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Top MBA Degrees Affordable and Accredited Programs

Many consider the Master of Business Administration (MBA) one of the most valuable degrees available to students and professionals today. In addition to serving as an advanced academic credential, the MBA gives graduates a wider range of career options and much greater earning potential. Graduates of MBA programs enjoy a higher level of job security, and the degree can help fast track already-working professionals into upper management positions in their fields. Read on to explore online MBA basics, see which colleges offer stand-out programs and discover which advanced degree option is the right fit for you.

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Doug Jones Online MBA Graduate

Best Online MBA Programs: 2016-2017

Earning an MBA online has become an increasingly popular option for those looking to advance their careers, and with good reason: online degree programs offer the flexibility needed to maintain busy work and home lives while still balancing a full class schedule. Schools have seen this increased need for such programs, and have answered; there are now hundreds of online MBA programs in which prospective students may enroll. To help narrow the field, we’ve analyzed every online MBA program in the nation by cost, supportive services, student teacher ratio and accreditation to determine which schools stand on top. Discover the Best Online MBA Programs for 2016-2017 below.

Rank University Score Tuition & Fees Average GMAT Average GPA # MBA Programs Student-Teacher Ratio School Description Credit for experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1 North Carolina State University at Raleigh 99.77 $$$$$ 639 3.57 3 16:1

There are three MBA programs available at NC State University. Students can complete the full-time MBA, which is AACSB-accredited, in two years at the downtown Raleigh campus. The professional evening MBA is available at Research Triangle Park or the Raleigh main campus. Students can choose a flexible path, which allows them up to six years to complete the program, or an accelerated path, which can be completed in as few as 21 months, including limited weekend courses. The third option is a professional online MBA, which is an international accredited program. Students can log in on their own schedule and work at their own pace.

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2 University of Arkansas 99.42 $$$$$ 630 3.58 2 19:1

The university's Sam M. Walton College of Business offers both a full-time MBA and an executive MBA. The full-time MBA is a 16-month program that begins in January and requires 48 hours of coursework to complete. It offers students four possible career track options: retail marketing management, entrepreneurship and education, financial management and supply chain management. The executive MBA, which prepares professionals for advancement in the value chain and consumer packaged goods industry, can be finished in roughly two years. Part-time students are expected to take classes one Saturday every month, or about six hours every semester.

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3 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 99.40 $$$$$ 701 3.41 3 13:1

Students can pursue a full-time MBA, which is designed to be finished in two years. The first semester is front-loaded with core courses, and students are free to pursue electives later in the year. It is available in 10 concentrations and two focus areas. There is also an executive MBA option, which is designed for professionals who are already at the mid-to-senior level of their careers. Professional and career development is part of the executive MBA framework. A third option is the online MBA, which allows students to pursue their degrees from anywhere. No matter which option students choose, they will receive personalized career counseling.

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4 New York University 98.81 $$$$$ 720 3.51 11 10:1

There are a wide range of MBAs available, including dual degrees that allow students to pursue advanced graduate degrees and MBAs simultaneously. Among the available dual degrees are MD/MBA, JD/MBA, MBA/MFA, MS in Mathematics/MBA, MBA/MPA, MBA/MA in French studies, biology MS/MBA and MBA/HEC School of Management. For those pursuing a singular MBA, there is a full-time option, which offers several areas of interest, and an executive program, which can be tailored with up to three specializations. Part-time MBAs can be pursued in New York City and Westchester.

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5 Temple University 98.72 $$$$$ 632 3.59 4 14:1

The first of four MBAs, the executive MBA is designed for mid-level professionals and requires a commitment of one weekend per month for 16 months. Web conferencing sessions complement face-to-face coursework in Center City Philadelphia. The global MBA is a full-time program that lasts two years and includes two global immersion trips. The online MBA can be completed in as little as 20 months. Since it's offered in a "carousel" structure, students can pursue coursework at their own pace. Each course lasts only four weeks. Finally, there is a part-time MBA, which can be earned in two years through face-to-face and online interaction.

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6 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus 98.48 $$$$$ 651 3.59 1 18:1

The Lindner College of Business MBA offers students more degree specialization options than any other college or university in the area — more than 20 possible customizations in total. No matter which specialization a student chooses, the program will include special presentations from business thought leaders, as well as case studies from the real world. Students will have the opportunity to participate in community service programs and leverage the university's connections with businesses both in the region and around the world. Programs can be completed in the traditional, face-to-face format or online as a distance learning program.

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7 Columbus State University 97.76 $$$$$ 600 3.37 1 17:1

An MBA is offered in both the traditional format, or it can be taken completely online through Georgia WebMBA, which is a consortium of schools accredited by the AACSB. Since it is a general-purpose management degree, graduates can go on to careers in government, industry or business. The program consists of 10 graduate courses and requires students to complete 30 credit hours. One-year completion is possible for full-time students, who can complete 12 hours in both the fall and spring, and finish the remaining six hours over the summer. For students who opt for the traditional program, all courses will be taken in the evening.

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8 Iowa State University 97.24 $$$$$ 613 3.48 2 19:1

Iowa State University offers a full-time MBA and a professional MBA. The full-time MBA, which is offered in Ames, requires students to complete 10 core courses (30 credits) and six electives (18 credits) as part of an intensive, two-year program. The program provides a broad management foundation while allowing each student to tailor it to his or her needs and goals. The professional MBA is offered in Des Moines. It is designed for working professionals and requires students to attend two night classes per week. The program can be finished in two-and-a-half years or less, or two years with a year-round fast-track option.

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9 The University of Texas at Dallas 97.09 $$$$$ 678 3.47 5 22:1

There are five tracks for students pursuing MBAs, each of which have different requirements and are designed for different goals. Courses for the full-time program can be taken in the day or evening. The degree takes about 16 months to complete and is designed for students with roughly five years of work experience. There are three options for the professional MBA. The evening cohort can be completed in just 24 months. Both the online and flex professional MBAs can take up to 72 months to complete, and allow students to self pace throughout the program. Executive tracks take roughly 21 months to complete.

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10 University of Florida 96.67 $$$$$ 681 3.46 2 21:1

There are two kinds of MBAs available at the University of Florida: full-time MBAs and an MBAs for professionals. The full-time MBA has an immersive, two-year option and two one-year options: one for business majors and one for all majors. The all-majors MBA follows a 12-month accelerated format, and the business-major MBA is a fast-track program that begins in June and takes just 10 months to finish. The MBA for professionals has an executive option designed for students with eight or more years of career experience. There are also professional and online options, both of which have one-year and two-year tracks.

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11 Mississippi State University 96.49 $$$$$ 554 3.48 2 19:1

Students who are emerging leaders can pursue an MBA through two formats at Mississippi State University. The on-campus program is offered in an accelerated format that groups students into cohorts, or teams that students remain in from start to finish. The program also includes consulting projects for an actively operating enterprise, as well as professional development workshops. There is also a distance MBA, which is fully accredited and offers working students a flexible schedule. Both programs are designed for students who already possess business acumen, but who are seeking leadership positions in their fields.

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12 Arkansas State University-Main Campus 96.34 $$$$$ 546 3.38 1 17:1

The Arkansas State University College of Business, which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, offers an MBA designed to prepare students for management positions in a wide range of organizations. There are five possible concentrations: healthcare administration, finance, management information systems, international business and supply chain management. No matter the concentration, coursework will stress problem solving, analytical thinking and decision making. Students can complete the MBA in the traditional, on-campus format, or they can complete the degree completely online. Since courses are offered in the afternoon and evening, even on-campus students enjoy wide flexibility in scheduling.

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13 Southern Illinois University-Carbondale 96.28 $$$$$ 560 3.53 2 15:1

MBAs from the SIU College of Business prepare students for managerial positions in both government and the private sector. There are two possible concentrations, finance and marketing. No matter the focus area, all MBA students are required to take four electives. Students who do not want to pursue a specialization can take general business electives. All MBAs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, including the online MBA, which includes specially designed courses taught by many of the same faculty member who teach full-time, residential masters programs on campus.

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14 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 96.09 $$$$$ 680 3.41 6 17:1

There are three traditional MBA options: part time, full time and part-time distance. The full-time MBA, which is designed for students with an average of four years work experience, is a fully immersive, two-year program. The part-time MBA is available through condensed, online and weekend classes. The part-time distance MBA is taken online, but gives students the opportunity to engage with traditional part-time students. There is also an executive MBA, which is a 20-month program designed for students with an average of 14 years of career experience. Dual degree MBAs allow students to pursue two degrees at once, and the industry MBA is for current or former congressional staffers.

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15 Syracuse University 96.04 $$$$$ 631 3.53 1 16:1

Students can pursue an MBA at the Whitman School of Management completely online without interrupting their careers. There are six possible specializations, each of which requires 36 core credits, 15 specialization credits and three credits of U.S. and global residency, for 54 credits in total. Graduate students receive personalized career coaching and have access to the virtual career center. Students meet and interact through live online classes. Although the program is completed online, students meet face to face during residency weekends. These meetings may be held on campus, or in cities that are known for international business.

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16 University of Wyoming 96.03 $$$$$ 560 3.35 8 15:1

Several of the eight available MBA programs can be taken online, while others require on-campus instruction. The university, as well as all MBA programs and the School of Business are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. No matter which program a student chooses, coursework will integrate ethics, globalization, entrepreneurship and sustainability into decision making. The primary objective is for all students to emerge from their chosen program with a full grasp on advanced business concepts. Students will also learn leadership and teamwork skills, while developing solutions to complicated and unstructured business problems.

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17 Arizona State University-Tempe 95.70 $$$$$ 672 3.37 5 22:1

There are several possible concurrent degrees and specializations available for the W.P. Carey School of Business MBA. All of them stress teamwork and offer students personalized career coaching and networking opportunities. The full-time degree program requires three to five years of work experience. There is a part-time option that holds classes two nights a week and offers supplementary online work. The online program is designed for busy professionals who need the freedom to self pace. The executive program is designed for professionals who have 10-20 years of work experience. All programs take 21 months to complete.

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18 University of Memphis 95.22 $$$$$ 544 3.38 5 14:1

Five different MBAs offer different students different educational pursuits. The professional MBA is a part-time program with a flexible schedule that requires two to three years to complete and doesn't require any work experience. There is a fully online version with roughly the same requirements. Both are designed for students seeking to enhance career prospects. The international MBA (IMBA), executive MBA (EMBA) and the customer-driven MBA (CDMBA) all take 17 months to complete, although the IMBA does not require work experience, where the EMBA and CDMBA require five years and 2.5 years, respectively.

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19 Carnegie Mellon University 95.09 $$$$$ 690 3.33 1 10:1

The Tepper School of Business offers one MBA in three different formats: full-time MBA, part-time on-campus MBA and part-time online hybrid MBA. The full-time program takes 21 months to complete, and both of the part-time options are completed in 32 months. Students in all three tracks are entitled to the full range of career services. Full-time students typically have between two and eight years of work experience, while part-time students may have as much as a decade of career experience. One of the smallest top business schools, Carnegie Mellon boasts a 5:1 faculty/student ratio.

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20 University of Massachusetts-Amherst 95.08 $$$$$ 639 3.36 3 17:1

The Isenberg School of Management MBA can be taken in an online/part time format or a full-time format. Students interested in achieving two graduate degrees at the same time can choose a dual degree track. The full-time offering is a two-year residential program that is offered at the main campus. The part-time MBA is completed in a hybrid format, with both traditional and online courses. The online program is 100 percent web-based. Alternate dual degrees include concentrations in sports management, industrial engineering and mechanical engineering. All programs are accredited by the AACSB.

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21 Penn State World Campus 95.05 $$$$$ 636 3.37 3 17:1

The Penn State Smeal MBA is a residential program that takes two years to complete. Primary concentrations include supply chain management, marketing and finance. Secondary concentration options are innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability and social innovation, and healthcare. The school maintains several partnerships, including Teach for America, Fulfillment Fund and WNISEF. The Smeal MBA stresses teamwork, and when students begin in August, they join a team with which they remain until the spring. Graduate students have several options for joint degrees, including MD/MBA and JD/MBA. Undergraduate students can pursue a BS/MBA, which is a dual bachelor/graduate degree.

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22 Florida International University 94.73 $$$$$ 590 3.42 8 26:1

There are eight different MBAs available to graduate students. Among them are two executive MBAs. The traditional executive MBA takes 22 months to complete, while the global executive MBA can be completed in 20 months. The healthcare MBA is an 18-month program designed for experienced professionals. The international MBA, which teaches students to be effective global business leaders, holds classes Monday through Friday and can be completed in as few as 12 months. Students can also pursue a corporate online MBA and three different professional MBAs: a flex program, a downtown program and a weekend program.

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23 Boston University 94.66 $$$$$ 682 3.33 3 13:1

Students have eight different options for concentrations in the full-time MBA. They can choose one concentration, multiple concentrations or no concentration at all. Students will be part of a cohort, each of which contains 50-55 people who work on projects and complete assignments together. The part-time program is called PEMBA (professional evening MBA). PEMBA can also choose one or more of eight concentrations. The executive MBA is a cohort-based program that takes 18 months to complete. Everyone in the cohort will be senior leaders or executives. There are also several options to earn joint graduate degrees.

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24 Sam Houston State University 94.63 $$$$$ 496 3.55 1 21:1

Students who pursue an MBA in business administration at Sam Houston State University can do so entirely through face-to-face coursework, completely online, or with any combination of distance learning and traditional instruction that they choose. Qualified students from any academic discipline can enter the program. The 36-hour program includes 24 core hours and 12 hours of electives. This does not change whether classes are taken online or in person. Although the program can be finished online in as little as four semesters, this is not recommended for working professionals. Instead, working students should consider taking six hours at most per semester for a two-year completion timeline.

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25 Ohio University-Main Campus 94.45 $$$$$ 510 3.5 1 18:1

The one-year MBA from the Ohio University School of Business is meant to be taken full time by students from a wide range of academic backgrounds. The program follows a cohort structure, which encourages students to work together in teams. Student are required to complete 42 credit hours beginning in August. Participants will expand their cohort-based collaboration skills through team-building exercises and career development seminars. Faculty are leaders in the fields that they teach, and students gain real-world global experience through an international study program. The program is highly competitive, and students should examine the strict requirements before applying.

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26 Washington State University 94.38 $$$$$ 559 3.43 5 15:1

The one-year data analytics MBA, which is offered exclusively on the Pullman campus, starts in August. Students finish in May, embark on a trip abroad and then complete their final project by the middle of July. Students can earn their bachelor's degree and MBA in just five years if they enroll as freshman. The online MBA offers concentrations in hospitality business management, international business, finance or marketing, or students may simply pursue a general MBA. An executive MBA is also offered as a distance program, and face-to-face programs can be taken at the Tri Cities and Vancouver locations.

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27 University of Massachusetts-Lowell 94.36 $$$$$ 580 3.41 1 18:1

Designed primarily as a part-time evening program, the MBA is designed mostly for mid-level working professionals. Only fully matriculated degree candidates from the Manning School of Business may apply. Students can pursue the degree on a part-time or full-time basis, with most physical campus courses only available in the evening. Many courses, however, can be taken online. Participants who take nine credits per semester are considered full-time students. With a handful of exceptions, all applicants must first complete at least 10 courses, or 30 credits, beyond the University of Massachusetts Lowell MBA program's foundation core.

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28 University of Hawaii at Manoa 94.14 $$$$$ 587 3.35 7 13:1

Two of the seven MBAs available at University of Hawaii at Manoa are joint degrees. The MBA/juris doctor degree doubles elective credits to 10. There is also an MBA/civil engineering MS. In that program, students take engineering courses during the day and MBA courses at night. The other five MBAs are a full-time global MBA, which focuses on Asia-Pacific. The part-time MBA is designed for working professionals, and is the only AACSB International accredited program of its kind in Hawaii. The executive MBA is designed for current managers, and offers an online counterpart, as well. Finally, students can pursue a Vietnam executive MBA.

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29 University of Wisconsin-La Crosse 94.11 $$$$$ 573 3.38 1 19:1

100 percent of the faculty who teach the MBA program, like all graduate faculty at the university, teach full time and have doctorates. A limited number of students may qualify for graduate assistantships, which are open only to students in good standing who have been admitted into the MBA program. These positions are not teaching assistantships, and are for the purpose of instructional support and research assistance. The MBA program is the only one of its kind in the region that is accredited by the AACSB. Among the academic resources available to graduate students are a public speaking center and a writing center.

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30 St John's University-New York 93.89 $$$$$ 537 3.62 12 17:1

With the accounting MBA offered at St. John's University in New York, graduate students will receive valuable knowledge applicable to a career in either public accountancy or corporate management accounting. Continuing an education isn't always easy, but St. John's University lends aid to all eligible students seeking financial help. St. John's University is spread out over four locations in New York, and is also proud to offer educational institutions in both Rome and Paris. Undergraduate students who are looking for an accelerated program of study have the opportunity to complete either a bachelor's degree in three years or a bachelor's and master's degree in five.

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31 Baylor University 93.70 $$$$$ 634 3.32 4 15:1

Students can choose between a traditional MBA, which takes 21 months to complete, or an accelerated, 16-month program. Through the MBA Focus Firm class, students will have the opportunity to work directly with company executives to research, analyze and provide solutions for real-world problems. The Baylor Business Network maintains relationships with influential speakers who are available to support both students and alumni. Students will have the opportunity to put their knowledge to work through community-based initiatives that pair them with actual executives for volunteer and outreach programs. The career management team helps students develop a personalized career path after graduation.

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32 University of South Dakota 93.70 $$$$$ 522 3.37 5 17:1

The MBA program at the University of South Dakota comes in several specializations. The main MBA can be taken as a general MBA, or place a focus on health services administration or business analytics. Students can also choose an MBA with a marketing specialization or an operations and supply chain management specialization. For those who seek a dual degree, there are two options: a juris doctor/MBA combination and a BBA/MBA, the latter of which is a fast-track program. Students can earn their MBA at the Sioux Falls location, or they can complete the program online.

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33 Auburn University 93.28 $$$$$ 578 3.28 4 17:1

The university offers four options: an on-campus MBA, an online MBA, an executive MBA and a physicians executive MBA. The concentrations available for on-campus students include supply chain management, information systems, finance, human resources, and business analytics. Distance learning concentrations include business analytics, information systems, marketing and finance. Those interested in multiple degrees have several choices of dual graduate programs. MBA students work closely with the director of Graduate Career Services through the Office of Professional and Career Development. On-campus students take part in a 10-day international business trip. Auburn MBA programs are partnered with the Center for Creative Leadership to form the iLead program.

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34 University of Colorado Denver 93.27 $$$$$ 601 3.16 6 16:1

One of the six possible MBAs is a dual degree that lets students pursue an MBA and a specialized master's degree at the same time. The professional MBA is highly flexible, and can be taken on either a full-time or part-time basis. It can be completed in anywhere from 16 months to five years. In the 11-month MBA program, students remain in the same cohort from start to finish. The fully immersive format results in a full, 48 semester-hour MBA in just under a year. The executive MBA is can be completed in less than two years, and there are two health administration options: executive and traditional.

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35 University of South Carolina-Columbia 93.25 $$$$$ 669 3.23 3 18:1

The Moore School MBA, which can be completed in just 11 months, focuses on global business and management functions. The international MBA provides in-country language instruction as part of an international marketplace immersion. The professional MBA is designed for working professionals who need the flexibility required not to interrupt their careers. Courses can be taken across South Carolina and in Charlotte, North Carolina. Graduate students can customize career management services to their professional goals, and have access to on-campus recruiting, career management coaching and professional development workshops and seminars. The Handshake program is a network that pairs thousands of working alumni with current students.

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36 Southeast Missouri State University 93.24 $$$$$ 495 3.48 3 22:1

Prospective graduate students can choose from a traditional MBA, an online MBA or an accelerated MBA. All three programs have the same common core requirements, and nine hours per semester is considered full time, or equivalent to 15 hours at the undergraduate level. All applicants must have an AACSB accredited undergraduate business degree, or the equivalent from an accredited institution. The online MBA follows identical curricula, and students communicate with instructors and peers through bulletin boards, chat, email, drop boxes and forums. Students with at least 75 semester hours are eligible to pursue the accelerated MBA.

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37 Colorado State University-Fort Collins 92.98 $$$$$ 545 3.38 5 16:1

Students can customize their MBA coursework and choose from five different programs. Students who are pursuing a professional MBA will meet on campus two nights a week for 21 months. The program also offers a distance-learning counterpart, the online professional MBA. The executive MBA is for working professionals. Class meets every other Saturday, and students pursue supplemental online instruction between classes at their own pace. There is also an early career MBA, which welcomes students with little or no professional experience. Finally, the global social and sustainable enterprise MBA is designed for international entrepreneurs who are concerned with sustainability and global responsibility.

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38 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus 92.57 $$$$$ 560 3.24 1 20:1

The OSU MBA can be pursued as either a part time program or a full-time program. The part-time option allows busy students to self pace through a minimized number of classes per year. Generally, it takes between three and five years to complete the program on a part-time basis. Full-time students will complete 45 credit hours, divided up between 33 core courses and 12 electives, and usually complete the program in two years. Students can choose a general MBA, or choose between six concentrations: entrepreneurship, information assurance, marketing analytics, nonprofit management, business sustainability and human resource management.

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39 Tennessee Technological University 92.36 $$$$$ 516 3.38 1 20:1

The MBA, which can be pursued by students from a wide range of academic backgrounds, can be taken completely online, completely on campus or through any combination of the two. There is no difference in either curriculum or credentials no matter the path. Both full-time and part-time students are able to self pace. All programs require students to complete a total of 30 hours, broken up into 10, three-hour courses. In all, the program requires students to finish nine hours of electives and 21 hours of core courses. There are six possible concentrations.

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40 Pepperdine University 91.83 $$$$$ 631 3.23 4 12:1

There are four MBAs at Pepperdine University. The part-time option is for working professionals who require extra flexibility. There is a flex option, a fast-track option and part-time joint bachelor's and MBA, which allows students to earn their MBA immediately after completing their undergraduate degree with just 30 credits instead of the traditional 52. The full-time MBA is offered in Malibu, and comes with the options of an accelerated format, a two-year MBA, an international MBA and a SEER certificate. There are also a selection of both graduate and undergraduate joint MBA options. Some students may also pursue a president's or executive MBA.

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41 Missouri University of Science and Technology 91.72 $$$$$ 555 3.33 1 18:1

All graduate courses that count toward the school's MBA program can be taken completely online. Students can view lectures live and interact with instructors and their peers, or they can watch recorded versions of the classes after the fact. The program's unique 4+1 option lets students earn their bachelor's degree in business while dual enrolling in the graduate program in their final semester. This format sets them up to complete their MBA in just one year. Students must complete 36 graduate credits in two parts: 21 core credits and 15 elective credits.

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42 Florida Gulf Coast University 91.61 $$$$$ 510 3.41 N/A 22:1

Graduates from the MBA program offered at Florida Gulf Coast University will have received a vast range of applicable knowledge necessary in addressing and resolving business workplace problems. A broad range of programs of study are accessible at Florida Gulf Coast University, including 53 undergraduate programs, 10 certificates, and 23 graduate programs. Florida Gulf Coast University produces scholars capable of great academic achievements; the average freshman GPA is approximated at 3.8. Positions on any of FGCU's competitive sporting teams, including baseball, basketball, and cross country, are attainable for all qualifying students.

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43 East Carolina University 91.49 $$$$$ 498 3.32 1 18:1

Continuously AACSB accredited since 1967, the MBA program at East Carolina University focuses on the theory and practice of business management. The program is open to both business and non-business undergraduates. The self-contained program requires no prerequisite business classes or career experience. The 18-course, 54-credit program is divided into common body and foundation components. Foundation courses give MBA students the academic knowledge they would have received as business undergrads. Students who already took these courses and passed with an A or B may choose to waive foundational classes. All students must complete the common body coursework.

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44 University of North Texas 91.38 $$$$$ 520 3.3 10 23:1

Two of the 10 available MBAs can be taken completely online. All MBA programs require students to complete 36 hours of coursework split evenly, with 18 core hours and 18 concentration hours. Although the average amount of work experience is between two and 10 years, with five years being the most common, there is no career experience requirement to enter the program. Beginning in 2017, the school will also offer a one-year full-time intensive MBA in business management, which is designed as a fifth year of study following a four-year bachelor's degree in any discipline at UNT.

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45 Missouri State University-Springfield 90.41 $$$$$ 542 3.1 4 20:1

There are four different options for students pursuing an MBA at Missouri State University-Springfield: traditional, online, evening and accelerated. The traditional program allows students to schedule courses according to their own schedules, in either the day or evening, or online. The MBA can be completed in 33 hours, and students can enhance their degrees with graduate certificates. Undergraduate juniors and seniors can take as many as six credits toward their future MBA through the accelerated format. About one-fourth of all students take the MBA as a distance-learning program, which can be completed 100 percent online. The evening program can be completed with 33 credit hours at night or online.

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46 Western Kentucky University 90.30 $$$$$ 512 3.26 N/A 18:1

Many students begin their college careers with concerns regarding class times and scheduling. These worries can be set aside by enrolling in any of Western Kentucky University's online programs, including their 100 percent scheduling-flexible master of business administration program. Students will be able to work with the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning to find destinations around the world to fulfill their learning and traveling goals. The WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships will provide students with the means to collaborate with local organizations for the betterment of their community, as well as opportunities to facilitate the development of their education.

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47 Lehigh University 90.27 $$$$$ 601 3 3 10:1

The College of Business and Economics offers three different MBAs. 1-MBA is a full-time program that takes one year to complete. Courses are taken on campus, and three years of work experience are required. The Flex MBA blends online classes and evening on-campus classes, and comes with a two-year work requirement. There are also two joint MBA options, an MBA/Engineering and MBA/educational leadership. Faculty are constantly conducting research and bringing the results of their research into the classroom. Advanced career services are available for all MBA students both before and after graduation.

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48 Hofstra University 90.20 $$$$$ 577 3.17 14 14:1

The faculty at Hofstra University understands that graduate students have responsibilities outside of their academic program. That's why many of the graduate degrees offered at Hofstra—including the master in business administration—are provided in a 100 percent online format. Student's studying online will receive the same rigorous education as a student attending class on campus, and have the luxury of working from wherever they are most comfortable. Between the undergraduate, graduate, and combined programs available at Hofstra, students have over 300 academic programs to select from. Hofstra university is a thriving community, complete with over 200 student organizations, 35 residence halls, and 28 fraternities and sororities.

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49 University of Delaware 90.17 $$$$$ 610 3.2 3 15:1

The MBA program available at the University of Delaware—which offers concentrations in finance, healthcare, and international business—condenses a detailed education into the span of 16 months. Students can complete the entirety of their schoolwork online, each course shortened to 7 weeks. Not only did the University of Delaware offer America's first study abroad program, but today over 80 study abroad programs are offered to any qualifying student, giving them the chance to expand their world view in more than 40 countries. With its numerous engagement programs, the University of Delaware and its students are dedicated to the community they are a part of.

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MBA Degree Search Tool

Earning an MBA is a large investment in time and money. Finding the best online program matching your career-building goals is worth the due diligence. The range of degree types and options is extensive. But you can save time by using the search tool below to target schools by their kind of online MBA program, tuition, and curriculum. Make a wise and informed choice.

Start your School Search

Types of Online MBAs

MBA programs require significant time, energy, and commitment. Traditional MBA candidates can spend up to 24 months learning management communication, strategic thinking, decision analysis, and other foundational business skills. But what about non-traditional students? The single parent with two kids and a mortgage, or the young professional who wants an MBA but also an advanced degree in engineering? The good news is, business schools across the U.S. continue to expand program options to meet these diverse needs. Let’s take a look at some of today’s up-and-coming online MBA programs, and then see which one might work best for you.

Explore Online Degree ProgramsSearch Program
  • Accelerated Online MBA Programs

    Accelerated programs often run 12 months and involve larger course loads and shorter times between semesters. Group projects and other assignments may also have tighter deadlines to help squeeze more coursework into the shorter program.

    Great for… Young professionals looking for a flexible way to fast track their degree.

    Learn More AboutACCELERATED ONLINE MBAs
  • Dual MBA Programs Online

    Dual MBAs give professionals the chance to increase knowledge and skills in a specific field while learning key management techniques. Graduates have deeper understanding of their subjects (e.g. marketing) and the ability to turn that understanding into a leadership role.

    Great for… Those looking for in-depth knowledge and a leadership track in a specific field.

  • Executive Online MBA

    Executive MBAs cater to more experienced professionals who need to earn their degree while they work. EMBA programs tend to have flexible timeframes (between 12 and 24 months) and may require candidates to have a minimum of five years of work experience.

    Great for… Professionals who want (or need) flexibility to pursue a degree while raising a family or focusing on work.

    Learn More AboutEXECUTIVE ONLINE MBAs
  • Online MBA: No GMAT Required

    More and more business schools are dropping the GMAT requirement for certain applicants – usually professionals with more than 10 years of experience or who possess advanced degrees or specific credentials already. This can be great for program seekers who haven’t seen a standardized test in over a decade.

    Great for… Managers, leaders, executives who can stand out from the rest of the applicant pool without a stellar test score. MBA seekers far removed from standardized testing and who qualify under the business schools no GMAT guidelines.

    Learn More AboutNO GMAT PROGRAMS
  • Part-Time (Flexible) Online MBA

    Part-time online MBA programs are designed for ultimate flexibility. Courses often occur year-round and students can take one or two each semester. Business schools usually schedule classes outside of work hours.

    Great for… Students who need ultimate flexibility with the combination of online and part-time learning. Some programs allow students to complete their online MBA over the course of 3 – 4 years.

  • Online MBAs for Veterans

    Some online MBAs actively seek veteran students due to their teamwork and natural leadership skills. Many of these programs dedicate some or all of their curriculum to translating their students’ military experience into civilian business and management skills.

    Great for… Military veterans, active duty, and reserve personnel with business leadership aspirations and the flexibility to learn online.

    Learn More AboutVETERANS-ONLY PROGRAMS

Specializations for Online MBAs

Many MBA students already have work experience in a specific industry sector. For example, someone with five years working in health care may want an MBA to facilitate a move into management. Yet for that student, a general MBA may not be the best choice. An MBA program focused on health care teaches leadership, management and processes both in general and focused on the field. The latter gives students specialized knowledge they can take back to their jobs and put to immediate use. See which career goals mesh with some of today’s most popular MBA concentrations.

Explore Online Degree ProgramsSearch Program
  • MBA in Healthcare

    Students working towards their online MBA in healthcare are usually looking to build on their experience in fields such as nursing, medicine, biotechnology and health information systems. Students should expect to gain skills in branding, information systems management, entrepreneurship and more.

    Online MBA in HEALTHCARE
  • MBA in Finance

    An online MBA in finance typically takes between two and five years to complete, depending on the type of program. Common careers for those with an MBA in finance are financial manager, broker, financial analyst or chief financial officer (CFO).

    Online MBA in FINANCE
  • MBA in Marketing

    An online MBA in marketing typically takes between one and three years to complete and students can expect to take courses on topics like marketing management, consumer behavior, and digital marketing and advertising. Graduates often find success in manager-level positions, such as marketing manager, advertising manager or public relations manager.

    Online MBA in MARKETING

Other Factors to Consider

Understanding the various types of online MBA and the numerous specializations available is a great place to start. It establishes basic wants and needs and provides initial direction. However, for the students who may already have first steps down, the researching programs against the following categories should help filter choices down to a relatively short list.

Accreditation

The bottom-line value of an online MBA degree depends on whether the school and its MBA program have proper accreditation. Most schools earn accreditation from one of the six regional organizations recognized by the Department of Education. In addition, MBA programs should also be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Search for Accredited Online MBA Programs

Program Assets

Another key consideration is whether the online MBA program includes opportunities for internships, a critical consideration for students who wish to integrate learning and create life-long business contacts and mentors. MBA students typically complete internships with organizations in the corporate, governmental or non-profit sectors where they intend to hold managerial roles after graduation. Business leaders may also plan on obtaining professional certifications to benchmark their abilities in fields such as project management, consulting or as a Certified MBA. When evaluating a program, students should think about whether courses lead to knowledge necessary for obtaining certifications.

Career Certifications

A master’s in business administration degree is often sufficient for managers to take on leadership roles at top companies and organizations. However, in addition to completing an MBA, business management professionals may also prepare and test for certifications that benchmark their skills, mainly for career advancement or specialization. Work experience can be a principal requirement for earning certifications. While certifications and tests are evolving all the time, it’s vital for students to seek certifications from organizations that offer reputable programs. Here are a few types of certifications to consider:

The Certified Business Manager (CBM): The Association of Professionals in Business Management (APBM)offers this credential, which validates business management knowledge based on practices worldwide. The CBM examination may be taken by professionals with three years of full-time work experience (for those with existing master’s degrees) or four years’ experience for applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree.
Project Management Professional (PMP): The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers this certificate, which evaluates each manager’s education, experience and competency in directing projects from inception to completion. It is one of the most highly sought certifications for professional managers. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree and have accrued 4,000 hours of professional project management experience.
Certified Management Consultant (CMC): Applicants must be a member of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI) to qualify for a CMC certification. To sit for the examination, professionals must have accrued at least three years of consulting experience and either work for, or own, a consulting firm.

Other certifications sought by management professionals can be industry specific and include:

  • Certified Benefits Professional (CBP)
  • Certified Compensation Professional (CCP)
  • Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS)
  • Certified Energy Manager (CEM)
  • Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Certified Marketing Executive (CME)
  • Certified MBA (CMBA)
  • Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM)
  • Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)
  • Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
  • Global Remuneration Professional (GRP)
  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

Courses and Curriculum

Online MBA programs typically surround a core curriculum and a series of elective courses that match the educational niche or career goals for each student. Core curriculum focuses on leadership, human resources, strategic planning, information systems, process management and change management. Examples include:

  • Accounting for Managers: Students explore accounting concepts, principles and audits relating to economic measurement and management choices.
  • Entrepreneurship: A study of factors contributing to the success of new business ventures with a focus on venture capital, human assets, business regulations and competitive analysis.
  • Information Systems: A comprehensive overview of essential business software, data security practices, database management and enterprise-wide systems development.
  • Supply Chain Management: A detailed examination of key concepts and processes in strategic planning operations, project management, logistics, production, delivery methods and quantitative assessments.

The Online MBA Timeline

Everyone learns differently, and the variety of programs out there makes establishing a concrete, tried-and-true MBA timeline a tough task. However, it is possible to map out a common pathway from test prep to degree completion so aspiring management professionals can visualize what many students experience.

  • Year 0: Application
  • Year One: Acclimation
  • Year Two: Completion
Prepare for and Take the GMAT

The year before school starts should be chalk full of organized preparation, and this begins with the GMAT. A typically study period lasts for 6 – 10 weeks, and can be done through an official prep course, with a private tutor or with good old fashioned self-study and determination. Regardless, the earlier a candidate gets ready, the better. Some people opt to take the test more than once. Read our GMAT prep guide to learn more about how you can prepare for and perform your best on the exam.

Visit Schools

Even students planning to enroll in an online MBA program should visit their target schools in-person. Why? To meet professors, talk to current students and get a general lay of the tech and resource land. Many online programs require periodic visits to campus anyway, so this will be good practice. The goal here should be to pinpoint what you like, what you don’t and then to start narrowing down to a short list.

Community Service and Leadership

When vetting applicants, business schools look for more than just good grades, solid test scores and work experience. They also want to see what each person has done from a leadership perspective, whether professionally or unofficially in the community.

Get Your References Ready

B-school admissions may want to contact past supervisors, professors or other mentors to ask about your work ethic, abilities and intangibles. Make sure to reach out to these people, discuss your desired educational choice and anything else that might be helpful. Connecting with them early also gives them time to think about what they might say, or what they need to write should you require a formal letter of recommendation.

Identify Target Schools

With the GMAT on the horizon and schools releasing essay questions, it’s time to narrow your choices. There’s no minimum or maximum to the number of programs you can target, but the more you consider, the options you have – but also the more materials you’ll need to submit. This is also a great time to think about which type of MBA you’re interested in, including part-time, full-time and specialization.

Polish Your Resume

Many business schools require submission of a resume with the application packet. This includes work history, prior education, experience, references and more. Make sure to highlight achievements, goals accomplished, and other endeavors that stand to make you shine.

Start Writing Your Essays

Most business schools release unique topics for applicants to reflect on and address in writing. These essays allow potential students to show admissions representatives what they’ve accomplished and/or give them a taste of their problem-solving prowess. In other words, it’s a chance to show them how you stand out from the crowd. Keep in mind that these are not essays that can (or should) be completed in a day or a week. Research, brainstorm, revise and edit until you have a product you’re proud of. Also note that some schools require a second round of essays.

Submit All Application Materials

This includes your full packet of materials, final drafts of essays, answer to the short question portion of the application, and letters of recommendation. Different schools may have different submission schedules for all these materials, so make sure you research the requirements thoroughly. The last thing you want to do is miss a deadline…

Schedule Interviews

If the application process goes well, schools may want to interview you for candidacy. Some interviews take place at a campus, others closer to home with a local rep, and others via Skype (especially for online programs). Make sure you know your resume and your essays inside and out.

Accept an Offer

If the interview process goes well, one or more schools will offer you a place in their program. Hopefully you’ve narrowed down the list to two or three schools and can soon get down to the final choice. You may want to visit the campus again or speak with faculty one more time to be sure.

Secure Funding

Some companies sponsor employees and pay for their stint in business school. For students without this luxury, it’s time to secure funding either by scholarship or financial aid. The latter comes in the form of federal loans, private loans or even loans from the institution itself. For detailed information on financial aid options, including for online college opportunities.

The first year means getting your feet wet, meeting fellow students and taking many of your core courses. There’s also building relationships with your “pod” or “cluster”, the students you’ll work with on group projects and case studies. For online students this may begin with a remote “meet up” via Skype, or, take place in-person with subsequent meetings online. Although every school is different, here’s a list of activities online MBA students may face in year one:

  • Building relationships with your team or pod
  • Taking the first courses that make up the core curriculum
  • Participating in program-sponsored community service
  • Attending conferences or forums
  • Going to social events with fellow students
  • Joining various clubs or advisory boards
  • Applying for summer internships

The second year of a standard online MBA program includes finishing up core classes, diving deeper into electives and establishing an areas of expertise. It’s also a time to hone leadership skills by taking charge of conferences, presentations, networking and other career-focused sessions. Here’s a list of things you might encounter during your second year:

  • Finishing up required coursework
  • Carving out a niche/specialization
  • Networking, networking, networking
  • Visiting target companies to learn and meet
  • Finish up advanced student projects
  • Graduate

Online MBA programs may tackle these things a bit differently considering their remote nature. For example, networking and expos can take place or be attending locally instead of near a campus. And, students can visit companies nearby to really get a handle of what’s available in their area. To see how an online MBA student navigated such a program, let’s turn to Doug Jones, a graduate of Arizona State’s online master’s of business administration program in 2004.

EXPLORE MASTER’S DEGREE PROGRAMS FOR BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION search programs

Meet an Online MBA Graduate

Degree:  Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with emphasis in entrepreneurship.

College:  Arizona State University Online (2002 – 2004)

To MBA or not to MBA… That’s a decision thousands of potential graduate students make each year after pondering certain questions: Is an MBA worth the money? Can I earn my degree online? Will I be able to juggle work and family at the same time?

It’s easy for an outsider to do a little research and answer these questions, but nothing beats the inside scoop from someone whose been there and done that. Meet Doug Jones, the founder and CEO of Affordable Colleges Online, who used distance learning to earn his MBA, build a successful career in tech, and eventually become a web entrepreneur.

What’s the best thing about your online MBA program? The toughest?

A couple things stand out. First, the ability to pursue my MBA while working full-time was huge. I can’t emphasize that enough. Quitting work to earn a degree would’ve meant tremendous opportunity cost in the form of lost salary.

Second, working with classmates globally made case studies more interesting (and more valuable). And because I worked for Intel at the time, an international company, I could apply what I learned to my job rather easily.

The toughest? School + work + family can be challenging. My wife and I didn’t have children yet, but we still had other things to think about that demanded time and effort. However, there’s no way I could’ve juggled everything if I had been in a campus program.

Many MBA programs rely on tight collaboration with fellow students, especially for group projects. How did the online nature of the program help or hinder communication with peers?

It helped significantly. Online forums, email, video conferencing – both lectures and meetings – kept us connected. It also helped that we met in-person at the ASU campus one week per semester. Here we met each other and the professors to establish a rapport, and then worked virtually for the remainder of the session.

You completed your undergraduate degree on campus. How did your online MBA program compare to your campus-based bachelor’s degree?

They differed in a lot of ways. Obviously, my online MBA had much less face time (although we had plenty of video chats). Also, in MBA programs, most students are professionals already, so the maturity level was higher. Lots of fellow students with a tremendous amount of experience to tap into and learn from.

Did you have much interaction with your professors? Did you find it tough to communicate with no face-to-face office hours?

In addition to the week on campus, each professor had weekly office hours where we could email, IM, talk on the phone or video chat. We also had daily forum discussions about course materials and projects. I actually interacted with my professors a lot – far more than I anticipated.

Did ASU have a support system in place to help you as you worked toward your degree?

ASU Online had career placement services and guidance counselors, all very accessible. I was also able to bounce ideas off some of my professors because many had significant work experience in the field.

Did you receive any form of financial assistance? If so, was it easy to get for an online program?

I was really fortunate when it came to paying for the program. Intel paid for my online MBA. But if you don’t work for Intel, many companies out there have tuition assistance and tuition reimbursement programs to help employees further their education. One thing I’ve learned during my current job is that financial assistance – whether from the government or a company – almost always requires that the target college has the proper accreditation. When applying to MBA programs, make sure it’s accredited by an agency like the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).

Anything that really surprised you as you earned your online MBA?

The caliber of the students and the professors. I knew there would be smart people in the program, but many of the students and profs I worked with blew me away. Probably the most surprising thing, however, was the value of the online experience. ASU’s program challenged me academically and professionally, but also offered tremendous flexibility. The online programs – whether MBA or otherwise – that strike such as balance stand to change the face of higher education.

Any words of advice for future online MBA students?

If you can’t afford going to school on campus, don’t be afraid to embrace online learning. This new model comes with so many benefits, and the technology improves year after year. And if you can’t study full-time, explore part-time programs. My program at ASU had more of a real-time schedule, but others can be more self-paced for the super busy.