Best Online Degree Completion Programs | TheBestSchools

by TBS Staff

Updated September 13, 2022

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Degree Completion Programs

A bachelor's degree helps professionals advance their careers and increase their earning potential. Many career paths require a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions, and professionals with a bachelor's degree earn over $30,000 more per year than those with only a high school diploma.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 60% of undergraduate students earn their bachelor's degree within six years, meaning 40% of students do not complete their bachelor's degree. Some students leave college because of work or family obligations, while others face financial barriers.

Online degree-completion programs offer flexibility and accessibility. The flexibility of an online learning format lets students arrange coursework around professional and personal responsibilities. Additionally, online learning allows students to complete a variety of programs throughout the country without the need to relocate. This page introduces the best online degree-completion programs.

Featured Online Bachelor's Degrees

The Best Online Programs to Complete Your Bachelor's Degree

  1. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Based in Gainesville, the University of Florida hosts over 56,000 students. UF's online degree-completion programs help students with prior college credit complete their bachelor's degree. Degree-completion students can choose from over 20 majors offered through UF Online. Applicants may need to meet coursework prerequisites to gain admission to a specific program.

    Online degree-completion programs at UF include:

    • Business administration
    • Computer science
    • Public relations
    • Criminology
    • Education sciences

    Applicants with at least 60 college credits and a minimum 2.5 GPA qualify as transfer applicants. Some majors include minimum GPA requirements on prerequisite coursework. For example, prospective business administration majors must have completed financial accounting, microeconomics, and other prerequisites with at least a 2.5 GPA. UF Online degree-completion students can earn their bachelor's degree in as little as two years.

  2. University of Massachusetts
    Location

    Boston, MA

    A public institution in Boston, the University of Massachusetts-Boston offers online and on-campus degrees. The College of Advancing and Professional Studies at UMass Boston offers global affairs and RN-to-BSN degree-completion programs that help students with prior college credits to complete a bachelor's degree. The bachelor of arts in global affairs program accepts up to 90 transfer credits toward the degree, allowing degree-completion students to earn their bachelor's degree in as little as one year.

    Similarly, the RN-to-BSN program at UMass Boston provides a flexible, fully online route to a bachelor's degree for nurses seeking career advancement. RNs can earn their BSN in as little as three semesters at UMass Boston. The flexible format appeals to nurses who want to continue working while earning a degree.

    Online students at UMass Boston benefit from the institution's "anytime, anywhere" approach to online learning, which requires no specific meeting times or locations. Online students can access the UMass Boston library and other student services.

  3. Boston University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Boston University offers several online programs through BU Online, including an online degree-completion program in interdisciplinary studies. The program admits students with 52-64 transfer credits.

    The fully online degree includes courses on topics like U.S. history, rhetoric, and philosophy, giving students a strong liberal arts foundation and building critical thinking skills. Learners can complete the degree in 30 months. The flexibility of the online learning format appeals to students with work and family obligations.

    The degree-completion program admits candidates who demonstrate academic preparedness, including prior coursework in English and mathematics. When considering applicants, the admissions committee also looks for students who demonstrate maturity and motivation. Online students can access the BU library, bookstore, and Office of Disability Services.

  4. Northeastern University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Founded in 1898, Northeastern University offers over 80 programs through Northeastern Online, including degree-completion programs. The school focuses on business and technology, offering degree options in areas like analytics and project management that prepare graduates for in-demand careers.

    Northeastern prioritizes experiential learning, even for online students. The programs incorporate professional practice in the academic process, helping learners build career-ready skills. Some programs offer internships or virtual work projects with sponsoring organizations. Online students can also participate in full-time co-op opportunities, where they gain experience in a paid position.

    Northeastern offers online degree-completion options in:

    • Analytics
    • Information technology
    • Liberal studies
    • Management
    • Project management
    • Psychology

    Degree-completion students apply as transfer students. Northeastern partners with community colleges in several states to create a seamless transfer process. Most programs admit students in the fall, spring, and summer.

  5. Indiana University – Bloomington
    Location

    Bloomington, IN

    The flagship campus in Indiana's public university system, Indiana University-Bloomington ranks among the best public universities in the country. IU offers multiple online degree-completion options for students who want to finish their bachelor's degree. Many of the online classes at IU operate on an asynchronous schedule, meaning students can arrange coursework around personal and professional obligations.

    Online degree-completion learners can choose from a variety of majors. Majors such as business, informatics, and mathematics prepare graduates for in-demand careers. Students can also pursue social science majors like history, political science, or sociology, which build strong analytical and critical thinking skills.

    IU's degree-completion majors include:

    • Business administration
    • Applied health sciences
    • Criminal justice
    • History
    • Informatics
    • Mathematics
    • RN-to-BSN

    Applicants must submit transcripts and an essay. Admitted students can earn their degree in as little as two years. Online learners benefit from academic and support services. Indiana residents receive a tuition discount.

  6. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    The University of Minnesota offers 150 undergraduate majors. Students can finish a bachelor's degree online through U of M Online in areas like business, communications, health, or English. U of M also offers several online degrees focused on management, including manufacturing management, health management, and information technology management.

    Online degree-completion programs at U of M include:

    • Applied health
    • Accounting
    • Communications
    • Management
    • Marketing

    Transfer students must submit an application, short essay questions, transcripts, and recommendations. Online U of M students qualify for financial aid and gain access to resources like technology help desk services, university libraries, and U of M online support. Most online students benefit from in-state tuition rates.

  7. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Drexel University, located in Philadelphia, offers a technology-focused education through online and on-campus degrees. Drexel offers a variety of online degree-completion programs in areas like education, business administration, and nursing.

    Online learners at Drexel can also customize their degree with a general studies bachelor's degree. General studies majors create a customized curriculum based on their interests and career goals.

    Online degree-completion programs at Drexel include:

    • Behavioral health counseling
    • Business administration
    • Criminology and justice studies
    • Education
    • General studies
    • RN-to-BSN

    Students can transfer 60-90 credits toward the 120-credit bachelor's degrees, depending on the program. Drexel does not charge an application fee.

  8. Florida State University, Office of Distance Learning
    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    Based in Tallahassee, Florida State University offers online and on-campus degrees. Students who want to complete a bachelor's degree can enroll in a fully online degree-completion program through Distance @ FSU. Online learners benefit from a flexible format and extensive student support services.

    FSU offers online programs in several majors, including computer science, public safety, and social science. The social science degree offers a multidisciplinary curriculum addressing contemporary social issues and problems. Students can customize the degree through concentrations in urban studies, public policy, or environmental studies.

    FSU's online degree-completion options include:

    • Computer science
    • Criminology
    • Public safety and security
    • Social science

    FSU organizes study groups; hosts livestream events; and offers resources for online students, including academic advising, career advising, and academic tutoring. FSU also provides time management assistance and mentoring services for online learners.

  9. University of Missouri
    Location

    Columbia, MO

    The University of Missouri-Columbia, the flagship campus of the Missouri public university system, offers several online degree-completion programs through Mizzou Online. Online courses last for 8-16 weeks, depending on the program. Online learners can also enroll in self-paced courses, which allow students to complete coursework at their own pace within a six-month period.

    Online degree-completion students choose from majors like general studies, business administration, and education. In the general studies program, students complete arts and sciences courses, electives, and foreign language courses. In the business administration major, students gain decision-making and organizational management skills.

    Mizzou offers the following online degree-completion programs:

    • General studies
    • Interdisciplinary studies
    • Business administration
    • Educational studies
    • Public health
    • RN-to-BSN

    Mizzou Online offers a 10% tuition discount for community college graduates, veterans, and military service members. Dependents of veterans and military service members also qualify for the discount. Transfer students with at least 24 college credits need a minimum 2.5 GPA. Students with an associate degree from a regionally accredited Missouri community college can gain admission with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

  10. University of Denver – University College
    Location

    Denver, CO

    The University of Denver offers several online degree-completion programs. Online students take courses asynchronously, allowing them to arrange classwork around personal and professional obligations.

    DU offers several majors for students completing a bachelor's degree online. Learners can choose from options like communication arts, global studies, and healthcare administration. The global studies major examines social, economic, and political issues across national boundaries. The healthcare administration major trains students to manage healthcare delivery, positioning graduates for leadership roles in the industry.

    DU offers online bachelor's degree-completion programs in the following majors:

    • Communication arts
    • Global studies
    • Healthcare administration
    • Information technology
    • Leadership and organizational studies

    DU prioritizes flexibility through its online learning platform, which lets students complete school work on their own schedule.

Online Programs to Complete Your Bachelor's Degree Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Online Public Health Programs

What Are Degree Completion Programs?

Degree-completion programs allow students with college credits to finish their bachelor's degree. During the program, students may complete coursework in a variety of disciplines, including business, the social sciences, the humanities, and the natural sciences. Most degree-completion programs accept 60-90 credits toward the degree, meaning students can finish a bachelor's degree in 1-2 years.

"Admissions advisors can help students choose the degree-completion program that best fits their education background and career goals."

Depending on the program, students may pursue a specific major like English, economics, or psychology. Some programs offer more general options, like a liberal studies degree.

Many learners prefer online degree-completion programs for the flexible schedule they provide. During an online bachelor's degree, students can often meet graduation requirements at their pace. Many programs offer part-time or accelerated options to fit the needs of students.

Who Should Consider an Online Bachelor's Degree Completion Program?

An online bachelor's degree-completion program appeals to students with work and family obligations. Many online degree-completion programs let students complete coursework and assignments on their own schedule.

Online degree-completion programs also help students save money. By completing a bachelor's degree online, students can compare colleges and universities across the country to find the most affordable option. Online students attending an accredited degree-completion program also qualify for federal financial aid opportunities.

Featured Online Masters Degrees

Frequently Asked Questions About Degree-Completion Programs

What Does Completing a Degree Mean?

Completing a degree is when a student drops out of college before finishing the credits needed for a bachelor's degree, then goes back to school later to finish. Many colleges offer online degree-completion programs for former students who already have many of the credits they need to graduate.

What Are the Four Types of Degrees?

Associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate are the four main levels of degrees offered at most four-year colleges. In some fields, students can also earn first-professional degrees, like a juris doctorate.

Is Your Major Your Degree?

No. Your major is the area of study that you specialize in, while your degree is the credential you earn. Some people earn degrees in general studies, meaning that they have bachelor's degrees but no major. However, this is rare, and most college graduates have a degree in a specific field.

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