North Dakota lands the place of 4th best state on U.S News & World Report’s ranking, and it’s no wonder why.
The state has a booming economy and a well-educated population. As a result, it’s an attractive place to learn and earn a degree. North Dakota has colleges all across the state in rural towns and populous cities. However, if you work full time or aren’t able to move from your current city (or even country!), but still desire to receive a well rounded high-quality North Dakota education, online college is right for you. With practically 23% of students in North Dakota exclusively taking online courses (according to the U.S Department of Education), you will fit right in.
Online college is already attractive due to the multitude of benefits that result from being able to maximize your time and energy, but even more so through its affordability. Residents of North Dakota are eligible to pay in-state tuition. Other eligible students in authorized nearby states can also receive lower tuition rates through tuition reciprocity programs. North Dakota participates in the of Midwest Student Exchange Program along with other regional discounted tuition programs.
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What are the best online colleges in North Dakota?
Our rigorous methodology for determining this ranking is a compilation of three main factors: return on investment, institutional excellence, and student satisfaction. This is through carefully weighing the factors of tuition costs, average student indebtedness after graduating, student-to-faculty ratio, reputation, endowment size and more. Our data comes from IPEDS, U.S. News & World Report, and Payscale. We recognize that choosing a college is an investment in your education and through this process hope to make the decision process easier.
See our rankings methodology page.
University of North Dakota
Known as the state’s oldest university, the University of North Dakota was founded in 1883. It is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on the Minnesota border. Tuition and fees at UND cost $4,000 less than the national average for 4-year public universities. The University of North Dakota is a member of the North Dakota University System. It is known as a top midwestern research public university.
The University of North Dakota offers nearly 40 online degree programs. The institution uses rolling admission with fast admission decisions. It offers semester-based courses as well as independent study courses students can enroll in whenever and take up to 9 months to complete. UND offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs and certificates. It is top-rated for their ample engineering programs. Popular programs include:
- Psychology (B.A.)
- Electrical Engineering (M.S.E.E)
- Nursing RN-to-BSN (B.S.)
- Educational Leadership (Ed.D. or Ph.D.)
- Social Science (B.A.)
Notable alumni include women’s suffrage advocate Dr. Cora Smith Eaton and NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg. The university is notably ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Online MBA Programs” at #29. Several resources are provided for distance learners, including online tutoring, student success center, writing center, and library & career services.
North Dakota State University-Main Campus
North Dakota State University is a public, land-grant, research university. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and online degrees are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The main campus is located in the populous city of Fargo, North Dakota. The university continues to grow their Distance & Continuing Education programs. It is notably one of the most affordable colleges in the Midwest. With a total enrollment of about 14,400 students, NDSU is one of the largest universities in the state. It is a member of the North Dakota University System.
North Dakota State University uses a semester-based academic calendar. It confers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, along with certificates. Popular online degree programs include:
- Human Development & Family Science (B.S.)
- Strategic Communication (B.S.)
- Sociology (B.S.)
- Transportation & Urban Systems (M.S.)
The school also uniquely offers online classes for K-12 professionals. These are curated for teachers to continue their development. Distance learners have access to a whole host of educational resources, including two online tutoring programs, writing center, and advising online.
Minot State University is a regional, public university located in Minot, North Dakota. It was established in 1913 and gained university status in 1987. Founded as a teacher-training school, Minot State continues that legacy by offering degrees for students to become educators both face-to-face and online. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It has been offering online degrees for 18 years now. Minot State University is one of 11 members of the North Dakota University System.
Minot State University offers 9 undergraduate degrees, 3 graduate degrees, and 2 graduate certificates. It follows a semester-based academic calendar. Some accelerated 8-week courses at the undergraduate level are also available. The following are some of the fully online programs available through Minot State:
- Marketing (B.S.)
- International Business (B.S.)
- Master of Science in Management
- Master of Science in Special Education
Minot State University course classes are quite small as a result of their student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1. The tuition is affordable at $216.36 per credit hour for undergraduate students regardless of their state residency.
Valley City State University
Valley City State University was founded in 1980 as a normal school. Its brick-and-mortar school is located in Valley City. It is a small institution—through their online courses, take advantage of the quality of their programs without needing to be physically present in rural Valley City. VCSU is a public, regional university and a member of the North Dakota University System. Valley City State University served as a leader in implementing new technology by issuing laptops to students since 1996. This trend continues with the university offering online degrees for distance learners.
VCSU is transfer student friendly. Online programs at Valley City State University tend to specialize in education and uniquely offers an online music program. Other popular programs:
- Master of Education (with concentrations)
- Business Education (B.S.)
- Career & Technical Education (B.A or B.S.)
- English Education (B.S.)
The school utilizes the popular learning platform Blackboard for their online courses. It also has a career service center to assist both on-campus and distance learner students with finding a relevant career.
The University of Mary is a Benedictine, Christian, Catholic college. Its main campus is located in Bismark, the capital of North Dakota. In total, the university has 12 campus locations including 3 in other states, one in Rome, and one in Peru. The affordable, private, university was founded in 1959. Today, it enrolls over 3,000 students. The liberal arts institute’s motto is “Faithfully Christian, Joyfully Catholic, Gratefully Benedictine.” The University of Mary has offered distance learning for the past 25 years.
All programs include and reflect faith-based values integrated within the University of Mary’s curriculum. The school confers 30 total fully online courses as well as blended courses. These are split between the master’s and bachelor’s level, including the following:
- Psychology (B.S.)
- Business Administration (M.B.A)
- Criminal Justice (B.S.)
- Accounting (B.S.)
The University of Mary is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Students are assigned a personal advisor to help guide them through earning an online degree. Courses run between an accelerated 5 or 15 weeks.
Dickinson State University
Located in Dickinson, North Dakota, Dickinson State University is a 4-year, regional, public university. Originally founded as a normal school in 1918. It is part of the 11-university North Dakota University System and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Dickinson State University first began offering online degrees in 2000 with just 2 programs. Today, the university confers 13 programs 100% online.
Master’s, bachelor’s and associate’s degrees, along with certificates are all available fully online. The university uses a semester-based academic calendar. Some online programs include:
- Business Administration (B.S.)
- Nursing RN-to-BSN
- Teaching (M.A.)
- Human Resource Management (B.S.)
- Finance (B.S.)
Dickinson State University online courses are collaborative, using technology such as Blackboard collaborate for webcam meetings with instructors and student, along with lecture recordings and online tutoring. Distance tuition with fees is an online flat rate of $322 regardless of in or out of state—an affordable option. Prospective distance learners need to check whether their desired program is recognized in their state.
Mayville State University
Established in 1889 as a teachers’ college, Mayville State University is a land grant institution. It is located in the rural city of Mayville and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Mayville State University has a total student enrollment of 1,130. It is a member of the 11-institution North Dakota University System. Mayville State is committed to student-focus regardless of whether they learn face-to-face or online.
True to its origins, Mayville’s online degrees mainly consist of education programs. These are at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s level. Including:
- Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.)
- Business Administration (B.S. or B.A.)
- Early Childhood (A.A. or B.A.)
- Nursing (B.S.)
- Special Education (B.S.Ed.)
Same tuition rate applied for all distance learners. This is at an affordable $293 per semester hour. Additionally, the school utilizes rolling admission to accept applicants, ensuring they can enroll quickly.
As the name suggests, Trinity Bible College is a private, Christian institution. It was founded in 1948 as Lakewood Park Bible School. Trinity Bible College has a very small student body and a ratio of 11:1 students to faculty. It carries the same mission from the start: to train students for ministry. The not-for-profit, Christ-centered institution is located in Ellendale, North Dakota. It is affiliated with the General Council of the Assemblies of God.
The college offers 3 high-quality online programs. These are uniquely ideal for students looking to pursue an online program in theology and be a Christian leader worldwide. The three programs are the following:
- Biblical Studies (B.A. or A.A.)
- Church Ministries (Minor)
Students can apply for financial aid to help cover the cost of tuition. The college is accredited by The Association for Biblical Higher Education.