22 Best Online Colleges in Missouri

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Missouri has always been a place for beginnings. As the Gateway to the West, the Show-Me State was the starting point of the Pony Express, the Santa Fe Trail, and the Oregon Trail.

For students on a journey to a college degree and their dream career, Missouri is still an excellent place to start. The state is home to a number of flourishing industries, including aerospace, agriculture, transportation, publishing, manufacturing, and financial services. In recent years, Missouri has also seen rapid growth in several science and technology fields. One of the largest biotechnology companies in the world, Monsanto, is headquartered in St. Louis, while health information services giant Cerner is based in Kansas City. Tourism represents another important component of the Missouri economy, particularly in larger cities and in the beautiful Ozark Mountains region in the south of the state.

Missouri provides outstanding opportunities for students who are preparing to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. Numerous statewide initiatives seek to encourage students to continue or return to their education.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education anticipates that by 2018, 60% of Missouri’s jobs will require postsecondary education, whether in the form of a two-year degree, four-year degree, advanced degree, or professional certificate. To accommodate the changing demands of the job market, the state has launched numerous programs to achieve “Missouri’s Big Goal,” which is for 60% of Missouri adults to hold a degree or professional certificate by 2025. The department has been especially active in promoting STEM fields in higher education, ensuring that Missouri students are well-prepared to thrive in both the local and global economy.

Students who plan to earn a college degree in Missouri have an exceptional array of choices. The state is home to 13 public four-year universities, 25 independent colleges, 10 technical colleges, 17 theological institutes, and over 150 proprietary and private career schools. The majority of these institutions offer at least some form of distance learning, whether it be a few online courses or a multitude of degree programs that students can complete without ever setting foot on campus.

Although online education is now a common feature of colleges and universities, not all distance learning programs are created equal. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 25 very best online colleges in Missouri.

 
 

What are the best online colleges in Missouri?

To ensure an accurate and comprehensive ranking, we analyze a number of key metrics from reputable sources such as individual college websites, Payscale, U.S. News & World Report, and the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database. These metrics fall into two main categories: student success and institutional excellence. Our student success analysis takes into account average financial aid packages, return on investment based on tuition costs, student indebtedness after graduation, and expected early career salary for graduates, among other important factors that impact a student’s experience with a particular school. Institutional excellence can be a difficult thing to quantify, but we make this assessment through data points such as student-faculty ratio, graduation rate, test scores for incoming students, institutional reputation, and endowment size. This multi-faceted approach helps us create a ranking based on the true value that each college provides to its students.

Top 10 Best Online Colleges in Missouri

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Webster University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $23490

    Overview

    Webster University was founded in 1915 in St. Louis, Missouri by the Sisters of Loretto. Webster was one of the first Catholic women’s colleges west of the Mississippi River. Today, the brick and mortar campus in Webster Groves, Missouri, sits on 47 acres and support 3,000 undergraduates.

    Features

    Webster University offers 8 undergraduate degrees majors for 5,000 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 9-to-1. Nearly 87% of the classes have less than 20 students. Online undergraduate programs include:

    • Completion Programs:
      • Nursing (RN to BSN)
      • Media Communications
      • Data Analytics
    • Full Programs:
      • Criminology
      • Management
      • Religion & Global Study

    Notables

    Webster University is one of the best online programs. It is listed by U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Graduate Schools” and “Best Colleges” in 2017. However, if you want to study abroad, you can connect with their global network in Geneva, Switzerland; Leiden, the Netherlands; Vienna, Austria; Athens, Greece; Cha-am and Bangkok, Thailand; Accra, Ghana; as well as Shanghai, Chengdu, and Shenzhen, China.

  2. Missouri University of Science and Technology
    Location

    Rolla, MO

    Tuition

    $13910

    Overview

    Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) was founded in 1870 in Rolla, Missouri, as one of the first technological institutions west of the Mississippi. The Rolla campus has 284 acres and focuses on the STEM degrees. Their undergraduate programs have a 95% placement rate and over 90% placement rate into medical, law and other professions.

    Features

    Missouri S&T offers 50 graduate certificate programs and 17 master’s programs online. There are no online degree programs for undergraduates. However, on campus, undergraduate students can pursue over 97 majors for over 7,000 undergraduate students. Amongst all programs, the student-faculty ratio is 19-to-1, and classes use Canvas Learning Management software for classroom resources. Top undergraduate majors include:

    • Engineering, Computer & Information Sciences
    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
    • Engineering Technologies
    • Physical Sciences

    Notables

    Missouri University of Science and Technology is the #3 online graduate computer information technology program, #6 overall online graduate programs and #12 public university for online graduate engineering programs by the U.S. News & World Report.

  3. University of Missouri-Columbia
    Location

    Columbia, MO

    Tuition

    $16026

    Overview

    University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) was founded in 1839 in Columbia, Missouri by the citizens of Boone County to be a public university. Today, MU is one of the 6 public universities that has a medical school, veterinary medicine college and a law school on the same campus. They are also one of 60 institutions accredited by the Association of American Universities. The 1,262-acre campus has over 42,000 plants and trees achieving a designation of a botanic garden.

    Features

    MU offers over 300-degree programs majors for over 35,000 students. Over 100 degrees and certificates are offered online. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 20-to-1. Nearly 40% of the classes have less than 20 students. MU uses a combination of Backboard, Canvas, Sakai and/or Moodle for their online classroom delivery software. Online undergraduate degrees include:

    • Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
    • Hospitability Management
    • Business Administration
    • Health Sciences
    • Education Studies

    Notables

    MU is a national “Best Buy” according to the Fiske Guide. Where else can you find highly ranked colleges, Tier 1 Law school and a university that spends over $225 million on research annually? Faculty are engaged in the classroom as well as publishes over 1,600 books and scholarly articles. Even if you attend online courses, you get a top program at a great price.

  4. Saint Louis University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $33910

    Overview

    Saint Louis University was founded in 1818 in St. Louis, Missouri, by the Roman Catholic Jesuits led by the Most Reverend Louis Guillaume Valentin Bubourg. The university was the first higher education west of the Mississippi River and the 2nd oldest Jesuit University. The 270-acre campus near the midtown area of St. Louis.

    Features

    Saint Louis University offers 29 online programs including 8-undergraduate and 6-graduate programs through the School for Professional Studies. Classes are typically completed in 5 8-week terms through Blackboard. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 11-to-1. Nearly 55% of the classes have less than 20 students. Online undergraduate degrees include:

    • Organizational Leadership & Technology
    • Nursing (RN to BSN)
    • Aviation Management
    • Computer Information Systems
    • Security & Strategic Intelligence

    Notables

    At SLU, you will be researching your first day in class. It doesn’t matter if you are online, in St. Louis or at the Madrid, Spain, campus. You are a part of something bigger. Previous classes have worked with researchers to find treatments for drug resistant malaria, autism, dengue fever and Hepatitis B. What will you change the world at Saint Louis University?

  5. Northwest Missouri State University
    Location

    Maryville, MO

    Tuition

    $10548

    Overview

    Northwest Missouri State University was founded in 1905 in Maryville, Missouri. The University owns a 370-acre main campus, a 448-acre university farm, and a 315-acre rural lakefront property. The online programs at Northwest Missouri State University started in 1999. Today, Northwest provides a laptop and textbooks as part of the student’s tuition.

    Features

    Northwest Missouri State University offers 2-undergraduate and 9-graduate programs online. The curriculum is designed by the on-campus faculty and covers the same material as their on-campus counterparts and delivered through the Canvas Learning Management Software. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 20-to-1. Nearly 44% of the classes have less than 20 students. Online programs include:

    • Undergraduate:
      • Business Management
      • Marketing
    • Graduate
      • MBA
      • Geographic Information Science
      • Instructional Technology
      • Education

    Notables

    Alternative fuels support over 75% of Northwest Missouri State University operational costs. Since the program started, the university has saved over $13 million in energy costs alone.

  6. Missouri State University-Springfield
    Location

    Springfield, MO

    Tuition

    $14515

    Overview

    Missouri State University-Springfield was founded in 1906 in Springfield, Missouri as a place to train teachers for the local area. Today, the 225-acre campus is located 215 miles from St. Louis. However, this is just one of four physical campuses. The other campuses are in West Plains, Missouri; Mountain Grove, Missouri; and Dalian, China.

    Features

    Missouri State University-Springfield offers 10 bachelor degrees completely online. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 20-to-1. Online undergraduate programs include:

    • Hospitality and Restaurant Administration
    • Nursing (RN to BSN)
    • Information Technology Service Management
    • Criminology
    • Business

    Notables

    Missouri State University-Springfield is recognized by the Affordable Colleges Foundation as one of the best online education options. The university has also received “Best in the Midwest” honor from the Princeton Review and is a Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged University.

  7. University of Central Missouri
    Location

    Warrensburg, MO

    Tuition

    $13567

    Overview

    The University of Central Missouri was founded in 1871 in Warrensburg, Missouri, as a school to train teachers for the local community. Today, the 1,561-acre main campus is located 50 miles southeast of Kansas City.

    Features

    The University of Central Missouri offers nearly 10 online undergraduate programs. UCM uses Blackboard learning management system to deliver their courses. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 20-to-1. Nearly 47% of the classes have less than 20 students. Online undergraduate degrees include:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Crisis & Disaster Management
    • Nursing (RN to BSN)
    • Occupational Education
    • Technology Management

    Notables

    The University of Central Missouri designed a program, “Learning to a Greater Degree,” that defines the heart of UCM. It doesn’t matter if you are on campus or online, all students are encouraged to sign the contract that itemizes the university’s and your responsibilities to be successful during your learning experience.

  8. William Woods University
    Location

    Fulton, MO

    Tuition

    $22886

    Overview

    William Woods University was founded in 1870 in Fulton, Missouri, by The Christian Church of Missouri to be a post-civil war orphanage for girls. By 1914, it became a teacher training college. Today, the 200-acre campus is known for their equestrian studies, American Sign Language interpreting program and criminal justice degree.

    Features

    William Woods University supports over 1000 undergraduate students on campus. Students that choose to learn online can start their program six times throughout the year. Classes are 8-week semesters with most of the classes with less than 20 students. The student-faculty ratio is 11-to-1. The top online programs include:

    • Undergraduate Degree (100% online)
      • Paralegal Studies
      • Business Administration
    • Undergraduate Transfer Programs (Junior and Senior year courses)
      • Workforce Leadership
      • Interpretation Studies in ASL-English
      • Business
      • Paralegal
    • Graduate Programs (100% online)
      • MBA
      • Education: Equestrian, Teaching, Athletics, Curriculum, STEM, etc.
      • Healthcare Administration

    Notables

    Their online programs are known for quality and affordability by the U.S. News & World Report and Affordable Colleges Online. Their business programs are accredited by the ACDSP. Their online MBA program is #23 out of 50 for being one of the top affordable online MBA programs by Best Value MBA.

  9. Maryville University of Saint Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $25160

    Overview

    The Maryville University of Saint Louis was founded in 1872 in St. Louis, Missouri. The main campus has 130 acres about 22 miles from downtown St. Louis. However, MU also has three other locations including downtown St. Louis, MO; Sunset Hills, MO; and Scott Airforce Base, IL. The University is an Apple Distinguished School which means that all traditional students get an iPad for class-related activities.

    Features

    The Maryville University delivers their class-related materials through Canvas learning management system. Most online classes are 8-weeks long and students can start their classes 6 times throughout the year. Inside the classroom, the average class size is 15 students with a student-faculty ration of 13-to-1. The following list of classes are offered online at the undergraduate and graduate level at Maryville University:

    • Accounting
    • Cyber Security
    • Healthcare Practice Management
    • Nursing (RN to BSN completion)

    Notables

    The non-profit, Educate to Career, has ranked Maryville University in the top 10% for their economic value and the top 15% for their return on investment (ROI). Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and Kiplinger’s also rank Maryville as a top private school. If you are looking for the best bang for your buck, Maryville is a contender.

  10. Drury University
    Location

    Springfield, MO

    Tuition

    $21506

    Overview

    Drury University was founded in 1873 in Springfield, Missouri by the Congregational Church (Disciples of Christ). The university is named after Samuel Drury’s son. Today, the 90-acre campus is still affiliated with the Congregational Church. This means it is not a religious university.

    Features

    Drury University delivers their online courses through Moodle learning management system. Students can get free access to Microsoft 365 if they contact the technical team. Other information is offered online through either the student’s mydrury account or through the online library databases. The student-faculty ratio is 13-to-1. Nearly 85% of the classes have less than 25 students. Average class size is 18 students. Drury’s online degrees include:

    • Business
    • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement & Emergency Management
    • History
    • Sociology & Psychology
    • Health Services Management

    Notables

    Drury University has an impressive resume. The business programs are accredited by the AACSB and the ACBSP – which means it is in the top 5% in the world when it comes to business programs. But don’t break the bank just yet. It is worth noting U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review and Barron’s regularly rank Drury as top regional university and one of the top best buys since 1999.

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