a leadership degree. Other undergraduate degrees are available in human services, information technology, liberal studies, political science, professional communication and psychology. All of Northeastern’s online bachelor’s degree programs are 120 credits in length, and designed to be completed with four years of full-time enrollment or seven years of part-time enrollment. Each degree follows a comprehensive curriculum consisting of one-credit labs and three-credit foundational, major-related and professional elective courses. The psychology degree program culminates in a senior research seminar. Most of the remaining programs culminate in a final project; human services majors must also complete an on-site practicum course, where they will receive supervised training from experienced professionals at a working human services facility. As of Fall 2016, all bachelor’s programs at Northeastern follow a semester-based schedule.

Online graduate students enrolled at Northeastern can choose from 37 master’s degree pathways. These include nine degrees in business- and management-related fields, seven in health and human services and five in education. The university also offers several highly specialized programs for online master’s students, including tracks in energy systems, geographic information technology, homeland security, security and resilience studies and two degrees concentrated in regulatory affairs. Doctorates in education and transitional physical therapy are also available in a primarily online format. Additionally, two undergraduate certificates and 30 graduate certificates can be earned entirely online within one year of full-time study.

4 University of Alabama at Birmingham

Established as an extension center in 1936, the University of Alabama at Birmingham has added a robust virtual college internationally recognized for academic excellence, research, and innovation. The school offers a comprehensive catalog of fully online and hybrid degree and certificate programs. With working adults in mind, the virtual college offers students flexible learning options. Bachelor’s degrees offered fully online include programs in accounting, criminal justice, marketing, information systems, and finance. The school’s Department of Human Studies offers a BS in community health and human services, a program that prepares students for a career as a community coordinator, outreach specialist, or drug abuse counselor. The BS in industrial distribution has two tracks: engineering and medical equipment and supplies.

Master’s degrees are available in accounting, criminal justice, sociology, and engineering, each with corresponding concentrations. Master’s programs offered in a blended format include the MS in health informatics, the MAED in special education-collaborative teacher, and the MS in health information-executive format. Notably, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online master’s of public health has several concentrations delivered fully online, including epidemiology, health behavior, industrial hygiene, and occupational health and safety. The 44- to 45-credit master of science in nursing— nurse practitioner provides nurses with specializations in women’s health, family healthcare, and psychiatric-mental health.

UAB’s online programs are delivered through Canvas, and eLearners have access to expansive support services such as the Access Success Center, libraries, and technical support. Those graduating from this institution become part of an alumni network of more than 115,000 graduates around the globe.

5 Liberty University

Liberty University is a private, not-for-profit Christian doctoral research university with its main campus located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Launched in 1985, the school’s distance learning program, Liberty’s online programs, follows a non-traditional academic timetable. Classes are 8 weeks in length, and there are eight start dates each year.

Nearly all online programs are offered nearly 100% online. Only one bachelor’s program requires a one week, on-campus class, and that is the B.S. in social work; the remaining bachelor’s degree programs are delivered fully online, and are designed to be completed in four years or less. Liberty’s Online programs bachelor’s programs span 16 academic departments, and tout tuition that is considerably lower than the on-campus degree programs at $9,360 instead of the traditional $20,300. The online bachelor’s degree programs also have no additional fees, and are completely free to apply.

The school’s options for business administration degrees are particularly extensive; students may choose from degree concentrations in 16 different fields, including digital marketing and advertising, entrepreneurship, financial planning, green and sustainable management, marketing analytics and project management. Criminal justice majors may also pick a degree specialization from fields like homeland security, juvenile justice and public administration. As a faith-based university, Liberty’s Online programs also offers degrees in religion (with four concentrations), biblical and educational studies and Christian leadership and management, as well as a Christian counseling concentration for psychology majors. A total of 24 online minors are also available to undergraduates, four of which are focused on Christian studies. There also are undergraduate degrees in aviation, communications, education, history, information technology, nursing, and more.

Graduate students enrolled at Liberty’s online programs also enjoy a wide range of online master’s degree selections. Aspiring teachers seeking a Master of Education can choose from more than 15 different degree specializations, including obtaining licensure if needed. The school’s MBA programs include 36-hour and 45-hour tracks that have 16 possible specializations. Online counseling options are also quite robust. For example, the master of arts (M.A.) degrees in human services counseling and pastoral counseling each feature 11 possible concentrations. Online grad students pursuing a religious master’s can also earn degrees in seven different fields through the Rawlings School of Divinity. Finally, Liberty’s online programs offers web-based and blended doctoral degree programsin business, counseling, education, music, nursing and religious studies. The application fee is $40 for master’s degree programs and $50 for doctoral and postgraduate degrees.

6 Florida International University

The second largest public university in the state of Florida, FIU’s main campus is situated in the heart of downtown Miami. According to the school’s website, more than 200,000 students worldwide have successfully completed web-based degree and certificate programs through FIU Online coursework. FIU’s online business, engineering, MBA and bachelor’s degree programs also earned spots on 2016 best-of rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

FIU Online features a total of 21 online bachelor’s degree programs. These include degrees in eight business-oriented fields: organizational communication studies; finance; hospitality management; human resource management; international business; logistics and supply chain management; management; and marketing. Bachelor’s programs in core academic subjects include degrees in criminal justice, early childhood education, health services administration, psychology, religious studies and sociology, as well as an RN to BSN track for registered nurses. The university also offers bachelor’s pathways in less traditional areas of study, including sustainability and the environment, women’s and gender studies and two tracks in recreation and sports management. All online bachelor’s degree options at FIU are 120 credits in length, and are typically completed after four years of full-time study; each online student is paired with a ‘success coach’ to ensure they meet key deadlines and complete their degree requirements in a timely, cost-effective manner. With the exception of the RN to BSN program, all bachelor’s degree pathways at FIU are delivered fully online.

Most of the online master’s programs available through FIU Online are fully online, and many are available in accelerated formats that allow students to earn their degree in 12 to 18 months. Options for business students include corporate and healthcare MBA tracks, as well as master’s degrees in hospitality management, human resources management and international business. The university also features master’s degrees for teachers in curriculum/instruction and special education. Additional online master’s options include degrees in construction management, computer engineering/network security, forensic science, music education and real estate.

7 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Founded in 1851, UM-Twin Cities currently boasts more than 34,000 enrolled students and a campus in the heart of Minneapolis that covers 1,204 acres. The school’s online campus is also impressive: a total of 69 fully, primarily and partially online degree and certificate programs for undergraduate and graduate-level distance learners.

Bachelor’s degree programs for online undergrads are primarily compartmentalized in two broad areas of academic study: business and science. In addition to a bachelor’s in general management, business-savvy students can also earn degrees in accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, international business and marketing. Students interested in pursuing a science-related bachelor’s can take their pick from programs in applied health, information technology management and medical laboratory science. Other undergraduate options include degrees in specialized fields like tribal administration and governance, sports and recreation management and social work. All 20 online bachelor’s degrees offered through UM-Twin Cities consist of 120 credit hours, and are designed to be completed after four years of full-time enrollment. Sixteen are delivered in a fully online format and four are partially online. Undergraduates can also earn fully online certificates in the following fields: applied business; autism spectrum disorders; business administration; finance; manufacturing management; and taxation.

Online master’s programs at UM-Twin Cities are mostly concentrated in healthcare, science and technology. These include degrees in computer science, health informatics, healthcare administration, public health, dental hygiene and electrical engineering. An executive MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy is also available. The online MBA is 57 credits in length, while the master’s in occupational therapy runs 78 credits. Otherwise, the online master’s degrees at UM-Twin Cities range from 30 to 42 credit hours, and can be completed in one year to 18 months of full-time study. Seven are partially online, five are fully online and three are primarily online.

8 Arizona State University

With nearly 52,000 students during the 2015-16 academic year, ASU is currently the sixth largest university in the U.S. by total enrollment. The Tempe institution also took first place in the 2016 ‘Most Innovative National Universities‘ ranking published by U.S. News & World Report. This recognition is largely due to ASU’s groundbreaking distance learning program; currently the university offers more than 100 fully online degree programs.

Undergraduate online students can choose from 63 different bachelor’s degree programs. These include 28 B.A. and 26 B.S. degrees, as well as applied science bachelor’s degrees in health sciences, Internet and web development and operations management. A total of 22 online minors are available, as well; these include niche fields such as family and human development, global health and sustainability. ASU Online also features ‘exploratory’ undergraduate degrees in four areas: health and life sciences; humanities, fine arts and design; math, physical sciences, engineering and technology; and social and behavioral sciences. These programs are geared toward students who have an interest in certain academic areas but have not yet chosen a major. In 2015, ASU Online announced a new partnership with EdX titled the ‘Global Freshmen Academy‘. This program is open to all incoming freshmen; candidates do not need to formally apply for enrollment in GFA, and will only asked to pay for courses that they complete with a passing grade.

Online degree programs for graduate students at ASU are also extensive. A total of 47 online master’s degrees are available. These options include seven degrees in engineering, six in education and two hybrid MBA/engineering degrees, as well as programs in cutting-edge fields like biomimicry, health innovation and sustainable tourism. Doctorate degrees in education and behavioral health are also offered through ASU Online. In addition to degrees, online students can also choose from 18 undergraduate and graduate certificate programs. Most certificates range between 15 and 20 credit hours, and can be completed in six courses or less.

9 Excelsior College

With nearly 52,000 students during the 2015-16 academic year, ASU is currently the sixth largest university in the U.S. by total enrollment. The Tempe institution also took first place in the 2016 ‘Most Innovative National Universities‘ ranking published by U.S. News & World Report. This recognition is largely due to ASU’s groundbreaking distance learning program; currently the university offers more than 100 fully online degree programs.

Undergraduate online students can choose from 63 different bachelor’s degree programs. These include 28 B.A. and 26 B.S. degrees, as well as applied science bachelor’s degrees in health sciences, Internet and web development and operations management. A total of 22 online minors are available, as well; these include niche fields such as family and human development, global health and sustainability. ASU Online also features ‘exploratory’ undergraduate degrees in four areas: health and life sciences; humanities, fine arts and design; math, physical sciences, engineering and technology; and social and behavioral sciences. These programs are geared toward students who have an interest in certain academic areas but have not yet chosen a major. In 2015, ASU Online announced a new partnership with EdX titled the ‘Global Freshmen Academy‘. This program is open to all incoming freshmen; candidates do not need to formally apply for enrollment in GFA, and will only asked to pay for courses that they complete with a passing grade.

Online degree programs for graduate students at ASU are also extensive. A total of 47 online master’s degrees are available. These options include seven degrees in engineering, six in education and two hybrid MBA/engineering degrees, as well as programs in cutting-edge fields like biomimicry, health innovation and sustainable tourism. Doctorate degrees in education and behavioral health are also offered through ASU Online. In addition to degrees, online students can also choose from 18 undergraduate and graduate certificate programs. Most certificates range between 15 and 20 credit hours, and can be completed in six courses or less.

10 Regis University

One of 28 Jesuit colleges in the nation, Regis University emphasizes a rigorous, Jesuit-conscious curriculum delivered by award-winning faculty both online and on campus. The school offers bachelor’s degrees in applied science, communication, computer science, global studies, and health information management, among others. The 120- to 128-credit BS in business has several specializations, including management, marketing, public administration, and project management. The 120-credit BA in global studies draws from coursework in the humanities and sciences, with classes available in human trafficking, global health, animal exploitation, and a senior capstone in global citizenry.

Regis offers master’s degrees in accounting, criminology, data science, education—with several areas of specialization—human resource management, and information assurance. The 36- to 42-credit online MBA program has several options, including specializations in finance and accounting, health industry leadership, and strategic management. The 30- to 31-credit MS in nursing also has several specializations, including family nurse practitioner and neonatal nurse practitioner. The 33- to 35-credit MA in education: teaching the linguistically diverse provides educators with the training necessary to help bilingual learners learn how to overcome challenges faced in English-speaking classrooms.

Courses are taught asynchronously, some with varying start dates throughout the year. Many of the school’s online degree programs give students the option to complete their degree in an accelerated timeframe. Additionally, the school allows students to transfer up to 90 credits from a regionally accredited institution. Support services include free tutoring through Smarthinking, a writing center, and academic success workshops. Whether studying on campus or online, students at Regis University are taught by faculty who incorporate real-world experience into the classroom curriculum.

Source : [ https://www.bestcolleges.com/features/top-online-schools/ ]

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