TheBestSchools’ Online Bachelors Degree Guide
Updated October 12, 2022
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Are you ready to discover your college program?
Earning a bachelor's degree online makes it easier than ever to graduate and pursue employment or further education. Our degree guide explores many majors for you to find the right fit to reach your goals.
Should you pursue a bachelor's degree? What major makes the most sense for your career goals? And where can you find more information about online colleges? Many prospective college students may wonder about the differences between business, computer science, education, healthcare, or social science degrees.
TheBestSchools offers resources on every question prospective students face along their journey. Our resources cover the issues that matter most, including finding the top-ranked online program in your major and launching a career after college.
Deciding to Pursue an Online Bachelor's Degree
Who should earn an online bachelor's degree? What's the best way to choose an online college or pick the right major? Online programs may appeal to students seeking a flexible route to college degrees. Working students and busy adults often prefer the convenience of online education.
Our resources help prospective applicants identify the most popular online colleges and the best college in every state. If you're still not sure, check out how to use our rankings for more information.
How to Choose an Online Degree Program
Choosing Your Major
What's the best major? Figuring out how to choose a major starts with exploring the available college majors. Then, undecided students should research the most popular majors and career paths for different degrees. For example, our list of the highest-paying bachelor's degrees previews the earning potential across different majors.
The right major depends on each student's interests, strengths, and career goals. Check out the links below for more guidance on choosing the right major.
How to Choose Your College Major
Highest Paying Bachelor's Degrees
Advertising and Communications Bachelor's Degrees
The advertising and communication field relies on persuasive reasoning, data analytics, and creative thinking. Majors in this field strengthen those abilities while building problem-solving and communication skills.
A bachelor's in journalism, for example, trains undergraduates to communicate ideas and information effectively. Media communications degrees emphasize public relations and media relations skills. And a bachelor's in marketing builds strong data analysis and research skills. Graduates with marketing degrees can pursue roles as market research analysts or opportunities in related fields like advertising and public relations.
Choosing an online program makes it easier to research lower-cost bachelor's degrees. For example, online colleges offer affordable marketing degrees and communication programs.
Art and Design Bachelor's Degrees
Art and design degrees blend creativity and technology. In diverse majors like graphic design, multimedia design, and video game design, undergrads study design principles while learning how to use design software.
Creative pathways like a bachelor's degree in music, a degree in music therapy, or a bachelor's in film develop students' creative skills. Many online colleges offer affordable video game design programs to help graduates launch careers in an innovative, exciting field.
Business Management and Administration Bachelor's Degrees
Management occupations offer the highest median wages of any job group. At the undergraduate level, learners pursue a business administration or business management degree to strengthen leadership and organizational management skills. Many business schools offer specialized programs in international business, project management, and human resources to prepare for focused career paths.
Undergrads who want to launch businesses pursue entrepreneurship majors, while those interested in athletics study sports management. A business intelligence degree emphasizes data analytics and decision-making skills. Students can also research affordable bachelor's degrees in business or healthcare management.
Computer Science and Information Technology Bachelor's Degrees
The computer science and information technology field offers median wages of more than double the national median pay. Within the field, students can pursue different types of computer science degrees, including bachelor's in network administration and software engineering programs.
These majors provide specialized technical skills for careers as database managers, software developers, and programmers. Other common programs include computer engineering, information technology, and computer programming.
Undergrads can earn degrees in computer information systems or management information systems to manage data. A web development degree trains graduates to build websites, while web design programs emphasize the graphic side of tech.
Management Information Systems
Criminal Justice and Legal Studies
This field offers several engaging professional pathways. At the undergraduate level, students can earn criminal justice or legal studies degrees to launch careers in law enforcement, the court system, or corrections. Some colleges offer specialized degrees in crime scene investigation or law enforcement. Learners can also pursue bachelor's degrees in corrections to work in the correctional system.
Other criminal justice majors include forensic science or a cybercrime degree. These programs emphasize investigative skills while training graduates to understand the criminal justice system.
Education Bachelor's Degrees
An education degree helps graduates launch careers as teachers, child development specialists, health educators, and school staff. During a bachelor's of education, undergrads can focus in areas like elementary education, special education, and early childhood education. Learners can also pursue teaching degrees to meet the requirements for teaching licensure.
In addition to these education majors, degree-seekers can earn bachelor's degrees in child development, health education, and English language learning. These majors lead to specialized careers working with children and adult learners. When researching education programs, prospective teachers should research licensure requirements in their area.
Finance and Accounting Bachelor's Degrees
Finance and accounting degrees blend the social sciences and business. A degree in finance or accounting can strengthen analytical and decision-making skills. These majors require a detail-oriented outlook and an ability to analyze complex financial situations.
A bachelor's in accounting prepares graduates for careers as auditors and accountants, while finance majors can pursue financial analyst roles. Students can also earn degrees in certified financial planning (CFP) or study human decision-making in economics degrees.
Health and Nutrition Bachelor's Degrees
Degrees in health and nutrition prepare graduates for well-paying careers in the fast-growing healthcare sector. Nurses can increase their earning potential with bachelor's degrees in nursing and online RN-to-BSN programs. Degrees in health sciences, nutritional sciences, and health informatics provide a solid foundation for healthcare careers or graduate study in the health sciences.
Students can also gain leadership training with bachelor's in healthcare administration and healthcare management degrees. With a mix of classroom and experiential learning, these programs build the knowledge and skills required for health-related careers.
Social Sciences Bachelor's Degrees
The social sciences study the institutions created by people. Social sciences degrees strengthen critical thinking and analytical skills. In this field, degree-seekers can pursue political science, social science, and organizational leadership programs.
A sociology degree investigates social institutions and group interactions. In an anthropology degree, learners explore society and culture from the days of the earliest humans through the 21st century. A geography degree examines human activity and the natural environment, while a history degree studies past societies and cultures. While learning history, anthropology, or geography, undergrads build strong research and writing skills.
Liberal Arts, Language, and Literature Bachelor's Degrees
A bachelor's degree in liberal arts, language, or literature strengthens communication, research, and writing skills. Many colleges offer bachelor's degrees in general studies or liberal arts, in which students design custom majors based on their interests and career goals. These programs emphasize critical thinking and reasoning abilities.
Learners can also pursue English degrees and writing degrees. The most affordable English degrees help graduates launch careers in education, public relations, editing, and writing.
Math and Engineering Bachelor's Degrees
Math and engineering majors build strong analytical and problem-solving skills. A bachelor's in mathematics can lead to careers as a data analyst, statistician, or math teacher.
In this field, students can pursue civil engineering, electrical engineering, and electronics engineering degrees. Engineering majors strengthen their materials science and structural analysis skills while completing project-based assignments. Online colleges work with math and engineering students to complete any lab or internship requirements in their local areas.
Psychology, Counseling, and Social Work Bachelor's Degrees
Degrees in psychology, counseling, and social work rank among the most popular undergraduate majors. These fields introduce students to human behavior, the social services network, and counseling skills. Learners can pursue online bachelor's in counseling and specialized addiction recovery degrees in the field. A family development degree can open the door for careers in community services and education.
Within psychology, undergrads can study behavioral psychology, forensic psychology, and general psychology. Degrees in social work or human services can lead to opportunities in social services and case management. These programs also prepare learners for graduate-level study in psychology, counseling, and social work.
Theology and Religious Studies Bachelor's Degrees
Colleges offer theology and religious studies degrees to students considering careers in ministry, pastoral care, and other religious career paths. We rank the best schools for studying the Bible to help applicants find the right fit for their needs.
Our resources also include information on the best online ministry programs and the top bachelor's in theology programs. These resources help prospective enrollees identify strong theology and religious studies programs.
Bachelor's Degrees for Career Paths in the Trades
Professionals in several vocational jobs benefit from a bachelor's degree. For example, students can pursue bachelor's degrees in construction management or supply chain logistics to advance into roles with greater responsibilities. Colleges may also offer tourism degrees and hospitality management degrees.
In the criminal justice and public administration field, a bachelor's in homeland security or emergency management can lead to opportunities with federal agencies. A bachelor's in aeronautics or aviation may open the door to more lucrative career paths in aviation.
Pursuing an Online Bachelor's Degree
An online bachelor's degree prioritizes flexibility and convenience. But what should students look for in online colleges? What are the advantages of online education? And how should students prepare for online classes?
Our resources rank the best online colleges, offer essential tools for distance learners, and explore the differences between asynchronous and synchronous classes. These resources help current and prospective online learners make the most of their time in college.
The Best Online Colleges and Universities of 2021
What to Look for in an Online College
Advantages of a Dedicated Online Program
Synchronous Learning vs. Asynchronous Learning
Essential Tools for Online College Students
Paying for Your Bachelor's Degree
Many prospective students worry about paying for college. Fortunately, students can benefit from college scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid to make a bachelor's degree more affordable.
Understanding college finances and researching student loans helps degree-seekers make informed decisions. An online bachelor's degree can also help students save money. Many colleges offer tuition discounts for distance learners, and an online format makes it easier to choose an affordable program.
TheBestSchools' College Finances Guide
How to Find Scholarships for College
What You Should Know About Student Loans
The Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor's Degrees
Alternative Paths to a Bachelor's Degree
A traditional bachelor's program takes four years. Students can pursue online bachelor's programs, enroll in degree completion programs, and use transfer credits to potentially shorten that time.
For example, students with an associate degree from a community college can transfer into a four-year college and complete a bachelor's in two years. Students can also earn college credits in high school to earn a degree faster. Students looking to begin or finish their bachelor's degrees can benefit from the following resources.
Online College: The Fastest Online Bachelor's Degree Programs
Best Online Degree Completion Programs
Seven Ways You Can Earn College Credits While Still In High School
Recent Publications for Prospective Bachelor's Students
What's the best way to network in an online program? Do tech companies hire people with humanities degrees? How can you avoid burnout in college? Our recent publications tackle the topics you care about. Check out our blog to learn more about choosing a school or major, succeeding in an online learning environment, and launching a career after college.
Bookmark TheBestSchools Magazine to read our latest posts on college, career paths, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pursuing a Bachelor's Degree
Is a Bachelor's Degree Two or Four Years?
A bachelor's degree generally takes four years for full-time students. Transfer students with prior college credits and individuals with associate degrees can earn their bachelor's degrees in less time.
How Do You Finish a Bachelor's Degree Fast?
Undergrads can enroll in accelerated programs or pursue credit by exam to make progress toward their degree more quickly. Transferring credits, receiving credit for work experience, and enrolling in a higher course load can also help students graduate faster.
Is Getting a Bachelor's Degree Worth It?
Yes. College graduates earn more money. Professionals with bachelor's degrees earn $27,000 more each year than individuals with just high school diplomas, according to 2020 BLS data.
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