Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees

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If you’re looking for flexibility and options in higher education, we’ve got three words for you: Online Bachelor’s Degrees.

Online Bachelors Degrees

Throughout the country, top-ranking accredited schools now offer a wide range of online bachelor’s degree programs. These programs allow students tremendous flexibility, and appeal especially to individuals who are trying to fit education around their work and family obligations.

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These flexible online programs provide working professionals the opportunity to advance in one’s career without putting life on hold. But earning an online degree is a big commitment, so we’ve gathered all the information you’ll need when it comes to cost, duration, admissions and the most popular online bachelor’s degree programs out there.

Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Both of these fields offer plenty of opportunity for growth, a lot of different job prospects, and plenty of job security.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Accounting

Government accountant working on some paperwork

In this major, you will get a good dose of economics, finance and management courses to prepare you for careers in public, industrial or governmental accounting.

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Once you graduate, you can take a certification exam to get started in the field, or continue on to graduate school or even law school.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Architecture

A Licensed Architect working on his new project

Architecture students develop drawing and design techniques, study architectural theory and history, and learn about building materials and structural considerations.

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To become a licensed Architect, you must complete a professional degree program (such as the Bachelor of Architecture program, which is a 5-year program) and pass an exam.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Business

Business group discussing company report

An online bachelor’s in Business will involve everything from marketing to accounting, logistics to sales.

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This broad but versatile major will be applicable in nearly any industry, and you may even have an opportunity to declare a minor or concentration to provide a more specialized area of expertise.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Law

Business lawyer and a business owner signing a contract

As a Business Law major, you will examine law as it pertains to business, covering topics such as contracts, mergers and acquisitions, for example.

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This degree is the foundation for careers in law, finance and other industries subject to government regulation.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Management

Business woman presenting plan to the board

If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit and are ready to start and/or develop a business, Business Management would be a great choice.

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In this major, you will learn to manage, lead, negotiate and access risks so you can make smart business decisions.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Communication

Company representative speaking in the conference

A major in Communications will help hone your skills in writing, speaking, critical thinking, technology and working with people.

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You will be prepared for an exciting career in journalism, public relations, marketing or advertising, for example, but your expertise in communications will be a valuable asset in any industry!

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science

Students taking Bachelor's Degrees in Computer Science

As a Computer Science major, you can expect rigorous education in mathematics and computer science theory. Most graduates become software developers or web programmers, and are well paid and in high demand.

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While it is closely related to Information Technology, a Computer Science degree is more focused on programming computers using mathematical algorithms.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice

Woman with Criminal Justice major, working in legal services

With a major in Criminal Justice, you will explore every aspect of crime, the law and the justice system.

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You could pursue a career as a police officer, crime scene investigator, secret service agent, homeland security agent, air marshal, working in legal services, or any number of related positions.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Education

A pre-school teacher and students during class

Whether you’re interested in teaching early childhood, primary, secondary, post-secondary or special education, this degree will give you the skills necessary to be effective, engaging and inspirational in today’s classroom.

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Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering

Three engineers discussing the blueprint

Engineering is one of the most in-demand and highly paid fields, and could lead to employment in virtually any industry!

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Under the broad umbrella of Engineering, you may consider specializations such as chemical, mechanical, aerospace, industrial, civil, structural, electrical, computer or biomedical engineering.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in English

English teacher writing on the board

As an English major, you’ll examine communication and expression, skills that will be valuable in virtually every career field – government, business, publishing, teaching, and more.

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Many English majors choose to go on to graduate school, law school or even medical school.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Healthcare Management

Healthcare Manager and staff during a meeting

All aspects of healthcare, including the day-to-day practices of hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics and nursing homes, are overseen by Healthcare Managers.

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This bachelor’s degree will prepare you to make important decisions about how healthcare is implemented.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Human Resources

Two HR interviewing an applicant

Pursing a bachelor’s in Human Resources will help you develop the decision making, interpersonal, leadership, communication, and organizational skills necessary to help businesses in any industry secure and retain qualified staff.

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Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Information Systems Security

Woman who works in Information Systems Security

With an Information Systems Security degree, you will learn how to safeguard a company’s digital information, protecting them from hackers and thieves that can cost billions of dollars in revenue each year.

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With the evolution of computer technology and the internet, this is a career that’s rapidly changing and always in demand.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Information Technology

Information technologist working in server room

Information Technology involves installing, organizing and maintaining computer systems, and designing and operating networks and databases.

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The degree will prepare you to work in information security, network architecture, database administration, systems administration and computer support. While Information Technology is similar to Computer Science, it is much more focused on computer operations than mathematical programming.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Internet Marketing

Internet Marketers working on an SEO project

As an Internet Marketer, you will use advertising, search engine optimization, social media, and websites to establish brand identity, attract and retain consumers and increase sales.

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This degree is useful in a wide variety of industries!

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology Exercise Science

Fitness instructor conducting kinesiology exercise with an old woman

Exercise Science and Kinesiology majors will learn about nutrition, body movement, sports ethics, injury prevention and rehabilitation, anatomy and physiology, and fitness and wellness concepts, among other things.

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You may find employment in a healthcare setting such as a clinic or hospital, as a fitness instructor, a researcher or an educator.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Marketing

Marketing team brainstorming new strategy

If you’ve got creativity and business acumen, Marketing may be a good fit for you!

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This degree is a great foundation for careers in sales, advertising and promotion, bank marketing, research, product management, retailing, and client relations, but is extremely versatile and valuable in nearly any field!

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Mathematics

Bachelor's in Mathematics student working on her assignment

Mathematics is a broad field, covering calculus, finite, actuarial sciences, algebra and aspects of business, engineering, and computer science, among other subjects.

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This degree can help you land a top paying career in nearly any industry, or may serve as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree in applied mathematics, engineering, economics or computer science.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Nutrition

Nutritionist making a weekly meal plan

In this major, you can expect to learn how different nutrients affect the body’s health, growth and development, and what the long-term implications are.

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Your education could be the foundation for a career in healthcare, schools, retail, social services, public health, government or a number of other industries.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology

A psychologist interviewing a patient

While majoring in Psychology, you will study how humans learn, communicate, remember, and adapt.

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Your education will enable you to advance the field through research or teaching, or work directly with clients, providing therapy or counseling services.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Social Work

Social worker during a home visit

Opt for this degree if you’re passionate about empowering individuals, groups, families and communities to live their best lives!

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A bachelor’s in Social Work can open the door to an entry-level position such as a mental health assistant, group home worker, residential counselor, or program coordinator.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Supply Chain & Logistics

People working in Supply Chain

Planning and problem-solving are at the heart of this degree, where you will cover the process of turning raw materials into desirable products.

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Being able to run a supply chain better, faster and more cost-effectively is a huge asset to any business!

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Web Design

Web Designer doing wireframes of a new site

In this major, you will learn to design a website using a brand’s identity, establishing an appropriate look and feel, creating hierarchy, making the material engaging and easy to navigate.

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While this degree is closely related to Web Development, Web Design is more focused on the aesthetics and usability of website rather than handing the programming language that makes it operational.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Web Development

A student taking Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Web Development

Web Developers / Programmers bring together the structure, content, visuals and security of a website, using complex programming languages to create higher level interactions.

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While this degree is closely related to Web Design, expect to focus more on the functionality of a site (using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and other languages) – making the site work – rather than on the aesthetics.

What is an Online Bachelor’s Degree?

Siblings taking Online Bachelor’s Degree

An online bachelor’s degree is the same as a traditional bachelor’s degree; it just means that the student has completed some or all of the coursework online.

A bachelor’s degree is considered the “gold standard” of higher education, because it’s the minimum educational requirement to enter into most fields. This means that once you earn your bachelor’s, you should have the skills necessary to enter directly into an entry-level position in the field you’ve studied.

In some fields, however, additional education may be necessary, and if that’s the case you can enroll in a graduate or certification program anytime after completing your bachelor’s program. So why would someone choose to earn this degree online?

Well, there are a number of advantages, including:

  • Accelerated programs can help you graduate faster
  • Flexible class schedules that can fit your busy schedule
  • Students aren’t limited to schools in their area
  • Reduced tuition costs (depending on the program)
  • Access to virtual student services and online resources
  • Ability to connect with a diverse group of students and instructors world-wide

If you are self-disciplined enough to stay on task, the benefits of online learning are tremendous!

Are there different types of Online Bachelor’s Degrees?

Friends taking Online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree

Like traditional, on-campus programs, there are two types of online undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts. While there are overlaps in the classes required, the primary difference between the two programs lies in the focus of the coursework over the duration of your education.

  • Online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree: An online Bachelor of Science degree is a program that is highly focused the subject matter of your major. Throughout the course of your education, you will take a number of specialized credits that apply directly to your major, and you may have little room for elective courses.

Examples of B.S. majors include:

  • Information Technology
  • Nursing
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree: For students who want to explore a broad range of subjects in their education, a major in a Bachelor of Arts program may be the best option. Here, you will cover a variety of liberal arts subjects that include humanities, English, and social sciences. There is generally greater flexibility in a B.A. degree to choose electives that interest you, and sometimes there are fewer credits required to earn this degree.

Examples of B.A. majors include:

  • English
  • Art
  • Music
  • Modern Languages
  • Communication

Don’t get too hung up on B.S. vs. B.A. It’s just a matter of how each school presents the courses and requirements. A B.S. and B.A. are equally respected and employers generally won’t care which type of bachelor’s degree you earned.

Are Online Bachelor’s Degrees credible?

A student who takes Online Bachelor’s Degrees

Online degrees are just as credible, legit and respected as degrees earned on campus. The key – for online and traditional programs alike – is accreditation. It is very important that you choose an accredited online bachelor’s degree program.

To be accredited, schools must meet very strict standards established by a board or agency. In the U.S. there are two types of accreditation:

  • Regional – the most widely respected; more than 85% of all colleges in the US are regionally accredited
  • National – usually for-profit schools, vocational or technical programs

To find accredited online bachelor degree programs, you can search the U.S. Department of Education’s database. It’s also worth noting, unless your degree is earned from an online-only school or you specify it in your resume, employers won’t know that you earned your degree online.

How long does it take to earn an Online Bachelor’s Degree?

If you’re able to attend full-time and stay continuously enrolled, it usually takes 4 years to earn an online bachelor’s degree – the same amount of time as someone attending on campus! But some schools offer accelerated programs that will allow you to shave a year or more off of that!

At Northeastern University, for example, courses are offered more often and are compressed into five-, eight- or ten-week sessions, so some online bachelor’s degrees can be earned in as little as a 12-18 months.

How much does an Online Bachelor’s Degree cost?

Student checking cost of Online Bachelor’s Degrees program

The cost of your online bachelor’s degree will depend on many factors, including the school, type of school (public or private), degree level and major.

Most schools charge the same tuition rate to online and on-campus students, but occasionally the online programs are cheaper. Here’s why:

  • Often schools don’t charge out-of-state tuition fees to online students. You pay the same rate whether you live across the street or across the country.
  • Online students don’t have additional expenses like campus fees, commuting costs and parking fees, and often do not have to purchase expensive textbooks and course materials.

So you can expect your online degree to cost the same or less than it would cost to earn the same degree on a college campus.

How much money can I make with Online Bachelor’s Degrees?

Earning a bachelor’s degree is about more than getting a piece of paper showing that you graduated college – it can be the ticket to a high paying career!

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers with at least a bachelor’s degree earned $468 per week more than those with just a high school diploma – that’s a difference of $24,336 over a year! We have put together a list of some of the highest paying careers that you could pursue with a bachelor’s degree:

Occupation 2019 Median Pay Expected Growth, 2019-2029
Architectural / Engineering Manager $144,830 3% (as fast as average)
Petroleum Engineer $137,720 3% (as fast as average)
Advertising / Promotions / Marketing Manager $135,900 6% (faster than average)
Financial Manager $129,890 15% (much faster than average)
Computer Network Architects $112,690 5% (faster than average)

As you can see, these are growing fields with excellent salaries! While some of top-paying degrees may not be able to be pursued exclusively through online education, many schools offer hybrid programs and other flexible alternatives designed for working adults.

What is the application process like for an Online Bachelor’s Degrees program?

Man submitting his application for Online Bachelor’s Degrees

The application process for an online bachelor’s degree program is fairly straightforward, but the requirements can vary depending on the type of institution.

If you are beginning your journey at a community college, you will typically have a less in-depth process for enrollment. This type of school generally only requires that you submit your official transcripts along with your application in order to begin the enrollment process.

If you are looking at an online bachelor’s degree available through a public or private 4-year university, the process may be slightly more involved. You may need to include a personal essay and professional recommendations, for example.

Regardless of the type of college or university you are applying to, it is always in your best interest to meet with an academic advisor early on. As an online student, you may be able to do this virtually – by video call, phone or email. An academic advisor can help guide you through the enrollment and course selection process to ensure you’re taking the appropriate steps to meet your long-term goals.

Can I transfer credits I already have to use toward an Online Bachelor’s Degrees?

If you started a degree program at an accredited institution – recently or years ago – your credits will more than likely transfer to the accredited college or university of your choice. But ultimately, which credits are accepted and how they apply toward your degree are at the discretion of the receiving school.

If you do have credits you wish to transfer, make sure to look at a school’s transfer policy and speak to an academic advisor to make sure you will get credit for the work you’ve completed.

What is the difference between an Online Bachelor’s Degrees and a Traditional Degree?

Professor & students during class in a Traditional Bachelor’s Degree

The primary difference between online learning and traditional, in-the-classroom learning is the format – how the material is delivered to the student. Which learning format is best for you is really a personal preference. But there are other important differences to consider as well.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees:

  • Allow you the flexibility to study anywhere, anytime – whether you’re laid up in a hospital bed, sight-seeing around the world or just commuting to your 9-5 job
  • Allow you to work at your own pace, so you can fly through your degree program or scale back when life gets hectic
  • Make it possible to enroll at schools anywhere without having to move
  • May cost less than traditional programs
  • Don’t subject you to long commutes or parking hassles
  • Connect you with students around the world through classroom forums, etc.

But remember, earning an Online Bachelor’s Degree will require self-motivation and discipline. You will have to stay on top of things and keep yourself organized so you don’t fall behind!

On the other hand, Traditional Bachelor’s Degree programs:

  • Provide a structured schedule
  • Allow you to interact face-to-face with professors and classmates
  • Have more safeguards such as reminders for assignments, exams, etc.

These factors are important for some students. However, traditional, in-the-classroom learning lacks flexibility! You are limited to schools in your proximity, and must deal with obstacles such as childcare, work schedules, commute, illness, and so on making it difficult to attend classes.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both. You will have to figure out which format works best for you, fits within your lifestyle, and will help you achieve your goals.

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.