When researching online colleges in Montana, you will find a vast array of digital resources at your disposal. Within the Montana University System, 16 schools enroll 46,000 students and offer online and hybrid degree formats tailored to fit student needs. Montana’s largest industries include agriculture, travel and tourism, timber, and mining. As such, distance learners can earn degrees in programs like agricultural education, land resources and environmental science, wilderness management, horsemanship, and diesel technology. More traditional programs, such as degrees in business administration, communications, public relations, accounting, human resource management, and mathematics, may also be completed at online schools in Montana.
Montana maintains membership with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, a resource-sharing education system from which students at all levels benefit both financially and academically. The state also houses the Montana Higher Education Consortium, which creates professional development, networking, and collaboration opportunities for faculty at all Montana universities and colleges. This organization promotes high educational and teaching standards, cutting-edge research, and quality programs for students. Additionally, Montana offers competitively low tuition rates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in-state and out-of-state tuition in Montana remain 27% and 18% cheaper, respectively, than the national average.
For distance learners, online courses at colleges in Montana offer more scheduling flexibility than traditional on-campus programs. Both part- and full-time online programs can help students earn their degrees while maintaining jobs, familial obligations, and other daily commitments.
Four reasons to find an online college in your state:
- Guaranteed in-state tuition saves you money
- Be a part of a university or college you know and love
- Get a degree from a school employers know and trust
- Be close enough to easily visit when desired
Ranking guidelines for the best online colleges in Montana:
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 Montana, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in Montana 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 Montana.
The Best Online Colleges in Montana
1. Montana State University – Billings
Montana State University Billings has one of the largest campus populations in the state with more than 4,900 students in attendance. The campus sits on 100 acres of land. The university’s online platform, MSUB Online, offers more than 200 classes online. The campus has hosted several TEDx Talks with speakers including several local educators, leaders and musicians.
Montana State University Billings offers a variety of associate, baccalaureate, master and certificate programs via MSUB Online. Associate’s degrees include accounting and human resources. Bachelor’s degree options include public relations and mass communication. Master’s degree offerings include special education and mental health counseling. Certifications available include medical coding and billing, as well as long-term care.
Resources for online students include technical support, an online alcohol abuse prevention course, an online job board and an online library with librarians available via email or over the phone.
Montana State University Billings is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
2. University of Montana
The University of Montana, established in 1893, is a public research university and the flagship campus of the University of Montana System.
The University of Montana offers a variety of associate, baccalaureate, master and certificate programs via UM Online. Associate’s degrees include energy tech, while bachelor’s degree options include media arts. Master’s degrees include public health, music education, educational leadership and curriculum studies. Certifications available include forensic studies and nonprofit administration.
Resources available to online students include career advice videos, an online job board, technical support via email or over the phone, online tutoring by appointment and an online library.
The University of Montana is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
3. Montana State University – Bozeman
Montana State University, a public university established in 1893, is among the largest universities in the state with more than 15,000 students in attendance and over 110 available degree programs across 9 academic colleges. The university’s museum is home to the largest Tyrannosaurus rex skull ever discovered.
Montana State University offers a variety of entirely online baccalaureate, master and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degrees include a degree completion program in liberal studies. Online master’s degrees include agriculture and nursing. Online certificates include addiction counseling and Native American studies.
Online student resources include an online writing lab, technical support via email or over the phone and an online library with librarians available via live chat, email, text message or over the phone.
Montana State University is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
4. Montana State University – Northern
Montana State University–Northern, founded in 1929, offers its roughly 1,100 students more than 40 degree programs. The university offers an array of undergraduate degrees in areas such as agriculture, business, applied science, education, nursing and more. The university offers a Master of Education in Counselor Education degree and a Master of Science in Education, Instruction and Learning degree.
Montana State University-Northern has a number of associate’s degrees available entirely online. These associate’s degree offerings include business, nursing, criminal justice and education.
Resources available to online students include an online library with access to a vast pool of online databases, document delivery and several librarians available via text message or over the phone to assist students.
Montana State University–Northern is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
5. University of Providence
Great Falls, Montana
The University of Providence is a Roman Catholic university established in 1932. It used to be an all-female teacher’s college, but the university began admitting men just 5 years later. The university has more than 30 learning centers throughout Montana, Wyoming and part of Alberta, Canada in addition to its main campus. The university serves more than 1,000 students and offers over 20 degree programs.
The University of Providence offers its associate’s, baccalaureate and master’s degree programs through Microsoft Lync and through Moodle. Associate’s degrees include criminal justice and paralegal studies. Bachelor’s degree options include psychology and criminal justice. Master’s degree offerings include organizational management.
Online student resources include an extensive online library.
The University of Providence is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
6. Montana Tech
Located in Butte and established in 1900, Montana Tech offers a variety of online degrees and certificates. For undergraduate students, the bachelor of science in nursing completion post-licensure degree builds upon learners’ previous knowledge gained in associate registered nurse programs. This degree requires clinical hours that must be completed in Montana. Another online program available to students includes the healthcare informatics technology certificate, which benefits working professionals who wish to transition into the information technology field.
Graduate degrees offered at this online school in Montana include the master of science degree in project engineering and management or industrial hygiene. Lastly, Montana Tech offers a graduate certificate in healthcare informatics. Courses take place through the Blackboard learning system in both synchronous and asynchronous formats, depending on the course and instructor.
Prospective undergraduate students must apply online and submit their ACT or SAT scores and high school transcripts. New freshmen should hold a minimum GPA of 2.5 and rank in the top 50% of their high school graduating class. Applicants for online graduate programs must submit their GRE scores, transcripts, three letters of reference, a personal statement outlining professional goals, and a resume. Prospective distance learners for any program at Montana Tech should email their desired department to ensure they submit all required application materials for that major.
Montana Tech is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).