Online Business Administration Degree Programs by Level

Dec 07, 2019

Get info about online programs in business administration. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Online degree programs in business administration are quite common, are offered at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels, and can take 2-4 years to complete. Many programs can be completed entirely online, but some are hybrid programs that require a few courses to be taken on campus as well as online. Some programs require applicants to have completed some prerequisite coursework in business, economics or accounting, and students usually need to take exams in a proctored environment.

In Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs, students can often choose a concentration, such as finance, human resources management, accounting or global business. A final project or a thesis may be required. Online MBA programs are designed to accommodate the schedules of working students and may be offered as full- or part-time programs.

Associate of Science in Business Administration

An Associate of Science in Business Administration is often a 2-year program, lasting 60-62 credits, including both general education and business-specific courses. Business students examine a variety of themes, including labor, management and industrial relations. These classes are offered online and on-site at universities and colleges across the U.S.

Program Requirements and Information

An associate's degree program's general education components may be available entirely online or in some hybrid form, requiring that students attend classes at specific locations in addition to their online course delivery. These programs may have prerequisite courses that must be completed prior to enrollment in the business administration program. Examinations may be proctored by approved officials at specified locations or administered on the honor system via the Web.

Approved Online Courses in Business Administration

Course requirements vary from school to school, but business administration students cover a variety of topics, from accounting to employment relations. Some courses may be available all year and have an option for self-paced study; others require that students begin and complete courses within a fixed time period. Some universities and colleges will accept courses used in earning an online associate's degree for transfer toward a bachelor's degree.

Small Business Management

This course offers a look at the various problems that small business managers may face. Students learn about production and distribution, personnel management, ownership issues and how to cultivate business relationships.


Business students may be required to complete courses in microeconomics or macroeconomics, or both. These courses include techniques and tools of economic analysis, discussion of policy issues and methods of measuring national income.


This class may be offered through a school's business school in general or a specific accounting department. In discussion and class assignments, students cover a variety of topics, from financial statements and transaction analysis to uses of accounting information in management situations.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Working professionals interested in a bachelor's degree in business administration may be able to complete their degree through an online program in as few as 18 months. Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) programs usually require at least 120 credit hours, including general education requirements. Another option is the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA).

Program Requirements and Information

Depending on the school, students may be required to have general education, mathematics, economics and accounting courses completed prior to enrollment in an online bachelor's degree program. Students may also be required to complete proficiency examinations in areas including computer skills or English.

A computer with a reliable Internet connection is essential for success in an online study program. Course content and materials may download more quickly and transmit more clearly with a high-speed connection. Some classes require additional textbooks and computer programs; or they may ask that students complete proctored examinations at specified locations rather than online.

Popular Online Courses in Business Administration

A successful businessperson has the skills to communicate with others, sell their product and motivate their team. Therefore, BSBA programs often focus on leadership and management techniques. Some programs require that students concentrate their studies in one particular topic, such as finance or supply management.

International Business Relation

This course offers students a chance to explore common business topics--such as financial systems, labor relations and personnel management--with an international lens. Students learn how to manage their businesses with an eye toward international customs and economic systems that differ from the model used in the United States.

Organizational Behavior

Students learn how individuals and groups interact and relate in business settings. Programs focus on designing and improving programs that incorporate techniques to improve productivity and quality while empowering employees.


Introductory marketing courses often include the study of consumer behavior and motivation and the analysis of various markets, including market structure. They also explore the social responsibilities associated with the marketing world. Students usually produce marketing plans as part of these classes.

Master of Business Administration

MBA programs encourage students to think critically and apply theoretical knowledge to their work in the business world. These programs are increasingly available through an online delivery format to accommodate professionals and individuals who cannot work full-time and attend classes in a traditional classroom. The MBA is sometimes considered a terminal degree for business education.

Program Information and Requirements

Online MBA programs require participation in online discussions, completion of proctored examinations and submission of individual and group work. Students can complete these programs in 18-24 months, depending on their prior education. These programs require completion of anywhere from 18-36 credits.

Popular Online Classes

MBA programs usually require a student to focus on one area, whether it is finance, international business, management information systems or a general focus on business. Many of the courses required in an MBA program are the same between traditional classrooms and online.

Human Resource Management

This course covers issues related to personnel management and topics such as compensation and benefits. Students learn to set and administer policy and procedures related to personnel issues, employee training and management ethics.


MBA students learn to read financial statements and understand a variety of topics related to money management. Students learn about the different categories of financing in the business world, from lease financing to short- and long-term financing. Students apply the knowledge obtained in these finance courses to real-world business problems in areas such as capital costs, project selection and financial planning.

Career Information

A Master of Business Administration is often required for management positions in a variety of fields, from healthcare to insurance or contract management, accounting or computer database management. Earnings depend on an individual's position. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that most financial managers earned anywhere from $67,620 to more than $178,840 per year, as of May 2018. On the other hand, most managers in medical offices earned anywhere from $36,000 to $68,000 as of November 2019, according to

Continuing Education Information

For individuals whose career aspirations ascend to the highest levels of management, or even business ownership, an MBA could be the way to go. This program is frequently offered through on-campus business schools, but is becoming increasingly common in an online format--or a combination of the two delivery methods.

Associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in business administration are available in a flexible, online format. These programs incorporate fundamental principles of business, economics and accounting into their curriculum.

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