Best Online Bachelor’s in International Business
| TBS Staff
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Of the many undergraduate majors that universities offer, business remains one of the most popular areas of study, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The field attracts learners in part for its versatility and potential earnings after graduation. International business offers students even more opportunities to grow.
Earning an international business degree online equips graduates with the skills necessary to succeed in roles at large global businesses, ambitious startups, or government organizations with positions as trade compliance officers, marketing professionals, buyers, and managers. PayScale reports that professionals with these degrees earn $54,000 per year on average.
With a bachelor's degree in business administration, which can include a concentration in international business, professionals make an average of $61,000 annually. Positions for these graduates generally include human resources managers, operations managers, and financial controllers.
Professionals who choose specific areas of business can earn even more with a bachelor's of international business online. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that labor relations specialists earn median wages of $67,790 per year and budget analysts earn about $76,220 annually. Graduates often find employment at government organizations and nonprofits that partner with businesses around the world.
The Best Online Bachelor in International Business Degree Programs
Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University offers a fully online bachelor’s in international business. LU’s dedication to its Christian mission is evident in its academic offerings and student life. Courses like Christian life and thought are required alongside more traditional course offerings.
LU’s bachelor of science in business administration with a focus on international business consists of 120 total credit hours, at least 30 of which must be taken at LU. The program is composed of asynchronous courses, allowing students the convenience of completing coursework in a self–paced manner. The bachelor’s degree generally takes four years of full–time study to complete. Tuition is the same for in–state and out–of–state online learners, but VA residents are eligible for certain kinds of financial aid.
Courses in international business strategy, marketing, and finance provide students with overviews of international business topics, while cognates (clusters of courses in specific subject areas) allow students to explore career–related interests. An in–person internship in a related field is strongly recommended, but not required. Graduates of this BS program are well–positioned to enroll in LU’s master of business administration program, and can receive credit for many courses taken as an undergraduate.
A wide range of student services support business students’ success in LU’s bachelor’s in international business program. LU’s Online Writing Center provides in–person and online tutoring. Transfer students, who make up 80% of students studying online at Liberty University, receive admissions consultations. The university uses free online resources rather than textbooks in almost every undergraduate course.
While Fort Hays State University is located in Hays, Kansas, its online programs have expanded its reach beyond the Midwest. FHSU’s bachelor of business administration in international business and economics is unique in that its coursework is integrative, which means students think critically on interdisciplinary topics such as social justice, global environmental issues, and technology in society.
Consisting of 124 credit hours, FHSU’s online bachelor of business administration degree with a major in international business and economics prepares students for careers in business, government, and international agencies. Courses include several from the fields of economics and finance, along with electives such as geographic information systems, leadership and team dynamics, and comparative cultures and societies.
The university’s commitment to personal academic advising is evident in its live, on–demand, and online tutoring services. FHSU encourages transfer students to apply, offering pre–enrollment options to make the transition from one school to another as stress–free as possible.
Florida International University in Miami offers a fully online bachelor of business administration in international business. Cross–cultural communication, global strategy, and innovative thinking are cultivated throughout FIU’s program. Students learn to recognize and navigate innovation and growth across international, linguistic, and cultural boundaries. As an internationally focused university, FIU’s international business bachelor’s degree draws students from all over the world.
To foster the success of international business bachelor’s students as they complete the required 120 credits, FIU Online pairs each learner with a success coach. The success coach provides guidance tailored to each student’s needs and interests. Flexible start dates allow students interested in earning a bachelor’s in international business to begin their studies in the fall, spring, or summer semesters.
While some courses have asynchronous components, others require group projects and time–bound assignments. For transfer students, a minimum GPA of 2.5 in previous college coursework is required for admission. ACT or SAT scores are required for all entering students. Florida residents pay about one–third less than non–Florida residents.
Davenport University offers an online bachelor of business administration in international business. DU’s online international business bachelor’s degree emphasizes the skills needed to thrive in a global, multicultural business world. The program is unique in that it requires a course in global geography and cultures. Students conclude their four–year, 120–credit program with an interdisciplinary, four–credit capstone course.
DU’s program is also distinguished by its study abroad programs. Students work with department professors and the study abroad office to design affordable options, including international management internships. Several student services are provided to encourage DU student success. Online tutors in specific subject areas, as well as on–campus subject matter experts, are available at seven Michigan campuses.
DU’s website includes video tutorials for all platforms used to host online courses. Students can transfer up to 90 credits. For both high school and college students, DU requires a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and an ACT composite score of 18 or higher, or an SAT verbal/math score of 870 or higher. Those who do not meet these benchmarks are encouraged to contact the admissions office for a review of options. Michigan residents pay about half the tuition rate as non–Michigan students.
Southern New Hampshire University, located in Manchester, New Hampshire, offers an online bachelor’s in international business. Courses are delivered asynchronously, offering flexibility and convenience for students working to complete the program’s 120 credit hours. SNHU’s program focuses on international topics including the global financial system and multinational marketing. A variety of other integrated, thematic courses help students develop an understanding of the different cultural, financial, marketing, and management systems that drive international business in the U.S. and abroad.
SNHU bills itself as a transfer–friendly environment, with up to 90 credits transferable toward an undergraduate degree. All students benefit from the expertise of both career and academic advisors. Online tutoring through Smarthinking and an online and in–person writing center are two of many support services that support students’ academic success. Notably, SNHU ensures that trained instructors who are accomplished in online learning and course delivery teach students’ early classes. This practice encourages the development of positive habits from the very start.
SNHU encourages students to fill out their free online undergraduate application. They point out that applicants do not need to send previous institutions’ transcripts, as they do for many online business programs.
Minot State University in the small, northern city of Minot, North Dakota, offers the online bachelor of science in international business. Coursework focuses on comparative, international perspectives on every aspect of business, including finance, strategy, and marketing. The online bachelor’s in international business culminates in a focused study on a geographic region.
Students can complete the 120–credit program at their own speed, and learners who take advantage of the university’s eight–week, abbreviated terms can finish the program at an accelerated pace. While some courses are taught asynchronously, their format is usually mixed, and courses often require synchronous discussions using webcams and microphones at scheduled times.
MSU is a public university, and North Dakota residents are eligible for financial aid. Depending on their state of residence, some students are not eligible to participate in MSU’s program; it is important that students check to make sure their state is eligible to participate in MSU’s offerings.
Minnesota State University–Mankato offers a partially online undergraduate bachelor of science in international business. Major courses are online, while general education courses are offered in–person. This option could be beneficial for transfer students, who may have completed — or may be close to completing — their general education courses. Students can apply to the international business major after completing most of their general education courses, and must have earned a minimum GPA of 2.70.
MNSU’s bachelor’s in international business program may be moving toward a more exclusively online format, as many courses have been recently added as online offerings. Courses are available in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
MNSU’s online bachelor’s in international business program offers students the unique opportunity to apply business skills in practical settings. The program’s culminating, integrated business experience is a multi–course, semester–long, cooperative learning project in which students work together to conceive and operate their own businesses. Students move through these applied courses in cohorts, giving them the chance to work together and form bonds.
Golden Gate University’s San Francisco location gives it a unique perspective on innovation and success in international business. Its online bachelor of science in business offers an international business concentration, which is one of many online options within the university’s broader offering of business programs. In fact, GGU offers all its undergraduate and graduate–level programs online.
Coursework in GGU’s online bachelor’s in international business program provides an overview of various aspects of international business, including marketing and management Courses are also available on specific regions of the world, such as doing business in Latin America and doing business in Europe. Courses are taught asynchronously, so students enjoy maximum flexibility within a structured online format.
For admission, students must possess a minimum high school GPA of 3.0, demonstrate at least three years of professional work experience, write a personal statement about goals and how they might be met at the university, and (in some cases) participate in an interview with the dean. While these requirements are uniquely thorough among online programs, GGU does not require standardized test scores for undergraduate applicants. The university’s admission process reflects its student–centered approach; students’ dreams, ambitions, and place in the institution are considered more relevant by GGU’s admissions officers than standardized test scores.
The University of Houston–Downtown serves a large and diverse student population, 99% of whom live in the city of Houston. UHD’s bachelor of business administration in international business program is one of several of the university’s BBA degrees; other major programs are available in accounting, finance, and management information systems. Each 120–credit program take approximately four years to complete. UHD’s online international business bachelor’s program balances foundational courses on business knowledge with interdisciplinary, cross–cultural courses that share a central, global focus.
Coursework is completed online in asynchronous classes, but students must also complete either a study abroad program or an internationally focused, experiential learning project. Online students are given multiple venues through which to seek academic support. An online orientation provides a welcoming way to introduce students to each other and explore the course platforms. UHD’s Writing and Reading Center offers tutoring, and round–the–clock technological support is available. The business school maintains online course rotation schedules, which helps students plan their classes effectively and graduate in a timely manner.
Because UHD is a public university, non–Texas residents pay almost three times more tuition than do Texas residents. Students are admitted based on a combination of standardized test scores and GPA.
Located in the northwestern Oregon city of McMinnville, Linfield College–Online and Continuing Education offers an online bachelor’s in international business. Students earning this degree explore international markets and cultures, including through a study abroad program. While study abroad may be out of reach for some, professors and advisors work to ensure an affordable experience that fits each student’s circumstances. Courses like intercultural communication enhance students’ ability to succeed in these endeavors. Students enrolled in LC’s online bachelor of science in international business are encouraged to work with mentors in their areas of interest to create self–designed academic experiences.
Articulation agreements with local community colleges are helpful to transfer students, who must have earned a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all prior coursework. LC demonstrates respect for the academic ability and professional experiences of its students by waiving prerequisites on a case–by–case basis. In an innovative and unique practice, LC students can create portfolios demonstrating practical skills and knowledge.
LC notes that their costs are affordable compared to other international business bachelor’s programs, especially for part–time students. Charges are based on the number of credits taken each semester — rather than on a flat fee — and no down payment is required. Financial advisors, admissions counselors, academic mentors, and technical support assistants are available to guide students through admissions, registration, and beyond.
We selected degree programs based on quality of program and range of courses, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]
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Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!
Advantages of an International Business Education
Many international business online degree programs are business administration degrees with specializations in international business. With an associate in business administration, professionals earn $52,000 per year on average. The available jobs at this level include office manager, executive assistant, retail store manager, and administrative assistant. Even with a concentration in international business, these degrees rarely offer benefits such as global travel and mobility within a company.
A bachelor’s degree in international business opens up jobs with these benefits and higher salaries. Graduates with these degrees can work as managers in many sections of business, including finance, marketing, and human resources. Furthermore, MBA programs require candidates to hold bachelor’s degrees. Professionals with MBAs in international business make an average of $89,000 annually. Graduates often work in upper management in roles such as business development manager, marketing director, senior financial analyst, and vice president. It’s important for learners to understand their earning potential before enrolling.
International Business Career and Salary Information
Graduates with an international business bachelor's degree have a variety of businees career opportunities available to them. They often work in economics or finance and tend to receive high salaries. Graduates can also work in marketing or public relations for an international business.
- Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers
- These professionals can also be called logistics managers. They oversee the shipping and storage of production materials and final products. These managers can work for shipping and warehouse companies or for organizations that rely on such services.
Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $49,000
- Mid-Career: $55,000
- Experienced: $64,000
- Late Career: $69,000
- Management Analyst
- These professionals, who may also work as management consultants, gather information about an organization’s management systems. They then conduct analyses and make recommendations based on their findings.
Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $52,000
- Mid-Career: $60,000
- Experienced: $71,000
- Late Career: $77,000
- Human Resources Managers
- These managers oversee employment functions such as hiring, compensation, benefits, training, and firing within an organization. In medium and large organizations, they manage teams of human resources specialists.
Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $49,000
- Mid-Career: $58,000
- Experienced: $66,000
- Late Career: $71,000
- Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents
- Buyers and purchasing agents make decisions on the products that companies spend money on, which include raw materials for manufacturing or consumer goods for retail chains. Purchasing managers oversee teams of buyers and purchasing agents.
Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $51,000
- Mid-Career: $55,000
- Experienced: $65,000
- Late Career: $71,000
- Marketing Managers
- These professionals set budgets, oversee creative processes, and manage employees in marketing departments or agencies. Their overarching goals include promoting the company’s products and establishing strong brands.
Salary based on experience:
- Entry Level: $46,000
- Mid-Career: $56,000
- Experienced: $67,000
- Late Career: $75,000
Source: PayScaleReturn to the top
Choosing an Online International Business Program
When students choose international business degrees online, they should take special care to pick schools that meet all their needs. Each university offers different benefits, such as low pricing, generous transfer policies, or accelerated programs. What is vital to one learner may not matter as much to another. For example, a degree candidate with an associate degree may prioritize schools that allow candidates to transfer all credits. Meanwhile, a first–year student may give the lowest–cost schools top priority. All candidates should take plenty of time to compare their options and find international business degrees online.
- Program Cost
- Typically, learners pay the lowest tuition rates at public schools within their home states. However, some colleges offer in-state tuition for online degree candidates. Students should consider what financial aid they receive at each school, the tuition rate per credit, and the number of credits they need to complete the programs.
- Transfer Policies
- Students with several credits from other schools can save time and money by choosing universities with generous transfer policies. Some schools maintain transfer agreements between one another, which can help with this process. Most universities only accept credits from regionally or nationally accredited schools.
- School Size and Type
- Students may also wish to consider schools based on whether they are public or private and the size of the student body. For example, degree candidates may prefer private schools with specific religious affiliations or colleges with small class sizes. Large universities sometimes offer more student resources and alumni networks.
- Program Length
- Learners should consider how many credits they need to complete each program and whether they will study full or part time. These determinations will help them understand how long it will take to earn their diplomas. Some schools offer accelerated plans that allow students to graduate quickly.
- On–Campus Requirements
- While students can earn an online international business degree without in-person meetings, some schools require learners to attend an orientation, intensive seminars, or regular class meetings on campus. Degree candidates should ensure that they can make all on-campus requirements before they enroll, especially if they live outside the areas of the schools they choose.
International Business Concentrations
In most cases, students earn international business degrees online by majoring in business or business administration and choosing concentrations in international business. As such, bachelor’s degrees rarely offer further specializations in international business. Students can choose minors in areas like accounting, marketing, or human resources at some schools.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in International Business?
Students who begin with no college credit and take full–time courses earn online international business degrees in about four years. Most schools require 120 credits for graduation, which includes general education, business, and international business concentration courses. However, several factors can influence how long it takes to earn these types of degrees. For example, learners who hold an associate degree often graduate in just two years with full–time enrollment. Some universities also allow adult learners to earn credit for work or military experience.
Accelerated courses can also allow degree candidates to graduate in less time than traditional semesters. With these schedules, courses last 8–10 weeks at a time, and learners move into the next term. Students who choose universities with traditional semester schedules can take summer courses to graduate quickly. Many schools cap the number of credits around 18 hours per semester.
Online International Business Courses
Online bachelor’s in international business programs teach students to identify strategies for risk management in political, legal, financial, commercial, and cultural elements of international trade. Students also learn to analyze international business opportunities through cultural, political, legal, and economic lenses. Common courses include global financial systems, international management, multinational marketing, international economics, principles of management, and international managerial accounting.
While most aspects of an international business degree are constant, there is some variation in program length, graduation requirements, and program structure. Students may be able to take classes in a industry or area of interest, depending on the school.
- Global Marketing
- Students learn foundational marketing concepts and goals. They discuss how international markets pose challenges with cultural differences, language barriers, and legal distinctions. Degree candidates examine the ways that economic forces and cultural norms change that ways they can market products and services in different parts of the world.
- International Management
- Managing teams across time zones and borders poses specific challenges for international professionals. Learners in these courses are taught exam techniques for keeping these complex teams on track. Degree candidates uncover theories on the economic, cultural, and legal factors that affect hiring and overseeing employees around the world.
- Global Finance Systems
- Many international business professionals need to understand how global banks, economies, trade deals, and exchanges work. These courses help learners understand these complex systems and how they affect businesses. Students may also discuss how to balance legal, social, cultural, and ethical complications in global finance.
- Business Law
- Learners come to understand the many legal systems that businesses must follow, including state, federal, and international regulations. The class discusses common legal issues companies face, including employment and tax laws. Degree candidates learn the theories behind these laws and practical implications for professionals.
- Learners demonstrate what they learned throughout the program, completing final projects in capstones courses that incorporate their newfound business skills. Graduates can use these projects in their portfolios to aid in finding employment.
Accreditation for Online International Business Degrees
Perhaps the most important consideration for choosing an international business online degree program is accreditation. Schools should have institution–wide accreditation from either regional or national agencies. Without either of these types of accreditation, learners cannot be sure that they get high–quality instruction. Furthermore, schools that graduates may consider for graduate programs often do not accept credits from unaccredited schools.
Prospective students should consider schools with regional accreditation over those with national credentials. Regional agencies focus on smaller areas, which give them more time to thoroughly investigate each school than their national counterparts get. Furthermore, some graduate programs only accept learners with regionally accredited bachelor’s degrees. Business programs can also earn programmatic accreditation from business–specific organizations, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). These organizations ensure member schools teach the best business practices.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) does not directly accredit schools. Instead, the department grants third–party organizations the right to analyze schools and grant these credentials. These organizations then issue programmatic, national, or regional accreditation according to their permissions. Schools and accrediting organizations both join the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. This nongovernment organization advocates for high standards in education and policies that benefit its members. Students who want to be sure to attend accredited schools can check the ED website for a database of recognized accrediting organizations. This keeps students from trusting misleading credentials.
International Business Membership Associations
- International Executives Association
- A network of elite managers that allows international business professionals to make connections across the globe. Members attend annual conferences, give referrals, and learn from one another. Professionals join as individuals or companies depending on their needs.
- International Association of Business Communicators
- The IABC provides members with a rich array of resources like webinars, podcasts, blogs, and case studies. Members can win awards, earn certifications, and attend networking conferences. The organization provides membership levels for students, consultants, academics, and corporations.
- International Transportation Management Association
- The ITMA specializes in connecting logistics and transportation managers around the world. The organization awards scholarships for learners who want to work in this field as well as a job board for current professionals. Members can also keep up with the latest industry news.
- Society for Human Resource Management
- The SHRM provides globally recognized certifications for new and experiences human resources professionals. Members also access free webcasts, connect with advisors when they have questions, and chat with fellow professionals in the online community. The organization sends updates on human resources legislation.
- National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators
- NASBITE International aims to advance education and training for global business professionals. Members earn certification in trade and finance, attend annual conferences, and access learning resources. Trade educators, specialists, service providers, and professionals at companies that trade globally can join.
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