Online colleges give students options: people who work full-time, have a family to take care or who simply don’t have the opportunities or circumstances to pursue traditional education need the kind of flexibility that online college programs provide.
With online education, students don’t have to make their work or family schedules bend and twist around class times. Students can make dinner before or after they log on; dishes can take precedence over homework, or it can work the other way around. It also means that if a person works nights or has strange hours, courses will still be waiting for them when they get home, wherever or whenever they are truly ready to sit down, focus, and learn. And when those students do sit down, they often find that they’re more successful than they would have been in a more traditional setting: learning about chemistry or German is a lot easier at home on the couch, when you want to be there, than in a fluorescently lit room at whatever time a registrar wants you to be there.
And as the Internet becomes a more and more vital part of everyday and professional life, students who have this unique experience working with online educational platforms can integrate seamlessly into the modern workforce. Online students learn to communicate with professors and classmates through a number of different mediums and have to engage in creative problem solving simply to create their own schedules.
The State of Oregon has some of the best online colleges in the country, and industry connections in places like Portland, Beaverton, or Eugene mean that students can transition directly from their online classroom into real-world careers.
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What are the best online colleges in Oregon?
College Choice considers several factors including institutional merit, student fulfillment, and return on investment to develop rankings. Institutional merit combines metrics such as student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates and endowment to measure each school’s ability to provide excellent and cost-effective education for each student. Student fulfillment measures how fulfilled current and former students felt with the services and programs offered at each school. And finally return on investment looks at the fiscal benefits students are likely to receive from each school’s education, weighted against the costs of attendance, namely tuition and student loans. In the end, we believe these 13 schools represent the top choices for online degrees in Oregon.
See our rankings methodology page.
Oregon Institute of Technology
Klamath Falls, OR
The Oregon Institute of Technology is a public polytechnic institute, originally founded in 1947 and with a student population of nearly 5,000 undergraduates. The Center for Online Education has listed its online degree program as one of the Top 25 in the country. OIT online emphasizes student success in scientific fields, leading to recent, new degrees such as the Masters in Science in Allied Health.
Online programs tend to focus more on career-oriented fields, which include majors for those currently employed and those who will be looking for a job once they get their degree. Degree programs include those for students who are starting fields of study completely anew, as well as degree completion programs for those who have already attended some college or otherwise have credits to put towards a degree. Many online students choose to pursue education in:
- Dental Hygiene
- Radiologic Science
- Healthcare Management
- Applied Psychology
- Operations Management
They also offer an online Master of Science program in Engineering, as well as the above-mentioned degree in Allied Health.
Online programs include programs that allow working professionals to earn bachelors degrees in their current field. So those already working in a dentist’s office or as a radiologist can broaden and deepen their educations within their current role, making them more marketable and more valuable on the job.
Oregon State is a public university located in Corvallis, OR. OSU has an online program that it refers to as its OSU ECampus program: out of the school’s roughly 30,000 students, around 10,000 students are enrolled in the ECampus online program. The program has seen substantial growth in interest over the past several years, as ECampus enrollment increased by 14.5% in Fall 2015.
Thanks to its large size and university status, OSU is able to offer more than twenty online bachelors degree programs, which outpaces many of the offerings that smaller schools are able to put online. Students can pursue everything from agricultural sciences to women, gender and sexuality students; however, most students tend to choose:
- Business Administration
- Computer Science
- Political Science
Within this large number of degree programs, Oregon State offers more than 1,000 online courses for students to take, so students are still able to get a unique education tailored to their personal preferences, just as they would in a more traditional program. The online program also includes the University Exploratory Studies Program (UESP), which helps students who are unsure of what they’d like to study to pursue baccalaureate requirements deciding on a major.
George Fox is a Christian, liberal arts university originally founded as a Quakers school in 1885. The physical campus is located in Newberg, OR; however, the school also offers a series of online programs that it has tailored for working professionals. Like more traditional students, those pursuing degrees online will “Be Known”- spiritually, personally and academically- meaning that they’ll receive individual attention and support attuned to their personal background, experience and needs.
GFU has a number of programs with either full or partial online components, so that students can choose degrees that match align with their professional commitments. Many of the education degrees offered at GFU have online components, including:
- Doctor of Education
- Masters of Art in Teaching
- Master of Education (now available fully online)
The school’s doctor of business administration is a three-year, 56-credit degree program, which is completed almost entirely online (two on-campus classes are required each year, taught at the school’s campus just outside of Portland).
There are also Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degree programs available, both of which have large online components, as well as limited, in-depth face-to-face learning experiences.
Just as with the normal cohorts of undergrads, George Fox University stresses “Christ in Everything”; put another way, the school says that, “we desire the presence of Christ to be at the core of all we do.” As a result, online courses emphasize biblical worldviews, and the students and teachers encountered online and on-campus likely share strong religious convictions.
Linfield College is one of the oldest private colleges on the West Cost; its home campus located in McMinnville, OR, with a secondary campus in Portland as well. Its traditional degree programs serve around 2,500 students; however, the school also has an online, adult-education program that includes 436 students. The program boasts a completion rate higher than the national average, which likely results from the individual attention and support that online students receive.
There are a multitude of online options from Linfield, including eight degree programs, 17 certificate programs and five minors. Online minors offered include Creative Writing and Environmental Studies: smaller, more niche subjects that are often hard to find in online programs. In addition to these unique minor opportunities, students can pursue full bachelors degrees in popular subjects including, but not limited to:
- International Business
- Project Management
There is also a program that allows students who have already completed a Registered Nursing degree (R.N.) to purse the field further and eventually receive a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing, referred to as the BN to BSN program.
Each online student receives an academic adviser, who will help navigate the wide path of class options and degree paths, just as in a traditional undergraduate program. Linfield also awards up to 30 credits for life experiences such as previous educational attainments, either in other classrooms, in military or business/industry training or as exemplified through performance on exams such as the CLEP or a Challenge Exam (which focuses on a specific Linfield course)
Warner Pacific College is a private, liberal arts college located in Portland, Oregon with a student population of around 1,300 and which is affiliated with the Church of God, a Holiness Christian denomination. Like with its on-campus programs, Warner Pacific emphasizes a Christ-centered online education. Their online degree programs is termed the Adult Degree Program, or ADP, and is billed by the school as including some of its, “most in-demand programs”.
WPC offers six courses of study, which include one associates degree, three bachelors and two masters degree options. The curriculum progresses exactly as classes would on-campus, with students pursuing the following degrees:
- Associate of Arts in Organizational Dynamics
- Bachelor of Business Administration
- Bachelor of Health Care Administration
- Bachelor of Human Development
- Masters of Arts in Human Services
- Master of Science in Management & Organizational Leadership
The program does require 48 college-level semester credits to begin, as well as two years full-time work experience, though there is no minimum age requirement
WPC has its online students progress through their programs in the cohort method, which means that you’ll be studying with the same group of students throughout the program. This method helps students to form bounds with fellow classmates, which can sometimes be hard in online programs; the cohorts allow students to support each other academically and personally while completing their programs.
Originally founded as the Phoenix Bible Institute and located in Arizona, Corban University is now a private, independent university located in Salem, OR. In addition to teaching around 1,000 students on its main campus, the school also has a School of Professional Studies, which looks to serve students balancing academic, professional and familial responsibilities.
Online programs can be pursued at Corban in a full-time or part-time capacity; sessions are divided into eight-week periods, with students taking between one and three classes. Previous course credits are not required to start the program; however, students with prior classwork can use transfer credits to more quickly finish their program of choice. Corban’s online program includes course offerings in:
Corban’s Christian identity reaches through to its online program; the school believes that working professionals do not need to separate their religious faith from their career. Thus the School of Professional Studies combines, “professional preparation with biblical truth and spiritual passion.” So students pursuing online degrees should expect this focus to appear in the classroom, as well as in academic and professional advising.
Portland State University
Portland State University is a public, research university originally founded in 1946 as a post-secondary institute for WWII veterans. The school grew to become a full, four-year university, and now serves more than 20,000 students both on its campus in Portland, OR, as well as through its popular online program, known as PSU Online. US News & World Report named PSU Online one of America’s ten most innovative universities in 2017, for its commitment to continuously improving and diversifying the online classroom experience.
PSU offers a number of different degree types (Bachelors, Certificate, License, Master’s) in a wide range of academic fields. Undergraduate Bachelors programs include:
- Criminology and Criminal Justice
- Human Resource Management
- Social Science
- Supply and Logistics Management
- Urban and Public Affairs
Portland State also offers a number of graduate degrees:
- Global Supply Chain Management
- Healthcare MBA
- Master’s in Taxation, Business
The school’s online certificate and license programs focus mostly on education, including early intervention for special needs children, as well as for the visually impaired.
In addition to its award for innovation, US News and World Report also listed PSU as one of its top 10 up-and-coming institutions. This badge of honor filters through to their online program, as the courses are designed and taught by the same dynamic faculty who teach regular courses on OSU’s main campus. And the interactive tools through PSU online allow student to interact, such that they can support and encourage each other throughout their learning experiences.
Multnomah University is a private, Christian university located in Portland, OR. The school has just under 1,000 students, and, in addition to the main campus, has an online program called MU Online, which is billed as an, “Anywhere. Anytime. Online Education that’s engaging, personal and true to the Word.” The school has a Christian emphasis; however, it is also non-denominational.
Degree programs include online college, graduate and seminary degrees, as well as adult degree completion programs. Bachelor’s Degree options include:
- Bible and Theology
- Business Administration
- Business and Organizational Psychology
Multnomah offers a graduate program for a Masters of Arts in Global Development & Justice. All other graduate programs have a religious/theological focus:
- MA in Biblical Studies
- MA in Christian Leadership
- Master of Divinity
- MA in Theological Studies
Adults looking to complete a degree in Business Management or Applied Psychology can also find programs through MU Online.
The proliferations of smart phones and Internet technology have helped to make online education even more convenient and accessible at Multnomah. MU Online includes iOS and Android apps on Canvas, which allow each student’s online education to travel with them wherever they go. With seamless transitions between phone, tablet and desktop students will truly be able to study and learn wherever and whenever they wish.
Concordia University-Portland is a private, non-profit university located, unsurprisingly, in Portland, OR. The school is associated with the Lutheran Church, and the emphasis of this faith serves as one of its three main goals, in terms of campus culture, as well as academics. The on-campus population of around 2,000 students is somewhat dwarfed by the popularity of its online program, Concordia Online, which is used by more than 4,000 students.
Concordia offers a number of bachelors, degree completion and master’s programs, which each meet the specific needs of their students. Concordia Online offers bachelor’s program in:
- Early Childhood Education
- Healthcare Administration
- Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness
In addition to its bachelor’s programs, Concordia offers Master’s programs in Business Administration and Education. For students looking to pursue education further, Concordia even offers a Doctorate of Education (Ed. D.).
Concordia is ranked first in M. in Ed. Degrees awarded, according to 2013-2014 IPEDS data, and they also have the 3rd largest MBA program in Oregon, based on Fall 2015 enrollment. More than 1/3rd of the online program is comprised of minority students, representing all 50 states, 11 countries and 6 territories.
Eastern Oregon University
Eastern Oregon is a public university founded in 1929 and located in La Grande, OR. In addition to traditional bachelor’s programs the school offers EOU Online, which is an online degree program providing education to over 600 students last Fall. The school has several ties to local community colleges, for students looking to transition into the online program; however, this is not a requirement, and many students originate their studies with EOU Online
Eastern Oregon Online offers a long list of both majors and minors for their undergraduate students, as well as a new Masters in Business Administration program. Popular majors for the Bachelor of Arts program include:
- Business Administration
- Physical Activity and Health
- Emergency Medical Services Administration
- Communication Studies
EOU Online also offers minors in subjects including Native American Studies, Anthropology, and Physical Education. Bachelors of Applied Science degree programs are also available in Business Administration and Emergency Medical Services Administration.
EOU’s average online cost per credit is extremely competitive; they are more than $150 cheaper than their average competitor. EOU has many scholarship opportunities for online education, including the $2,000 Transfer & Returning Student Success Award. EOS is also ranked as one of the top colleges in the country for veterans, providing resources, credit for service, scholarships and benefits for spouses and dependents.