Top 25 Public Online MBA Programs – 2016
Our 2016 list of the Top 25 Public Online MBA Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Top 1% of schools considered)
The Kenan-Flagler Business School at University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill offers an Online MBA Program that highlights several components beginning with MBA@UNC Global Immersions and quarterly three-day immersions. Students are required to attend at least two Global Immersions, which may take them to major business centers around the world such as Singapore, Johannesburg, Istanbul, London, and others. Other components of the 66 credit hour AACSB accredited program include weekly interaction with faculty using a face-to-face online platform and the option to complete the program in 18 to 36 months.
Online MBA students also have an impressive eight concentrations to choose from including Corporate Finance, Entrepreneurship, Global Supply Chain Management, Investment Management, Marketing, Sustainable Enterprise, Management Consulting, and Data Analytics and Decision Making. In addition, students may participate in several other programs to gain additional hands-on business and international experience. Optional programs include Student Teams Achieving Results (STAR), where "students learn by doing as they take on the role of consultants to real companies," the Exchange Program which "allows MBA@UNC students to study at another top-ranked business school in countries across the globe," and Doing Business In (DBI) which "gives students an opportunity to study abroad at an MBA exchange partner school."
2. Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana (Top 2% of schools considered)
The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University offers an Online MBA Program known as “Kelley Direct Online.” The flexible program allows students to customize their experience by selecting 12 credit hours of electives to create a specialized area. The program, which takes just two years to complete, also offers the opportunity to complete a dual MBA/MS degree with an MS in Business Analytics, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Finance, Global Supply Chain Management, Marketing or Strategic Management.
Another unique opportunity for students is AGILE—Accelerating Global Immersion Leadership Education. Offered each quarter, the AGILE curriculum allows students to gain international business experience while pursuing their online degree and features travel to places such as Gaborone, Botswana; Sao Paolo, Brazil; Beijing, China; New Delhi, India; Myanmar, and Johannesburg, South Africa. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International), Kelley Direct Online welcomed 206 online MBA students in fall 2015. Figures for 2016 have not been released.
3. Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Top 3% of schools considered)
The Fox School of Business at Temple University offers an Online MBA Program known as the “Fox OMBA.” Students in the 48 credit hour program use a combination of “cutting-edge social technologies,” HD video presentations, and web conferencing technology to engage in course activities in any environment and at their own pace. While coursework for the program is available entirely online, students must attend one week-long residency, which is held at the school’s main campus. Students must also “attend” live weekly classes held through WebEx. This gives students the opportunity to meet classmates and faculty in an environment that allows them to “speak with and see one another.”
Most students complete the AACSB accredited Fox OMBA in as little as 20 months, with each student spending approximately 10-20 hours each week on coursework.
4. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (Top 3% of schools considered)
The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University offers a flexible Online MBA Program that received 284 applications during its most recent application round and admitted just 105 students. This competitive program allows students to take just one course at a time (five weeks per course) and customize their MBA by declaring an area of emphasis in Finance, International Business, Marketing, or Supply Chain Management. Students also have the option to earn two degrees in less time and at a lower cost. Concurrent online degree options include the MBA/Master of Legal Studies, the MBA/MSE Electrical Engineering, and the MBA/MS Industrial Engineering.
The AACSB accredited Carey School of Business Online MBA requires just one meeting at the beginning of the program. This mandatory orientation session allows students to meet faculty, staff, students, and teammates. After orientation, coursework for the 36 credit hour program may be completed entirely online.
5. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (Top 4% of schools considered)
The Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida (UF) is one of the first schools to offer a fully accredited Online MBA Program. The program has two flexible options—an Accelerated Online MBA that allows students to complete the program in just 16 months and a two-year option, which takes 27 months to complete. A concurrent Outreach Engineering Management (OEM) Master’s (OEM/MBA) is also on the menu. This "innovative" degree option "reduces the amount of time and coursework required for students to obtain both the MBA and the OEM degree from UF."
While the accelerated and two-year options may be completed online, students must visit the Gainesville campus once per term (once every four months) to take final exams and to deliver final presentations. These visits typically take place on weekends. In addition, all Online MBA students are encouraged to enroll in UF's MBA Global Immersion Experiences (GIE). Students register for the two-credit course that meets in person and online over the course of the semester and includes a seven to 10-day experience abroad in China, Chile, Dubai and others. The Online MBA programs at UF’s Warrington College of Business are AACSB accredited.
6. Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania (Top 5% of schools considered)
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State or PSU) offers an Online MBA that consists of 48 credit hours including 39 General Management Credits and nine credits of concentration work. Concentrations include Accounting, Advanced Accounting, Business Analytics, Finance, General Management, Human Resource Management, Project Management, and Supply Chain Management. At the start of the PSU Online MBA program, all students must attend a five-day Orientation Residency held at University Park, Pennsylvania. For attending the Orientation, students receive credit towards the degree program.
The PSU Online MBA is led by the Smeal College of Business in partnership with Black School of Business, Penn State Behrend; Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies; and Penn State Harrisburg School of Business Administration. The program is also AACSB accredited.
7. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas (Top 5% of schools considered)
The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) is home to The Naveen Jindal School of Management (JSOM), which offers an Online Professional MBA (PMBA) that utilizes "streaming audio lectures, video clips, online exams, online submission of assignments, and interactivity for group projects using discussion forums, email, and web conferencing." The 53 credit hour program offers 24 hours of electives, along with an impressive 12 concentrations. Just a few include Accounting, Information Systems, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Real Estate, and Supply Chain Management. Students in this AACSB accredited program have up to 72 months to complete their degree.
All Online MBA students are encouraged to participate in the school's International Study Programs, which "give direct exposure to business in a global context." Besides offering Exchange Programs and International Internships, the JSOM Study Abroad Office has conducted more than 35 faculty led international study trips in 16 countries for the past 15 years.
8. Washington State University, Pullman, Washington (Top 6% of schools considered)
The Carson College of Business at Washington State University (WSU) offers two Online MBA options—a 36 credit hour MBA and a 44 credit hour Executive MBA (EMBA). The 36 credit hour MBA program offers four concentrations and a General MBA. Concentrations include Marketing, Finance, International Business, and Hospitality Business Management. While the AACSB accredited program may completed in as little as 22 months, students without a bachelor’s degree in business may have to take up to 17 additional credit hours, which will increase their completion time.
The WSU Online EMBA consists of Marketing-Marketing Management and Administrative Policy, Finance-Problems in Financial Management, Management Information Systems-Information Systems Analysis, Business Administration-Business Analytics, and Accounting-Administrative Control. The AACSB accredited Online EMBA Program, which also offers the opportunity to travel to China for a weeklong residency, may be completed in as little 18 months.
9. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska (Top 7% of schools considered)
The College of Business at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) offers a 48 credit hour MBA that is offered entirely online. Per UNL, “you will never have to come to campus, which makes this option the most flexible” of the school’s three MBA programs. The program includes 10 core classes (30 hours), nine hours of breadth electives, and nine hours of electives. Specialization options include Agribusiness, Business Analytics, Finance and Marketing, International Business, and Supply Chain Management.
Students may begin their studies in January, March, June, August or October of each year. The average completion time for the UNL Online MBA is three years, but it is possible to complete it in 1.5 years. However, students are allowed up to 10 years to complete this AACSB accredited program.
10. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (Top 7% of schools considered)
Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business offers a video-based Distance MBA that may be completed in 2.5 years, part-time. The 36 credit hour, AACSB accrdited program offers an optional three-day orientation at the beginning of the program and a three-day visit to campus towards the end of the program to complete the Capstone Course. Otherwise, coursework for the program may be completed entirely online.
In addition to optional concentrations in Finance, Marketing, Management, Information Systems, Supply Chain, Business Analytics and Human Resource Management, the program offers dual degrees in MSBA-Finance, Management Information Systems, and Industrial and Systems Engineering. Graduate research assistantships, which are awarded annually, are also on the menu.
11. University of Wisconsin Consortium, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Oshkosh, Parkside, Wisconsin (Top 8% of schools considered)
The University of Wisconsin (UW) Consortium MBA Program is available through all UW campuses (except Madison) and features “content-integrated, theme-based modules rather than traditional stand-alone courses.” The 30 credit hour, AACSB Accredited program is designed for working professionals looking to advance in their respective career fields. With coursework that may be completed entirely online (no campus visits required), the program allows students to continue working while completing their degree, which typically takes 2.5 to three years, once foundation requirements have been met.
Consortium MBA students may choose 13 credits of electives relevant to their career goals. Electives are offered in the areas of Accounting & Finance, Healthcare, Information Technology, Management, and Marketing. Students will complete a mandatory Leadership “mini-module,” which occurs concurrently with “Developing New Products and Services,” and they also have the option to earn a 13-credit Online Certificate that can be applied towards the schools MBA program course prerequisites.
12. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina (Top 9% of schools considered)
The Jenkins Graduate School of Management at North Carolina State University (NC State) offers a 39 credit hour Professional Online MBA that offers the opportunity to earn Decision Analytics or SAP Certification. SAP is the world's largest enterprise applications software company, with a wide range of software used by more than 38,000 firms in over 120 countries. The AACSB accredited program also highlights six areas of emphasis including Biosciences Management, Entrepreneurship & Technology, Financial Management, Innovation Management, Marketing Management, and Supply Chain Management.
Students in the Jenkins Online MBA program have two tracks to choose from—the Accelerated Professional Track, which takes as little as 21 months to complete, or the Flexible Professional Track, which allows students to complete their degree in as little as 21 months up to six years. Students in both programs will interact with one another and instructors via distance education technology (including Blackboard Collaborate and Moodle), e-mail, online discussion forums (message boards, instant messaging, etc.), and telephone conferencing. However, the program requires two three-day residencies on NC State’s campus in Raleigh. An optional International Residency is also on the menu.
13. Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas (Top 9% of schools considered)
The College of Business at Arkansas State University is home to an Online MBA Program that is only business program nationally ranked in the top 15 in both quality and affordability. The 33 credit hour program offers an optional Concentration in Supply Chain Management that requires 36 to 39 credit hours to complete. Students in both programs have the option to complete an internship worth three credit hours or one directed independent study.
According to program literature, a serious trademark of the Online MBA is the same faculty members that teach and mentor the College of Business’ on-campus courses are the instructors for the online program. This AACSB accredited Online MBA Program takes around two years to complete and it is only available to U.S. Citizens.
14. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (Top 10% of schools considered)
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona offers a 45 credit hour MBA that allows students to earn their degree 100% online in as little as 14 months. With six starts per year (or every eight weeks), the AACSB accredited program offers six concentrations by taking specific electives. Concentrations include Entrepreneurship, Health Care, Finance, Management and Organizations, Management Information Systems, and Marketing. Also known as the OMBA, the Eller Online MBA welcomed 89 students for the 2014-2015 school year.
15. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana (Top 11% of schools considered)
Miller College of Business at Ball State University offers a 30 credit hour Online MBA Program that may be completed in as little as two years. The AACSB accredited program offers five optional concentrations including Entrepreneurship, Finance, Health Economics, Policy and Administration, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and Sales Management. An additional option is the General MBA, which allows students to customize their experience through a variety of course subjects.
Miller Online MBA students complete their coursework through a combination of asynchronous (no specific sign-on time each week) and synchronous (specific time to watch and participate in live webcast lectures and discussions) formats. Students will “keep in contact with instructors and classmates using e-mail, discussion boards, file sharing, chats, web page posting, and possibly over the telephone.” Most students enroll in an average of two courses each semester and typically complete the program in five to six semesters.
Miller College of Business offers another delivery format option for students who prefer a combination of online and on-campus classes. The Hybrid MBA allows students to choose which classes they would like to take on-campus and which ones they prefer to complete online. Like students in the online program, most hybrid students enroll in an average of two courses each semester and typically complete the program in five to six semesters.
16. University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts (Top 11% of schools considered)
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass-Amherst) is home to The Isenberg School of Management, which offers a 45 credit hour Online MBA Program that highlights four focus areas including Entrepreneurship, Finance, Healthcare Administration, and Marketing. The AACSB accredited Isenberg Online MBA also features a unique opportunity for students to “try before you buy.” Potential MBA students can take up to two classes before applying to learn why the program is a good fit.
Besides several concentrations and the opportunity to experience the program before committing, students have an additional delivery option to consider. The Blended Option allows students to take some classes online and others at a conveniently located satellite campus in Boston, Shrewsbury, or Springfield, Massachusetts.
17. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas (Top 12% of schools considered)
The College of Business (CoB) at the University of North Texas (UNT) offers several MBA programs that may be completed 100% online. Programs include Accelerated MBA’s in Strategic Management or Organizational Behavior, and MBAs in Finance or Marketing.
The coursework for each 36 credit hour Online MBA is identical to the school’s Traditional MBA program and may be completed in as little as two years. Courses in the Accelerated Online MBA Programs are offered in eight-week sessions. All MBA programs offered through the College of Business at UNT are AACSB accredited.
18. University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi (Top 13% of schools considered)
The School of Business Administration at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) offers a 36 credit hour Online Professional MBA that can be completed in as little as two years. Known as the “Ole Miss PMBA,” the AACSB accredited program “employs a fully supported online learning system integrated with features such as video conferencing, interactive discussions and similar collaborative technologies necessary for effective online instruction.” Course titles range from Managerial Accounting and Organizational Behavior to Contemporary Business Analysis and Mobilizing Technology.
19. Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi (Top 13% of schools considered)
The College of Business at Mississippi State University offers a 30 credit hour MBA Program and a 36 credit MBA with a Concentration in Project Management. Both programs are offered entirely online and emphasize Management, Marketing, Finance, Economics, Business Information Systems, and Quantitative Analysis coursework. Both AACSB accredited programs offer enrollment in fall, spring, or summer and they typically take two years to complete. However, students that have completed all undergraduate prerequisites can finish either program in as little as 18 months. Prerequisite courses are also available online.
20. Georgia WebMBA, Georgia (Top 14% of schools considered)
The Georgia WebMBA is a top-ranked Online MBA Program offered by six University System of Georgia schools including Columbus State University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University. This accelerated, AACSB accredited program takes just 18 months to complete and consists of 10 courses that students complete over five consecutive terms. Besides a single mandatory two-day orientation in Atlanta, students may complete these courses and all other program requirements entirely online.
Other Georgia WebMBA highlights include two convenient start times (January and August), no required electives, and key courses such as Entrepreneurship, Global and International Business, Management Information Systems, and Business Strategic Management. In addition, no matter which school a student has been admitted to, he or she will have the opportunity to take courses and interact with students from all of six schools, as the Georgia WebMBA is a single program.
21. University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, Florida (Top 15% of schools considered)
The University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) is home to The Kate Tiedemann College of Business, which offers an AACSB accredited MBA Program that may be completed entirely online. Per the school, “from application to graduation, fully online students never have to some to campus if they so choose.” Online courses are taught in “compact” eight-week sessions, which allow part-time students to enroll in just one course at a time.
Online MBA students have the option to pursue the Global MBA Track, which requires a Study Abroad Course. Students may opt for one of seven other Focus Tracks including Corporate Social Responsibility, Finance, Forensic Accounting, International Business, Management, Information Systems Management (formerly Managing Knowledge Resources), and Marketing Strategy.
22. University of Tennessee, Martin, Tennessee (Top 15% of schools considered)
University of Tennessee-Martin (UT Martin or UTM) is home to The College of Business and Global Affairs, which offers a 33 credit hour Online MBA Program that may be completed in just 20 months. The cohort-based program, which is “geared toward the financial services industry,” allows students to take one class at a time. The AACSB accredited program emphasizes that it has just 20 students per cohort. Students typically begin the program in January, but UTM will also be offering another cohort starting in May.
Because the UT Martin online MBA is open to “anyone holding a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university, regardless of undergraduate major,” students come from all walks of life. Trips to campus are not required, so all interaction between the programs diverse group of students and faculty takes place via discussion boards, email, virtual classrooms, and virtual group meeting rooms. Other assignments and exams are completed and submitted online.
23. West Texas A&M University, Canyon, Texas (Top 16% of schools considered)
The College of Business at West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) offers a 31 to 49 credit hour MBA program that may be completed entirely online. Students may also “combine online courses with campus courses to meet degree requirements.” Regardless of delivery format, all MBA students may choose an optional emphasis area such as Computer Information Systems, Management, Marketing, or Healthcare Management. The AACSB accredited Online MBA at WTAMU’s College of Business may be completed within a two-year period. However, some students have completed the program in as few as 12 to 18 months.
24. Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio (Top 17% of schools considered)
Cleveland State University is home to The Monte Ahuja College of Business, which offers a one-year MBA that may be completed entirely online. One of the first online, one-year MBA programs to be AACSB accredited, the Accelerated Online MBA (AMBA) at Cleveland State emphasizes strategic management skills and equips each student with Apple's iPad 4G upon enrollment. Textbooks, many course modules and other interactive learning materials are fully accessible on the iPad, which comes with 4G service for one year. Upon completion of the 34 credit hour AMBA program, students may keep the iPad.
25. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois (Top 17% of schools considered)
Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU Carbondale) is home to The College of Business, which offers a fully Online MBA Program with an optional Concentration in Agribusiness Economics. This concentration is offered in partnership with the College of Agricultural Sciences. Per the school, both the General MBA and the MBA with a Concentration in Agribusiness Economics feature a “structured, 23-month curriculum delivered through a focused, modular format,” as well as “participation with a cohort of fellow students that encourages interaction and collaboration.” Course content for the AACSB accredited programs is designed and delivered by many of the same faculty who teach in the on-campus MBA program at SIU.