“High-powered achiever.” “Dynamic leader.” “Strategic thinker.” Employers and staff alike recognize the skills and value of a great business administrator.
As policy, technological disruption, and globalism continue to transform the business world, industry leaders will look to hire employees with the most up-to-date educational foundation to fill the roles of the future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, business and financial operations occupations are projected to grow 8 percent from 2014 to 2024, which equates to about 630,000 new jobs; and following a longstanding tradition, many employers are recruiting entry-level professionals who have earned bachelor’s in business, which combines economics, management, and operations to give graduates a well-rounded understanding of business theory and practice. In fact, per the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the business major is the second most in-demand undergraduate degree in the country, with 73% of respondents reporting that they would hire business majors in 2017.
Still, not everyone has the time to attend a traditional campus-based bachelor’s program, so we’ve compiled the ten best online bachelor’s in business, which feature self-paced courses, flexible scheduling, and generous transfer policies to create affordable, customizable tracks that accommodate working professionals, adult learners, and other non-traditional students. Keep reading to find the business program that fits your needs!
1) Oregon State University
Founded in 1868, Oregon State University has a total enrollment of 30,350. It is the only university in the state to hold both the Carnegie Foundation’s Tier 1 designation for research institutions and its Community Engagement classification, and US News, Washington Monthly, and Forbes rank it among the top public schools in the country. Most important for our purposes, US News ranks OSU’s online bachelor’s programs 8th in the country. The school’s 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports a collaborative, vibrant educational setting combined with personalized instruction. Nearly a third of classes have fewer than 20 students, and over half of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid.
Oregon State’s offers both a BA and BS in Business Administration, including 26 pre-business core classes in Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Legal Environment of Business, Entrepreneurship, Business Law, Business Process Management, and Statistical Inference. From there, students complete 36 professional core credits like International Business, Business Information Systems, and Applied Quantitate Methods. Four specialization options are available to tailor the degree to areas of professional interest – Digital Marketing, Retail Management, Supply Chain and Logistics Management, and General Business — and all bachelor’s students complete an integrative strategic experience to gain hands-on, practical work. All courses are delivered 100% online for maximum flexibility, and OSU’s generous transfer policy can accelerate course work for students with previous undergraduate credits. The program is accredited by the AACSB.
- Tuition Per Credit: $300
2) Colorado State University – Global Campus
Founded in 2007, Colorado State University’s Global Campus has a total enrollment of about 12,000 students. US News ranks CSU among the top colleges in the country for value and high school counselor rankings, and Forbes, Washington Monthly, Princeton Review, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Consumers Digest highlight CSU, too. With an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, classes combine collaborative learning and individualized instruction to create a vibrant tight-knit educational community. Over a third of classes have fewer than 20 students and less than 20% have 50.
CSU Global offers a BS in Business Management that consists of 36 major credits: Applying Leadership Principles, Principles of Management, Information Systems Design and Management, Financial Accounting, Business Law, Human Resources Development and Management, Analyzing Financial Statements, Macro and Microeconomics, and Marketing. Students also complete a capstone in Business Policy Development and Implementation, a Business Management practicum to gain real-world experience, and have the opportunity to specialize in one of more than two dozen specializations to tailor the degree, from Criminology, to Public Relations, to Small Business and Entrepreneurship. All classes are 100% online to support a flexible environment, and transfer credits are available to undergraduates with previous credits. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has acknowledged that the BSBM when combined with the HR emphasis aligns with the organization’s guidelines.
- Tuition Per Credit: $350
3) Indiana University East
Founded in 1971, Indiana University’s East campus is located in Richmond and has a total enrollment of about 4,500. With a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio, class sizes are kept small and intimate – two-thirds have less than 20 students – and students receive individualized instruction. Through the Canvas learning platform, students can stay up to date with their academic progress, download class materials, and contact fellow students. Up to 64 credits can be transferred into any program from a 2-year community college, and, for students interested in financial aid opportunities, 75% of full-time undergraduates receive some form of tuition assistance.
IU East offers a BS in Business Administration that totals 57 major credit hours (19 courses), including Financial Accounting, Commercial Law, Organizational Behavior and Leadership, International Business, Business & Society, New Venture Creation, and Personnel and Human Resources Management. For additional credits, students have the opportunity to specialize in either Accounting, Computer Information Systems (CIS), Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, or Marketing, customizing the curriculum to areas of professional interest. Three entry dates are available in the fall, spring, and summer semesters to accommodate students’ unique schedules, and all students are assigned a personal academic advisor to plan studies, set goals, and strategize career paths.
- Tuition Per Credit: $257
4) University of Arkansas
Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas has a student enrollment of 27,000, with nearly 7,500 students taking at least one online class. US News ranks Arkansas among the top public schools in the country, and gives the university high scores for veteran services, overall value, and high school counselor rankings. In 2016, the Carnegie Foundation named Arkansas a Tier 1 research university. Despite its large size, the university maintains a student-faculty-ratio of 19:1, meaning that classes are small and intimate; half have less than 20 students and less than one in five have 50. For students interested in financial aid opportunities, 41% of full-time undergrads receive some form of tuition assistance, and the average need met is over half.
Arkansas’s online BS in Business Administration is delivered via the Sam M. Walton College of Business, a top-30 public business school. Example courses include Managing People and Organizations, Strategic Management, Entrepreneurship and New Venture Development, Ethics and Corporate Responsibility, Leadership, Organizational Staffing, and Small Enterprise Management, among others. Students who wish to specialize their track have the option to complete the Management concentration, and all students complete a practicum to gain hands-on experience in a realistic business environment. Courses are designed for maximum flexibility, and transfer students with previous academic credits or a business associate may waive some course work. (Additionally, optional summer courses are available to accelerate completion time.) The program is accredited by the AACSB.
- Tuition Per Credit: $266
5) Pennsylvania State University – World Campus
Launched in 1998, Penn State World Campus, or Penn State Online, has a total enrollment of 13,500, with students from all 50 states, more than 60 countries, and 7 continents. One of the leaders in distance education, Penn State offers 120 online undergraduate and graduate degrees, plus professional certificate programs. With a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, the university supports small, intimate classes and personalized instruction. Further, thanks to PSU’s alumni base of more than 645,000, graduates can take advantage of an engaged, highly loyal professional network to get their careers rolling. Nor do grads necessarily have to find PSU alumni to secure job: according to a survey by the Wall Street Journal, PSU graduates are ranked #1 by recruiters for professional preparedness.
Students pursuing the online BS in Business are required to complete 59 credits in the major: Financial and Managerial Accounting for Decision Making, Contemporary Skills for Business Professionals, Strategic Business Planning, Macro and Microeconomics, Corporation Finance, International Business Operations, Contemporary Skills for Business Professionals, and Supply Chain Management, among others. From there, students can customize the degree through one of six available specializations in Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Financial Services, Health Services, Management and Marketing, and a self-created track developed in conjunction with an adviser and approved by the program coordinator. All courses are 100% online and asynchronous, meaning students take classes at their own pace, and students with previous academic credits can use PSU’s generous transfer policy to accelerate the degree.
- Tuition Per Credit: $535
6) University of Florida
Founded in 1853, University of Florida has a total enrollment over 50,000 with an alumni base over 330,000 from every state and more than 100 countries. As a member of the Association of American Universities, Florida is ranked among the best public universities in the country by US News, Washington Monthly, and Forbes, among others. Further, Kiplinger’s Finance and Fisk Guide to Colleges have each ranked Florida third in the country for affordability, and two-third of students graduate with zero debt. The school’s 21:1 student-to-faculty combines collaborative learning with individualized instruction, and nearly half of classes have fewer than 20 students. For students interested in financial aid opportunities, 46% of full-time undergrads receive some form of assistance, and the average need met is nearly 100%.
Florida’s Warrington College of Business ranks 17th in the nation among public business schools, and online students can pursue either a BA or BS in Business Administration, the main difference of which is that the BA includes optional specialization in Anthropology, Business and Economic Geography, Educational Studies, General Business, Geology, Mass Communication, Sociology, and Sport Management. Designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate working professionals and adult learners, UF’s online classes follow the same rigorous curriculum requirements and are taught by the university’s world-class faculty. Example classes include Statistics for Business Decisions, Principles of Management, Operations and Supply Chain Management, International Business, Business Finance, and The Legal Environment of Business. The degree is accredited by the AACSB.
- Tuition Per Credit: $552
7) West Texas A&M University
Founded in 1910, West Texas A&M University has a total enrollment of 9,900, the majority of which is undergraduate. US News ranks the university among the top 80 schools in the region and a top 30 public school. In recent years, the school has also established itself as a leader in distance education, and US News ranks its bachelor’s programs 6th in the country. With a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio, West Texas balances a vibrant, collaborative educational setting with personalized instruction. Over a third of classes have fewer than 20 students and just 1 in 10 has 50. For students interested in financial aid opportunities, 60% of full-time undergrads receive some form of tuition assistance.
West Texas A&M University offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration that requires 36 major credits: Accounting Communications, Cross-Cultural Issues in Business Communications, Emerging Media Law, Economics of Healthcare, Organizational Behavior, Consumer Behavior, Personal Financial Planning, and Conflict Resolution and Negotiation, among others. From there, students can customize the degree to fit areas of professional interest through specializations in Law & Economics, Management, Marketing, or General Business. All classes are available 100% online, but students can choose to create a hybrid track with face-to-face coursework for maximum flexibility. The program is accredited by the AACSB.
- Tuition Per Credit: $268
8) University of Massachusetts Amherst
The University of Massachusetts – Amherst, founded in 1863, is a public research university with a total enrollment of 30,000. US News ranks UMass among the top 30 public universities in the country, with additional high marks for overall value, veteran support, and high school counselor rankings; Forbes, Washington Monthly, and BusinessWeek highlight UMass, as well. The school’s 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio promotes a collaborative and intimate learning environment, and half of all classes consist of fewer than 20 students. The university also offers excellent financial aid opportunities: 55% of full-time undergrads receive some form of tuition assistance, and the average need met is over 75%.
Ranked as the #1 public undergraduate program in the region, UMass’s online Bachelor of Business Administration consists of 31-34 major core credits, including classes like Corporate Finance, Financial Accounting, Principles of Management, Business Information Systems, Business Data Analysis, Management Communications, and Business Policy and Strategy. With concentrations available in Accounting, Finance, Hospitality & Tourism Management, Management, Marketing, and Operations & Information Management, students can tailor the degree according to areas of professional interest, and practicum experiences provide the track with a hands-on learning component. Each student is assigned a personal academic advisor to help plan a study track, and prospective students can demo a class before applying to see if the program fits their needs. The degree is accredited by the AACSB.
- Tuition Per Credit: $385
9) Western Governors University
Founded in 1996, Western Governors University is a leader in distance education, with 100% online classes that emphasize flexible, self-paced learning through competency-based credit programs that award students for previous life and work experience, accelerating completion time, lowering costs, and eliminating redundant course work. Fast Company, TIME, NBC, and CNN have recognized the WGU’s innovation in educational technology, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the university $4.5 million in funding. It is the country’s top producer of math and science teachers, and is a multiple winner of the 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning from the United States Distance Learning Association.
Western Governors’s BS in Business Management consists of 41 major credits, covering Leadership and Management, Business Law and Ethics, Accounting, Economics, Business of IT, Business Management, Finance, and more. At the end of the program, all students are required to complete a capstone project that demonstrates mastery of material and an applied understanding of business concepts in a real-world scenario. On average, students transfer 33 credits into the program, and more than 70% graduate on an accelerated track in less than 3 years. For students interested in more specialized business-related tracks, similar bachelor’s are available in Marketing Management, Accounting, and Business with an HR Management concentration. WGU is accredited the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
- Tuition Per Credit: $240
10) Eastern Oregon University
Established in 1929, Eastern Oregon University is located in La Grande and has an enrollment of approximately 3,700. (A satellite campus in Gresham, Oregon offers several programs, as well.) Combing a liberal arts base with specialized professional coursework, EOU emphasizes tailored, flexible learning, and its online bachelor’s programs rank among the US News top 100. The 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports a tight-kit educational community that balances individualized instruction and collaborative learning, and nearly 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students. EOU’s financial aid opportunities are robust, as well: 74% of full-time undergrads receive some form of aid, and the average need met is over half.
Eastern Oregon’s online BS in Business Administration requires 7 upper-division major courses in Information Management, Principles of Marketing, Principles of Finance, Principles of Management, Operations Management, Business Policy & Strategy, and Business, Ethics & Society. From there, students can customize the curriculum through specializations in either Accounting, Marketing, General Business, or Leadership, Organization, and Management. A capstone project is required to demonstrate an applied knowledge of business fundamentals in a real-world environment. All courses are designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate working professionals and adult learners, and the school’s generous transfer policy allows students with previous academic credits or an associate’s in business to waive prerequisite classes. The degree is accredited by the IACBE.
- Tuition Per Credit: $210