Our 2021 rankings of the Top Online MBA Programs in North Carolina. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

Top Online MBA Programs in North Carolina - 2021 Rankings
1University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill
2North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh
3East Carolina UniversityGreenville
1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In 1795, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill) became the only public university in the U.S. to award degrees in the 18th century. The School of Commerce was established in 1919 and is known today as Kenan-Flagler Business School. With more than 42,000 graduates working in all states and dozens of countries, UNC Kenan-Flagler is considered one of the nation’s top business schools.

The online MBA program at UNC (MBA@UNC) is one of the most recognized and established in the country. This 66 credit hour, STEM-designated degree program allows students to interact with faculty weekly using a face-to-face online platform. Program highlights include a customizable curriculum, on-campus summits, and experiential global opportunities that allow students to travel to major business centers around the world such as Johannesburg, Istanbul, London, Singapore, and others.  MBA@UNC students can customize their studies and refine their leadership skills with 25+ elective options in five concentration areas including Data Analytics and Decision Making, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, and Strategy and Consulting.

Students may participate in several additional programs to gain even more hands-on business and international experience. Optional programs include Student Teams Achieving Results (STAR), the Exchange Program, and Doing Business In (DBI). STAR students "students learn by doing as they take on the role of consultants to real companies,” says the school, while the Exchange Program “allows MBA@UNC students to study at another top-ranked business school in countries across the globe." Doing Business In (DBI) "gives students an opportunity to study abroad at an MBA exchange partner school."

With four annual start dates (January, April, July and October), the MBA@UNC can completed in as few as 18 months or as many as 36, depending on the students schedule and other commitments. The program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

2. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University (NC State or NCSU) held its first classes in the fall of 1889 with 72 students and six faculty members in one building. Today, NC State is the largest of the 16 higher-education institutions in the University of North Carolina system, with over 2,000 faculty members, an administrative and support staff of more than 5,500, and a current enrollment of more than 36,700 students from across the state and around the world. Through its 11 colleges, NC State offers 100+ undergraduate programs, 100+ master’s programs, 60+ doctoral programs, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

The school’s most popular majors are Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences; Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs; and Engineering.

Founded in 1992 and serving more than 3,500 students, Poole College of Management at NC State offers a 40 credit hour Professional Online MBA that has six “Depth Areas” comprised of the same functional area options as concentrations, but with fewer credit hours required to graduate. Known as the “Jenkins MBA,” areas for the program include Biosciences Management, Entrepreneurship & Technology Commercialization, Financial Management, Innovation Management, Marketing Management, and Supply Chain Management. This AACSB-accredited program also 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.

Students in the Jenkins Online MBA program may choose the Accelerated Path, which takes as few as 21 months to complete, or the Flexible Path, which allows students to complete their degree in as little as 21 months or up to six years. Both pathways “integrate proven technology strategies to help connect” students with professors, guest speakers, and peers, “using podcasts, videos, and online presentations.” Students will work with virtual teams during discussions and on group projects. Professors also provide office hours through a virtual collaborative space, phone, email, and online chat.

The Jenkins Online MBA requires two three-day residencies on NC State’s main campus in Raleigh. In addition, students are encouraged to complete an optional International Immersion that lasts for seven to eight days. “The focus of the trip is to provide global business and cultural awareness skills,” says the school.

For 2019, travel experiences include France: MBA, Art & Science of Negotiation in Paris and Germany: MBA, Innovation & Marketing Systems in Munich. Study abroad trips take place during the Spring and Summer semesters, (usually mid-March or mid-May).

3. East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
East Carolina University

Established in 1907, East Carolina University (ECU) held its first classes in 1909, opening its doors to just 174 students. Today the school serves around 28,800 students from all 100 North Carolina counties and 47 states plus DC. More than 100 undergraduate degree programs, over 70 master's degree programs, two intermediate programs, and over 60 graduate certificate programs are offered in 11 colleges and schools. In addition, more than 100 online degree and certificate programs are available, along with 13 research doctoral programs and six first professional programs (AuD, DMD, DNP, DPT, EdD, MD). ECU holds the distinction of being classified among the Doctoral/Research Universities by the Carnegie Foundation.

AACSB accredited since 1967, the College of Business at East Carolina University (COB at ECU) offers an MBA program that may be completed entirely online or in hybrid format. There are no residency requirements for the 100% online MBA and students can create a schedule that works with theirs, with the support and guidance of a dedicated advisor. Students may set their own pace throughout the program – taking between one to five courses each semester, take off a semester or more off if needed, and complete courses in any order, provided prerequisites are met.

The customizable ECU MBA is designed for both business and non-business undergraduates. The degree is “completely self-contained, requiring no prerequisite business experience or coursework,” says the school. The program consists of a maximum of 18 courses, or 54 semester hours, and “provides an engaging and flexible education in the theory and practice of business management – exposing students to a range of subjects,” including accounting, finance, economics, information systems, marketing, operations management, strategy, and supply chain management. Courses are divided into three categories including seven foundation courses, eight common body of knowledge courses, and three electives/graduate certificate courses.

Students can choose from more than 30 different electives to customize their MBA experience to their career goals or opt for one of 12 COB-affiliated graduate certificates to satisfy the elective requirement. Most certificates require four or five courses, which will add one or two additional courses to the program. Certificates are designed to provide students “with meaningful insight into the issues of a specific industry from colleges or departments both inside and outside the College of Business.”

Certificates are awarded from the respective colleges or departments in conjunction with the degree and successful completion of a certificate is reflected on the graduate’s transcript.