An online bachelor's degree can help professionals advance their careers and increase their earning potential. By choosing a regionally accredited online program, students can maximize their educational investment.
Professionals who earn a bachelor's degree often earn a higher salary. On average, workers with a high school diploma earn $746 per week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In contrast, professionals with a bachelor's degree earn $1248 per week -- which translates into more than $26,000 more per year.
A bachelor's degree also opens the door to new career opportunities. Many in-demand jobs in business, healthcare, education, and technology require a bachelor's degree. Accredited online colleges offer the flexibility to complete a bachelor's degree around work or personal responsibilities.
Our list ranks the best accredited online colleges and universities to earn a bachelor's degree. Prospective students can use the rankings to find programs that fit their interests and career goals.
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Top Online Programs
Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.
Top 10 Accredited Online Bachelor's Degrees 2021
|#1||University of Florida Gainesville, Florida|
|#2||John Brown University Siloam Springs, Arkansas|
|#3||Western Carolina University Cullowhee, North Carolina|
|#4||University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida|
|#5||LeTourneau University Longview, Texas|
|#6||Clemson University Clemson, South Carolina|
|#7||California State University-Sacramento Sacramento, California|
|#8||DePaul University Chicago, Illinois|
|#9||Wesleyan College Macon, Georgia|
|#10||Ohio University-Main Campus Athens, Ohio|
|Can online colleges be regionally accredited?||Yes; regionally accredited online colleges and universities meet the same educational standards as on-campus programs. At many schools, distance learners receive the same diploma as in-person learners.|
|How much does it cost to get an online degree?||According to Affordablecolleges.com, the typical online degree costs $30,000 to complete.|
|Do employers like online bachelor's degrees?||Many employers hire graduates from accredited online universities. Regionally accredited schools meet the same high standards for granting degrees as traditional schools.|
|Is an online degree as good as traditional?||Regionally accredited online universities undergo the same rigorous screening process as traditional schools. As a result, online degrees provide a solid education.|
A bachelor's degree trains graduates for careers in business, education, healthcare, and technology. Many fields require a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions. An online bachelor's degree offers a flexible route to educational and professional advancement. Online learners can often complete their coursework at any time, from any place. The format particularly appeals to working students and busy adults.
During an online program, undergrads choose a major to focus their studies. They also take general education courses to build strong critical thinking and analytical skills. Many of the best colleges online let students choose electives, a minor, or a concentration area to complement their major.
Why Get an Online Bachelor's Degree?
Accredited colleges make it easier for learners to complete their bachelor's degree online. In addition to greater flexibility and accessibility, online bachelor's programs can also save students money and help professionals advance their career while working.
- Students attending colleges online benefit from a flexible schedule. Instead of commuting to campus for in-person classes, online learners often complete coursework around their other responsibilities.
- Cost Savings
- Many online universities offer tuition discounts for fully online students, including in-state tuition for out-of-state learners. Distance learners also save on transportation, parking, and commuting costs.
- An online learning environment makes college more accessible. Degree-seekers can choose a top-ranked program in another state without needing to relocate.
- Career Advancement
- A bachelor's degree helps professionals advance their career and qualify for new opportunities. Online programs make it easier to complete a bachelor's degree and pursue career advancement.
- Working professionals and busy adults often find online programs more convenient, thanks to their enrollment options, self-paced courses, and student support services.
What Are the Requirements for an Online School?
Accredited online colleges and universities admit students who hold a high school diploma or the equivalent. Applicants may also need SAT or ACT scores. Many schools waive these requirements for transfer students with at least 15-24 college credits. Instead of high school transcripts and standardized test scores, transfer applicants provide official college transcripts.
Applicants may also need to provide letters of recommendation, a resume, or a statement of purpose, depending on the school. After gaining admission, incoming students complete general education, major courses, and electives. Many colleges also offer online minors. Some programs require an internship, capstone project, or thesis to graduate.
Online bachelor's students qualify for many scholarship opportunities. Professional associations, private foundations, and colleges all offer scholarships to qualified applicants. In addition to the following opportunities, degree-seekers can research scholarships based on their major, career goals, or school. Most scholarships only award funds to recipients at accredited online colleges.
Who Can Apply: The Education Matters scholarship awards $5,000 to a U.S. student who writes a winning essay on why education matters. Applicants must be legal U.S. residents earning a postsecondary degree, including those enrolled in accredited universities online. The essay can explain the value the applicant hopes to receive from their degree and how they would respond to someone who says college is a waste of time.
Who Can Apply: The scholarship supports U.S. citizens attending an accredited online program in the U.S. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit an essay on what an online college degree means to them. Get Educated also requires a transcript and FAFSA form.
Who Can Apply: Unigo offers a scholarship for U.S. legal residents attending college. Applicants must submit an essay that answers the topic question for the scholarship cycle. Only students attending or planning to enroll at accredited schools qualify, including accredited online universities.
Who Can Apply: Study.com offers a scholarship for distance learning students. Current or accepted students attending an accredited online program can apply. Applicants submit evidence of their academic achievements and extracurricular activities. The committee does not consider financial need when awarding the scholarship. Winners provide a photograph and quote for the website.
Who Can Apply: Scholarship Owl offers a scholarship for U.S. residents who enter to win their sweepstakes. Students who sign up are automatically included in the drawing for the award. Applicants must be currently enrolled or will enroll in the next three months in a qualified college or university, including online colleges.
Accredited Online Bachelor's Degrees 2021
A large public research university, UF enrolls over 56,000 students across its online division, Gainesville campus, and offsite programs. Ranked among the nation's top accredited online universities, the school offers over 20 online bachelor's degrees. UF charges online learners a reduced tuition rate, and may waive out-of-state fees for military students.
Online degree offerings span a multitude of disciplines. Students interested in social sciences can study psychology, sociology, or anthropology. Several programs, including an RN-to-BSN program, cater to those pursuing careers in healthcare. Science-oriented students can pursue majors such as biology, geology, or environmental management.
Other majors prepare graduates for careers in fields such as business, hospitality, criminology, sports, and emergency services. A variety of minor options allow students to tailor their degrees to their interests and goals.
University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
An interdenominational Christian university located in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, JBU welcomes students of all religious backgrounds. Undergraduate students looking for faith-centered universities online can enroll in one of four online bachelor's programs. Asynchronous course delivery and six annual start dates provide flexibility. Online degree candidates pay a lower tuition rate than on-campus students.
All four bachelor's programs comprise 120 credits and encompass JBU's 49-credit core curriculum. Required core courses include instruction in biblical studies, theology, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts.
Students can major in management, liberal arts, organizational leadership, or psychology. They can minor in business, communication, leadership, psychology, or politics and ethics. The school's Graduate School Pathways program allows students to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees concurrently in as little as five years.
John Brown University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Based in Cullowhee, North Carolina, WCU offers over 115 undergraduate majors. Among these majors, the accredited online university provides several bachelor of science (BS) and bachelor of science in business administration (BSBA) programs.
WCU's online degrees train graduates for careers in a variety of industries. Designed for students with associate degrees, the BS program in birth-kindergarten education may fulfill educational requirements for North Carolina teaching licensure. Students planning to apply to law school or pursue a career in business can earn a BSBA in entrepreneurship or a BS or BSBA in business and law. A BS program in emergency medical care admits certified paramedics, and offers pre-med or health management concentrations.
Additional bachelor's programs develop the necessary skills for positions in construction management, criminal justice, emergency management, and engineering technology.
Western Carolina University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
A member of the State University System of Florida, UCF enrolls the state's largest student body. The Orlando-based school's online programs earned it national recognition as one of the best accredited online universities for both civilian and military students. Distance learners enjoy access to academic support resources, electronic journals and databases, and advisors. Other resources include student success coaches and writing tutors.
Designed for transfer students, UCF's online bachelor's degree offerings include over two dozen majors. Several programs allow students to craft their own interdisciplinary degree paths. UCF offers liberal arts programs in areas including anthropology, English, and history. Learners planning to attend law school can earn a bachelor's degree in legal studies. Other programs train students for careers in criminal justice, healthcare, and hospitality. Online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency.
University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
LETU provides a Christian polytechnic education to students online and at its campuses in Longview and Plano, Texas. One of the best and most affordable regional universities in the western United States, the private school features diverse programs in applied sciences and career preparation.
LETU's online bachelor's programs integrate professional skills with Christian ethics. The school offers business programs in areas including accounting, business management, and healthcare management. Other options include a bachelor of business administration program with multiple concentrations. Prospective teachers can work toward Texas state licensure through an interdisciplinary studies program.
Other online bachelor's programs include psychology, cybersecurity, criminal justice, and aviation. Bachelor's programs in theology, biblical studies, and ministry reflect the school's religious focus. Online students pay a substantially lower tuition rate than on-campus students. Enrollees may also qualify for scholarships reserved for distance learners.
LeTourneau University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Based in its namesake city of Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson is a large public research university. The school's online offerings primarily comprise graduate degrees and certificates. However, students looking for accredited online colleges and universities that offer RN-to-BSN programs can complete a bachelor's degree in nursing at Clemson. Full-time students can complete the program in one year.
The 125-credit program enhances students' clinical knowledge, cultivates leadership and management skills, and deepens understanding of ethical and professional issues. Entering students must attend a daylong, on-campus orientation. Afterwards, they take classes online. The curriculum covers subjects such as scientific writing and communication, research methods, genetics, pathophysiology, and community and family nursing. The program enrolls associate-trained nurses with a 2.75 minimum GPA. Applicants must be licensed registered nurses in their home state.
Clemson University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Based in California's capital city, Sacramento State serves one of the most diverse student populations in the western United States. The public university delivers online degrees through Cal State Online, a consortium of accredited online universities in the California State University System.
Sacramento State offers a variety of bachelor's degree-completion programs tailored to working students. The fully online bachelor of science (BS) program in career and technical studies enrolls applicants with at least three years of full-time work experience. This program helps students advance their careers in business, education, and industry.
Additional fully online programs include a BS in criminal justice and an accelerated bachelor of arts (BA) in psychology. The school also offers hybrid programs in child development and nursing. The hybrid, interdisciplinary BA in arts and letters caters to students who previously attended Sacramento State but did not complete their degree.
California State University, Sacramento is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
As the nation's largest Catholic university, DePaul enrolls over 21,000 students annually. The Chicago-based school offers a variety of online bachelor's programs. Students can enroll in many of DePaul's distance-learning programs at a discounted tuition rate.
The school's online bachelor's programs prepare graduates for careers in fields such as business, media, technology, and the nonprofit sector. Transfer students can typically complete their degrees online. Some programs include hybrid elements or on-campus, lower-division requirements.
A bachelor's in professional studies offers concentrations in computing or business administration and allows students to earn credit for prior professional experience. Students interested in business or technology can also major in computer science, decision analytics, information technology, or leadership studies. Additional online majors include communication and media, applied behavioral sciences, and psychology.
DePaul University if regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Founded in 1836 and located in Macon, Georgia, Wesleyan is one of the nation's oldest women's colleges. As one of the few accredited online colleges catering specifically to women, the private, Methodist-affiliated liberal arts college enrolls about 700 students annually.
With year-round admission dates and accelerated eight-week terms, Wesleyan's three fully online bachelor's programs provide flexible options for working students. Transfer students can apply up to 90 credits toward their degree, and may receive credit for professional experience. Distance learners can major in business administration, accounting, or applied psychology.
Learners enjoy remote access to advising, tutoring, career guidance, and networking opportunities. Wesleyan's affordable per-credit tuition rate for online classes includes all fees and textbooks.
Wesleyan College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Ohio offers 11 bachelor's and degree-completion programs. As one of the state's best accredited online colleges and universities, the Athens-based school delivers career-relevant training to over 7,900 students. Asynchronous course delivery helps distance learners balance their education with work and family schedules. Online students pay lower tuition than on-campus students. Distance learners may also qualify for institutional scholarships, including awards reserved for transfer students.
Ohio's online bachelor's degree-completion programs admit students with associate degrees or equivalent transfer credit. These programs comprise majors in applied management, criminal justice, and customer service leadership. Other majors include integrated healthcare studies, technical and applied studies, and technical operations management. An RN-to-BSN program enrolls associate-educated nurses. Programs in communication, hospitality management, human services, interior architecture, and psychology do not require applicants to have an associate degree.
Ohio University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Based in New York City, with additional campuses and learning sites around the world, NYU maintains a prestigious international reputation. The private university caters to students who need flexible scheduling or want to travel while earning their degrees from accredited online colleges and universities in the United States.
In addition to a variety of graduate degrees and certificates, NYU delivers two bachelor's degree-completion programs online. The bachelor's in leadership and management studies offers several concentrations, including human resource management and international business and global management. The bachelor's in social science features concentrations in areas such as anthropology, history, economics, and media studies. Both programs culminate with an independent capstone project. Applicants need an associate degree or 45 transferable credits. Those with a 3.3 GPA or higher may receive preference.
New York University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Ranked among Vermont's top accredited online colleges and universities, UVM offers various distance-learning programs. Online programs include master's degrees, graduate and professional certificates, pre-college programs, and community education. Students can earn a bachelor's degree in health sciences through the Burlington-based school's hybrid degree-completion program.
The program accepts applicants with 30 or more transferable credits, including program prerequisites, and a minimum 2.7 GPA. Full-time learners with sufficient transfer credits typically complete the 120-credit program in about two years. Emphasizing public health issues, coursework covers subjects such as healthcare ethics, global health, and epidemics. Learners examine the organizational and financial structures of the U.S. healthcare system. They also take courses in writing, research, and statistics, and complete a community-based capstone project.
University of Vermont is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Students considering accredited online colleges with strong business programs can study a variety of business subjects at Temple. The Philadelphia-based school's online bachelor of business administration (BBA) program features majors in accounting, business management, and human resource management. Other BBA program majors include legal studies, marketing, and supply chain management. Enrollees may enter the program in the spring or fall, and can take classes on a regular or accelerated schedule.
Students in all BBA programs build quantitative analysis, communication, and managerial skills. They also explore legal, ethical, and global issues in the field. Foundational courses common to all business majors cover subjects such as economics, information systems, accounting, and marketing. A dual-admission program in partnership with area community colleges facilitates a smooth transition for local transfer students. Temple's business programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Temple University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
A public research university based in Lubbock, TTU maintains a robust distance-learning division. TTU runs remote education sites throughout Texas and offers a diverse roster of online programs. Students who prefer the flexibility and convenience of accredited online universities can pursue over a dozen fully online undergraduate majors. Tuition rates for online learners prove comparable to TTU's in-state rates.
Online liberal arts degrees include programs in English and political science. Students pursuing business or media careers can major in applied leadership, digital media and professional communication, or technical communication. Other areas of study include education, wind energy, and hospitality. The school also offers customizable degree paths. Examples include a bachelor of applied arts and sciences program in human sciences, a bachelor of general studies program, and an interdisciplinary bachelor of arts or bachelor of science program in university studies.
Texas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
One of the 23 accredited online colleges and universities in the California State University System, CSUF offers bachelor's degree-completion programs through Cal State Online. Students typically complete the 120-credit, cohort-based programs in about three years. However, learners in the RN-to-BSN program can finish in two semesters.
Online bachelor's programs include majors in business and social sciences. The bachelor of arts (BA) in business administration program caters to working professionals seeking to advance to managerial roles. The BA in sociology explores sociological theory, including topics such as gender, aging, and families. The interdisciplinary BA in humanities and social sciences draws on literature, history, sociology, and anthropology.
Applicants need 66-70 transferable credits and a minimum 2.5 GPA. Distance learners pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. The RN-to-BSN program admits associate-trained California nurses.
California State University, Fullerton is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Jefferson's bachelor's degree-completion programs may appeal to students looking for colleges online that emphasize business and healthcare career preparation. The Philadelphia-based private university's seven accelerated online bachelor's programs integrate professional studies with liberal arts and sciences. Full-time students can complete each of the 120-credit programs in 2-3 years, while paying a lower tuition rate than on-campus learners.
Online majors include accounting, business management, human resource management, information technology, and organizational leadership. The health services management major caters to students interested in administrative careers in healthcare. Learners aiming for a more hands-on healthcare career may choose to study behavioral and health services. All majors incorporate general education courses in writing, science, history, social sciences, humanities, and math. Online enrollees gain access to support services such as tutoring, library resources, and career guidance.
Thomas Jefferson University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
A private Catholic university located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, MMU ranks among the state's best accredited online colleges and universities. Most programs take 2-4 years to complete, with some RN-to-BSN enrollees earning their degree in 18-24 months. MMU features convenient and affordable online bachelor's programs. All incoming students receive scholarships, and the school offers multiple yearly start dates.
Learners can earn a bachelor of applied science in applied management or a bachelor of business administration (BBA). Students in the BBA program can choose a generalist degree or select majors in management, human resource management, or marketing. Programs in healthcare administration and healthcare leadership cater to students interested in the business side of healthcare. Learners can also major in liberal studies or religious studies. Transfer students can apply up to 93 credits toward their degrees.
Mount Mercy University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Founded in 1840 as a women's college, SMWC opened all of its programs to students of all genders in 2015. Based in West Terre Haute, Indiana, the private Catholic school enrolls about 1,000 learners annually, over one-third of whom study remotely. SMWC's online bachelor's programs may suit students seeking colleges online that integrate professional studies, liberal arts, and sciences with spirituality and social justice. Offering one of the best education values in its region, the school extends online learners a reduced tuition rate. Military students receive a further discount.
SMWC offers online bachelor's programs in areas including business, education, and theology. All undergraduates complete Woods Core courses, a sequence of general studies classes. These courses explore ethics, religion, and community values and traditional academic subjects such as mathematics, science, history, and writing.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Designed around the needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing learners, Gallaudet University is distinctive among accredited online universities. Along with deaf and hard-of-hearing students, the Washington, D.C.-based school enrolls hearing individuals whose professional goals include working with the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.
The school's roster of online programs includes a 120-credit bachelor's degree-completion program in either deaf studies or psychology. The program enrolls students with 80 or more transferable college credits. Psychology learners typically study subjects such as lifespan development, social psychology, and research design. They explore psychological issues within the deaf community and complete an internship and a research-based capstone project.
The deaf studies curriculum examines deaf culture through historical, linguistic, multicultural, and gender-based perspectives. Students culminate their degree with an independent senior thesis project.
Gallaudet University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
As the flagship institution of the Colorado State University System, CSU holds national recognition among accredited online colleges and universities as a top provider of distance education to undergraduates, including veterans. The public research university offers over a dozen academically and vocationally oriented online bachelor's degrees.
Online social science majors include psychology, anthropology, and economics. The bachelor's program in human development and family studies prepares graduates for careers in fields such as education, gerontology, and social services. The bachelor's program in interdisciplinary liberal arts develops critical thinking and communication skills through coursework in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Specialized career preparation programs include majors in agricultural business, fire and emergency services administration, horticulture, and natural resource tourism.
CSU also offers fully online programs in computer science, journalism and media communication, and environmental and natural resource economics.
Colorado State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Located in Redding, California, Simpson is an evangelical Christian university affiliated with The Christian and Missionary Alliance. The school's ASPIRE program for returning students caters to learners seeking to complete their bachelor's degrees at faith-based universities online. Simpson's 16-month, cohort-based online bachelor's programs admit students with 60-84 prior college credits and at least two years of work experience.
Students in the organizational leadership major build management and communication skills. They study subjects such as social psychology, human resource management, and ethics. Concentrations within the major include Christian leadership, leadership studies, and leadership in the public sector.
Psychology majors take courses in human development, counseling theory, statistics, and research methods. Both courses of study feature classes in biblical studies and Christianity and world religions. Candidates work on a capstone project throughout their programs.
Simpson University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
A private Christian university in Ashland, Ohio, AU prepares distance learners for graduate study or a variety of careers. AU's affordable tuition rates help make its online programs accessible to working students. Tuition for its online criminal justice and RN-to-BSN programs are among the lowest the school offers.
Online students may qualify for institutional scholarships, including transfer scholarships. In addition to the RN-to-BSN program and bachelor's in criminal justice, AU offers a bachelor's in communication studies. Other options include customizable degrees in multidisciplinary studies and interdisciplinary studies.
Recognized as one of the United States' best accredited online colleges for veterans, AU supports military students through its Office of Veterans Services. As a participant in the Yellow Ribbon program, AU may match federal grant funds for veteran students.
Ashland University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
One of eight U.S. universities affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene, Trevecca infuses its educational programs with a Christian worldview. The private university enrolls students through its main campus in Nashville, Tennessee, two satellite campuses, and online division. Students can enroll in one of five online bachelor's degree-completion programs through Trevecca's School of Graduate and Continuing Studies. Distance learners may qualify for institutional scholarships, including transfer-specific and military scholarships.
Trevecca's bachelor's program in Christian ministry trains graduates as professional or lay ministers. Learners majoring in psychology build career-relevant skills for nonclinical positions in fields including human services and business. The bachelor's program in criminal justice prepares students for a variety of law enforcement careers.
Trevecca also offers bachelor's degrees in healthcare administration and management and leadership. Students who enter Trevecca's programs with at least 40 transfer credits can typically graduate in 18 months.
Trevecca Nazarene University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
NMSU is a large public research university based in Las Cruces. A designated Hispanic-serving institution, the school serves a multicultural region near the U.S.-Mexico border. Like many other accredited online universities, NMSU delivers both academically and professionally oriented degrees. NMSU's online bachelor's degrees include full-length and degree-completion programs. First-time college enrollees typically complete their degrees in 4-6 years. Degree-completion students typically finish in 3-4 years. Active military members receive a tuition discount.
Learners pursuing a bachelor of business administration can choose among majors in general business, information systems, or marketing. The family and child science major is designed for students planning careers in social services and community agencies. The school also offers programs in areas including geomatics, criminal justice, sociology, and hospitality management.
New Mexico State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
A small Catholic university, Walsh enrolls students of all faiths through its online division and North Canton, Ohio, campus. Walsh tailors its accelerated online bachelor's programs to fit enrollees' needs for flexibility. Applicants must be over age 21, with at least 12 transferable credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA. Walsh allows online students to earn academic credit for professional training, life experience, and credit by exam in addition to formal college courses.
Distance learners pursuing a bachelor of business administration can choose among seven majors. These include supply chain management, professional sales, and e-sports and gaming management. An interdisciplinary studies major allows learners to build a customized program by choosing three concentrations in subjects such as theology, sociology, and leadership. The school also offers multiple degrees in communication, computer science, information technology, and healthcare.
Walsh University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.