Managers hold positions of leadership and responsibility. They make critical decisions and oversee daily operations. The work of a manager requires authority, integrity, and attention to detail. Skilled managers are always in demand, and employment of office managers is predicted to grow 11% by 2018. A bachelor’s degree in business management can open the door to a wide range of careers, such as sales representative, restaurant manager, hospital administrator or retail manager. A recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked business management among the ten bachelor’s degrees with the best return on investment. The same researchers determined that the average business manager earns an annual salary of $81,080.
Online education is an excellent solution for busy, working adults looking to enter the field of business management or advance their existing careers in the business world. Distance education makes it possible to balance the demands of work and family with a commitment to a degree program. As with traditional on-campus bachelors’ programs, online schools come in every conceivable form, from old and prestigious traditional schools to innovative new programs. Classes may be teacher-led, with learning centered around discussions and projects or may be self-paced, with learning based on recorded lectures and assessments. The wide variety of choices in online bachelor’s programs means that there’s something for every learning style, schedule and price point.
Our ranking of the 10 Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Management for 2017 presents the best of the best, ranked for affordability, flexibility and academic strength.
- Affordability (1/3): The average cost per credit hour.
- Flexibility (1/3): The number of specializations, accelerated courses, start dates, and other features granting flexibility for the student.
- Academic Prestige (1/3): The academic prestige of the program’s parent institution according to national and international rankings and reviews.
1. Capella University
Capella University (“Capella”) is a private institution based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which delivers most of its education online. Capella offers 142 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 25 certificate programs with over 1,600 online courses. The school’s enrollment is 35,889, and the average student’s age is 40. With the vast majority of Capella students balancing careers with study and pursuing advanced degrees, the school offers maximum flexibility, affordability and efficiency of degree completion, and all course content is created with the goal of immediate professional applicability. Capella offers traditional, teacher-led courses as well as self-paced, competency-based modules for all classes, allowing learners to tailor courses to their schedule and learning style. Post-graduation surveys reveal high rates of student satisfaction: 92% would choose Capella again, and 78% report a satisfactory return on investment.
Capella offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree program which provides unparalleled flexibility at an excellent price point, and delivers quality education with real-world applicability. The degree requires just 180 credits; 45 in general education (such as humanities and natural science), 42 business core courses (such as business law and supply chain management), followed by 48 specialization classes and 39 electives. The degree is aligned with external professional standards, so course content has real and immediate workplace relevancy. Eight concentrations are available, such as accounting, marketing, business intelligence and healthcare management. Students can choose between two learning formats: GuidedPath and FlexPath. With GuidedPath, students pay a traditional fee per course and learn through conventional faculty-led lectures. Discussion boards and assignments are due weekly, creating accountability to help busy learners stay on track. A bachelor’s degree can take between 3-4 years to complete through this learning format. With FlexPath, content is presented in online modules, which students complete at their own pace, free from fixed deadlines. Tuition is billed as a flat rate per quarter, and students are free to take one or two courses at a time, and to complete as many in succession as they wish. When using FlexPath, maintaining a faster pace of completion and a larger course load can potentially add up to significant savings. The bachelor’s degree typically takes just 2 years to complete through this learning format. Capella awards generous credits for demonstration of prior learning and experience through an assessment program, as well as transfer credit for other college courses. In addition to the standard online student support services, such as library, advising and technical support, Capella provides distance learners with tutoring, career counseling and coaching. Tuition is priced at $340-394 per credit in GuidedPath and $2,000 per 12-week quarter in FlexPath. With low tuition and many opportunities to create further savings, Capella is an outstanding value.
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $367
- Academic Prestige: #7
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated courses option, Many start dates, Specializations offered, Self-paced classes
2. University of Texas of the Permian Basin
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) is a state university located in Odessa, Texas, with a total enrollment of 5,560. The school offers 2 bachelor’s programs and 35 master’s programs. UTPB was founded in 1973, and since its inception has focused on providing affordable tuition, a student-centered educational environment, and creative partnerships with other academic institutions, corporations and industries. Centers of excellence include the JBS Public Leadership Institute, offering leadership education and distinguished speakers’ panels, and the Center for Energy and Economic Diversification, focusing on energy education and research. The university has earned an excellent reputation. U.S. News and World Report ranks UTPB 93rd in Regional Universities West and 37th in Top Public Schools. Classes are relatively small, with a student to faculty ratio of 18 to one, and 90% of the tenure-track faculty hold doctorates in their teaching fields.
UTPB offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Management which is affordable, convenient and prestigious. U.S. News and World Report ranks UTPB 81st in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Additionally, UTPB’s overall business department is ranked in the top third of U.S. business schools and is accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a distinction accorded to just five percent of the world’s business programs. The degree program consists of 120 credits, including 48 hours of general education courses, 45 hours of core courses (with capstone), and 27 hours of electives. UTPB’s degree program aims to equip students with a broad range of business concepts and best practices, and covers a wide range of topics such as business statistics, managerial economics and organizational theory. The entire degree can be completed in as little as 16 months, and students may be able to transfer into the management program with just 24 credit hours. There are six convenient start dates throughout the year, and courses are just eight weeks long. UTPB delivers a rich distance learning experience. Online classes are taught by the same faculty who teach on-campus, and extensive student support services are available, including tutoring, a virtual library and lectures streamed to a mobile app. With tuition costing just $288 per credit hour, an online bachelor’s degree from this wellegarded school is an outstanding value.
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $288
- Academic Prestige: 11
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated courses, Many start dates
3. Benedictine University
Benedictine University (“Benedictine”) is a private Roman Catholic university that was founded in 1887 by Benedictine monks of St. Procopius Abbey in Chicago.
The university offers 56 undergraduate programs, 15 graduate programs, 34 graduate certificates, and 4 doctoral programs. Benedictine has a total enrollment of 6,069, and classes are quite small, with a student to faculty ratio of just 12 to one. The university emphasizes professional education grounded in the liberal arts. The most popular majors are in health and business disciplines, and the school’s departments of nursing and business management are particularly wellegarded. Benedictine has earned an excellent academic reputation; Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the sixth consecutive year in 2016 and U.S. News and World Report ranks it 220th in National Universities.
Benedictine offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Management. The course of study is designed to give students a holistic understanding of the filed, and convers studies in accounting, applied statistics, human resources, project management, organizational behavior and international management. Students can choose between concentrations in marketing and human resource management. Online classes are designed to simulate an on-campus learning experience; students interact frequently with professors and one another via messaging, Skype and discussion boards. Course content may include lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, case studies and videos. The program requires 120 credit hours, and up to 90 credits may be transferred in and applied towards the degree, significantly accelerating the pace of completion.
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $620
- Academic Prestige: #4
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Specializations offered, Accelerated courses option
4. American Military University
American Military University (or AMU) was founded as a distance learning school in 1991 by Major James P. Etter, a retired marine officer, with just 18 graduate students enrolled at its inception. The original goal of the university was to meet the unique educational needs of military personnel for courses in specialized areas, such as counterterrorism and military intelligence, that were not included in typical university course offerings. In 1998, AMU made the transition from traditional correspondence-based learning to online classes, and today serves 57,909 civilian and military students through fully online classes. Approximately 40 career-oriented online bachelor’s degree programs are offered at APUS, including business administration, accounting, homeland security and retail management. The online course delivery system is robust and easy to navigate, and includes an award-winning mobile class app. The university has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as 92nd in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
AMU offers a flexible and affordable Bachelor of Arts in Management through a well-developed online program. The course of study consists of 91 credits, and covers areas such as labor relations, management information systems, leadership and motivation, communication techniques and statistics in organizational problem-solving. Students can choose a degree in general management or pursue a concentration in human resource management,
leadership or retail management. With courses beginning every 8 or 16 weeks, students have flexibility in their start dates. Online students are supported through an array of resources, including an e-library, writing workshops, live tutoring and mentoring. Ebooks for classes are provided at no cost, and AMU allows bachelor’s students to transfer up to 91 credit hours towards their degree in order to accelerate the pace of completion. Transfer credit options include credit for previous college courses, military service schools, American Council on Education (ACE) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and prior learning experiences. AMU has educational partnerships with many employers and associations, with companies such as Walmart subsidizing a portion of tuition for eligible employees in order to develop leadership within their workforce. At just $270 per credit hour, an online bachelor’s from AMU is a highly affordable option.
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $270
- Academic Prestige: #14
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Specializations offered, Many start dates, Accelerated degree option
5. Ashford University
Ashford University (“Ashford”) is a fully online university headquartered in San Diego, California. The university offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in more than 50 degree programs. The school consists of four colleges: the Forbes School of Business, the College of Education, the College of Health, Human Services, and Science, and the College of Liberal Arts. In spite of its large enrollment, 48,895 in all, Ashford maintains a low student to faculty ratio of just 13 to one. The school’s stated mission is to provide high-quality, accessible, affordable, and innovative educational programs.
Ashford offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management degree through its Forbes School of Business. The course of study consists of 120 credits, with 55 in general education, 45 in human resources and management topics and 23 electives. Courses cover a range of human resource issues, such as employer liability, organizational environments and job analysis. Up to 90 credits can be transferred in, potentially shortening the time to degree completion by a significant margin. Students may also choose to add a specialization in human resource technology or entrepreneurship. Courses are just five weeks long and are taken one at a time, allowing students to give each their complete focus. Online students benefit from a virtual library, writing center, career counseling, peer mentoring and even online clubs and student organizations.
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $452
- Academic Prestige: #14
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Specializations offered, Accelerated degree option
6. Northeastern University
Founded back in 1898, Northeastern University (“Northeastern”) is a private research university based in Boston, Massachusetts. This old and prestigious school is recognized for academic innovation and rigorous research. At Northeastern, real-world experience is integrated into top quality classroom learning. About 90% of Northeastern undergraduates complete at least one “professional co-op” during their college career. More than an internship, these work experiences consist of six-month periods of full-time, degreeelated employment at one of 2,000 sites around the world, such as GEICO and MTV. Northeastern is home to more than 30 federally funded research centers, and is heavily funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, as well as the Departments of Homeland Security, Energy and Defense. Admissions are highly selective and academics are extremely rigorous. Undergraduates and graduates alike can get involved in research, and many present projects in the annual Research, Innovation and Scholarship Expo. U.S. News and World Reports ranks Northeastern 39th in National Universities and 7th in Most Innovative Schools.
Northeastern offers an online Bachelor’s of Science in Management which blends the prestige of an old and illustrious institution with the cutting-edge innovation for which the school is known. Students can choose between regular and fast-track programs. The regular bachelor’s program consists of 120 credits completed over the course of 4 years. The accelerated bachelor’s, designed for those already holding an associate’s degree in this discipline, consists of just 60 credits and can be completed in as little as 18 months. In keeping with Northeastern’s emphasis on experiential learning, classes emphasize the integration of theory and practice. Online courses are taught by distinguished faculty who are scholars and industry leaders. In addition to using standard tools such as discussion boards, multimedia lectures and streaming video, Northeastern makes lectures available as podcasts and printable PDFs, to accommodate different learning styles. Students benefit from a strong support system that incorporates tutoring, writing and research resources, as well as career, academic and financial aid counseling.
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $504
- Academic Prestige: #1
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated degree option
7. University of Illinois- Springfield
University of Illinois-Springfield (or UIS) is a public liberal arts university that was founded in 1969, and is located in the state capitol of Springfield, Illinois. The school serves roughly 5,700 students in 27 undergraduate degree programs, 20 master’s degree programs, and a single doctorate degree program. Robust academics distinguish this university. The school emphasizes undergraduate research, maintains a small student-faculty ratio of 14 to one, and offers a wide array of internships and opportunities to engage in the local community and state government. University of Illinois- Springfield is ranked 63rd in Regional Universities, Midwest by U.S. News and World Report and 13th in the nation in Top Public Schools.
UIS offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Management. The broad, comprehensive program is designed to develop students’ critical, conceptual, and interpersonal skills, making them eligible for management position in all types of organizations. The program consists of 120 credit hours. A total of 21 credits in core courses covers foundations of business, such as financial management and operations. The core is followed by 15 credits in classes specific to the management concentration, with topics such as leadership and international management. The school has earned an excellent reputation for its department of online education, earning recognition from the Sloan Consortium and U.S. News and World Report. The bachelor’s program at UIS boasts an outstanding combination of flexibility, high-quality academics and low cost. Course instructors serve as student advisors, and an online learning hub connects virtual students to tutoring, supplemental instruction, writing resources and a wide array of other academic supports. With a great academic reputation and a modestly-priced tuition of $352 per credit hour, UIS is an excellent value.
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $352
- Academic Prestige: #8
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: N/A
8. Penn Foster Career School
Penn Foster Career School (“Penn Foster”) is a private, online institution of higher education. The school was founded in 1890 as the International Correspondence School. In 2006, it was renamed after its founder and replaced its correspondence courses with online offerings. Today, the school serves some 140,000 students in 80 different programs in Automotive, Business, Creative/Design, Drafting, Education, Health Services, Legal Studies, Natural Health, Technology, and Trades areas. By focusing exclusively on distance education, the school is able to cut overhead costs and pass the savings on to students. Specializing in online classes has also allowed Penn Foster to invest in developing class content and coaching strategies to specifically address the needs of distance learners.
Penn Foster Career School offers an exceptionally affordable online Bachelor’s in Applied Science in Business Management. The 120-credit course of study covers a range of general knowledge areas, such as music appreciation and biology, as well as core courses in business. Classes in business management familiarize students with three essential content areas: business operations, team organization and effective communication. Students explore corporate and global issues in each content area, and develop facility with technology used in the field. Each 15-credit semester ends with a comprehensive examination. Penn Foster offers extensive career services, peer mentoring and academic coaching to help online students succeed in their studies and to advance their careers or find employment upon graduation. Students can enroll at any time and begin taking classes right away, and an open admissions policy means that only a high school diploma or GED is required to enroll. Mobile-friendly and mediaich class content makes learning through Penn Foster convenient and engaging. At just $79 per credit hour, Penn Foster is the most affordable option included in this ranking, and the cost of textbooks is even included in tuition.
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $79
- Academic Prestige: #14
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Self-paced classes, Many start dates
9. University of Alabama- Birmingham
University of Alabama- Birmingham (UAB) is a public research university with a total enrollment of 18,568. The school is the only R1 research institution in the state, the highest ranking in the Carnegie Classification. UAB offers over 140 programs of study in 12 academic divisions leading to bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees. The UAB Health System, one of the largest academic medical centers in the United States, is affiliated with the university, and attracts high numbers of students in the medical and health professions. Internships, research experience and hands-on learning are central to UAB’s mission. The school’s highly selective admissions, rigorous academics and high quality of instruction have earned it an excellent reputation. U.S. News and World Report ranks UAB 159th in National Universities and 83rd in Top Public Schools.
The online Bachelor of Science in Management from UAB offers a winning combination of prestige, academic rigor and superior online learning experience. U.S. News and World Report ranks UAB 114th in the nation for Best Business Programs and 63rd for Best Online Bachelor’s programs. Online students benefit from the same rigorous academic standards and expert faculty as their on-campus peers. Courses are designed to be engaging, mediaich and multi-modal, and are regularly re-tooled in order to remain relevant and to make use of emerging technologies. Within the major, students can choose a concentration in general management, business administration or operations management. The course of study covers 42 credits in general education and 78 in business and management, for a total of 120 credits. Coursework covers such in-depth areas of study as quantitative analysis, employment law and international business dynamics. The program culminates in a capstone project in the student’s concentration of choice.
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $746
- Academic Prestige Rank: #3
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Specializations offered
10. Bay State College
Bay State College (“Bay State” or BSC) is a private college located in Boston, Massachusetts. Bay State specializes in career-focused programs, primarily business, information technology and healthcare. The college offers certificates, associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs. Real-world knowledge is central to the school’s mission. All courses are taught by faculty employed in their fields of expertise, and most disciplines involve professional internships. Extensive career services help graduates quickly find employment or advance their existing careers. Business is the most popular major at Bay State, with 44% of undergraduates pursuing a degree in business management or administration.
Bay State College offers multiple concentrations within its online Bachelor of Science in Business Management, allowing students to fine-tune their skill set to match their career of choice. Students can choose a general major in business management, or pursue one of six specializations: marketing, finance, information systems, human resources, hospitality management, and healthcare management. The four-year course of study comprises 43 classes of three credits each, for a total of 129 credits. All required courses relate to the field of business, and cover current, practical knowledge areas such as computer literacy, public speaking and operational management. Students can tap into the first-hand experience of your professors, who are management professionals themselves. All classes are 8 weeks long and involve coursework, case studies, individual presentations and teamwork exercises. Tutoring, library services, career counseling and academic advising are available online and easy to navigate. Tuition is reasonably priced at $380 per credit hour.
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $380
- Academic Prestige: #14
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Specializations offered