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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.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in North Dakota

Best Online Colleges in North Dakota Badge

University of North Dakota

University of Mary

Minot State University

Valley City State University

Bismarck State College

North Dakota State University

Dickinson State University

Mayville State University

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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.

It’s also worth mentioning that we selected the University of North Dakota as one of the 30 best schools in the entire United States for distance education. For more information, check out our guide to the best accredited online colleges. In addition to showing you the top options in the country for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.

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 wide variety of online degree programs to choose from.

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: Valley City State University, $276 per credit

Most expensive online college in North Dakota: University of North Dakota, $384 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 was created by the North Dakota state legislature in 2021. There are multiple pathways available for earning this scholarship (post-secondary ready, workforce ready, and military ready), and qualified students can receive up to $6,000.

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 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

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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

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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

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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

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Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries 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 years to come.

Construction and Extraction

In 2021, some cities in North Dakota were among the fastest growing in the nation due to the state’s booming oil industry. 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.

Food Preparation and Serving

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

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

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