Why This Matters

  • MBA GRADUATES SEE A 35% INCREASE IN INCOME

    A MBA on average earns $22,000 more than a BBA — $84,000 rather than $62,000. Depending on your background, industry, and hiring level, that gap can rise to $40,000 — and more.

  • 77% OF STARTUPS WANT TO HIRE AN MBA

    Despite a drop in general hiring, the Graduate Management Admission Council found 77% of startups plan to hire MBAs in 2018 — a 22% increase in demand compared to 2017.

  • 10,000 HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT ROLES OPEN ANNUALLY

    Healthcare administration is expected to increase by 20% — in total 72,000 more medical and health services managers are needed by 2026. This makes healthcare one of the most promising fields for MBA graduates.

Our Research

A Master’s in Business Administration opens a wide range of opportunities to enter or level up your career in almost every industry – whether you have a background in business or not. In addition to offering a generalist MBA, most programs also offer concentrations like IT systems and entrepreneurship to customize your MBA.

To find the best Online Master’s in Business Administration, we evaluated each program based on three criteria: the strength of its generalist curriculum; the ability to customize each degree to a particular industry or skill set; and its return-on-investment. Together, these metrics create our Intelligent Score, which ranks each university on a scale from 0 to 100.

Our top picks for the best online MBA will solidify your general business skills while giving you the opportunity to specialize, without breaking the bank. (For complete details, see Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 55 Hours of Research
  • 116 programs evaluated
  • 296 Concentrations

The Top 40 Online Master’s in Business Administration

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Our Ranking Methodology

We began our search for the best Online Master’s in Business Administration with two initial requirements: the university needed to be non-profit and the program couldn’t have any on-campus requirements. While some programs have mandatory orientations and whirlwind three-day networking sessions, we focused on programs that didn’t require you to travel.

This gave us 116 promising schools to investigate based on three factors:

Program Strength

As with any college program, accreditation is important. Our list only includes schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

There is a newcomer in the business accrediting world — the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) — but we prioritized programs with the more widely-recognized AACSB or ACBSP accreditations. While IACBE-accredited programs have met certain standards of rigorousness, IACBE isn’t as highly-recognized as AACSB or ACBSP.

We also looked at how highly each program scored with leading college evaluators like U.S. News. These organizations have the resources to build in-depth resources that determine which programs are worth recommending. We developed an algorithm to collect and analyze multiple rankings into once score, helping us to easily compare and find the most reputable universities when they don’t all necessarily show up on every list.

Customization and Specialization

Then we compared each program based on how easy it was to customize your degree. While all of our programs offer a generalist curriculum, we wanted to hone in on those which helped give you a personalized edge over other MBA graduates.

Some programs promoted multiple concentrations, but we discovered that the more telling sign of a degree’s customizability lay in the number of free elective hours. Some schools offered concentrations you completed with one or two classes, where others let you tailor your degree with five or six courses. We gave each school a customization rating primarily based on the percentage of free credits it includes in its program, with a small boost if it had in-demand specializations like Healthcare, Technology, or Entrepreneurship.

Return-On-Investment

Finally, we evaluated how easy it would be to earn back the cost of your degree. While the earning potential of MBA graduates has steadily increased over the years, it hasn’t risen as fast as MBA tuition costs.

Instead of focusing purely on how much each individual credit hour costs at a university, we calculated how many years it would take for your increase in income — an average pay bump of $22,000 — to cover the cost of your degree. The faster you could put your student debt behind you, the higher the score for each school.

This Gave Us Our Intelligent Score

We then used these three factors to calculate our Intelligent Score. Each school had the opportunity to earn a maximum of 100 points. Out of the seventy-three programs on our shortlist, only forty scored above 75 points. These forty all scored highly across our three categories, making them the best options to pursue an Online MBA.

To see the full shortlist, click here.

This Degree Isn’t For Everyone

We’re confident that our Top 40 Online Master’s in Business Administration degrees are the right fit for many people. That said, if you want to rely on your school to organize the bulk of your networking, they won’t be the right fit for you. Some of them might offer networking events if you make the trek out to campus, or offer networking with the alumni, but none of them have mandatory on-campus events for online students. Instead, you’ll want to track down your own networking opportunities to make connections.

You should also be aware that almost all of our programs require a background in business — whether professional or educational. If you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree in business, it’s likely they’ll ask you to take some foundational courses to catch up before you can begin the program itself. How programs handle prerequisites varies by school, so you’ll need to check in with your admissions or degree advisor to see whether — and how many — credit hours you’ll need to take.

What’s Next?

Check out our list of the best online MBAs and take a closer look into what specializations, concentrations, and electives they offer. Depending on your preferences, you might like the straightforward route some programs offer with direct concentrations, or you might prefer building your own MBA degree with a number of free electives.

Keep in mind that if you already know the industry you’d like to work in — no matter how niche — there’s probably an MBA program tailored to help you in that field. In our research, we found the expected concentrations — accounting, marketing, e.g. — but also some more particular ones, like cybersecurity, sports management, and aviation.

Finally, you’ll need to keep an eye on state authorizations. Like every online degree, if you apply to a university that’s out-of-state, you’ll need to make sure that your home state has an agreement to accept online degrees from your university’s state. Each school should have a “state authorization” page, but since authorizations can vary by program, check in with an admissions counselor to make sure your state will recognize your MBA degree as valid.

Rankings Outcome

Group A

Either AACSB or ACBSP Accreditation, then in order of Intelligent Score

  1. The University of Baltimore
  2. Mercer University
  3. West Texas A&M University
  4. Texas A&M University Kingsville
  5. The University of Scranton
  6. Washington State University
  7. University of Wisconsin Whitewater
  8. University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium
  9. Lamar University
  10. University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  11. University of South Florida St. Petersburg
  12. Missouri State University
  13. Oklahoma State University
  14. Ball State University
  15. University of Delaware
  16. University of Alaska Fairbanks
  17. Maryville University
  18. Colorado State University
  19. University of South Dakota
  20. Frostburg State University
  21. Emporia State University
  22. The University of Louisiana Monroe
  23. Minnesota State University Moorhead
  24. University of North Alabama
  25. The University of Kansas
  26. The University of Tennessee – Martin
  27. Florida Atlantic University
  28. Quinnipiac University
  29. University of Colorado Colorado Springs
  30. University of North Dakota
  31. Arkansas State University
  32. Louisiana State University Shreveport
  33. Southern New Hampshire University
  34. University of St. Francis
  35. Park University
  36. Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
  37. The University of Arizona
  38. Murray State University
  39. Liberty University
  40. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  41. King University
  42. Widener University
  43. Midwestern State University
  44. Southeastern Oklahoma State University
  45. Jacksonville State University
  46. Rowan University
  47. University of Houston Victoria
  48. Montclair State University
  49. Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  50. University of Bridgeport
  51. University of North Carolina Wilmington
  52. Georgia Southwestern State University
  53. University of New Hampshire
  54. City University of Seattle
  55. Northeastern University
  56. Ferris State University
  57. The University of Mississippi
  58. Drexel University
  59. Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge
  60. Baylor University
  61. Rider University
  62. University of Florida
  63. Temple University
  64. University of Colorado Denver
  65. Rochester Institute of Technology
  66. New Jersey Institute of Technology
  67. Cleveland State University
  68. University of Dallas
  69. Alvernia University
  70. Kettering University
  71. Rutgers University
  72. Youngstown State University
  73. Marquette University

Group B

IACBE Accreditation, then ranked by Intelligent Score

  1. (74) Lynn University
  2. (75) Campbellsville University
  3. (76) Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
  4. (77) University of Mary
  5. (78) University of Saint Mary
  6. (79) Hope International University
  7. (80) Belhaven University
  8. (81) Fitchburg State University
  9. (82) Bemidji State University

Group C

Other Accreditation, then ranked by Intelligent Score

  1. (83) Walsh University
  2. (84) Cornerstone University
  3. (85) Spring Arbor University
  4. (86) Averett University
  5. (87) Benedictine University
  6. (88) Regis University
  7. (89) California State University Monterey Bay