The Best Online MBA Programs 2020

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Online MBA programs prepare learners to succeed in the business world. Many employers value candidates with an MBA, and degree-holders often enjoy a variety of career opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many positions for professionals with an MBA offer six-figure salaries. This guide explores the best online MBA programs, along with specialization options, relevant certifications, and typical program requirements.

Best Online MBA Programs


  • Methodology

    Best Online MBA Programs

    Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factorsData Sources:

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Each college must be accredited
    • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
    • Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
    • Each college must have at least one online program 1

    Ranking Factors:

    • Affordability
    • Quality
    • Flexibility
    • Program

    Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

    1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

    2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.Notes:

    • A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
    • Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.


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 Program below.

Top 10 Online MBA Programs 2020

Rank School Location
1 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY
2 Concordia University-Chicago River Forest, IL
3 Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA
4 Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley, PA
5 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
6 Saint Joseph's College of Maine Standish, ME
7 Maryville University Saint Louis, MO
8 Trine University Angola, IN
9 Columbia International University Columbia, SC
10 Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ
Advertisement AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

  1. University of the Cumberlands
    Location

    Williamsburg, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky, boasts one of the best online master's programs in business through its top-ranked, 120-year-old business school. Designed for working professionals, the MBA features expert instructors, networking opportunities and career development, and group projects. The program prepares graduates to switch industries or advance their careers to the management level. Students must complete core courses, business electives, concentration courses, and an applied learning practicum. The curriculum comprises coursework in managerial accounting, strategic decision-making, and organizational behavior. Students can choose from six concentrations: project management, healthcare administration, strategic management, entrepreneurship, marketing, and accounting. MBA candidates must pass a comprehensive exam to graduate. Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and a minimum 2.5 GPA. University of the Cumberlands is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The MBA is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).

  2. Concordia University-Chicago
    Location

    River Forest, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1864 as a teacher training school, CUC provides a liberal arts education infused with Christian values. CUC's online master's degree in business administration prepares students for ethical leadership positions informed with a global outlook. Business leaders teach the program's small classes, and the flexible MBA program offers a one-year, completely online option or a two-year hybrid version with in-person evening and online classes. The program emphasizes four areas: critical thinking and entrepreneurship, ethics and social responsibility, communication and human relations, and global interconnectedness and inclusivity. Students can tailor the curriculum to reflect their professional goals by adding a specialization or dual specialization in areas like accounting, school business management, sports management, or nonprofit management. Concordia University Chicago is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The MBA program is a candidate for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

  3. Touro University Worldwide
    Location

    Los Alamitos, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Los Alamitos, California, TUW offers one of the cheapest online master's in business administration. The affordable MBA offers tuition assistance programs including scholarships for distance learners that reduce tuition by 30%. Additionally, students do not pay additional costs for textbooks. The flexible, learner-centered program offers six start dates each year and takes as little as 12 months to complete. The 36-credit, completely online program features eight-week sessions. Students gain analytical, decision-making, and problem-solving skills and knowledge in strategic management, human resources, finance, marketing, and accounting. The MBA offers ten concentrations, including health administration management, artificial intelligence management, and human resources management. Instructors have relevant, real-world experience and give personalized attention to students. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and a minimum 2.5 GPA. The program accepts transfer students with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Touro University Worldwide is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

  4. Gwynedd Mercy University
    Location

    Gwynedd Valley, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students looking for the best online master's programs in business should consider GMercyU's online MBA. One of 17 Sisters of Mercy colleges in the U.S., the Catholic school combines a liberal arts education with a commitment to service. The accelerated MBA offers flexibility, accommodates the schedules of working professionals, and features small cohort-style classes. Students choose from three concentrations: healthcare administration, strategic management and leadership, or transportation leadership. Instructors in GMercyU's MBA program boast first-hand, relevant knowledge and help students develop their professional networks. The curriculum comprises classes like ethical decision-making and corporate social responsibility, accounting for decision-makers, and managing business operations. All MBA candidates must complete a capstone business plan project. Admission requirements for GMercyU's MBA program include official college transcripts, a current resume, and letters of recommendation. Gwynedd Mercy University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  5. Concordia University-Saint Paul
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    CSP in Minnesota offers an online master's in business administration program for working professionals who need a flexible option for advancing their careers. The 36-credit MBA features seven-week, completely online and asynchronous classes and prepares students for leadership roles in business. Graduates pursue careers in consulting, technology, finance, and healthcare. The online MBA curriculum combines theoretical and practical knowledge and includes classes like organizational leadership and development, managerial research methods and design, and strategic human resource management. Students also explore issues like systems thinking, analytics, business ethics, and effective communication strategies. CSP's online student resources include access to library services and materials, scholarship opportunities, and free apps that support learning. MBA applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and must submit a personal statement describing their work history and professional goals. Concordia University Saint Paul is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  6. Saint Joseph's College of Maine
    Location

    Standish, ME

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A Catholic, liberal arts school in Standish, Maine, SJC welcomes students from all faith backgrounds. Among the dozens of online master's programs is a leadership-focused master of business administration designed for experienced professionals. The MBA from SJC emphasizes the ethics and morals of strategic foresight and develops professional business knowledge and skills. Students can add a concentration in an area like health sector management, quality and continuous improvement, and financial management. The degree takes as little as 18 months to complete, accepts up to six transfer credits, and features five, 10-week sessions each year. The program practices rolling admission and accepts applications year-round. Applicants need a bachelor's degree in any field and do not need to take the GMAT. Saint Joseph's College of Maine is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

  7. Maryville University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1872, Maryville in Saint Louis, Missouri, offers more than 90 in-person and online degree programs. Its student-centered online MBA features a flexible format with eight-week sessions designed for working professionals. MBA candidates choose from six start dates each year and can graduate in as little as one year. The curriculum comprises classes like process and operations management, strategic sourcing and purchasing, and the legal environment of business. Students choose from 12 concentrations to customize their MBA. Maryville's MBA offers one of the cheapest online master's in business administration programs. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must submit a personal statement, official transcripts, and a resume. The program does not require business experience, an application fee, or the GRE or GMAT. Maryville University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  8. Trine University
    Location

    Angola, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Trine Online offers a variety of distance education programs including associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in business administration. The school's online MBA for working professionals develops business and finance skills. The curriculum focuses on business strategy, market development, management, decision-making, and global finance. Trine's 30-credit online master's degree in business administration requires classes like strategic management and marketing, managerial accounting and finance, and microeconomic and macroeconomic decision-making. Students can customize their degrees with nine elective credits that explore issues like corporate taxation, business ethics, and project management. All MBA candidates must complete a business administration capstone course. New classes start every eight weeks, and students can graduate in as little as one year. Students graduate with decision-making, communications, and negotiation skills. Trine offers supportive career counseling for MBA students from program admission to graduation. Trine Online is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  9. Columbia International University
    Location

    Columbia, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A Christ-centered school with a biblical worldview, CIU in Columbia, South Carolina, boasts numerous online master's programs for working professionals. CIU's master of business administration features hands-on classes with students from around the world. The 36-credit, fully online MBA can be completed in 15 months. Students take required classes like economics for business management, organizational behavior and change management, and accounting for financial reporting and management. The program offers concentrations in finance and healthcare management. MBA professors provide expert academic and spiritual advising and draw from their own professional experiences in business. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.0 GPA. The program may grant provisional admission to students with a lower GPA. Columbia International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  10. Arizona State University
    Location

    Phoenix, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A leader in distance education, ASU Online boasts more than 300 accredited online degrees and certificates. ASU's online MBA includes a comprehensive business curriculum that prepares students for high-level leadership careers in business. The 49-credit degree takes 24 months to complete and features accelerated five-week classes. The MBA includes a focus on strategic management and operations functions with emphasis areas in international business, finance, marketing, or supply chain management. Students take required courses like statistics for managers, financial performance reporting, and ethical issues for managers. Electives explore issues like international finance, global marketing strategy, and project management. The business administration program also requires a strategic management capstone to graduate. Among the cheapest online master's degree programs, ASU's MBA features identical tuition for in-state and out-of-state learners. Arizona State University Online is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The MBA is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

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

Students pursuing an MBA degree online typically enjoy a high degree of flexibility. Most online programs allow learners to customize their schedule, which is ideal for working professionals. Many programs deliver classes asynchronously and do not require students to log in at set times.

To earn the degree more quickly, students can pursue accelerated MBA programs. Learners can also study part time, which lengthens degree completion time but can help busy students balance academics with other responsibilities. Additionally, many schools offer dual programs, which lead to two degrees.

  • Accelerated Online MBA Programs Accelerated online MBA programs are ideal for ambitious learners willing to work hard to complete their degree more quickly. Accelerated programs typically include intensive structures that feature coursework and either a field placement, practical training, or an internship. Students who choose this path can graduate in 10 to 15 months.Great for… Young professionals who want a flexible way to earn their degree more quickly. Learn more about accelerate online MBAs
  • Dual MBA Programs Online: Dual MBA programs can help students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to launch a business career in a certain industry. These programs confer two degrees. For example, learners would graduate from a dual program in computer science and business administration with both an MS and an MBA degree. Business schools offer MBA programs in many configurations, so students can find an option that fits their interests and career goals.Great for… Learners seeking in-depth knowledge and a track toward leadership positions in a specific field.
  • Executive Online MBA And Part-Time (Flexible) Online MBAMany of the best online MBA programs offer flexibility, but some programs are designed specifically for busy learners. Part-time or flexible executive MBA programs are especially popular with working professionals who want to qualify for promotions and advanced positions. These programs take longer to complete, but they allow professionals to continue working full time while earning their degree. Great for… Professionals who need flexibility to pursue a degree while raising a family or working full time.Learn more about executive online MBAs
  • Online MBA: No GMAT RequiredMany online MBA programs require applicants to submit GMAT scores. However, working professionals often lack the time to study for and take the exam. Learners in this position can pursue a no-GMAT-required MBA online program. Not many business schools offer this option, and those that do typically require applicants to hold extensive professional experience.Great for… Managers, leaders, and executives who can stand out in the applicant pool without test scores. Learn more about no GMAT programs
  • Online MBAs For VeteransVeteran-friendly MBA programs support the needs of military students transitioning into civilian life. These programs provide flexible learning options with student resources and inclusive policies. Veteran-friendly schools typically participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program and maintain on-campus veterans’ associations.Great for… Military veterans, active-duty, and reserve personnel who aspire to leadership roles in business. Learn more about veterans-only programs

Online MBA Specializations

While many learners pursue general online MBA programs, graduate students often specialize in a particular field or aspect of business. A specialization can help candidates stand out in the job market and can qualify graduates for advanced career opportunities. Established professionals may plateau in their careers without advanced, focused credentials. A specialized MBA can help individuals access high-level executive positions.

Most specialized MBA programs deliver general coursework first. Learners focus on their concentration area in later semesters. This allows students time to evaluate or change their specialization during the program.

Below are some popular specialization options for learners earning an MBA degree online.

  • MBA In HealthcareStudents earning an online MBA in healthcare prepare to become hospital and clinic administrators, who must balance quality care with economic realities. Students learn about best practices for business professionals in the healthcare field. Full-time learners typically graduate in two years. Online MBA in HEALTHCARE
  • MBA In FinanceEarning a finance specialization can maximize an MBA-holder’s earning potential. This high-demand specialization area covers topics including financial and tax planning, investing, financial reporting, asset financing, and insurance. Learners typically graduate after two years of full-time study or about three years of part-time study. Online MBA in FINANCE
  • MBA In MarketingAnother in-demand MBA specialization, marketing coursework examines consumer behavior, branding, product positioning, and the consumer purchase process. Learners typically complete their MBA in marketing in about two years of full-time study. Online MBA in MARKETING

Other Popular MBA Specializations

Other Factors To Consider

Accreditation

Accreditation demonstrates that a school’s academic programs meet set standards of quality. Most employers only recognize degrees from accredited institutions. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of institutional accreditation in the United States. Career and vocational schools often receive national accreditation.

Many online MBA programs also hold specialized accreditation, which applies to an individual department or program. Prestigious accreditors of business programs include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Search for ACCREDITED ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS

Career Certifications

A master’s in business administration typically qualifies holders for leadership roles within companies and organizations. However, business management professionals can pursue certifications to further demonstrate their skills. Certifications can help professionals obtain advanced and specialized positions. Many certification programs require candidates to have professional experience. Below are a few common certification options for graduates of MBA programs.

  • Certified Business Manager: The Association of Professionals in Business Management awards this certification, which demonstrates advanced skills in the practical management of commercial enterprises. The certification process involves a four-part exam comprising three multiple-choice sections and a written analysis of a case study. Candidates must hold a general or specialized MBA degree.
  • Project Management Professional: This certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI) endorses a professional’s ability to guide complex projects to successful completion. According to PMI, PMP-certified professionals earn 25% more than non-certified peers in similar jobs. To sit for the certification exam, candidates need at least a four-year degree, three years of professional project leadership experience, and 35 hours of project management training.
  • Certified Management Consultant: The CMC credential demonstrates skills in six critical business areas: finance, human resources, information technology, marketing, operations, and strategic planning. The International Council of Management Consulting Institutes awards this certification. Candidates must have an MBA degree, three or more years of management consultant experience, and at least five client endorsements.

Courses And Curriculum

While curricula and course descriptions vary among business schools and specializations, the best online MBA programs include similar course offerings. MBA curricula help students gain career skills and knowledge to succeed in high-level business roles. Below are five courses common to most online MBA programs.

  • Strategic Operations: This course teaches students how to achieve competitive advantages through organizational structures and strategies. Coursework examines the roles of technology and thought leadership in driving efficiency improvements.
  • Financial Management: In this course, students learn the fundamentals of business finance. Learners prepare to manage and use business assets to support strategic decision-making.
  • Business Economics: MBA students need an advanced understanding of the impact of global market conditions on individual businesses. This course combines economic theory with practical examples and case studies.
  • Fundamentals Of Accounting And Finance: Students in this course develop the tools they need to make sound business decisions. Learners prepare to analyze a company’s balance sheet and financial statements.
  • Quantitative And Statistical Analysis: Business executives evaluate statistics and analyze quantitative factors to inform strategic decisions. Students in this course build advanced competencies in these critical skills.

The Online MBA Timeline

Because of the variety of available programs and student schedules, there is no single timeline all MBA students follow. However, many learners follow a similar pathway from application to degree completion. The section below explores common milestones for business management students.

In Advance

Prepare for Applying

Learners preparing to apply to MBA programs should collect transcripts, compile an updated resume or curriculum vitae, and take standardized tests. Some programs require applicants to submit professional references or letters of recommendation. Prospective students should also explore funding options and plan their budget.Preperation Checklist

This checklist can help guide your preparations.

  • Prepare for and take the GMAT
  • Visit schools
  • Complete community service
  • Prepare references
  • Identify target schools
  • Polish your resume
  • Begin writing admission essays
  • Submit all application materials
  • Schedule interviews
  • Secure funding
  • Accept an offer

Year One

Most MBA programs require two years of full-time study. The first year of both general and specialized MBA programs typically comprises foundational coursework. First-year MBA students develop core competencies and may participate in networking events and social functions. Some programs require students to attend at least one professional seminar, forum, or conference.

The following list includes common academic, practical, and social experiences for first-year MBA students.

  • Build relationships with a team or pod
  • Take core courses
  • Participate in program-sponsored community service
  • Attend conferences or forums
  • Go to social events
  • Join clubs or advisory boards
  • Apply for summer internships

Year Two

During the second year, learners develop advanced skills and explore topics in their specialization area. Second-year MBA students typically complete coursework in a targeted niche. Most online MBA programs require learners to complete an in-depth research project, including a case study analysis.

The list below covers typical components of the second year of an MBA program.

  • Finish required coursework
  • Choose a niche or specialization
  • Attend networking events
  • Make connections with companies
  • Complete advanced projects
  • Graduate

MEET AN ONLINE MBA GRADUATE

Degree:  Online MBA program at Lindner College of Business

College:  University of Cincinnati

Emily Spinks is a 2019 graduate of the online MBA program at University of Cincinnati’s Lindner College of Business. For more than four years, she has worked in program management in the medical field, most recently at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Emily managed high-impact projects while completing her MBA part time.

Previously, Emily worked in education for four years, helping young students with disabilities meet their potential. Emily also holds two graduate certificates from University of Cincinnati in business foundations and marketing. She earned her bachelor of arts from Northern Kentucky University.

Why online instead of on campus?

I was very attracted to the online MBA at UC because of the high regional and national rankings it has received and the flexibility that online courses provide. I wanted to be able to work my full-time job without having to make up hours for attending in-person classes during the workday.

For someone who may have never taken an online course before, how would you describe the experience?

It’s really nice to be able to access content whenever, wherever, and as many times as needed (i.e., recorded lectures). Oftentimes, assignments will have deadlines of Sunday at midnight, so you have the flexibility to create your own classwork schedule based on your other time commitments. I really liked it when instructors selected McGraw Hill Connect as required course material. Connect integrates the course e-book with adaptive (optional) quizzes and strategies to help optimize and individualize learning.

What were your expectations of the program, and do you feel that they were met?

UC’s online MBA program met or exceeded my expectations. I expected to receive instruction from leaders in their respective fields whose course content reflected growing business trends influenced by new technologies and the changing economy. I expected to make connections with a variety of diverse students who were at different stages in their professional careers. I was very pleased with how engaged many of the instructors were, despite the courses being online. Many would still hold office hours and WebEx meetings weekly or as needed for all students, and they responded to emails within hours, making themselves very accessible.

Learn More…

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