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Online Business Schools, Colleges and Universities: How to Choose

Several online degree programs in business are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Read on to learn about important considerations when choosing an online business program.

Selecting an online business school can be a daunting process, but the main considerations to focus on are degree level and how courses are delivered. With the right knowledge, you can be on your way to earning a degree and starting a new career.

How to Select an Online Business School

Students interested in completing a business program online can find program options through 4-year colleges and universities. These programs include a variety of enrollment options and schedules to accommodate working professionals as well as full-time students. Those wishing to enroll in such a school should consider the award level and program type.

Award Levels

Earning online bachelor's and master's degrees in business can lead to a career in a wide number of industries and fields. Students can often choose to specialize their degrees with concentrations in finance, law, management, accounting or economics. It's recommended that prospective students research and consider which aspect of business they would like to enter before selecting an online business program.

Program Type

Fully online programs are common for studying business at the bachelor's and master's levels. In these programs, all courses are offered on the Web through streaming video lectures, texts, conferencing and online instruction. Students never have to attend classes on campus and have the freedom to view course material and complete assignments any time during the day or night. Some schools may also offer accelerated, self-paced or directed study options, which allow students to work at their chosen pace.

A number of colleges and universities also offer hybrid online programs. These programs retain a strong online component but also require students to spend at least part of the time on campus. Hybrid programs allow students to benefit from personal interaction with classmates and faculty, along with access to school facilities.

List of Common Online Business Programs

Online Bachelor of Science in Business

While some schools may offer accelerated learning options, the majority of online bachelor's degree programs in business administration take 2-3 years to complete. A typical course load will include up to 60 credits of liberal arts requirements such as calculus, statistics, accounting, office technology and communications.

The core business courses taken will depend on the student's chosen specialization, though most programs include classes in:

  • Social, legal and ethical environment
  • Strategic business planning
  • Financial and managerial accounting
  • Contemporary skills for business professionals

Specializations in a business program can include accounting, finance, business management, human resources and business information systems. Internship opportunities are also available within many specializations.

Online Master of Business Administration

Online master's degree programs prepare students for upper-level positions in services such as insurance, finance and regulatory compliance. Students in the master's degree program build on the bachelor's degree by deepening their knowledge of:

  • Business strategy
  • Economics for managers
  • Applied business statistics
  • Leadership in Organizations

Schools with Online Programs in Business

Penn State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business program that allows students to choose from a number of specialization options, including financial services, entrepreneurship and accounting. Penn State also has an online associate degree program in business administration as well as an online Master of Business Administration program that includes an on-campus 5-day residency.

The Fox School of Business at Temple University offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration, and every course in the program is delivered via synchronous meetings between students and faculty. There are part-time and full-time options available, depending on your current career situation, and the tuition rate is kept at the same level as in-state residents. Students interested in graduate study can also pursue an MBA program online following the completion of a one week on-campus residency.

The University of Arizona is also home to an online Master of Business Administration program that is tailored to the needs of working professionals and accessible at any time. The program can be completed in as little as 14 months or can be stretched over a period of four years. There are no synchronous meetings, so the program is entirely self-paced.

Ultimately, online business programs should be selected for the level of award they offer and their course delivery format. Depending on how much time you can dedicate to a program, you may be able to finish programs with asynchronous course requirements faster than those requiring synchronous course meetings and on-campus visits.

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