The Best Online Colleges in Maryland
| TBS Staff
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Maryland offers many acclaimed higher education choices for students, including a variety of online programs.
Earning a bachelor's degree helps professionals expand their job opportunities and increase their earning potential. Many of the best colleges in Maryland offer online programs that appeal to both busy students and working professionals.
Online schools in Maryland work together to improve the quality of distance learning. MarylandOnline, an organization founded in 1999, counts 20 Maryland colleges among its members. The organization connects future and current online learners with resources to improve their online learning experiences.
Maryland's online schools also offer tuition discounts. At the University of Maryland Global Campus, for example, out-of-state residents receive a significant tuition reduction compared to out-of-state tuition at Maryland public universities.
Featured Online Schools
Our ranking lists the best online colleges in Maryland to help prospective students find the right fit for their academic and professional goals.
|#1||University of Maryland - University College Adelphi, MD|
|#2||Towson University Towson, MD|
|#3||Stevenson University Stevenson, MD|
|#4||University of Baltimore Baltimore, MD|
|#5||Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD|
|#6||Capitol Technology University Laurel, MD|
|#7||University of Maryland Baltimore Baltimore, MD|
|#8||Frostburg State University Frostburg, MD|
|#9||Notre Dame of Maryland University Baltimore, MD|
|#10||Washington Adventist University Takoma Park, MD|
The Best Online Colleges in Maryland
The University of Maryland University College, established in 1947, teaches more than 90,000 students from around the world and offers over 120 academic programs, making it one of the world’s largest universities.
The University of Maryland University College offers a wide variety of bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and certificate programs online, with associate degrees available for military servicemen. Associate degrees include criminal justice. Baccalaureate degrees include laboratory management. Master’s degree options include digital forensics. Doctoral degree offerings include community college administration. Certifications available include computer networking.
Resources for online students include academic advising, disability accommodations, career services, writing center, free tutoring and mentoring, veterans’ services, live technical support and online library services.
Towson University was the first teacher training institution opened in Maryland, back in 1866. Today, it is among the largest public universities in Maryland and continues to produce much of the state’s teachers. The university has over 20,000 students and offers over 100 degree programs spanning eight academic colleges.
Towson University offers several online baccalaureate, master’s and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degrees include allied health, online master’s degrees include business and human resource development and certificates available online include security assessment management and interactive media design.
Online students have access to many resources, including live chat with an academic advisor, a career mentor database, on–demand job interview training, an online job board, anonymous online mental health screenings, online writing support and an online library with librarian live chat.
Stevenson University, a private university, established in 1947 as Villa Julie College, began as an all–female training school for medical secretaries, a policy which no longer exists as of 1972. It became an accredited two–year college in 1962 and began awarding bachelor’s degrees in 1984. This career–oriented university has more than 4,000 students enrolled and offers 40 degree programs in a variety of subjects.
Stevenson University offers several baccalaureate and master’s degrees online through the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. Online bachelor’s degree programs include communication and criminal justice, while master’s degree programs include teaching and nursing.
Resources for online students include an online library with librarians available via live chat, text message, email, and over the phone.
The University of Baltimore, established in 1925, has over 6,000 students in attendance and contains four academic colleges. During the 1970s, the university acquired the Mount Vernon School of Law, Eastern College and the Baltimore College of Commerce. The university gained full accreditation in 1971. The state purchased the school in 1975. Until 2006, the university only offered upper–division classes and did not award undergraduate degrees.
The University of Baltimore offers several master’s degrees online. Programs of study include business administration and public administration.
Students have access to online resources including technical support over the phone, online career management tools, an online job board, a database containing information on industries and occupations and an online library with 24/7 librarian live chat.
Johns Hopkins, one of the most prestigious online colleges in Maryland, offers an assortment of online degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The school has programs in business, public health, international studies, medicine, and education. Unique online programs include global health planning and management, government analytics, molecular microbiology, regulatory science, and space systems engineering.
Johns Hopkins is well known for its medical programs, many of which the school offers entirely online, such as nursing education and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Most programs are completed entirely online, while others use a hybrid format, which mixes campus and distance education courses. Online classes frequently mix synchronous and asynchronous content, with live virtual classroom sessions and independent work that students complete on their own schedules.
Capitol, located in Laurel, is one of the top online schools in MD for technical and IT education. The college mainly offers graduate degrees online, with nine programs to choose from, including business administration, computer science, cyber analytics, and electrical engineering. Several of the school's doctoral programs use a hybrid format that includes primarily online courses, with options including business analytics and decision sciences, cybersecurity, technology, and unmanned systems applications.
While Capitol offers no fully online bachelor's programs, undergraduates can select from several programs that feature online components, such as business administration and information security. These degrees enable students to complete the final two years of the curriculum completely online, with blended course options available for the first two years. The school offers online courses in either an eight-week accelerated format or a slower-paced 16-week format.
Founded in 1807, UMB is one of the top online colleges in Maryland for professional education. UMB's School of Nursing and School of Pharmacy offer several fully online programs at the graduate level, including regulatory science, health services leadership and management, nursing informatics, and health science. For undergraduate nursing students, the school also offers an RN-to-BSN and an RN-to-MSN pathway.
While all these programs use a primarily online format, nursing and pharmacy students must visit campus for some clinical learning simulations, which helps build practical experience. UMB maintains clinical facilities at its main Baltimore campus and at the Universities in Shady Grove, making it easier for students to choose a location near their home. Courses typically use a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous delivery, with some live class meetings required.
FSU, based in the city of Frostburg, began its distance education program in 2003 with just a few online courses, eventually growing into one of the top online colleges in Maryland. Online programs include a bachelor's in nursing and master's programs in business administration, recreation and parks management, and nursing. Students can also pursue blended master's programs in computer science and special education, which feature primarily online coursework, but include some campus sessions.
FSU offers the Summer Online Freshman Initiative (SOFI), a unique program that allows newly admitted students to complete introductory credits online before beginning full-time courses in the fall. SOFI enables new students to complete their degree faster and gradually transition into higher education.
Based in Baltimore, NDMU is a private Catholic college that ranks among the top Christian online schools in Maryland. This school offers seven online degrees, which includes undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Undergraduates can pursue degrees in business, liberal arts, and nursing, while graduate options include contemporary communication, gifted and talented education, and analytics.
NDMU also offers a doctorate in higher education leadership for changing populations, an innovative degree that focuses on education policy and demographic analysis. All programs use a fully online format, with no campus visits or residency sessions required. NDMU provides a variety of support services for online learners, including personal success coaches, who work with students to identify academic goals and strategies to achieve them. The school also provides technical support, tutoring services, access to a strong alumni network, and resources for online learning success.
WAU, a private liberal arts college in Takoma Park, is one of the top Christian online colleges in Maryland. The school offers two fully online master's programs: a master of business administration and a master of arts in public administration. Both programs feature a primarily asynchronous format that requires only a few scheduled class sessions, allowing students to complete weekly assignments on their own schedule.
The MBA program builds broad skills in the major areas of business, including accounting, management communication, corporate finance, and ethical leadership. While all courses occur online, WAU's proximity to the District of Columbia leads to an assortment of internship opportunities and other experiential learning activities for business students. The public administration program trains students in public advocacy and public policy, preparing graduates to work with for-profit and nonprofit organizations. All degree candidates perform a professional practicum experience as part of the curriculum.
Located about 30 miles northwest of Baltimore in Westminster, McDaniel ranks among the top online colleges in Maryland for graduate students. The school offers four online master's programs, which includes curriculum and instruction, gerontology, school librarianship, and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).
The curriculum and instruction degree prepares graduates to serve as educators in schools and colleges or in staff development positions with businesses and other organizations. The school librarianship degree trains students to become information specialists and instructional leaders, leading to library media specialist certification through the Maryland State Department of Education. The TESOL program trains candidates in language education and cross-cultural communication, meeting standards set by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. The interdisciplinary gerontology degree explores the aging process and strategies for improving quality of life for aging populations.
Online Colleges in Maryland Ranking Guidelines
We selected the online schools in Maryland 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.
Employment in Maryland
Maryland's major industries include the biohealth and life sciences fields, information technology and cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing. Financial services, aerospace, and the energy sector also rank as top industries in Maryland. Thanks to its close connection with Washington, D.C., Maryland's workforce also includes many federal employees. Online colleges in Maryland also prepare graduates for careers in other growing fields, including business, healthcare, and education.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland has continued to show economic strength compared with other states. Maryland's unemployment rate in June 2020 reached 8.0% — below the national average of 11.1%. The cost of living in Maryland remains slightly above the national average, but Maryland workers earn a mean annual wage of more than $60,000 per year, which outpaces the national wage of $53,490.
The following data on the highest-paying and fastest-growing careers can help prospective and current students plan for entering the workforce.
|Highest-Paying Career||Mean Salary||Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)|
|Obstetricians and Gynecologists||$211,430||13.2%|
|General Internal Medicine Physicians||$203,270||22.3%|
|Fastest Growing Careers||Mean Salary||Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)|
|Solar Photovoltaic Installer||$47,180||56.3%|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||$63,810||52.4%|
|Home Health Aides||$27,460||43.9%|
|Personal Care Aides||$27,420||41.7%|
Associate and Graduate Degrees
In addition to bachelor's programs, online schools in Maryland offer associate and graduate degrees. Since the switch to mostly online-only education during the pandemic, Maryland's colleges have expanded their options for students seeking a distance learning format.
Students can earn associate degrees in business, which can be used to enter the workforce or transfer into bachelor's programs.
Earning an associate degree through a community college offers additional savings. Maryland's public community colleges charge around $4,000 per year in tuition and fees, while public four-year institutions cost over $9,000 per year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Private schools charge nearly $42,000 per year on average in Maryland.
Learners can also pursue graduate degrees in high-demand fields like business, education, nursing, and engineering. For example, the University of Maryland offers an online MBA program and online nursing graduate programs.
While online programs may offer the same coursework as on-campus programs, distance students complete any in-person requirements in their local area. For example, business enrollees pursue internships with local businesses, while nursing students meet clinical requirements at healthcare facilities in their cities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many online colleges in Maryland offer tuition discounts for in-state students or fully online learners. By researching affordable schools and pursuing online degrees, students can save money.
Earning an online bachelor's degree typically takes four years for full-time students. Many of the best online colleges in Maryland offer asynchronous, accelerated, or part-time options for online learners.
The most popular degrees in Maryland include business, biology, computer science, and psychology. Students in Maryland also frequently earn degrees in education, healthcare, the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences.
An online degree from an accredited institution meets the same high academic standards as an on-campus degree. Many online schools in Maryland grant identical diplomas for online and in-person graduates.
Yes. Maryland ranks in the top 10 for its four-year graduation rate and the number of adult residents who have college degrees.
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