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 often appeal 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 with opportunities to advance in their careers without putting life on hold.

Earning an online degree is a big commitment, though, so we’ve gathered useful information about the costs, durations, admissions processes, and practices of the most popular online bachelor’s degree programs.

Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

You can select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

All these fields typically offer plenty of opportunities for growth, many different job prospects, and job security.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Accounting

Government accountant working on some paperwork

This major typically provides a good dose of economics, finance, and management courses to help prepare you for careers in public, industrial, or government accounting.

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Once you graduate, you may 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 a Bachelor of Architecture program, which is usually 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 typically consists of courses on marketing, accounting, logistics, sales, and a variety of other business topics.

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This broad but versatile major is applicable in nearly any industry, and you may even have the opportunity to declare a minor or concentration to develop your skills in a more specialized area of expertise.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Law

Business lawyer and a business owner signing a contract

Business law majors examine law as it pertains to business, covering topics such as contracts, mergers, and acquisitions.

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This degree is typically 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 or develop a business, a business management degree may be a great choice for you.

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This major typically teaches how 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 can help you hone your skills in writing, speaking, critical thinking, technology, and teamwork.

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A communications degree is often used to pursue an exciting career in journalism, public relations, marketing, or advertising, but your expertise in communications can 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 will likely receive a rigorous education in mathematics and computer science theory. Most graduates become software developers or web programmers. Both of these jobs are typically well-paid and in high demand.

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While it is closely related to information technology, a computer science degree is usually more focused on programming computers using mathematical algorithms.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice

Woman with Criminal Justice major, working in legal services

Majors in criminal justice explore crime, laws, and the justice system.

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With a degree in criminal justice, you could pursue a career as a police officer, crime scene investigator, secret service agent, homeland security agent, air marshal, or a number of other 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, postsecondary, or special education, this degree can help you develop the skills necessary to be effective, engaging, and inspirational in today’s classrooms.

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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 career fields, and a degree in engineering can potentially lead to employment in nearly 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

English majors examine communication and expression, which are skills that are 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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Earning this bachelor’s degree can help 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 can 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

Earning an information systems security degree can give you the opportunity to 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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With this degree, you can pursue work in information security, network architecture, database administration, systems administration, and computer support. While information technology is similar to computer science, it is typically much more focused on computer operations than mathematical programming.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Internet Marketing

Internet Marketers working on an SEO project

Internet marketers 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 helpful 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 study nutrition, body movement, sports ethics, injury prevention and rehabilitation, anatomy and physiology, and fitness and wellness concepts.

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With this degree, you may pursue employment in healthcare settings, such as clinics or hospitals, or 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 often a great foundation for careers in sales, advertising, bank marketing, research, product management, retail, and client relations, but it 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 that covers calculus, finite, actuarial sciences, algebra, and aspects of business, engineering, and computer science.

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This degree can help you pursue 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

This major involves the study of how different nutrients affect a body’s health, growth, and development.

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

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology

A psychologist interviewing a patient

Psychology majors study how humans learn, communicate, remember, and adapt.

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Your education can help you pursue research and teaching careers in psychology, or you may instead choose to pursue a career working directly with clients, providing therapy or counseling services.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Social Work

Social worker during a home visit

You may want to opt for a degree in social work 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 help open the door to entry-level positions such as 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. Supply chain and logistics majors study 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 nearly any business!

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Web Design

Web Designer doing wireframes of a new site

This major involves studies in designing websites that reflect brand identities, establishing appropriate looks and feels, creating hierarchy, and making engaging materials and easily navigated sites.

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While this degree is closely related to web development, web design is more focused on the aesthetics and usability of a website rather than handling 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 and 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, web development degree programs typically focus more on the functionality of websites (using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and other languages) rather than on 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 often 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 degree, you should have the skills necessary to enter directly into an entry-level position in the field you’ve studied.

In some fields, additional education may be necessary. If that’s the case, you can enroll in a graduate or certification program anytime after completing your bachelor’s program.

Why would someone choose to earn a bachelor’s degree online? Well, there are a number of advantages, including:

  • Accelerated programs that can help you graduate faster
  • Flexible class schedules that can better fit your busy schedule
  • Not being limited to schools in your area
  • Reduced tuition costs (depending on the program)
  • Access to virtual student services and online resources
  • Ability to connect with diverse groups of students and instructors worldwide

If you are self-disciplined enough to stay on task, the benefits of online learning can be 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 bachelor’s degrees: Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts. While there are overlaps in the classes required, the primary difference between the two types of degrees lies in the focus of the coursework.

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

Examples of BS majors include:

  • Information Technology
  • Nursing
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree programs are typically better suited for students who want to explore a broad range of subjects along with the specific topic of their major.  These programs cover a variety of liberal arts subjects, including humanities, English, and social sciences.

There is generally greater flexibility in a B.A. degree program 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. B.S. and B.A. degrees 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 can be 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 a regionally accredited online bachelor’s degree program.

To become regionally accredited, schools must meet very strict standards established by a board or agency. To find accredited online bachelor’s degree programs, you can search the US Department of Education’s database.

It’s also worth noting that unless your degree is earned from an online-only school or you specify it in your resume, employers typically 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 it takes someone attending on campus.

Some schools offer accelerated programs that may allow you to shave a year or more off of that! Courses at these schools are typically offered more often and are usually compressed into sessions that are 10, 9, or 5 to 6 weeks long. With accelerated courses, some online bachelor’s degrees can be earned in just 12 to 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, the type of school (public or private), degree level, and major.

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

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

Earning an online degree typically costs the same or less than it costs 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 potentially 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 earn on average $525 more per week than those with just a high school diploma. That’s a difference of $27,300 a year!

These are some of the highest-paying careers that you could pursue with a bachelor’s degree, according to the BLS:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Architectural and Engineering Managers $152,350
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $133,380
Financial Managers $131,710
Petroleum Engineers $130,850
Computer Network Architects $120,520

As you can see, these are growing fields with excellent average salaries! While some of the 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 Degree Program?

Man submitting his application for Online Bachelor’s Degrees

As with online associate’s degrees, the application process for most online bachelor’s degree programs 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 university, the process may be slightly more involved. For example, you may need to include a personal essay and professional recommendations.

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 Degree?

If you started a degree program at an accredited institution—recently or years ago—many, if not all, of your credits will likely transfer to other accredited colleges or universities. Ultimately, it is up to the discretion of the receiving school which credits are accepted and how they apply toward your degree.

If you do have credits you wish to transfer, it’s important to check your 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 Degree 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, or how the material is delivered to the student. Your personal preferences and learning style will help determine which learning format is the best for you.

We’ve compiled some of the things you might want to consider.

Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs:

  • Allow you the flexibility to study anywhere with an internet connection and typically at any time
  • Usually 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 without having to move
  • May cost less than traditional programs
  • Don’t subject you to long commutes or parking hassles
  • Can connect you with students around the world

But remember, as with online masters programs, earning an online bachelor’s degree requires self-motivation and discipline. You will have to stay on top of things and keep yourself organized so you don’t fall behind!

Traditional Bachelor’s Degree Programs:

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

These factors are important for some students, but traditional, on-campus learning lacks flexibility! You are limited to schools in your proximity and must deal with obstacles such as childcare, work schedules, commute times, illness, and other factors that may make it difficult to attend classes.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to online and traditional learning. 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.