Accredited Online Colleges: An Overview of Schools and Programs


accredited online colleges

Distance education can be a valuable tool since it gives you greater flexibility, both in scheduling as well as school selection.

With that being said, it is important that you find accredited online colleges so that you know your degree is going to be held up to the highest standards. Accreditation is also important if you plan on furthering your education afterward or if your employer requires that you have a degree from an accredited institution.

I have provided a list of several schools to choose from, although there are hundreds more available. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, I would recommend looking at specific schools to see if they offer the program you want, or go to a website that ranks the best accredited online colleges so that you can narrow your search criteria.

Boston University (BU)

I specifically chose Boston University for those students who are looking to obtain their master’s degree. The school does offer an undergraduate program, but it is more focused on degree completion than one specific major. Here are some of the master’s degrees available through the BU online program:

  • Art Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Banking & Financial Services Management
  • Health Communication
  • Project Management
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Social Work

As a highly regarded university, this school ranks as one of the top accredited online colleges because of its prestige and excellence in education. If you choose to apply, expect a rigorous admissions process that will most likely include references and a personal statement or essay. For example, the BU online social work program requires a certain GPA, three references, a personal essay, and a resume to be submitted.

Arizona State University (ASU)

With a main physical campus in Tempe, Arizona, Arizona State University offers a wide range of degrees online to fit a variety of interests. ASU has undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs available. Some of the programs offered are:

  • Business and Communication (BA)
  • Communication (BS)
  • Criminal Justice (BS or MA)
  • Engineering Management (BSE)
  • English (BA)
  • Family & Human Development (BS or MS)
  • Information Technology (BS)
  • Nutrition Communication (BS)
  • Political Science (BA or BS)
  • Psychology (BA)
  • Sociology (BS)
  • Business Analytics (MS)
  • Curriculum and Instruction (MED)
  • Engineering (MSE or MEng)
  • MBA

When applying to ASU, you will be asked to choose which degree program you are interested in pursuing, and then you will need to complete the application. You should also send any transcripts you have from other schools so that ASU can evaluate whether you will be granted any transfer credits.

There are six opportunities to start throughout the year which allows you to begin your degree sooner than if you were taking classes at a physical campus.

Upper Iowa University (UIU)

Located in Fayette, Iowa, Upper Iowa University is a small private school that has grown to be among some of the most well-known accredited online colleges out there.

Although graduate degrees are available, UIU online offers a much larger amount of bachelor’s degrees. Similar to ASU, this Upper Iowa offers six different start terms for their undergraduate programs and the terms typically run for eight weeks in length.

At the end of your program, you will be required to complete a senior project that typically requires audio, video, and writing components.

A few of the available undergraduate programs are:

  • Communication
  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Human Resources Management
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Marketing
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration

Success Story: After attending Texas Christian University for three years, I found myself enrolling at Upper Iowa a year and a half later. I chose to get my degree in human services so that I could pursue my passion of helping people.

From the moment I applied to the moment I graduated, I was impressed with UIU and the education I received. I was able to transfer a large amount of my credits and the shortened terms allowed me to finish my degree in just nine extra months.

Today, I can officially say that my education has allowed me to get a few different jobs in the social services field. I have been able to apply the knowledge that I learned in my courses and I often find myself looking back at some of the papers I wrote as a reference for situations I may be presently dealing with.

Kansas State University (KSU)

Although you may not see a lot of advertisements or marketing for Kansas State University’s online programs, you shouldn’t let that stop you from researching what this school has to offer.

One of the things I really like about this school is that it does not rely on its distance education to solely meet the needs of students. With a physical campus in Manhattan, Kansas, KSU is still booming with traditional students who live on-campus. There is also a strong follower for athletic teams, so throw on your purple and join in the fun from wherever you are!

There are several state schools that are accredited online colleges, but I chose KSU as an example of what you could expect. Depending on the degree program you choose, you will be required to have completed a certain amount of credit hours already. For example, the general business program requires 45 credits hours with a 2.5 or higher GPA for admission. Other programs you will find at KSU include:

  • Dietetics
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Family Studies and Human Services
  • Technology Management

If you are interested in master’s degree programs, KSU has a lot to choose from, including:

  • Academic Advising
  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Personal Financial Planning
  • Psychology (Industrial/Organizational concentration)
  • Youth Development

Note: If you want to go to a school that has name recognition and isn’t well known for being an online college, then taking classes through a school like KSU may be the best option for you. Employers and other universities are less likely to ask you where these schools are located and how you took the courses because they are well-known throughout the country.

accredited online colleges

More Accredited Online Colleges

If you are interested in doing some more research into which program would be best for you or what other schools have to offer, check out some of the following:

  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Texas Tech University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • University of Louisville

One Last Note

Attending courses on your own watch has its advantages and disadvantages. Keep in mind that you are going to be responsible for reading the material, completing assignments on-time, and interacting with classmates through a discussion platform.

Take the time to weigh all the pros and cons as to whether going to one of these accredited online colleges is the best fit for you before enrolling.

If you have any specific questions, contact the admissions office for each university you are interested in to get more information so that you can make an educated decision. Happy learning!


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