The Best Online Colleges in Missouri

The Best Online Colleges in Missouri

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Missouri counts itself among the most affordable places to study and work in the U.S.

According to PayScale, the cost of living in the state consistently ranks below the national average, from 6% in St. Louis and 7% in Columbia to 12% in Springfield. The state houses accessible colleges and universities dedicated to research, athletic achievement, and the liberal arts. College Boar reports that, in the 2017–2018 academic year, students who attended public universities paid an annual tuition of $8,500, while students at private colleges paid approximately $22,000. Online schools in Missouri provide even lower prices through discounted tuition, and students living in the state sometimes enjoy still cheaper tuition rates. Distance learners also enjoy access to special scholarships and grants.

Flexibility serves as another incentive for distance learners. Through asynchronous online classes, students can create schedules that allow them to work and take care of their family while pursuing their degree full time. Relatedly, colleges and universities usually offer accelerated course formats that last seven or nine weeks instead of 15. By taking advantage of this feature, distance learners may earn their degree in less time than their traditional peers — generally two–to–three years for a bachelor’s degree and one year for a master’s. Common areas of study include healthcare administration, nursing, business (particularly the MBA), information systems, criminology, and education and teacher preparation. Online colleges in Missouri also offer unique programs in fields such as intercultural studies, fashion entrepreneurship, and creative writing.

Top 10 Online Colleges in Missouri 2020

#1 University of Missouri Columbia, MO
#2 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
#3 Missouri State University Springfield, MO
#4 Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau, MO
#5 University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, MO
#6 Drury University Springfield, MO
#7 Lindenwood University Saint Charles, MO
#8 Park University Parkville, MO
#9 Missouri Southern State University Joplin, MO
#10 William Woods University Fulton, MO

The Best Online Colleges in Missouri

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Southeast Missouri State University 

Cape Girardeau, MO Apply Now

About this school

Southeast Missouri State University, founded in 1873, has over 11,000 students in attendance and provides more than 200 degree programs. Its roots go back to the Southeast Missouri State Normal School, which Mark Twain wrote about in Life on the Mississippi. The university is also home to one of the oldest university newspapers in America.

Southeast Missouri State University offers a wide variety of baccalaureate, master’s and certificate programs via Southeast Online. Bachelor’s degrees include technology management and nursing. Master’s degrees include criminal justice and TESOL. Certifications available include healthcare management and autism spectrum disorders.

Resources available to online students include online test proctoring, an online job board, online peer tutoring, an online writing lab, free online typing tutoring and an online library with librarians available via email or over the phone.


University of Central Missouri 

Warrensburg, MO Apply Now

About this school

The University of Central Missouri, established in 1871, has more than 12,000 students from 49 states and 59 countries in attendance. The university offers more than 150 programs of study spanning five academic colleges. It also has an extensive study abroad program with opportunities in more than 60 countries around the world, including New Zealand and France.

The University of Central Missouri offers several online baccalaureate, master’s and specialist programs. Online bachelor’s degrees include occupational education and criminal justice. Online master’s degrees include aviation safety and kinesiology. Specialist degrees include educational technology and learning resources.

Resources available to online students include an online job board, academic advising via email, technical support, writing assistance via email and an online library with librarians available via email, live chat, text message or over the phone.


Drury University 

Springfield, MO Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1873, Drury University, a private liberal arts university, is named in honor of the son of one of the initial founders, Samuel Drury. The university requires full–time face–to–face students to live on the campus until the age of 21, unless they meet specific exemption criteria. Interestingly, almost half of the student body studies overseas at some point. Studying abroad is mandatory for Architecture and Business–related majors. The university offers more than 50 degree programs and teaches over 5,000 students.

Drury University offers an exceptional variety of associate, baccalaureate, masters and certificate programs entirely online. Associate degrees include law enforcement and psychology. Bachelor’s degree options include sociology and health sciences. Master’s degree offerings and available certifications include multiple topics in education.

Resources for online students include an online job board, mock job interview practice, technical support and an online library with librarians available via email or over the phone.


Lindenwood University 

Saint Charles, MO Apply Now

About this school

Located in the heart of St. Charles, Lindenwood University is an independent college recognized for innovation and entrepreneurship. The school enrolls 9,800 students in 120 programs. Lindenwood administers a comprehensive suite of online degrees for undergraduates and graduates. Business students can enroll in a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science in business administration with emphasis areas in accounting, healthcare, management, marketing, or supply chain management. Other baccalaureate majors include criminal justice, digital and web design, game design, and interdisciplinary studies.

One of the top online colleges in Missouri, Lindenwood offers a robust portfolio of master's degrees. The teacher preparation program features several areas of specialization, including educational technology and gifted education. Some benefits of learning at Lindenwood include accelerated learning options for faster degree completion and academic support services such as tutoring from SmartThinking. The school admits students in the fall, spring, and summer.


Park University 

Parkville, MO Apply Now

About this school

A private college located in Parkville, Park University provides students with a liberal arts education in a welcoming environment. The school maintains 41 campuses across the nation and a robust virtual college. Park offers several online bachelor's degrees, including economics, elementary education, and criminal justice.

Students planning to pursue a trade occupation can choose an associate or bachelor's degree in construction management. The curriculum focuses on areas such as on budgeting, organizing, and methods and plans analysis. One of the best online colleges in Missouri, Park University offers master's degrees in communication studies, education leadership, and information systems. The master in healthcare administration and MBA each feature several concentrations. Students can also enroll in a 4+1 degree plan in order to complete a bachelor's and master's in five years.


Missouri Southern State University 

Joplin, MO Apply Now

About this school

Missouri Southern State University, founded in 1937, began as a junior college with 114 students and nine professors. The university currently has more than 5,000 students in attendance and offers over 200 academic programs spanning four academic schools.

Missouri Southern State University offers a variety of baccalaureate and certificate programs via MSSU Online. Bachelor’s degree offerings include criminal justice, health science, environmental health and safety and business administration. Available certifications include entrepreneurial planning, paralegal studies, environmental biology and management.

Resources available to online students include online tutoring in a wide range of subjects, an online job board, online mock job interviews, technical support and an online library.


William Woods University 

Fulton, MO Apply Now

About this school

Situated on a 225-acre campus in Fulton, William Woods University uses a service-learning education model. In addition to lectures, students learn through hands-on activities, projects, internships, and other experiences. The school offers affordable tuition and does not raise fees for continuously enrolled students. Distance learning benefits include eight-week courses, accelerated learning options, and a virtual spaces for collaboration and networking.

Online bachelor's degrees include cybersecurity, business administration, and paralegal studies. One of the best online colleges in Missouri, William Woods also offers transfer programs for learners who already have at least 25 credits. Options include nursing, business administration, and workforce leadership. The bachelor's degree in ASL-English interpretation studies is a nationally recognized transfer degree that leads to certification. The school also hosts master's programs in business and education.


Northwest Missouri State University 

Maryville, MO Apply Now

About this school

Northwest Missouri State University offers approximately 120 undergraduate majors and 40 master's degrees. The school maintains articulation agreements with several two-year institutions in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Northwest's textbook and laptop rental programs save students money, making the college one of the most affordable online schools in Missouri. The school admits students in the fall, spring, and summer.

Online learners can choose one of three online baccalaureate degrees in nursing, marketing, and business management. The school also offers a number of master's programs, including geographic information science and business administration. The master of science in education features concentrations in K-12 educational leadership, curriculum and instruction, and special education. Educators can finish the program in as little as 12 months. The unique master of science in recreation features focus areas in therapeutic recreation and recreation resources management.


Saint Louis University 

Saint Louis, MO Apply Now

About this school

Saint Louis University, founded in 1818, is the second–oldest Jesuit university in America and the oldest university west of the Mississippi river. Its 13,000 students hail from all 50 states and roughly 70 countries around the world. The university performed the first human heart transplant in Missouri in 1972 and awarded the first Ph.D. in Aviation in the world in 2000.

St. Louis University provides online baccalaureate, master and certificate programs. Bachelor’s degree options include aviation management and nursing. Master’s degree offerings include applied analytics and leadership and organizational development. Certifications available include contract management and industrial psychology. Some online certificate programs may also count as minors toward a bachelor’s degree.

Resources for online students include an online job board, online writing consultations and an online library with librarians available via live chat, email, text message or over the phone.


Central Methodist University 

Fayette, MO Apply Now

About this school

Central Methodist University, founded in 1854, is a private liberal arts university with over 10,000 students in attendance, more than 4,000 of whom are off–campus students. The College of Graduate and Extended Studies, which oversees the university’s online classes, has sites located in several Missouri cities, including Clinton, Waynesville, Trenton, Union and Park Hills.

Central Methodist University offers several baccalaureate and master’s degrees online through the College of Graduate and Extended Studies. Bachelor’s degree programs include child development and sports management, while master’s degree programs include mathematics and nursing.

Resources for online students include technical support and an online library with librarians available via email or over the phone.


Missouri Baptist University 

Saint Louis, MO Apply Now

About this school

Missouri Baptist University provides a comprehensive liberal arts curriculum that embraces Christian faith. Students can attend courses on the school's main campus in Saint Louis or the 10 regional campuses. Learners unable to attend face-to-face classes can enroll in online courses anytime. The school maintains a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and offers tuition rates below the national average.

Undergraduates can choose degrees in fields such as criminal justice, applied management, and liberal arts. A degree in ministry and leadership prepares students for careers as evangelists and pastors. The curriculum blends general education with topics such as church planning, biblical counseling, and Christian theology. Like most other online colleges in Missouri, MBU also offers master's degrees. Students can choose from 12 programs in areas such as sports management, criminal justice, and Christian ministry. Doctoral students can enroll in the online Ed.D. in higher education leadership.


Maryville University of Saint Louis 

Saint Louis, MO Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1872, Maryville University of Saint Louis enrolls 8,000 students, almost half of whom study online. The school maintains a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio so each learner receives individual attention. Maryville works with businesses and industry professionals to create career-focused programs. Learners can choose from 90 degrees, including 25 online options. Maryville provides all distance learners with transfer options and personalized support.

Undergraduates can choose programs in areas such as accounting, criminal justice, and healthcare management. The bachelor of science in financial services blends financial principles with marketing and management competencies. The bachelor of arts in forensic psychology combines classes in criminal justice and psychology. One of the largest online schools in Missouri, Maryville also offers a comprehensive suite of graduate degrees. Programs start in the fall, spring, and summer.


Evangel University 

Springfield, MO Apply Now

About this school

Evangel University is one of the best online colleges in Missouri for aspiring ministers and religious workers. The school educates 2,200 learners and maintains a 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Evangel offers 70 degrees, including several online options.

Online students can choose an undergraduate, graduate, or seminary degree. The school's associate programs in general studies and management prepare learners for transfer to a bachelor's program. Evangel also offers bachelor's degrees in fields such as church ministry, behavioral health, management, and computer information systems. Graduate students can enroll in a seminary program focused on ministry leadership or intercultural studies. All online students pay the same reduced tuition rate regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency.


Columbia College 

Columbia, MO Apply Now

About this school

Columbia College, established in Columbia, Missouri in 1851, is a nonsectarian university which has kept its covenant with the Disciples of Christ since its founding. The school held its first classes in an unfinished mansion and taught grammar, history, geography, philosophy and, religion. The university has more than 27,000 students in attendance and over 30 extended campuses.

Columbia College offers several online associate, baccalaureate, master and certificate programs. Online associate degrees include computer information systems and nursing. Online bachelor’s degrees include psychology and environmental science. Online master’s degrees include business administration and educational leadership. Available online certifications include human resource management and crime scene investigation.

Online student resources include an online job board, technical support and an online library.


Hannibal-LaGrange University 

Hannibal, MO Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1858, Hannibal-LaGrange University provides learners with a Southern Baptist education. The school enrolls 1,100 students, many of whom study entirely online. HLGU maintains a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and most classes have less than 20 students.

HLGU offers five online degrees. The RN-to-BSN degree completion program allows registered nurses to complete their bachelor's in as little as one year. Students interested in business management should already have an associate degree or significant credit from another institution. The degree, which students can complete in as few as 18 months, cultivates the managerial, problem-solving, and communication skills that students need to become successful business leaders. Graduate students can choose from degrees in education, leadership, and education administration.


Stephens College 

Columbia, MO Apply Now

About this school

Established as an undergraduate women's college, Stephens College boasts a long tradition of education in creative arts and health sciences. On-campus students enjoy many unique benefits, including permission to bring a pet to campus. All distance learners pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency status, making Stephens one of the best online schools in Missouri for out-of-state students.

The school offers a fully online bachelor's in health information administration (HIA), which was the first distance learning program of its kind in the nation. Students take courses in information systems, principles of healthcare management, human resources management for healthcare, and legal and ethical issues in HIA. The degree includes an internship component to give students hands-on experience in their communities. HIA graduates are well-prepared to pass health information administrator certification exams. The program admits new students in January, June, and August.


Culver-Stockton College 

Canton, MO Apply Now

About this school

Founded by the Disciples of Christ Church, Culver-Stockton College educates 1,100 learners each year. The 140-acre campus overlooks the Mississippi River. While the school offers 60 majors, some students choose to create their own programs. The school offers several online programs specifically for adult learners with full-time jobs. One of the top online colleges in Missouri, the school offers one tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency.

The virtual college focuses on bachelor's degrees in criminal justice and business. Learners interested in becoming police officers or corrections officers can pursue the bachelor of science in criminal justice or the bachelor or applied arts and sciences in criminal justice administration. While both curricula include similar courses, the BS offers specializations in forensic accounting and forensic science. The BAAS awards significant academic credit to students with military, law enforcement, or corrections experience. Learners interested in business can choose a program in accountancy, marketing, sport business, or business administration.


Southwest Baptist University 

Bolivar, MO Apply Now

About this school

Southwest Baptist University provides learners with a liberal arts education in 80 areas of study. The school operates four campuses in southwest and south central Missouri, including locations in Springfield and Salem. Learners unable to attend campus can enroll in one of the school's online programs in health sciences or education.

For health sciences students, SBU offers two associate degrees, two bachelor's degrees, and one master's degree. Registered nurses who would like to earn a graduate degree can enroll in the master of science in nursing, a hybrid program. Other options include a bachelor's in health sciences and an associate in applied sciences. For education students, SBU offers a master of science in education with a major in instructional technology or curriculum and instruction. SBU enrolls new students in the fall, spring, and summer.


Fontbonne University 

Saint Louis, MO Apply Now

About this school

A private Catholic College, Fontbonne University serves 1,300 students each year. The school, located in suburban St. Louis, fosters personalized learning with small classes. Online learners can complete undergraduate degrees in business administration, applied behavioral sciences, or management and leadership. Half of the school's undergraduates transfer from another institution, making Fontbonne one of the best online colleges in Missouri for students with prior credit.

Individuals employed as paraprofessionals or teachers' assistants in special education can enroll in Fontbonne's signature paraprofessional pathways program in order to earn teaching certification and a bachelor's degree. Candidates continue working while completing the degree online. Upon graduation, students are eligible for K-12 mild/moderate cross-categorical certification. Graduate students can enroll in a master's program in computer science or business administration. New students can begin in the fall, spring, and summer.


Logan University 

Chesterfield, MO Apply Now

About this school

Logan University specializes in training healthcare professionals, particularly in chiropractic medicine and health sciences. The school emphasizes hands-on instruction in real-world settings. Learners unable to attend classes on the school's campus in Chesterfield can choose from several online degree options.

The school's online bachelor's in human biology enrolls both freshmen and transfer students with a science background. Learners complete upper-division coursework in subjects such as biology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology. One of the best online colleges in Missouri for healthcare professionals, Logan University also offers master's degrees in health informatics, nutrition and human performance, and sports science and rehabilitation. All students pay the same tuition rate regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency, and the school provides merit scholarships to reduce tuition costs. The school accepts students in January, May, and September.


End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Colleges

Online Colleges in Missouri Ranking Guidelines

We selected the online schools in Missouri based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, and faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.