Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in North Dakota. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

To ensure that these programs employ high standards of education, we limited our selections to accredited institutions. The majority of these schools are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an organization made of voluntary professionals that are dedicated to evaluating and enhancing postsecondary programs in the north central United States. Factors they consider include teaching quality, scholarly performance, and academic integrity.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in North Dakota

Best Online Colleges in North Dakota Badge
Intelligent Pick
University of North Dakota
Best for Veterans
University of Mary
Best Scheduling Options
Minot State University
Best Career Services
North Dakota State University
Most Affordable
Valley City State University
Best Polytechnic Institution
Bismarck State College
Best Student Supports
Dickinson State University
Best Teacher Training
Mayville State University
Best Private School
University of Jamestown
Best Christian School
Trinity Bible College and Graduate School

Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in North Dakota

Does North Dakota have good online colleges and universities?

Yes. The state offers a wealth of online educational opportunities, such as Valley City State University’s Associate in Digital Design and the University of Jamestown’s Online Bachelor’s in Behavioral Health. After you graduate, you may want to consider staying in North Dakota to complete a master’s degree while you work in one of the state’s many growing fields. North Dakota is rich in graduate school options, like Minot State University’s Online Master’s in Education and the University of North Dakota’s Online Master’s in Business Administration.

Do online college credits in North Dakota cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some schools offer discounted rates for online courses, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. North Dakota became a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) in 2014. This means that out-of-state students who live in a SARA-participating state can take online courses from North Dakota schools without incurring additional fees.

Why should you choose North Dakota for online higher education?

From affordable community colleges to top public research universities, North Dakota offers something for every type of online college student. One option that stands out as particularly appealing is Mayville State University, which offers a flat rate of $352 per undergraduate credit for all online students regardless of state residency.

The Cost of Online College in North Dakota

How much does an online degree in North Dakota cost?

The cost of an online degree in North Dakota depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you decide to pursue. For example, undergraduate degrees are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you’ll probably find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save money on indirect expenses like transportation, parking, and housing by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the lowest and highest rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in North Dakota below:

  • Most affordable online college in North Dakota: Minot State, $287 per credit
  • Most expensive online college in North Dakota: University of North Dakota, $370 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in North Dakota to get in-state tuition rates?

Typically, you will be eligible for in-state tuition rates after you have lived in North Dakota for one year. Some groups, such as military veterans, tribal members, and graduate fellows, are entitled to in-state tuition rates without meeting this one-year requirement. Of note: North Dakota has a reciprocity rate for residents of Minnesota and their dependents. Minnesota residents may attend a North Dakota state institution of higher learning and pay a special tuition rate that’s lower than the normal non-resident rate.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in North Dakota?

The North Dakota Scholarship Program aims to keep the state’s brightest students in the state for higher education. Scholarships cover full tuition at any North Dakota state college or North Dakota tribal college. Unlike other state reduced-tuition programs, North Dakota’s can also be applied to cover partial tuition if the student attends a private college or university. The scholarship is renewable for up to three years. Successful applicants need to maintain a 3.5 GPA, have qualifying ACT scores, and complete the FAFSA.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in North Dakota

If you don’t qualify for the North Dakota Scholarship Program, there are many other sources of financial support available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are based on income, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent scholarship options for you below:

Celebrate the West

Students from North Dakota are eligible to enter this annual art scholarship competition hosted by the Western Governors’ Foundation and sponsored by Americans for the Arts. The annual competition, currently in its seventh year, asks high school students to create original works inspired by their state.

Who’s eligible? In addition to being North Dakota residents and high school students, entrants must submit a digital copy of their artwork that expresses a western theme. Eligible media includes painting, drawing, lithography, silkscreen, mixed media, computer graphics, and collage.

Contact information: [email protected] | 303-623-9378

Learn more

Women’s Opportunity Scholarship Fund

Sponsored by CAWS North Dakota, the statewide sexual and domestic violence coalition, this scholarship fund supports eligible low-income women who wish to enter, or are currently attending, a North Dakota college, university, or trade school.

Who’s eligible? In addition to the requirements above, applicants must be low income (based on  federal poverty guidelines) and current residents of North Dakota.

Contact information: [email protected] | 701-255-6240, ext. 1004

Learn more

Erickson Merkel Foundation Scholarships

This educational fund awards numerous scholarships each year to eligible students in North Dakota. Administrators of the fund look for applicants who are doing everything possible to achieve their personal, educational, and professional goals while avoiding student loan debt.

Who’s eligible? Current high school students are not eligible. You must be a North Dakota resident already attending an undergraduate or postgraduate program at a qualified institution. Qualified institutions must be accredited and include vocational/tech schools, community colleges, four-year colleges/universities, and graduate schools.

Contact information: [email protected] | 952-212-3195

Learn more

Hattie K. Tedrow Memorial Fund Scholarships

This scholarship is for residents of North Dakota who are high school seniors and direct descendants of a veteran with honorable service in the U.S. military. Proof of military service by the applicant’s parent or grandparent is required.

Who’s eligible? In addition to the criteria above, applicants must write an essay. The scholarship funds may only be used toward an associate or bachelor’s degree at a college or university in North Dakota.

Contact information: [email protected] | 701-293-3120

Learn more

5 Fastest Growing Careers in North Dakota

If you still don’t know where you’ll attend college, it’s possible you also don’t know your major yet. In that case, one of the most important factors you should consider is which industries are growing the fastest in North Dakota — this will make it easier to find a job, and more demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By examining the state’s official Employment Projections 2020-2030, we’ve determined that the following five industries will have the highest growth rates in North Dakota in the eight years to come.

Construction and Extraction

In 2021, portions of North Dakota were among the fastest growing in the nation by population due to the state’s booming oil industry, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This record growth is driving the increase in construction and extraction occupations in the state. Within this sector, the most common occupations are construction laborers, operating engineers, and electricians, with an average sector salary of $57,080 in North Dakota. Other occupations include miners, plumbers, steelworkers, roustabouts, and rotary drill operators.

  • Growth: 20.4%
  • Degree options: Associate in Construction Technology, Bachelor’s in Construction Management, Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering Technology, Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, Master’s in Construction Administration, Ph.D. in Building Construction

Food Preparation and Serving

Restaurants and beverage establishments account for 6.7% of all employment in North Dakota, and that number is expected to grow. The most common occupations in this sector in the Peace Garden State are fast-food workers and cooks. Jobs in food preparation and serving in North Dakota pay an average salary of $27,800. Specific jobs in this sector include chefs, private household cooks, bartenders, school cafeteria attendants, and restaurant managers.

  • Growth: 18.1%
  • Degree options: Associate in Food and Beverage Studies, Bachelor’s in Food Industry Compliance, Bachelor’s in Baking and Pastry Arts, Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts, Bachelor’s in Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship, Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

Healthcare Support

Driving the demand for healthcare support workers in North Dakota is the state’s growing population in oil-rich communities. Within this sector, the most common occupations are home health and personal care aides, nursing assistants, and medical assistants. Other occupations include psychiatric aides, physical therapy assistants, veterinary assistants, massage therapists, and pharmacy aides. The average statewide salary for all jobs in this industry is $35,970.

  • Growth: 17.3%
  • Degree options: Associate in Veterinary Technology, Associate in Nursing, Associate in Dental Assisting, Associate in Clinical Laboratory Technician, Bachelor’s in Health Administration, Bachelor’s in Health and Human Services, Bachelor’s in Pre-Occupational Therapy

Architecture and Engineering

Architecture and engineering job growth also go hand in hand with North Dakota’s population influx. Within this sector, the most common occupations in North Dakota are calibration technicians, civil engineers, and electrical engineers. Other occupations in this category include landscape architects, aerospace engineers, industrial engineers, and surveying technicians. The average statewide salary for all jobs in this industry is $79,940.

  • Growth: 16.3%
  • Degree options: Associate in Engineering, Bachelor’s in Mining Engineering, Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, Bachelor’s in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems, Bachelor’s in Geomatics, Master’s in Industrial Design, Doctor of Architecture

Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations

With its generous student loan repayment programs for dentists, nurses, physicians, and veterinarians, North Dakota is an attractive state for healthcare professionals. Within this sector, the most common occupations are registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and physicians. Other occupations include dental hygienists, pharmacy technicians, speech-language pathologists, and athletic trainers. The average statewide salary for all jobs in this industry is $78,180.

  • Growth: 15.4%
  • Degree options: Associate in Veterinary Medicine, Bachelor’s in Nursing, Bachelor’s in Recreational Therapy, Bachelor’s in Audiology, Master’s in Genetic Counseling, Master’s in Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Doctor of Medicine