Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs

Oct 20, 2021

What is an Online Bachelor's Degree?

A bachelor's degree is an undergraduate degree that students can pursue straight out of high school or after first earning an associate degree. A bachelor's degree is the minimum required education for a lot of different entry- to mid-level positions in a wide range of fields. Many of these degree programs are available in online formats, which means students can complete their programs mostly or completely online from any location. In general, students in these degree programs complete general education courses, core major courses, and elective courses. Some programs may even offer additional areas of concentration to allow students to further focus their studies. Below, we examine online bachelor's degree programs in greater detail.

The Best Online Bachelor Degree Programs

1. Siena Heights University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12446 73% 47% 99% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

2. Florida International University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11106 58% 63% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

3. Eastern Washington University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12704 96% 54% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

5. Central Washington University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11537 85% 58% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

7. Ball State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9512 77% 67% 91% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

8. Fort Hays State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$4356 91% 43% 96% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

9. Liberty University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8400 51% 47% 99% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

10. Davenport University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$15888 82% 49% 98% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

11. University of Southern Mississippi

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8896 97% 49% 93% Yes Yes AP Credits

12. Maryville University of Saint Louis

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$15646 83% 71% 99% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

13. Missouri State University-Springfield

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6250 88% 56% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

14. University of Arizona

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13271 85% 65% 91% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

15. University of Memphis

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10746 85% 53% 97% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

16. Dickinson State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6052 100% 41% 93% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

17. Saint Leo University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7296 72% 49% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

18. Oregon State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14802 82% 67% 85% Yes Yes AP Credits

19. Old Dominion University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13128 89% 53% 94% Yes Yes AP Credits

20. Indiana State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7742 90% 41% 92% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

21. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12780 67% 56% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

22. Troy University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8506 88% 47% 92% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

23. Concordia University-Saint Paul

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8550 98% 51% 98% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

24. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9686 82% 44% 97% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

25. University of Florida

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12737 37% 88% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

26. Austin Peay State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9683 95% 43% 99% No Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

27. East Carolina University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7535 79% 66% 79% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

28. Brandman University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12320 89% 60% 89% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

29. University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7594 66% 43% 95% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

30. University of North Dakota

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12058 81% 61% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

31. University of Central Florida

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8872 44% 72% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

32. Webster University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13500 57% 58% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

33. Northern Kentucky University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11418 90% 46% 99% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

34. Washington State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13095 76% 60% 89% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

35. Northern Arizona University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11121 85% 57% 95% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

36. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$15826 66% 48% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

37. Thomas University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12490 38% 47% 97% No Yes AP Credits

38. Eastern Kentucky University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10450 94% 45% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

39. Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7044 58% 36% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

40. Brigham Young University-Idaho

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$0 96% 60% 61% Yes Yes AP Credits

41. Valley City State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7240 76% 50% 98% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

42. Tiffin University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13000 69% 39% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

43. Dakota Wesleyan University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14400 67% 54% 100% No Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

44. University of the Incarnate Word

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$19122 94% 51% 99% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

45. University of Illinois at Springfield

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11206 77% 54% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

46. Western Kentucky University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12140 97% 48% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

47. Stephen F Austin State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7273 68% 52% 86% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

48. Northwood University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$37080 79% 54% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

49. University of Missouri-Columbia

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10478 81% 71% 89% Yes Yes AP Credits

50. SUNY College of Technology at Canton

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$0 85% 47% 95% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Different Types of Online Bachelor's Degrees

There are several different kinds of online bachelor's degree programs available, and these different types of degrees may lead to various types of careers. For example, what you can do with a Bachelor of Science degree is usually more technical in nature than the careers with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree that may lead to more artistic and creative positions. Although these various types of bachelor's degree programs may have some characteristics in common, they may also have some different requirements. Here we discuss a few of the more common types of online bachelor's degree programs available and some of the main differences between each.

Online Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degrees

Traditionally, online BA degrees are considered liberal arts degrees. This means that the degree requirements for these programs tend to focus on coursework in the humanities and liberal arts. Students still take coursework in their specific major of choice, but may have additional electives available. BA degrees may be more common in subject areas like history, religion, language, the social sciences, and more.

Online Bachelor of Science (BS) Degrees

Online BS degree programs are usually more technical in nature with coursework that tends to be more scientific and technical in the skills taught. Courses in BS programs may include labs and other hands-on learning experiences. These programs are generally designed to help prepare students for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)-related careers and/or advanced study at the graduate level in STEM-related areas. Students still take some electives, but these programs may focus more on the major of choice.

Online Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degrees

BFA degrees are commonly offered for artistic and creative majors, such as art, theater, dance, acting, and design. Fewer of these programs may be available in an online format than a BA or BS degree, due to the hands-on nature of many of the majors. Typically, BFA degree programs provide students with coursework in the history of their chosen major, but also include courses in the training and practical application of the major.

Popular Online Bachelor's Degree Programs

Students who maybe are not sure what to study or wanting to pursue some of the more common bachelor's degree programs should consider online bachelor's degree programs in common and/or growing fields. Some of the most requested online bachelor's degree programs are in the major fields of:

  • Education
  • Business
  • Healthcare
  • Social sciences

This may be due to the tendency of these fields to provide online programs for working professionals and/or the ability of any in-person requirements to be completed in a student's local area. Many of these fields also tend to have a need for more workers, such as many positions in healthcare and business.

Why Should I Get an Online Bachelor's Degree?

Some of the biggest reasons to earn an online bachelor's degree may be for flexibility and career advancement. Online degree programs generally offer flexible course formats and/or schedules that allow students to continue working full-time and/or plan around a busy schedule. Earning a bachelor's degree is also likely to increase a student's job prospects, job security, and qualify them to move into more technical, leadership-based, and/or advanced positions. Usually, this advancement in career status also comes with a pay raise. According to PayScale.com, the median annual salary with a bachelor's degree was $62,883, as of 2020, compared to the median annual salary of $54,578 for those with an associate degree and $40,143 for those with only a GED.

Online vs. On-Campus Bachelor's Degrees

From an employer's perspective, an online and an on-campus bachelor's degree are essentially the same. As long as the degree is from an accredited institution, employers may not have a preference between online or on-campus programs. Most, if not all, schools also work to ensure that the online degree program provides the same level of education as an on-campus program. Therefore, the differences between the two formats primarily come down to personal preferences. Online students tend to have more flexibility and less overall cost (travel, housing, etc.), but may miss out on some physical access to campus resources and in-person interactions.

How do Online Bachelor's Degree Programs Work?

Online bachelor's degree programs still have many of the same requirements as on-campus programs, but may conduct these requirements in different ways. For example, courses still usually have a syllabus and various assignments required throughout the course. However, students may be able to work on these assignments at their own pace and/or complete assignments in slightly different formats, such as discussion posts in place of in-class discussions or simulations in place of in-person labs. Depending on the school and program, students may also have the option to choose between synchronous (courses with structured meeting times) and/or asynchronous (no required meeting times) courses and/or full- and part-time formats.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor's Program

With the wide availability, choosing an online bachelor's degree program can feel daunting. Students may first want to consider their career goals and personal interests to decide on a major. Once a major is chosen, students can then compare available degree types within the field, such as a BA vs. a BS and/or available concentration areas within the major. As students begin comparing schools and programs, they should be sure to check for institution-level and/or program-level accreditation to demonstrate academic quality to future employers. Researching the cost of a program and finding one that fits within a desired budget can also be a helpful step in the decision-making process.

Students may also need to explore and think about various personal preferences and needs that may affect their school and program decision. For instance, students may need to research any in-person requirements and/or course formats and meeting times and ensure that these requirements work with their personal schedules. Some students may also prefer schools that offer small class sizes or other needed resources, such as online tutoring and library access.

Online Bachelor's School Accreditation

It is important to make sure that students research the accreditation of any programs of interest. Employers tend to prefer applicants who have a degree from an accredited institution to ensure the quality of education, and therefore, students should want to attend these accredited schools. Many schools that offer various online bachelor's degree programs are regionally accredited by organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission. This institution-level accreditation covers the institution as a whole to demonstrate that all the school's degree programs have met general academic standards.

Some online bachelor's degree programs may have additional program-level accreditation that is usually awarded based on subject area. This specific kind of accreditation helps students know they are earning a quality education in that particular field and will be well prepared to enter the field after graduation. Program accreditation may come from groups like the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) for business-related programs or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for nursing-related programs.

Requirements for Online Bachelor's Programs

While many requirements for online bachelor's degree programs vary by school and program, there are some common characteristics. For example, many online programs require around 120 credit hours and generally include general education, major, and elective courses. Differences arise in course subjects, any required hands-on learning experiences, and/or assignments. Some online bachelor's degree programs may require various kinds of culminating experiences, such as a capstone, internship, and/or practicum experience. In order to graduate, online students may need to meet a final cumulative GPA (such as a 2.0 or higher) and/or have earned a specific grade (such as a 'C-') or higher on major-related courses.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Bachelor's Degree?

Students wondering how many years to finish a bachelor's degree should know that it depends on a number of factors. Traditionally, bachelor's degree programs take 4 years to complete. However, there are ways to finish these degrees faster or slower, depending on a student's circumstances. For instance, students may finish a degree slower if they study part-time and/or are in a major that traditionally takes longer to complete, such as an online civil or electrical engineering degree designed to take 4 to 5 years to finish.

Students wanting to finish their degree faster, may search for accelerated programs. Some of these programs may award credit for students' prior experiences and/or allow students to work at their own pace to finish faster. Students may also get a jump start on their bachelor's degree program through transfer credit. Some programs may allow students to transfer in up to 90 credits from prior learning and/or an associate degree. These transfer and degree completion programs may allow students to complete their bachelor's in as little as 2 years.

Tuition and Fees for Online Bachelor's Degrees

Students trying to determine the total cost of an online bachelor's degree program have several different factors to research and evaluate. Colleges and universities often have diverse ways of determining the tuition rates at the institution. For example, some schools may charge various tuition rates per credit hour based on a student's major, while other schools may charge different tuition rates based on a student's residency (in-state vs. out-of-state). While online students may save money by not commuting and/or needing to pay for housing, there are still additional costs that need to be considered, such as books and learning materials.

Many schools also charge a variety of fees for different reasons and/or resources at varying amounts. Depending on the school, online students may be exempt from some of these fees that tend to only apply to on-campus students, such as activity and service fees, transportation fees, or health fees. However, online students may be responsible for paying for fees like:

  • Graduation fees
  • Distance learning fees
  • Financial aid fees
  • Tuition deposit fees
  • All access book fees

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's Degree?

Graduates with an online bachelor's degree may be qualified to work a wide range of careers within their chosen field or across various fields. Many career options will depend on a student's chosen major and training, but in general, holding a bachelor's degree increases a student's job prospects in comparison to only having a high school diploma. They are also more likely to be qualified for more advanced positions within their field that may also bring in more income. Although this is only a small sample, below is a table that lists careers in different fields that usually require at least a bachelor's degree and the respective salaries.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2019)*
Multimedia artists and animators $75,270
Accountants and auditors $71,550
High school teachers $61,660
Civil engineers $87,060
Social and community service managers $67,150
Medical and health services managers $100,980
Zoologists and wildlife biologists $63,270
Technical writers $72,850
Environmental scientists and specialists $71,360
Human resources specialists $61,920

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Outlook for Online Bachelor's Degree Graduates

In general, the job outlook for graduates with a bachelor's degree is positive since their degree qualifies them for more positions and/or positions across multiple areas. The job outlook, or change in the number of available positions over a given period of time, for specific positions and the reasons for these outlooks vary by industry and position. For instance, many positions in healthcare are expected to grow as the general population of our country ages and has healthcare needs, while other positions, like writers and authors, may decrease over time as the industry moves online. Below, you can compare some of the job outlooks for positions in different industries.

Job Title Job Outlook (2019-2029)*
Multimedia artists and animators 4%
Accountants and auditors 4%
High school teachers 4%
Civil engineers 2%
Social and community service managers 17%
Medical and health services managers 32%
Zoologists and wildlife biologists 4%
Technical writers 7%
Environmental scientists and specialists 8%
Human resources specialists 7%

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information for Online Bachelor's Programs

There are several different forms of financial assistance available to online students pursuing their bachelor's degree. Students should always first complete their yearly Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if there are any federal or state loans and/or grants available to them. Many loans and grants can help cover costs for tuition, fees, housing, and more, but loans must be repaid.

In contrast, scholarships do not have to be repaid. These awards are available to students for an array of reasons from a wide range of sources. For example, some schools may offer scholarships for students based on needs, major, merit, and more, while outside organizations may also offer awards for a variety of reasons, including major and demographics. A couple of examples of available scholarships include:

  • Tempe Diablos Scholarship- This scholarship is available to students at several of Arizona State University's campuses, including online. Students must be full-time, an incoming freshmen, a resident of Tempe county, and meet merit requirements to be awarded the available $2,000 a year.
  • Biola Online Opportunities Scholarship- Biola University awards its online students a one-time $500 scholarship for their first semester to help cover costs.
Next: View Schools
Created with Sketch. Link to this page

Additional Online Degrees Programs

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?