The Best Online Colleges in Minnesota

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Students considering one of the numerous online colleges in Minnesota can choose from a variety of programs. Online schools in MN provide innovative, cutting–edge degrees through distance education, including a bachelor’s in organizational leadership from Bethel University, a master’s in cybersecurity at Saint Mary’s University, and a doctorate in occupational therapy from St. Catherine University.

Here are the best online colleges in Minnesota!

Completing an online degree in Minnesota offers appeal for numerous reasons, including the simple fact that the state has several well–regarded schools offering interesting degrees. Students who pick an online school in MN benefit from maximum flexibility, as many offer asynchronous coursework to ensure learners can juggle personal and professional responsibilities. They also provide premier student services such as academic advising, tech support, tutoring, mentorship, career advice and resume review, and opportunities to engage with students through virtual clubs and organizations.

Although the average cost of a Minnesota degree is slightly higher than the national average, online students benefit from not having to pay for campus housing, meal plans, or transportation to and from school multiple times per week. Some of the state colleges allow distance students to pay in–state tuition, while both public and private institutions offer lots of different institutional and programmatic scholarships to online degree seekers to help offset costs. Keep reading to learn about the educational opportunities awaiting you in the “land of 10,000 lakes.”

Four Reasons to Find an Online College in Your State

  1. Guaranteed in–state tuition saves you money
  2. Be a part of a university or college you know and love
  3. Get a degree from a school that employers know and trust
  4. Be close enough to easily visit when desired

Ranking Guidelines for the Best Online Colleges in Minnesota

Best Online Colleges in Minnesota
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We selected the online colleges and universities here based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.

Note: In ranking the best online colleges in Minnesota, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in Minnesota may offer one, or a few online degrees, but that may not be enough for that school to rank highly among the best online colleges in the state. In this ranking, we are dedicated to showing who’s leading the way in delivering quality online degree programs in Minnesota.

The Best Online Colleges in Minnesota

1
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
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Bethel University 

Saint Paul, MN

About this school

Located in a tight-knit community just north of the Twin Cities, Bethel maintains a unique business partnership program. The school delivers courses and professional development opportunities to organizations across the country, including Allina Health and Nystrom Counseling.

With 12 online undergraduate programs, Bethel delivers some of the most diverse distance learning options among online colleges in Minnesota. In addition to two associate degrees, the school offers online bachelor's degrees in business management, Christian ministries, human services, management information systems, nursing, and organizational leadership.

Most bachelor's programs require at least two years of work experience. Applicants must submit a resume and transcripts from any colleges or universities previously attended. All online students, regardless of state residency status, pay the same tuition rate. The university also offers financial aid assistance, career services, a digital library, and online tutoring to distance learners.

5

Minnesota State University - Mankato 

Mankato, MN

About this school

Minnesota State University Mankato got its start as the Mankato Normal School in 1868. It is the second-oldest university in the state’s university system. Its transition to a comprehensive university began in 1957 alongside a boom in enrollment. The school expanded beyond teacher training to cater to the influx of new students. The school provides over 220 degree programs in total, spanning eight academic colleges.

Minnesota State University Mankato offers a wide range of baccalaureate, master’s, licensure and certificate programs completely online. Bachelor’s degree options include dental hygiene and technical communication. Master’s degree offerings include forensics and educational technology. Licensure and certificate programs available include library media education, ESL, ethnic studies and corrections leadership.

Online student resources include an online job board and an online library with document delivery services, 24/7 librarian live chat and access to numerous academic databases.

6

Crown College 

Saint Bonifacius, MN

About this school

Crown College is a private Christian university founded in 1916. It began as a bible school and essentially snowballed into a full-fledged college in 1992. The college offers more than 35 degree programs and teaches more than 1,200 students.

Crown College offers a number of online associate’s, baccalaureate and master’s programs. Online associate’s degrees include business and general studies. Online bachelor’s degrees include psychology and emergency management. Online master’s degree programs include organizational leadership and business administration.

Resources available to online students include an online job board, technical support over the phone and an online library with access to a wide variety of EBSCO research databases and librarians available 6 days a week via email or over the phone.

7

Bemidji State University 

Bemidji, MN

About this school

Bemidji State University, founded in 1919, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. The university has over 6,000 students in attendance and over 65 majors available.

Bemidji State University’s online baccalaureate degrees, which include biology and criminal justice, are also available in a 2+2 format for those transferring from a two-year institution or those who wish to finish their four-year degree with BSU online rather than with traditional classes. The university also offers master’s degrees in teaching and business administration and certificates in camp nursing and online teaching.

Resources for online students include online tutoring, disability services, technical support and an online library with document delivery services.

8

Metropolitan State University 

Saint Paul, MN

About this school

Metropolitan State University, established in 1971, was designed with nontraditional students in mind. It offers more than 60 degree programs spanning 7 academic schools and colleges, with over 11,000 students in attendance. Unique to the university is its “engaged courses" which involve community-based projects and interactions alongside traditional instruction. For example, a course on a specific kind of art may see students visiting art museums throughout the semester, rather than simply reading about artists in a textbook alone.

Metropolitan State University offers a variety of completely online baccalaureate, master’s and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degrees include finance, law enforcement and industrial management. Online master’s degrees include business administration, nonprofit management and management information systems. Online certifications include database administration, healthcare information technology management, and information assurance.

Online student resources include an online library with access to librarians via email, live chat or over the phone.

9

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota 

Winona, MN

About this school

Located in Minneapolis, Saint Mary's offers 14 distance education options. The school hosts 13 online master's programs, making it one of the best online schools in MN for graduate students. Options include, organizational leadership, learning design and technology, human resource management, and business intelligence and data analytics. The school's online MS in cybersecurity prepares students for CISSP and CISM certification exams.

To apply to a graduate program, prospective students must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Candidates should also have a minimum 2.75 GPA. The application requires a personal essay, a resume, college transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.

10

University of Northwestern - St. Paul 

Saint Paul, MN

About this school

While all of its adult undergraduate programs have online components, UNW offers completely online bachelor's degrees in general studies, business administration, and health psychology. Students may also pursue fully online graduate degrees in business, divinity, education, human services, organizational leadership, and theological studies.

Founded in 1902, UNW has become one of the more popular online colleges in MN. The private university, located in the northern Twin Cities metropolitan area, provides distance learners with resources such as academic advising, military veteran services, tutoring, technology assistance, and counseling services. All students enrolled in online courses pay the same tuition rate, even if they live outside Minnesota.

UNW maintains a transfer-friendly policy, and about one-fifth of its students started their education elsewhere. Prospective transfer students must provide official college transcripts and hold a minimum 2.5 GPA. The school may also require transfer students to take Bible courses.

11

Saint Cloud State University 

Saint Cloud, MN

About this school

Saint Cloud State University, founded in 1869, is among the largest universities in the state’s university system. It has close to 20,000 students in attendance and more than 200 academic programs spanning 6 academic colleges and schools.

Saint Cloud State University offers a number of associate, baccalaureate, master and certificate programs online. Associate’s degrees include individual studies and liberal arts. Bachelor’s degrees include philosophy and economics. Master’s degrees include TESL and applied behavior analysis. Certifications available include instructional technology and land surveying.

Resources for online students include online tutoring, online test proctoring, an online job board, technical support and an online library with librarian live chat and access to a wide variety of videos, books and academic journal articles.

12

The College of Saint Scholastica 

Duluth, MN

About this school

The College of Saint Scholastica is a Roman Catholic college established in 1912. Once the city of Duluth was settled, Mother Scholastica Kurst arrived in 1892 with 28 other missionaries to establish a Catholic academy. The school transformed from a high school into a college in 1912 and began granting four-year degrees in 1924 with only 68 students. The college has over 4,000 students and 23,000 alumni.

The College of Saint Scholastica offers several bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and certificate programs online. Online bachelor’s degrees include accounting and nursing. Online master’s degrees include management and business administration. Doctoral degree offerings include nursing, while certification options include teaching.

Resources available to online students include an online job board, writing assistance via email and an online library with librarians available via email, text message and over the phone.

13

Minnesota State University Moorhead 

Moorhead, MN

About this school

Minnesota State University Moorhead, founded in 1888, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges Universities System. The school trained aviation students during World War II. Enrollment ballooned after the war, causing the university to expand and diversify its degree offerings. The Moorhead campus serves over 8,000 students and offers nearly 100 degree programs.

Minnesota State University Moorhead offers several baccalaureate, master, specialist and certificate programs online. Bachelor’s degrees include business and nursing. Master’s degree options include education and healthcare. Specialist degree offerings include educational leadership, while certifications available include counseling and nursing.

Online student resources include an online library with librarian live chat, a mobile-friendly version of the library’s website and access to countless academic databases.

14

St Catherine University 

Saint Paul, MN

About this school

Known to most as "St. Kate's," this private university offers four bachelor's degrees, five master's degrees, and two doctorate degrees completely online. The master's degree in interpreting studies and communication equity focuses on social justice and equality. The program prepares individuals for leadership roles in business, education, government, and nonprofit work. Students can complete the 32-credit program in two years.

Founded in 1905, the university was one of the first women-only postsecondary institutions in the Midwest. The school now accepts both male and female students. St. Kate's accepts most credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities. The school maintains articulation agreements with several community colleges and other online schools in MN. All distance learners pay the same tuition per credit, even if they are not state residents.

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End of list, bravo!

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Minnesota

1
Saint Cloud State University
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University of Minnesota - Crookston 

Crookston, MN

About this school

The University of Minnesota Crookston is part of the expansive University of Minnesota System, but only enrolls 1,800 students. Of those learners, only about half study at the campus in Crookston — the other 900 students are enrolled online. Since opening its doors in 1966, UMC has focused on being a small public school that emphasizes student learning. All students are given laptops, and a mentor program keeps students focused on their degree and prospective career.

Despite its small size, UMC has a large selection of online options. The school currently offers five online certificates and 16 online bachelor's degrees. All courses are taught in a small-classroom format, meaning students can enjoy more one-on-one time with their professors. A popular online program is the bachelor's degree in accounting — a 120-credit program that can be completed in four years.

Most students who study at UMC have some previous college experience, although this is not a requirement. The school does not have strict GPA requirements for incoming first-year or transfer students, although a minimum 2.0 GPA is recommended.

5

Bemidji State University 

Bemidji, MN

About this school

Based in northern Minnesota, Bemidji State University is home to over 5,000 undergraduate students. Located on the shores of Lake Bemidji, the school has established itself as a local leader in engineering and psychology, both of which can be studied online. Currently, BSU offers two online certificates and eight online bachelor's degrees. The psychology degree, which can be completed as a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science, is one of the most popular programs at BSU.

The only Minnesota State system school to currently offer a psychology degree entirely online, BSU's program requires that students transfer in at least 24 credits, completed with a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Courses are offered in semesters, and the length of the program depends on how many transfer credits students bring. While they require some different courses, the BA and BS tracks are quite similar and can be completed in the same amount of time.

First-year applicants are required to submit ACT or SAT scores, but the school does not list minimum GPA requirements. Transfer students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher for all transfer credits they plan to bring in.

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End of list, bravo!

The Most Affordable Online Associate Degree Programs in Minnesota

1
St Cloud Technical and Community College
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Minnesota State Community and Technical College 

Fergus Falls, MN

About this school

Minnesota State Community and Technical College is one of the largest community colleges in the state. With locations in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead, and Wadena, local students have plenty of options. Additionally, students can pursue a variety of associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas through M State Online.

M State offers 11 online certificates and 22 online associate degrees. Many disciplines are available as an associate degree, certificate, or diploma. For instance, students in the accounting program earn 33-69 credits, depending on their target level of education. Full-time students can complete the 69-credit associate of applied science in accounting in just two years.

The flexible online courses at M State allow students to study at their own pace. Some programs may require students to occasionally attend campus, so applicants should research their desired program prior to applying. This hybrid format of study is popular at M State, and nearly half of online students also enroll in an on-campus course.

All online students gain access to advisors, an online library, and tutoring. Credits are designed to be easily transferable, and many associate degree graduates go on to complete a bachelor's degree; M State also offers transfer pathways that prepare students to transfer to a four-year institution in the Minnesota State system.

5

North Hennepin Community College 

Brooklyn Park, MN

About this school

With nearly 10,000 students and almost 30 entirely online programs, North Hennepin Community College is an online education leader in Minnesota. About two-thirds of NHCC's students are currently enrolled part time, and many are working toward a degree entirely online. Students who study on campus or in a hybrid format commute to NHCC's campus in Brooklyn Park.

NHCC offers 18 online certificates and 11 online associate degrees. The online certificates are typically 12-18 credits and can be completed after one or two semesters of study. For example, the management certificate only requires 12 credits.

NHCC prepares many associate degree graduates to transfer into a four-year institution. For example, the school's computer science transfer pathway associate degree is a 60-credit program that can be directly transferred into one of five Minnesota public universities. However, students aren't required to transfer to a four-year institution after earning their associate degree. Most associate degree programs require students to maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher, and at least 15 credits must be completed at NHCC.

Online students can access various resources, including advising, career counseling, tutoring, writing help, a bookstore, and financial aid services.

6

Minnesota West Community and Technical College 

Granite Falls, MN

About this school

Currently, MWCTC offers 23 online certificates and 14 online associate degrees, all of which are taught via D2L Brightspace. Every online course is self-guided — aside from exams and due dates for assignments, students can finish courses at their own pace.

MWCTC's IT programs are the strength of its online school. Learners can study IT at the associate or certificate level, depending on their interests. For instance, the information security and assurance associate of applied science track is a 60-credit program designed to be completed in four semesters. The IT workplace assistance certificate is in the same field, although it only takes 16 credits to complete. Most certificates at MWCTC require 13-16 credits. Admission requirements vary by program, though students should have a minimum 2.0 high school GPA.

7

Northland Community and Technical College 

Thief River Falls, MN

About this school

Student flexibility is a focus for Northland Community and Technical College. Most of the school's programs are designed for part-time students who are working while earning their degree, and only 39% of students attend classes full time. NCTC enrolls over 4,500 students across four campuses and through its online programming.

NCTC offers nine online certificates and 11 online associate degrees. The majority of its certificates require 13-18 credits to complete, and most of the associate degrees require 60 credits. However, the machine technology certificate, which is only offered online, requires 30 credits to finish. Similarly, the dietetic technician associate degree requires 67 credits; even with the extra required courses, students can complete this program in two years or less if they choose to study full time.

Courses in NCTC's online programs are offered through D2L Brightspace and can be accessed at any time. However, some programs are only offered in a cohort format, meaning online students are required to take specific courses at a set pace. For example, the dietetic technician associate degree only accepts 30 students into a cohort each year.

Prospective students should have a minimum GPA of 2.0. Transfer students are welcome to apply, but select credits must be completed at NCTC; these requirements vary depending on the program.

8

Inver Hills Community College 

Inver Grove Heights, MN

About this school

Based just outside of St. Paul, Inver Hills Community College prepares students to transfer into four-year programs. While IHCC doesn't offer any bachelor's degrees, they do offer nine online certificates and four online associate degrees that are designed to be easily transferable.

The business transfer pathway associate degree exemplifies IHCC's commitment to offering transferable credits. This 60-credit degree can be transferred to four-year schools in the Minnesota State system; graduates automatically hold junior-level status. Aside from the low cost of earning an associate degree from IHCC, the business transfer pathway program can be completed through a combination of online and on-campus courses.

IHCC also has programs that can be finished entirely online, such as its associate of applied science in contemporary business practice. Credits earned in this track are easily transferable, although it is meant for students who want to jumpstart a business career. IHCC's certificates are also well-suited for career-focused students; these typically require 16-18 credits.

Applicants should have a minimum high school GPA of 2.0, and students must take assessment tests. Online courses are offered asynchronously through D2L Brightspace.

9

Anoka-Ramsey Community College 

Coon Rapids, MN

About this school

Named a top 10 community college by the Aspen Institute, Anoka-Ramsey Community College has the lowest tuition costs of any public school in Minnesota. Spread across two campuses in Cambridge and Coon Rapids, many of ARCC's learners study entirely online or take a combination of online and on-campus courses. ARCC has the largest catalog of online classes among two-year schools in the Minnesota State system, although it currently only offers three online certificates and five online associate degrees.

Distance learning courses at ARCC — offered through D2L Brightspace — may be available entirely online or through a hybrid format where students take some courses in person. Prior to beginning a course, students should verify any on-campus course requirements.

When pursuing a 60-credit online associate degree, students must earn a "C" or higher in each course. Some programs prepare students for a career immediately after graduating. Others, such as the business transfer pathway degree, are meant for students who intend on transferring to a four-year institution in the Minnesota State system. ARCC's online certificates require 12-26 credits, depending on the program.

Students should note that some of ARCC's programs require Minnesota residency. Online students can talk to advisors and access an IT desk. Tutoring is also available through D2L Brightspace and at either of the two campuses.

10

Ridgewater College 

Willmar, MN

About this school

Ridgewater College is a community and technical college with campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson. With more than 5,500 students, Ridgewater has various degree offerings for students looking to transfer into a four-year institution or earn a job after completing a two-year degree. Ridgewater's strong ties with local businesses and organizations can help students find jobs after completing an associate degree or certificate.

While there are over 100 programs offered on-campus, Ridgewater offers five online certificates and 11 online associate degrees. Some of these programs can be tailored to fit students' needs.

For example, the online law enforcement program has two associate degree options: an associate in applied science and a pathway associate degree. The first of these is a 67-credit degree for students looking for a career right after graduating. The second is a 68-credit option that is designed to transfer directly into a four-year school in the Minnesota State system. Both degrees are available entirely online with some on-campus options for students who prefer face-to-face instruction.

Applicants must be high school graduates who have a GPA of at least 2.0. Transfer students must have at least 16 transferable credits completed with a 2.0 GPA or higher.

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End of list, bravo!

Additional Online Colleges in Minnesota Featured on TBS

Alexandria Technical & Community College

Capella University

Carleton College

Crossroads College

Dakota County Technical College

Hamline University

Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies

Itasca Community College

Lake Superior College

Luther Seminary

Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical

Normandale Community College

Saint Paul College

Southwest Minnesota State University

University of St. Thomas

Walden University

Winona State University

Archive

2017 Best Online Colleges and University in Minnesota
  1. University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  2. University of Minnesota Crookston
  3. Walden University
  4. Minnesota State University Mankato
  5. Bemidji State University
  6. Minnesota State University Moorhead
  7. Metropolitan State University
  8. Crown College

 

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