Our 2017 list of the Top 10 Online MBA Programs on the West Coast. We define the West Coast as California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.
Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California (USC Marshall) is home to the oldest AACSB-accredited school of business in Southern California. The school offers an Online MBA Program that it says, “weaves the fundamental topics of business education – marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, and others – into hands-on exercises and real-world discussions.” Specifically designed for online delivery, the USC Marshall MBA Program highlights a single one-week, on-campus residency.
The program also features multiple delivery methods including interactive games, virtual learning exercises, and group video conferences and class sessions led by instructors and one-on-one faculty discussions via webcam. Video content and presentations produced at the USC Marshall dedicated studio are also highlighted, as well as case studies and dramatizations of real-world business scenarios, and collaborative video activities and assessments.
The Carson College of Business at Washington State University (WSU) offers a 36 credit hour Online MBA and a 44 credit hour Online Executive MBA (EMBA). The Online MBA program offers four concentrations and a General MBA. Concentrations include Marketing, Finance, International Business, and Hospitality Business Management. Though the 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 10-day residency, may be completed in as little 18 months.
The Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University offers an Online MBA Program that focuses on building “essential business knowledge in areas such as finance, marketing, accounting, economics, quantitative analysis, law, human behavior, information systems, strategy, management, and leadership,” says the school. Students in this AACSB-accredited program will build “business intelligence” as they “examine business from a global perspective and address the impact of globalization, competition, technological innovation, and ethics in the workplace.”
Students in this 52 credit hour program “develop the practical skills” needed to “thoroughly analyze and tackle the challenges of modern business with confidence and composure” and they will “improve” their “communications while learning what it takes to be an effective and persuasive manager and leader.” Other highlights of the program include the option to complete the program in as few as two years and four elective concentrations. Students may choose between Finance, General Management, Leadership and Managing Organizational Change, and Marketing.
The School of Business Administration at Portland State University (PSU) offers an Online Healthcare MBA in partnership with Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). The 72 credit hour program, which requires two visits to campus per term, focuses on five thematic categories including Healthcare Industry, Leadership and Management, Operations and Quality Management, Finance Marketing and Strategy, and Application Projects and Capstone.
Designed for working professionals, this AACSB-accredited program attracts students from all locations and healthcare roles including doctors, dentists, nurses, clinic managers, lab specialists, nurses, dietitians, and medical technologists.
The College of Business and Public Administration at California State University-San Bernardino (CSUSB) offers a 12-course MBA program that may be completed entirely online. Courses are taught in five-week sessions and students typically dedicate 20-25 hours of study time per course. Students can expect to take courses such as Advanced Managerial Communication, Corporate Strategy in a Global Economy, Information Systems & Technology, Entrepreneurship and New Ventures, Data Driven Decision Making and Project Management.
The Online MBA Program at the CSUSB College of Business is AACSB accredited and it takes just 18 months to complete.
The School of Management at City University of Seattle (CityU) offers an Online MBA Program with 10 emphasis areas. Options include Accounting, Change Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Global Management, Global Marketing, Human Resource Management, Project Management, Technology Management and Master of Business Administration with Electives. Classes for this 48 to 51 credit hour program are taught in a virtual classroom environment that allows students to log in to check assignments, discussion topics, and video. Per the school, “students collaborate and discuss topics with one another on a Portal, within this virtual classroom and on a system called Blackboard.”
For students who prefer a hybrid program, the School of Management also offers a "mixed-mode” delivery format. This delivery format allows students to complete part of the degree in class and part online. All MBA Programs at City University of Seattle are ACBSP accredited.
Craig School of Business (CSB) at California State University, Fresno (or Fresno State) offers an Accelerated MBA Program that may be completed in 18 months. Students can complete their MBA face-to-face, online or a combination of both. Per the school, the curriculum for the online and blended programs follows the same structure and course work as the traditional campus MBA, but allows students the flexibility to learn remotely. Sample courses include Global Environment of Business, Methods of Decision Sciences, Regulatory and Ethical Environment of Business, Leadership and Organizational Behavior, and Managing Human Capital.
Other program highlights include multiple seminars in covering everything from Business Ventures to “X” Marketing, AACSB accreditation and limited campus visits for a single orientation, selected final exams, and final culminating experience presentations. Students also have the option to participate in the Summer Study Abroad Program.
The College of Business Administration and Public Policy (CBAPP) at California State University-Dominguez Hills (CSU Dominguez Hills or CSUDH) offers a Professional MBA Program that may be completed 100% online. Per the school, the online program is an asynchronous format where students have the flexibility to learn on their schedule. However, students will still engage in traditional activities, such reading assignments, papers, and projects, “but in place of in-class meetings,” says the school “we hold online discussions, exercises, or other assignments.”
Students in the Online Program may choose between the General MBA and the MBA with a Concentration. Concentrations include Finance, Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Human Resource Management, Information Technology Management, International Business, Management, and Marketing Management. Depending on the concentration, students will complete 30 or 33 units.
Enrollment for the program takes place four times each year in Spring, Summer, Fall #1, and Fall #2. Each session is scheduled in 12-week intervals and students typically complete two courses per session. The CBAPP Online MBA takes around 18 months to complete and it is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
St. Mary’s College of California (SMC) offers a Hybrid EMBA that may be completed in just 18 months. The program requires alternate Saturdays on campus, along with bi-weekly live web conferences. Offered in the Bay Area cities of Moraga and San Ramon, the SMC EMBA is centered on cohort-based collaborative learning and it highlights three broad areas including Analysis and Critical Thinking, Broad Functional Knowledge, and Responsible Leadership.
Students in the program have two concentration options including Entrepreneurship and Business Analytics. The SMC hybrid EMBA Program is AACSB accredited.
The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University offers an Online MBA Program “built in the heart of Silicon Valley.” Designed to help students become “Silicon Valley Professionals (SVPs),” the program highlights a curriculum based in “innovation and responsibility,” says the school. Sample courses for the program include Doing Business in Silicon Valley, Leading People and Organizations, Ethics for Managers, Strategy, Analysis, Design, and Management of Enterprise Platforms, and Marketing is Everything. The program also highlights 28 units of free electives that allow students to focus in one or more areas.
The Leavey Online MBA requires two intensives, where students will meet their peers and experience Santa Clara University in person. These are the only two campus requirements. Otherwise, online students will take courses whenever and wherever, but they will learn from the same professors who teach the on-campus program.
Leavey School of Business is AACSB-accredited and is currently in the process of seeking approval for the Online MBA program from its institutional accrediting body, the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).