The Ocean State, or more endearingly, Little Rhodie offers a bit of everything.
A hotbed of culture rests within for major cities populated by over a million people. Coined Roode Eylandt by an early Dutch explorer, the area likens to the Greek island of Rhodes. On the southern tip of New England, coastal red clay rises above the Atlantic Ocean to lush temperate Northeastern forests. Harbors on favorable waters have served the continent since the 17th-century.
One of the first colonies in America continues to be a haven for progressive thought and growth. Thriving urban centers and quiet communities surrounded by trees are home to friendly people with warm hearts. Tourists flock to the state each summer as the area comes to life with events and festival near the water. Educational options come through the state's growing commitment to online learning. Consider which institution is right for you when pursuing higher education.
Accredited Online College Programs
Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.
What are the best online colleges in Rhode Island?
Studying virtually is a terrific way to open new doors to personal and professional success. Our top five ranking aims to help students meet goals online. Rankings depend on three factors: accreditation, student response, and achievement of graduates. Accreditation is measured by endowment, entrance exams, graduation rates, student/faculty ratio, and reputation.
Student responses such as campus, academic selection, and faculty relations come from a range of rating sites. Achievement of graduates is gauged by comparing financial cost, including aid, to graduate’s average salary. Data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics' IPEDS database, individual college websites, Payscale, and U.S. News and World Report.
See our rankings methodology page.
New England Institute of Technology
East Greenwich, RI
For over 75 years, New England Institute of Technology has been a leader in business and technological training. Associate’s to Master’s degrees are available through 55-programs offered by the non-profit school. Students find convenience within the option to complete degrees in 18-months. The school produces skills that employers demand as 2000-companies have hired graduates in the last three years.
Four bachelors’ and four master’s programs offer students a range of higher education opportunities in the virtual classroom. Coursework available 24-hours a day, seven-days a week is flexible enough to fit the most hectic of schedules. Access to faculty, counseling, and tutoring services enables top academics to enter the home. Online options from New England Institute of Technology include:
- Master of Science in Construction Management or Information Technology
- Master of Science in Occupational Therapy or Public Health
- Bachelor’s in Automotive Service Management, Criminal Justice for Working Professionals, and Rehabilitation Sciences
- RN to BSN- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Located in the small town of East Greenwich, NEIT creates an ideal learning environment through a 13 to one student/faculty ratio. The school welcomes over 3,000 undergraduate and graduate level learners to a sprawling 225-acre suburban campus.
University of Rhode Island
Founded in 1982, the academic institution supports over 80-bachelor and 80-graduate degree programs. Over 16,000 students create a diverse population representing 66-nations around the world. A stunning coastal campus uplifts learner through an innovative approach to education. The public research university allows students to grow alongside experienced faculty. Double major programs, interdisciplinary studies, and study abroad programs offer a unique experience to all.
URI Online offers a variety of degree and certificate options available for learners from any background. Class lectures merge with assignments upon a platform open 24-hours a day and 7-days a week. Easy-to-navigate forums allow strong relationships between peers and faculty to flourish. See what the University of Rhode Island offers online:
- RN to BS in Nursing
- Master of Science in Dietetics or Cybersecurity
- Masters of Arts in ESL Education
- A selection of Graduate and Professional level certificates
A rural campus outside Kingston, Rhode Island is the setting for clinical trial, scientific discovery, and creative thought. Popular URI programs include Registered Nursing, Exercise Science, and Psychology. Each year, over 7,000 URI students enjoy a hands-on learning experience through internships.
The Catholic university offers more than 2,700 students to a liberal arts education in pleasant Newport, Rhode Island. Spiritual and community growth is key to a challenging curriculum that helps students fulfill dreams. 46-undergraduate majors, 11 master’s degrees, and two Ph.D. programs offer ample opportunity. 21-structures, each over a century old, is reminiscent of the area’s historic past. A favorable 13 to one student/teacher ratio encourages personalized learning experience.
A range of certificates and master degree programs are available online. Seven-week long interactive courses enable connections in the classroom for any learner. Hybrid courses meld time on-campus and online to create a unique academic environment. Salve Regina University offers the following virtual options:
- Master’s in Administration of Justice and Homeland Security, Business Administration, and Healthcare Administration and Management.
- Master’s in Humanities, Innovation and Strategic Management, and International relations
- Certification in Business Studies, Cybersecurity and Intelligence, Digital Forensics, Healthcare Administration and Management, and Human Resource Management
- Certification in International Relations, Leadership in Justice, Management, Nonprofit Management, and Social Entrepreneurship
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy of Providence in 1934, Salve Regina University was originally a women’s college. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution as the 36th best regional universities in the north.
Johnson & Wales University-Online
Johnson & Wales University-Online brings over a century’s worth of academic excellence into homes across the country. Affordability, an elevated level of attention, and flexibility make this a great option for a diverse community of students. Founded in 1914, JWU has campuses in Providence, Denver, Charlotte, and Miami. More than 1,800 internships in every state and 32-countries offer opportunities for learners outside the classroom.
Johnson & Wales University-Online prepares students to reach personal and professional goals through a variety of online programs. Undergraduate to graduate students have access to all resources 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Extensive virtual learning opportunities from the university include:
- BS in Advertising & Marketing Communications, Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management, Business Studies, Culinary Arts and Food Service Management, Fashion Merchandising & Retailing, and Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship
- BSBA in Entrepreneurship, Human Resource Management, International Business, Organizational Risk and Cyber Security Management, and Operations and Supply Chain Management
- MBA in Business Administration, Finance, Hospitality, Human Resource Management, Nonprofit Management, and Operations and Supply Chain Management
- MS in Criminal Justice, Finance, Hospitality Management, Information Security/Assurance, Human Resource Management, Nonprofit Management, and Sports Leadership
Academic years that follow a trimester schedule with 11-week long classes is a convenient option for working and returning students. Commitment to social development is evident in over 258,000 hours of community service per year from the school.
Established in 1854, Rhode Island College is a public institution in the suburbs of Providence. Almost 10,000 students take part in undergraduate and postgraduate studies spanning a range of fields. Five individual schools of studies prepare learners for success beyond the classroom. Personal relationships are common within small classes sporting a 14 to one student/faculty ratio. RIC ranks 47th of top public schools by U.S. News and World Report in 2017.
MyRIC opens an entire campus to students through a flexible scheduling platform. Those dealing with pressures from the home or office can access a world-class learning experience on their own time. Courses and certification are available from over 30-undergraduate and 30-graduate programs. MyRIC online services include:
RIC encourages students to develop themselves while contributing to the communities around them. Recognized as a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, RIC is the very first college in the nation to use wind and solar energy.