With online education becoming more popular, many traditional universities are offering fully online degree programs. In this article, we will explore the top 10 online university degree programs of 2024 based on affordability, flexibility, accreditation and career prospects.
Getting an online degree from an accredited university gives you the same credentials as an on-campus degree. It allows you to study at your own pace without disrupting your current job or lifestyle. The future of work is changing fast and an online degree can help you gain in-demand skills to advance your career.
To compile this list of top 10 online university degree programs of 2024, I considered several factors:
Affordability – I looked at the overall cost of the degree program including tuition fees, textbooks and other expenses. More affordable programs made it higher on the list.
Flexibility – Completely online programs that allow students to study and complete assignments according to their schedule rank higher. Programs with no or very few face-to-face requirements are preferable.
Accreditation – Only degrees from regional and nationally accredited universities are considered. Accreditation is important for the credibility of the degree.
Career outcomes – Program rankings and reviews, average salary of graduates, career development support provided, internship opportunities, etc. were evaluated to judge career prospects.
Availability of in-demand skills – Programs covering topics like data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity, healthcare administration etc. that teach skills needed in growing industries score higher.
Top 10 Online University Degree Programs of 2024
#1 – Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) – Western Governors University (WGU)
WGU’s online BSN program is 100% online and competency-based which allows students to complete the program faster by demonstrating their skills and knowledge. There are no required courses and students can start any month of the year. Accredited by ACEN, WGU BSN graduates have reported receiving jobs easily with the average salary being $60,000. With a massive shortage of nurses predicted in the next decade, getting a BSN online through WGU could set one up for excellent career outcomes.
#2 – Master of Business Administration (MBA) – Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)
SNHU offers a flexible, fully online MBA program with 6 start dates a year and no GRE/GMAT requirement. Both part-time and full-time options available. Tuition is very low at just $16,000 for the entire program and financial aid can significantly reduce the costs. Highly ranked by US News, this program teaches skills like accounting, marketing, finance, management and strategy that are invaluable for career growth.
#3 – Bachelor of Science in Information Technology – Western Governors University
This 100% online program covers vital tech topics like cybersecurity, cloud architecture, web development, networking and programming. It’s one of the most affordable IT bachelor’s programs with per term tuition of just $3400. Students can complete courses and gain practical hands-on experience at whatever pace suits them best. High employment rates and above average starting salaries of $60k make this a great choice for careers in tech.
#4 – Master of Science in Nursing – University of Arizona
The University of Arizona offers a fully online MSN degree with tracks like nursing education, informatics, leadership & management etc. Designed for working nurses, all courses are available asynchronously making this program very flexible. Despite being a public university, tuition is low at $18k including fees. Graduates are prepared for roles like nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and more. U of A is one of the most prestigious public universities in the country.
#5 – Bachelor of Science in Computer Science – Eastern Washington University
This online BCS program from a public university is way more affordable than most – just $10,500 per year including fees. Highly interactive and engaging self-paced courses are designed to be completed in 2-3 years by students. Technical skills in programming, web development, cybersecurity, networking and hands-on projects make graduates career-ready. Career support and strong alumni network further boost post-graduation outcomes.
#6 – Master of Healthcare Administration – Northeastern University
With a top 5 ranked online MHA from Northeastern University, learn to navigate today’s evolving healthcare industry. Taught by practicing experts in this fully online program. Total costs including books and supplies are approximately $38,100 for the entire program. Students acquire critical skills in finance, operations, policy and more. Diverse networking and career opportunities from this reputed urban institution give great returns on investment.
#7 – Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Accelerated BSN) – Minnesota State University, Mankato
This top ranked 15-month BSN program enables students with previous degrees to become registered nurses in the shortest time through full immersion. All courses are available 100% online with many on-campus experiences optional. Affordable in-state tuition of $7800 annually with the potential to complete this accelerated BSN in just over 1 year. Graduates enjoy nearly 100% employment rates and average starting salaries of $62,000.
#8 – Master of Social Work – University of Southern California
USC is globally renowned for its outstanding MSW program customized for online students. The 2-year program equips learners with advanced clinical skills through real-world simulations. Despite being a private university, tuition is competitive at $42,000 including fees (financial aid available) and the degree has immense prestige. MSW opens doors to exciting roles in mental health counseling, medical social work, nonprofit management and more.
#9 – Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity – University of Maryland, University College
Taught by experts & featuring cutting edge curriculum, UMUC’s online cybersecurity bachelor’s teaches skills like ethical hacking, network security, cloud security and more. As one of the top 5 largest online universities, UMUC offers personalized attention and support at a low cost – $11k per year. Internships pave way to high paying jobs and 75% grads report securing roles related to their degree.
#10 – Master of Science in Data Science – Colorado State University Global
Ranked among the top online data science master’s, CSU’s fully online program equips students with highly sought after skills in analytics, machine learning, programming and more. With stackable certificates and multiple specializations, this flexible 2-year master’s sets students up for six-figure careers as data analysts, data engineers and scientists. Despite being from a public university, the total affordable costs are just $30,000 including books and supplies.
FAQs about Online University Degree Programs
Q. How do I choose the best online degree program for me?
To choose the best online program, first consider your career goals, then research programs that match your interests and have good job outcomes. Check factors like accreditation, affordability, flexibility, career services, reputation of university and industry acceptance of the degree. Reading online reviews and talking to current students also helps compare programs.
Q. Can online degrees be as valuable as traditional on-campus degrees?
Yes, online degrees from accredited universities have equal value and are accepted the same way by employers as campus-based degrees. Accreditation ensures the program meets quality standards. Most top ranked universities now offer online options for popular degrees which are just as respected. The online flexibility makes these degrees a good option for working professionals too.
Q. Will an online degree limit my career options?
Not at all. Online degrees open up new career opportunities by providing greater flexibility to pursue education without quitting existing jobs or relocating. Most online programs are designed with career outcomes in mind. Popular degrees like Nursing, IT, Business groom students with in-demand skills. Factors like accreditation, institution ranking and reputation, internship opportunities matter most to employers – not whether you studied online or on campus.
Q. Is it hard to balance online coursework with a full-time job?
It definitely requires good time management skills but many working professionals successfully complete online degrees while working full-time. The flexibility of studying asynchronously and on your schedule helps reduce stress. It’s best to enroll in only 1-2 courses per term to begin with with, rather than overloading. Communicating needs upfront to employers also helps for adjustments if deadlines clash. Taking fewer courses over more terms is a lower stress alternative than trying to rush through.
There has never been a better time to earn an accredited, career-focused online degree. As virtual learning technologies improve, online universities now offer highly interactive, engaging and flexible degree options to help ambitious learners advance their careers. Choosing from programs at reputed institutions offering in-demand skills is key. An online degree from the top 10 programs recommended here can be completed affordably while working and set you up for success in growing industries of the future. Online learning truly opens up the possibilities for higher education and career development.