The Best Online Colleges in Minnesota

by TBS Staff
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Students considering one of the numerous online colleges in Minnesota can choose from a variety of programs.

Online schools in MN provide innovative, cutting–edge degrees through distance education, including a bachelor’s in organizational leadership from Bethel University, a master’s in cybersecurity at Saint Mary’s University, and a doctorate in occupational therapy from St. Catherine University.

Completing an online degree in Minnesota offers appeal for numerous reasons, including the simple fact that the state has several well–regarded schools offering interesting degrees. Students who pick an online school in MN benefit from maximum flexibility, as many offer asynchronous coursework to ensure learners can juggle personal and professional responsibilities. They also provide premier student services such as academic advising, tech support, tutoring, mentorship, career advice and resume review, and opportunities to engage with students through virtual clubs and organizations.

Featured Online Schools

Although the average cost of a Minnesota degree is slightly higher than the national average, online students benefit from not having to pay for campus housing, meal plans, or transportation to and from school multiple times per week. Some of the state colleges allow distance students to pay in–state tuition, while both public and private institutions offer lots of different institutional and programmatic scholarships to online degree seekers to help offset costs. Keep reading to learn about the educational opportunities awaiting you in the “land of 10,000 lakes.”

Top 10 Online Colleges in Minnesota 2020
#1 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
#2 University of Minnesota - Crookston Crookston, MN
#3 Concordia University - Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
#4 Bethel University Saint Paul, MN
#5 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
#6 Crown College Saint Bonifacius, MN
#7 Bemidji State University Bemidji, MN
#8 Metropolitan State University Saint Paul, MN
#9 Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Winona, MN
#10 University of Northwestern - St. Paul Saint Paul, MN

The Best Online Colleges in Minnesota

  1. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, a public, research university established in 1851, is the oldest campus in the University of Minnesota system and also the flagship institution. A land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant university, the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities enrolls 48,000 students across 19 schools and colleges. A member of the Association of American Universities, the school offers about 350 academic programs leading to a host of undergraduate and graduate degrees.

    The university offers fully online programs as well as primarily online programs, with 80 percent of instruction online but short face-to-face course work required, and partially online or hybrid courses, with 50 percent to 80 percent of coursework available online.

    Students can complete a variety of online certificate programs. Online students can earn 18 bachelor degrees completely online, such as those in applied health, tribal administration and governance, accounting, and entrepreneurship. Students also can pursue a handful of fully online master’s degrees in computer science, family education, maternal and child health, computer science, and electrical engineering. The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities also offers more than two dozen doctoral programs with primarily online coursework.

    The university’s online students have access to tech support, the library resources, and financial aid, among other resources.

  2. University of Minnesota - Crookston
    Location

    Crookston, MN

    The University of Minnesota Crookston, originally the Northwest School of Agriculture, was established in 1905 alongside Minnesota’s experimental research farms with the purpose of teaching agriculture and homemaking. The university currently teaches over 1,800 students and offers more than 30 degree programs.

    The University of Minnesota Crookston offers a number of baccalaureate and certificate programs online. Bachelor’s degree offerings include sports management, finance, health management and information technology management, while available certificates include finance, health informatics, taxation and manufacturing management.

    Resources available to online students include technical support, an online job board, online job interview training, online occupational practice exams and an online library with a streaming video collection and access to a multitude of academic journals and scholarly article databases.

  3. Concordia University - Saint Paul
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Concordia University-Saint Paul is part of the Concordia University system. Founded in 1893, it began as a high school affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. It later expanded to offer two-year degrees in 1921, but the Great Depression nearly closed down the university for good. The years following World War II revitalized the university thanks to the G.I. Bill. The university teaches over 4,000 students within 4 academic colleges.

    Concordia University-Saint Paul offers several associate, baccalaureate, master, doctoral and certificate programs entirely online. Associate’s degrees include general studies and early childhood education. Bachelor’s degrees include criminal justice and exercise science. Master’s degree options include family science and several topics in education. Doctoral degrees include education, while certifications available include forensic mental health.

    Online student resources include an online job board, technical support, an online writing center and an online library.

  4. Bethel University
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Located in a tight-knit community just north of the Twin Cities, Bethel maintains a unique business partnership program. The school delivers courses and professional development opportunities to organizations across the country, including Allina Health and Nystrom Counseling.

    With 12 online undergraduate programs, Bethel delivers some of the most diverse distance learning options among online colleges in Minnesota. In addition to two associate degrees, the school offers online bachelor's degrees in business management, Christian ministries, human services, management information systems, nursing, and organizational leadership.

    Most bachelor's programs require at least two years of work experience. Applicants must submit a resume and transcripts from any colleges or universities previously attended. All online students, regardless of state residency status, pay the same tuition rate. The university also offers financial aid assistance, career services, a digital library, and online tutoring to distance learners.

  5. Minnesota State University - Mankato
    Location

    Mankato, MN

    Minnesota State University Mankato got its start as the Mankato Normal School in 1868. It is the second-oldest university in the state’s university system. Its transition to a comprehensive university began in 1957 alongside a boom in enrollment. The school expanded beyond teacher training to cater to the influx of new students. The school provides over 220 degree programs in total, spanning eight academic colleges.

    Minnesota State University Mankato offers a wide range of baccalaureate, master’s, licensure and certificate programs completely online. Bachelor’s degree options include dental hygiene and technical communication. Master’s degree offerings include forensics and educational technology. Licensure and certificate programs available include library media education, ESL, ethnic studies and corrections leadership.

    Online student resources include an online job board and an online library with document delivery services, 24/7 librarian live chat and access to numerous academic databases.

  6. Crown College
    Location

    Saint Bonifacius, MN

    Crown College is a private Christian university founded in 1916. It began as a bible school and essentially snowballed into a full-fledged college in 1992. The college offers more than 35 degree programs and teaches more than 1,200 students.

    Crown College offers a number of online associate’s, baccalaureate and master’s programs. Online associate’s degrees include business and general studies. Online bachelor’s degrees include psychology and emergency management. Online master’s degree programs include organizational leadership and business administration.

    Resources available to online students include an online job board, technical support over the phone and an online library with access to a wide variety of EBSCO research databases and librarians available 6 days a week via email or over the phone.

  7. Bemidji State University
    Location

    Bemidji, MN

    Bemidji State University, founded in 1919, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. The university has over 6,000 students in attendance and over 65 majors available.

    Bemidji State University’s online baccalaureate degrees, which include biology and criminal justice, are also available in a 2+2 format for those transferring from a two-year institution or those who wish to finish their four-year degree with BSU online rather than with traditional classes. The university also offers master’s degrees in teaching and business administration and certificates in camp nursing and online teaching.

    Resources for online students include online tutoring, disability services, technical support and an online library with document delivery services.

  8. Metropolitan State University
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Metropolitan State University, established in 1971, was designed with nontraditional students in mind. It offers more than 60 degree programs spanning 7 academic schools and colleges, with over 11,000 students in attendance. Unique to the university is its “engaged courses” which involve community-based projects and interactions alongside traditional instruction. For example, a course on a specific kind of art may see students visiting art museums throughout the semester, rather than simply reading about artists in a textbook alone.

    Metropolitan State University offers a variety of completely online baccalaureate, master’s and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degrees include finance, law enforcement and industrial management. Online master’s degrees include business administration, nonprofit management and management information systems. Online certifications include database administration, healthcare information technology management, and information assurance.

    Online student resources include an online library with access to librarians via email, live chat or over the phone.

  9. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
    Location

    Winona, MN

    Located in Minneapolis, Saint Mary's offers 14 distance education options. The school hosts 13 online master's programs, making it one of the best online schools in MN for graduate students. Options include, organizational leadership, learning design and technology, human resource management, and business intelligence and data analytics. The school's online MS in cybersecurity prepares students for CISSP and CISM certification exams.

    To apply to a graduate program, prospective students must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Candidates should also have a minimum 2.75 GPA. The application requires a personal essay, a resume, college transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.

  10. University of Northwestern - St. Paul
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    While all of its adult undergraduate programs have online components, UNW offers completely online bachelor's degrees in general studies, business administration, and health psychology. Students may also pursue fully online graduate degrees in business, divinity, education, human services, organizational leadership, and theological studies.

    Founded in 1902, UNW has become one of the more popular online colleges in MN. The private university, located in the northern Twin Cities metropolitan area, provides distance learners with resources such as academic advising, military veteran services, tutoring, technology assistance, and counseling services. All students enrolled in online courses pay the same tuition rate, even if they live outside Minnesota.

    UNW maintains a transfer-friendly policy, and about one-fifth of its students started their education elsewhere. Prospective transfer students must provide official college transcripts and hold a minimum 2.5 GPA. The school may also require transfer students to take Bible courses.

Best Online Colleges

Online Colleges in Minnesota Ranking Guidelines

We selected the online schools in Minnesota 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.

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