Our 2015 list of the Top 20 Online MBA Programs in the South. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The Kenan-Flagler Business School at University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill offers a 66-credit-hour online MBA program. Students in the program interact with faculty regularly using a face-to-face online platform. Other important components of the program are the MBA@UNC Global Immersions and quarterly three-day immersions. Students are required to attend at least two immersions. Participation in Global Immersions will take students to major business centers around the world such as Singapore, Johannesburg, Istanbul, London, and others.
Online MBA students may select from six concentrations including Corporate Finance, Entrepreneurship, Global Supply Chain Management, Investment Management, Marketing, and Sustainable Enterprise. 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." The online MBA at UNC is AACSB International-accredited.
2. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
The Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida (UF) offers an accelerated online MBA that allows students to complete the program in just 16 months. A two-year option (27 months) is also on the menu as well as a concurrent Outreach Engineering Management (OEM) Master’s (OEM/I1MBA). 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."
Known as the "UF Internet MBA Program," Warrington’s 48-credit-hour online MBA degree program is one of the nation's first fully accredited online programs. The accelerated and two-year options may be completed online, but 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.
All MBA students are encouraged to enroll in UF's MBA Global Immersion Experiences (GIE), which allows students to register for a 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 MBA programs at Warrington College of Business are AACSB International-accredited.
3. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University is home to The Jenkins Graduate School of Management, which offers a 39-credit-hour professional Online MBA. Program highlights include six emphasis areas and the opportunity to earn Decision Analytics Certification 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. Emphasis options for the AACSB International-accredited program include Biosciences Management, Entrepreneurship & Technology, Financial Management, Innovation Management, Marketing Management, and Supply Chain Management.
Students in the Jenkins online MBA program may choose 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 within six years. Students in both online 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. Students will also have the opportunity to meet during one three-day mandatory residency in Raleigh. An optional International Residency is also on the menu.
4. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
Auburn University is home to the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business. The College offers 36-credit-hour “video-based Distance MBA” that may be completed in 2.5 years, part-time. The program features 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, all coursework for the program may be completed online.
In addition to optional concentrations in Finance, Marketing, Management, Information Systems, Supply Chain, Business Analytics and Human Resource Management, the AACSB International-accredited program offers dual degrees in MSBA-Finance, Management Information Systems, and Industrial and Systems Engineering.
5. Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas
Arkansas State University is home to the College of Business, which offers a 33-credit-hour MBA program that may be completed entirely online. The program offers an optional concentration in Supply Chain Management, which requires completion of 36 to 39 credit hours. All online MBA students 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. The AACSB International-accredited online MBA program takes around two years to complete and is only available to U.S. Citizens.
6. University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi
The School of Business Administration at the University of Mississippi offers a 36-credit-hour online Professional MBA known as “Ole Miss PMBA.” The 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.
The Ole Miss Professional MBA may be completed in two years by taking two courses per semester (fall, spring and summer session). AACSB International The part-time option allows students to complete the program over a longer period of time by taking just one course per semester. The Ole Miss PMBA is AACSB International-accredited.
7. West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia
The College of Business & Economics at West Virginia University offers a 2 year, 48-credit-hour online hybrid MBA. While coursework for the program is completed online, the school requires four 3-4 day residencies. Students must attend Orientation, a Washington DC Experience, Building the Business Professional residency, and the Mock Venture Capital Fair. One residency is held each semester of the program.
Students may apply to start the program in the Spring or Fall semester of each year and can opt to pursue an area of emphasis in Energy Finance, Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination or Business Data Analytics with no additional credit hours needed. WVU’s AACSB International-accredited online hybrid MBA program also offers in-state tuition to all students, regardless of residency.
8. Georgia WebMBA
The Georgia WebMBA is a consortium of six colleges: Columbus State University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University. With the exception of one two-day orientation held at the beginning of the program, the 30-credit-hour program may be completed entirely online. Georgia WebMBA courses range from Business Strategy and Strategic Marketing to Entrepreneurship and Management Information Systems. Accredited by AACSB International, the Georgia WebMBA takes 18 to 20 months to complete.
9. Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi
The College of Business at Mississippi State University offers a 30-credit-hour MBA and a 33-credit-hour MBA with a focus in Project Management. Both programs may be completed entirely online. The AACSB International-accredited programs offer enrollment in fall, spring, or summer and programs typically take two years to complete. Students that have completed all undergraduate prerequisites can finish either program in as little as 18 months. Prerequisite courses are also available online.
10. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State University is home to the College of Business, which offers two online MBA programs. Prospective students may choose between the online MBA, with elective courses that may be tailored to three focus areas, and the online MBA with a Real Estate specialization. The 39-credit-hour online MBA can be tailored for Management Information Systems, Real Estate or Sales Management, and it may be completed in two to 2.5 years or seven semesters.
Online MBA students may participate in the Global Business Seminar for Graduate Students, which allows students to study abroad in Seoul, South Korea at firms such as Samsung Electronics, LG, Hyundai and Kia. The program, which also features several cultural excursions, focuses on the "globalization and sustainability of Korean multinational firms."
The online MBA with a Real Estate specialization also consists of 39 credit hours and features a “rigorous set of elective courses focused on real estate and analysis.” The program, which also offers a study abroad option, may be completed in two to 2.5 years. Both the online MBA and online MBA-Real Estate are AACSB International-accredited.
11. University of Tennessee-Martin, Martin, Tennessee
The University of Tennessee-Martin (UT Martin) is home to the College of Business and Global Affairs, which offers an online MBA program that is “geared toward the financial services industry.” The AACSB International-accredited program emphasizes that it has just 20 students per cohort. In addition, students may take one class at a time. However, the program may be completed in just 20 to 21 months.
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.
12. East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
The College of Business at East Carolina University (COB at ECU) offers an MBA program that may be completed entirely online, on-campus, or a combination of the two. The program takes a minimum of 33 credit hours up to a maximum of 54 credit hours (18 classes) to complete. Students may take classes at their own pace (between one to five classes per semester) and classes may be taken in any order. The program takes flexibility a step further by offering time off. Students have the option to take a semester or more off—if needed. The MBA at ECU’s College of Business is AACSB International-accredited.
13. Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs, North Carolina
The Godbold School of Business at Gardner-Webb University offers a 36-credit-hour MBA that may be completed entirely online. The program requires 30 hours in the core and six hours of electives. Emphasis areas include Accounting, Banking and Financing, International Business, Healthcare Management, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Human Resources Management, Management Information Systems, and Tax Accounting.
Students that would like to spend some time on campus may take several MBA courses at campuses in Boiling Springs, Charlotte, Statesville, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina as well as Spartanburg Springs, South Carolina. All MBA programs at the Godbold School of Business are ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs)-accredited.
14. Florida International University, Miami, Florida
Florida International University’s (FIU) Chapman Graduate School offers a Corporate MBA (CMBA) and a Professional MBA FLEX (PMBA). The CMBA may be completed 100% online and the PMBA utilizes a "blended-learning” format that alternates online and in-person classes. The PMBA option requires students to meet in a classroom setting just once a week and it offers specializations in Finance, Human Resource Management, International Business, Marketing, Management Information Systems, and Real Estate.
Both programs are AACSB International-accredited and require 42 credit hours of study to graduate. However, the PMBA may take 24 months (or more) to complete, while the CMBA takes just 18 months to complete.
15. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The E.J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University is home to the Flores MBA. The online program consists of 14 courses (42 credit hours) that may be completed in as little as 18 months. Although the program does not offer a concentration, students have several electives to choose from including Negotiation, Persuasion and Influence and Seminar in New Developments in Business Administration.
Accredited by AACSB International, the Flores MBA is designed for professionals with at least five years of work experience and it offers six start dates annually. There are no residency requirements for the program.
16. Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky
The Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business at Murray State University offers a 30-credit-hour general MBA that may be completed 100% online. The program, which is delivered via a program called “Canvas,” may be completed in as little as 18 months. However, many students complete the program in two years—the maximum time allowed for completion. Students may begin the program in spring, fall, or in summer and they can expect advanced coursework in the areas of Corporate Finance, Strategic Management (Seminar), Managerial Economics, and more.
The online MBA program at Murray State is fully accredited by AACSB International.
17. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida
The College of Business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) offers a 36-credit-hour online MBA in Aviation with six optional specializations. Options include Accounting, Finance, Information Technology, Marketing, International Business, and Public Administration.
While the program may be completed entirely online, students have access to more than 150 convenient ERAU campuses across the country. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
18. Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, Florida
The School of Business at Saint Leo University offers is home to the online MBA program, which features eight specializations. Options include Accounting, Health Care Management, Human Resource Management, Information Security Management, Marketing, Market Research and Social Media Analytics, Project Management, and Sport Business. The 36-credit-hour program allows students to pursue up to two MBA concentrations concurrently. In addition, students may start the program “at any of the six terms each year” and all students may participate in the business internship. The online MBA program at Saint Leo University is IACBE-accredited.
19. University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee
The Fogelman College of Business and Economics (FCBE) at the University of Memphis offers six different tracks to earn an MBA. The Online MBA is among them. This 33-credit-hour program highlights 24/7 learning from synchronous and asynchronous instruction by “globally-renowned faculty.” There are no prerequisites for the core curriculum and students can take three required courses (Law, Ethics, and Corporate Governance, Leadership and Team-Building, and Creativity and Innovation) as a three-day, on-campus, residency course. Courses are scheduled on a rotating basis in the weeks before the beginning of a semester, according to FCBE.
The FCBE online MBA program is AACSB International-accredited.
20. University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee
The College of Business at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga offers an Online Professional MBA (PMBA) and an Online Professional MBA with a Business Analytics Track (PMBA with BA). Both programs allow students to “earn a respected master's degree” on their own time, without leaving their job. As part of the College of Business, both online MBA programs are AACSB International-accredited.