Updated: August 1, 2017
Alabama is a mix of stunning natural beauty and southern charm at the center of the southeast. The “Heart of Dixie” is home to extensive waterways connecting the Mississippi River Delta and the Gulf of Mexico. From beach to Bayou, an Alabama soul burns brightly at every turn. A rich history of European, Native American, and African decent blends in this cultural epicenter of the Deep South. Vibrant cities offering endless opportunity dot a landscape of heavily forested wetlands. Oak-lined streets tell a rich past that defines the entire country. The senses come to life as jazz-fueled cities offer the finest seafood amongst some of the kindest people around. The set to such iconic pieces as “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “Forrest Gump”, Alabama’s subtropical climate is favorable throughout the year. A strong academic tradition spanning over 150-years encourages community growth in every direction.
The 21st century has revolutionized the way students around the world access a first-class education. 14 four-year public universities and 17 private institutions enable scientific, civil, and cultural achievement. Specifically, the state has seen several of its 13 engineering programs rise in the top 100 rankings. Highly rated law and business degrees enable graduates to be the most competitive in the nation. Over the last decade, academic online options in the state have evolved into leading programs throughout the nation. More accessible than ever before, an Alabama online degree fits the needs of students of all shapes and sizes. Challenging coursework, interactive lesson plans, and community support from top schools in Alabama are changing education. With so many options available, students have their pick of top-tier programs tailored to meet individual interests or skills. Now is the time to discover what this dynamic state offers.
What are the best online colleges in Alabama?
Higher education is a large step that is no laughing matter; therefore, it is always important to make a choice based on information from reputable sources. Our top 18 ranking falls upon three variables; institutional accreditation, student feedback, and graduate success. Accreditation is dependent on factors including reputation, graduation rate, student/faculty ratio, entrance exam scores, and endowment. Student feedback comes through a culmination of responses from student rating sites. Financial cost, including tuition cost and aid, weigh against the salary of graduates to determine graduate success. Data is from the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database, Payscale, individual college websites, and U.S. News and World Report.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $28,370
Ranked number four among regional universities in the south, Samford University of Huntsville remains a top choice for those seeking an online education. The school’s 12 to 1 student/teacher ratio enables students to achieve academic and personal growth at the highest level. Community-based coursework gives meaning from each online experience. Samford’s 49,000 plus alumni base spans throughout all 50 states and 96 countries worldwide. It is no wonder 98 percent of graduates gain employment or enrollment in a graduate program.
Samford University offers a range of online programs which are amongst the strongest in the country. Bachelor degrees in organizational leadership, criminal justice, liberal studies, and youth studies are available online. Graduate level nursing and education online degrees are some of the best, while an MBA program leads future leaders towards bright futures. Samford offers students a range of online options:
- B.S. in Criminal Justice and Youth Studies
- B.A. in Organization Leadership and Liberal Studies
- Graduate Nursing and Education Programs
- Master of Business Administration
Since 1841, Samford has been well-respected throughout the country as Alabama’s top nationally ranked private university. An affordable education is possible through 166 undergraduate degrees spanning 10 schools of concentration. Nearly 10 percent of Samford students currently engage in some form of distance or online education.
The University of Alabama
College Choice Score: 97.30
Average Net Price: $10,170
The oldest public university in the state remains not only the largest but also one of its most prestigious. Centered in Tuscaloosa, the university has a rich tradition that continues to make a significant impact on the entire region. An 87 percent first-year retention rate shows UA’s commitment to keep the student body thriving. For over a decade, the University of Alabama stands as one of the 50 best public universities in the nation.
UA’s Bama by Distance platform supports a plethora of programs offering on-campus service to students online. Cooperation between faculty creates a dynamic virtual learning environment with all the tools and support necessary for success. The esteemed Manderson Online Business Master’s program from the University of Alabama ranks 14th in the nation. Options for remote learners include:
- Bachelor’s Degrees in schools of Arts and Sciences, Commerce and Business Administration, Engineering, Human Environmental Sciences, and Nursing
- Graduate Degrees in schools of Commerce and Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Human Environmental Sciences, Law, and Nursing
- Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- A wide range of non-degree or Human Environmental Sciences graduate certificate
38,000 active students are some of the best and brightest in the country. Forty percent of the fall 2016 freshman class scored 30 or higher on their ACT and had a GPA of 4.0 or above. Personal research assistants create an authentic educational experience for each student.
College Choice Score: 96.04
Average Net Price: $10,424
Four hundred twenty-seven total buildings spanning an 1,841 acres campus in Auburn hosts over 28,000 students. Founded in 1856, the institution has awarded over 300,000 degrees to individuals throughout all fields. The school continues to prepare students for success through 140 major options accompanied by 300 student organizations. As a modern comprehensive land-grant university, Auburn University prides itself upon providing accessible education to all. The city of Auburn serves as an integral academic center within the Gulf Coastal Plain.
Auburn provides virtual services and resources to any student wishing to continue education or develop a career. A leader in accredited online degree options, the school seamlessly integrates technology to meet needs of 21st-century learners. The best graduate business online program and MBA program of 2017 prepare students for ambitious futures. Online programs from Auburn University include:
- Undergraduate online degrees or credit in Agriculture, Business, Education, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts, Science and Mathematics, and Veterinary Medicine
- Online graduate degrees in Agriculture, Real Estate Development, and Business
- Professional credit or certification in a variety of fields
- Personal enrichment courses
Tradition as a public research institution remains the cornerstone to Auburn’s prestigious namesake. For 24 consecutive years, Auburn has ranked in the top 50 of public universities. There is always a fellow graduate nearby with Auburn University’s alumni base of over 45,000.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
College Choice Score: 92.22
Average Net Price: $7,766
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is an internationally recognized public research university with a top academic medical center. Ten schools and a large graduate school fill over 88 urban blocks within Alabama’s most populated city. Throughout the years, the institution has been the proud host to Rhodes, Fulbright, Truman, and Marshall scholars from a variety of fields. Taking education to new heights, 10 graduate programs fall into the top 25 of the nation’s very best. Extensive federal research funding helps students and faculty take innovation to the next level from the academic center of northern Alabama.
Ranging in a broad spectrum of fields, the University of Alabama in Birmingham Online offers an accessible education to learners throughout the country. Most notable are the school’s online Graduate Nursing, Computer Information Technology, and Business Programs that consistently rank within the nation’s top 25. A vast network connects nearly 4,000 students to support and resources on-campus and beyond. The school’s online options include:
- Bachelor degrees in Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse, Management Information Systems, General Accounting
- Graduate level Nursing, Computer Information Technology, Business, Engineering, and Education programs.
- Online doctoral and EdS degrees in Education, Administrative Health, and Nursing
- A range of online academic certificates
The University of Alabama Birmingham ranks number 10 in the top 25 graduate schools in the country. Putting education to work, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the nation’s top 100 hospitals.
University of Alabama in Huntsville
College Choice Score: 89.13
Average Net Price: $9,128
Small class sizes and dedicated faculty uplifts learners in Huntsville, a city of under 200,000. Located on the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, a 432-acre UAH campus supports 8,500 students. Over 100 fields of study and extensive master studies are supported by a favorable 17 to 1 student to teacher ratio. People from 84 different countries create a diverse environment that encourages academic and social growth. Combined undergraduate and master’s programs reduce the resources needed to complete a graduate degree.
Twenty-one online programs seamlessly integrate the tools and guidance necessary for a world-class education. A variety of platforms including Blackboard, Canvas, and Panopto combine to fit the specific demands of degree coursework. The College of Nursing a University of Alabama is the top online Master’s Nursing Programs of 2017. Remote students enjoy a variety online education options including:
- Accelerated RN to BSN programs
- Online programs and courses in business, education, engineering, inter-disciplines, and nursing
- Hybrid online courses
- Professional and continued adult studies
Affordability and academic strength set the University of Alabama in Huntsville apart from the rest. UAH is Number One in return on investment amongst all other Alabama schools. Earning more than many of their peers, graduates enjoy a starting career salary of $55,000.
University of North Alabama
College Choice Score: 87.26
Average Net Price: $7,774
Founded in 1830, the University of North Alabama combines tradition, value, and dedication to the community to create a great learning environment. Access to the very best technology, labs, and facilities gives academic accreditation to the school on the banks of the Tennessee River. The institution dedicates themselves to increasing education accessibility to people around the world. A diverse community of under 8,000 enrolled students from over 37 countries comes together on the Florence campus.
The University of North Alabama has many undergraduate and graduate degrees for learners of all backgrounds. Challenging coursework, intuitive tools, and top support come together in a cohesive learning environment. As a Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus Member, the UNA has access to a broad range of resources throughout the area. Online programs from North Alabama include:
- Bachelor of Arts in History, Political Science, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Sociology
- Masters in Criminal Justice, Education, History, Political Science, Business Administration, and professional studies
- Nursing RN to BSN or RN to MSN
- A variety of undergraduate and graduate courses
Alabama’s longest standing four-year public university is one of the most prestigious. In 2017, UNA proudly ranked number 34 in Top Public Schools in the nation. Nearly 50,000 alumni live worldwide as leaders in essentially every field.
Jacksonville State University
College Choice Score: 84.67
Average Net Price: $7,500
Dubbed home away from home by over 8,500 students, rural JSU ranks 41st among top public schools in the south Forty-five academic degrees include bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and advanced certificates in all fields. A top producing institution of Fulbright Scholars, Jacksonville State University has faculty and students striving to improve the learning process. Two hundred four international students representing 61 countries bring diversity to the rich environment in northeast Alabama.
[email protected] is a platform connecting remote students to all available resources and support. A highly integrated system helps educators engage students from around the world. The electronic campus serves as a center for programs available to on-campus students. Amongst other diverse degrees, JSU offers the 33rd best online graduate criminal justice program in the nation. Online degrees and coursework upon the [email protected] include:
- Bachelor’s in Emergency Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Integrated Studies
- Master’s in Applied Engineering, Business, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, and Education, Emergency Management, Kinesiology, Nursing, Public Administration
- Doctoral in Science Emergency Management
- Post-graduate Education, Nursing, and further certification
A vibrant academic community thrives on what is widely known as the friendliest campus in the South. Seventy-nine buildings atop 464 acres of campus in Jacksonville creates an atmosphere that prepares leaders for the future.
University of Mobile
College Choice Score: 83.12
Average Net Price: $20,470
The private Christian University focuses upon liberal arts and professional programs fulfilling demands of the future. Devoted to the academic and spiritual well-being of each student, the University of Mobile has an undergraduate enrollment of 1,442 student upon an expansive suburban 880-acre campus. The school ranks number 8 among regional colleges in the south for 2017. Affordability and accessibility makes this the 3rd best college choice for those returning home from military service.
The University of Mobile is growing to meet demands of the 21st century by reaching more remote students than ever. A flexible, affordable and faith-based curriculum suits the needs of adult students throughout the country. An associate degree in Science advances graduates towards influential careers or longer degrees. Online programs offered by the school include:
- Bachelor of Science in Marketplace Ministry
- Bachelor of Business Administration
- Master of Arts in Education
- Associate of Science in General Studies
Only 15 minutes from downtown Mobile, the Christ-centered academic community gives students what they need to meet goals of the future. Thirty-two majors and 33 minors inspire learners to flourish in their own direction. A 13 to 1 student/teacher ratio supports small class sizes with plenty of personal attention available to all.
College Choice Score: 81.11
Average Net Price: $7,924
Trojan pride is strong within a network of campuses throughout Alabama and worldwide. A large variety of programs is present for those eager to take their level of education to new heights. Nearly 20,000 enrolled students combine their ambition with that of faculty and staff to create a healthy academic community. Founded in 1887, the school has become a cutting-edge facility where learners receive the one-on-one attention from instructors they deserve.
Over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs allow dreams to become reality for many remote learners. Trojan Café, the virtual student union, serves students found in 13 different time zones around the world. A student success team provides all resources and guidance available on-campus. Virtual collaboration and online assessment are examples of how the Trojans keep ahead of the 21st-century. Online programs from Troy include:
- Bachelor’s in Applied Computer Science
- Bachelor’s in Business and Criminal Justice
- Bachelor’s in Psychology and Social Sciences
- Adult Education
An excellent choice for veterans, Troy University is one of the most affordable online college in the nation in 2017. The University’s Partnership Programs enables students from any background accessibility to a high-quality education. A trailblazer in online coursework, the institution sets the standards for virtual learning environments over the last 20-years.
Alabama A&M University
College Choice Score: 81.08
Average Net Price: $9,366
A 143-year history allows AAMU the opportunity to provide a connected learning environment that engages and enables students to meet their full potential. Located in Huntsville, Alabama, the institution strives to change the academic landscape of the region. A commitment to education, research, and community service spurs development at home and abroad. The school provides highly ranked national graduate, STEM, agriculture, and engineering programs to a diverse student body.
A web-based teaching platform enables affordable, meaningful studies that turn graduates into leaders in their field. Courses and programs from on-campus faculty allow a personal experience brimming with communication and support. Innovative approaches allow coursework to seamlessly adapt to the online realm. This accessibility allows professional growth for people throughout the country and world. The AAMU virtual campus offers:
- Undergraduate Management programs
- Graduate Computer Science programs
- Graduate Early Childhood Education programs
- Graduate K to 12 Educational Leadership programs
AAMU began as Huntsville Normal School in 1875 by William Hooper Councill, a former slave and proponent of education. Today, 4,940 undergraduates and 874 graduate students meet on a beautiful 2,300-acre campus offering the latest in technology and facilities. Five undergraduate schools and graduate studies keep students busy throughout the school year.
University of South Alabama
College Choice Score: 76.82
Average Net Price: $7,332
The University of South Alabama is home to 16,000 students spanning more than 100 academic programs. Based on innovation and research, studies support development in the Gulf Coast region and beyond. A world-class health system prepares healthcare workers for the future while treating hundreds of thousands of patients per year. Studying arts, engineering, computer science, health, and more, students create a dynamic community in Mobile, Alabama. The 1,200-acre campus is full of state-of-the-art education and research facilities.
USAonline’s 24/7 access connects student around the country and the world to advance technological education services. New students and returning learners alike enjoy the ability to continue a path towards success. Online options bring the classroom directly into any home or office through an intuitive platform that keeps studies and scheduling easy. Over 450 courses and complete graduate degrees make higher education possible for an ever-growing body of students. Remote options from South Alabama include:
- A. in Interdisciplinary Studies
- N. to B.S.N. track in B.S.N. Nursing Program
- Ed. or M.S, in Instructional Design and Development
- S.N. or D.N.P. in Nursing
Known simply as South, the University of South Alabama offers additional courses along the Gulf Coast and in nearby Baldwin County. The Mitchell College of Business provides a premium environment for studying the fields of health, medicine, and education. Over 200 student organizations keep an active body engaged with those around them.
Spring Hill College
College Choice Score: 76.74
Average Net Price: $34,092
Along the stunning Gulf Coast of Alabama, Spring Hill College prepares student through a rich Jesuit educational experience. As the oldest Catholic college in the southeastern United States, the institution serves as an academic and spiritual cornerstone for the region. Engagement of students through challenging coursework inspires them to transform the world around them. Faith, justice, and service to others remain the mantra for a strong alumni base of over 12,000.
Spring Hill College is expanding their online options to make education accessible to a growing number of off-campus students. Classes are open to full-time or part-time students and anyone else dedicated to furthering their education. Access to courses is through the school’s BadgerWeb platform during the fall, spring, and summer. Extensive opportunities via Spring Hill’s virtual campus include:
- MBA in logistics and supply chain management
- Master of Science in Nursing
- Fall and Spring catalog of courses
- Expanded online summer classes
Forty-six undergraduate majors and areas of concentration open new doors for people from all walks of life. A student to faculty ratio of 14 to 1 and small class sizes create a personal learning experience. Graduates from SHC have a 90 percent acceptance into health-related graduate programs. Those studying education have a 100 percent success rate of teacher certification and job placement.
Alabama State University
College Choice Score: 76.43
Average Net Price: $8,720
Alabama State University was founded in 1887 in urban Montgomery by nine freed slaves. A strong tradition of academic achievement is available through 50 undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs. Education, Criminal Justice, Biology, and Computer Science are most popular amongst over 5,000 students. Deeply rooted in the history of the region, the historically black university brings new opportunity to an increasingly diverse population.
Classwork comes directly into the home via an interactive platform that integrates the most recent technology. Students, faculty, and alumni use the PeopleSoft self-service system to access a variety of resources. Looking towards the future, Alabama State University strives to bring accessible online education to an ever-growing population. Educational options from ASU include:
- Teacher Education programs
- Allied Health and Social Work Education programs
- Occupational Therapy
- Health Informatics and Information Management Education
Initially founded in urban Montgomery for African Americans, Alabama State University has evolved into a well-recognized institution in the region. The school has welcomed some of the most influential figures in politics and entertainment. Most notable of alumni, civil rights activist Rosa Parks who walked through the halls upon the beautiful ASU campus.
College Choice Score: 72.34
Average Net Price: $16,868
The fifth oldest women’s college in the United States has delivered a purpose-driven education since 1838. Four-year programs from the Christian college span a variety of fields throughout liberal arts and science. Leaders are born through a process that encourages expansion of knowledge and confidence in life. The teaching-based institution supports students by following a faith-based approach towards academic achievement. A “high endeavor, lofty thought, and noble deed” allows Judson Pride to be a bastion of excellence in Marion, Alabama.
Educational opportunity for men and women are available for those wishing to learn on their own time. The Distance Learning Program gives students an ability to earn a bachelor’s degree through flexible courses workable within any schedule. Online degrees consist of several elements:
- A minimum of 128 semester hours
- General Education Core Requirements
- Requirements for the B.A. or B.S. degree
- Requirements for your academic minor
Judson College offers students the choice between 20 majors, 22 minors, 10 pre-professional degree programs, and an Associate’s in Nursing. The college’s tradition continues as they increasingly shape the region and country. Ninety-six percent of Judson graduates gain employment or entry to graduate school within their first year.
Auburn University at Montgomery
College Choice Score: 71.66
Average Net Price: $9,350
Ranked as one of the south’s top universities, AUM offers a personal learning experience in small classes led by a dedicated faculty. The thriving student body participates in over 90 fields of study from one of five colleges. A diverse community supports an academic environment that is much more than a typical southern school. In partnership with state and regional governments, Auburn University at Montgomery is creating leaders of all shapes and sizes. Some of the most unique programs include Geographic Information Systems, Homeland Security, and Cyber Systems and Information Security.
AUM Online is a hotbed of interactive courses that challenge students in a broad range of studies. Working adults and first-time students alike are engaged by meaningful coursework that paves the way towards a bright future. university’s individual schools. Online coursework allows remote degrees in almost every field:
- Colleges of Business and Education
- College of Arts and Sciences
- College of Nursing and Health Sciences
- College of Public Political and Criminal Justice
An act in 1967 by the Alabama Legislature established the school in order to bring growth and development to the region. 4,500 students study on the suburban Auburn University at Montgomery campus located within miles of the capital city.
College Choice Score: 71.62
Average Net Price: $19,280
Falkner University is a private Christian school located in the capital city of Montgomery. Superior undergraduate to graduate academics emphasizes the development of character and service. Over 70 programs within a personalized setting leads students to success. A 15 to 1 student to faculty ratio and small class sizes enables learners of all backgrounds to flourish. The institution has expanded onto campuses found in Mobile, Birmingham, and Huntsville. Faulkner Law is one of three ABA-accredited law schools in the entire state.
A degree from Faulkner University is available to students throughout the country via a virtual learning platform. Focusing on the field of their choice, students meet new possibilities through a 21st-century take on education. Over 23 online programs integrate advanced coursework from top educators. Flexible scheduling enables anyone to complete requirements and gain the prestige of a Faulkner University degree. Remote students choose from one of many online degrees:
- Bachelor of Art or Science in a range fields
- Executive MBA
- Master of Arts, Education, Science, and Justice
- Doctorates in Philosophy
Faulkner University provides a place where faith and academics merge. Affordable and competitive tuition makes higher education more accessible than ever. Accelerated schedules for online programs creates a fast-track for graduates who wish to progress quickly.
University of West Alabama
College Choice Score: 67.36
Average Net Price: $8,734
The University of West Alabama, or UWA, is a public university located in Livingston, Alabama. A number of associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and education degrees challenge students from throughout the country and worldwide. Faculty place an emphasis on critical thought, leadership, and technology within a culturally diverse environment. Founded in 1835, the school has a 514-acre campus that serves as an academic center for over 2,000 learners.
The goal of UWA is to provide lifelong learning opportunities to first-year students and working adults. An innovative approach to online degrees brings classwork of accredited programs directly into the home. A dual enrollment option allows students to earn college credit online while attending high school. An additional Master in Business Administration degree enables remote learners to reach new heights. Extensive online options include:
- Undergraduate degrees in Business and Technology, Education, and Liberal Arts
- Graduate level degrees and post-graduate certification in Education
- Master of Science in Experimental Psychology and Conservation Biology
- Degree and certification hybrid programs
UWA was initially established as a spiritual female academy and has persevered through some of the country’s toughest times. From the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, the UWA historically prides itself on impacting the region and nation.
College Choice Score: 45.72
Average Net Price: $6,900
Since 1967, Amridge University has provided distance learners an outlet for personal and professional achievement. The private non-profit institution holds a Christian tradition as it prepares leaders for the challenges of the future. Dedication to society, church, and family is key for students within 4 separate schools. Remote populations build an academic network encouraging student growth every day of the year. The affordable online university offers 32-degree programs to people throughout the country and around the world.
Through digital advancement, academic success is becoming a bigger reality for anyone willing to put in the work. MyAmridge online portal integrates lesson plans and coursework into manageable units that fit into any schedule. A Doctorate of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies has recently become available to a growing student body. Degrees available upon the MyAmridge system include:
- Associate of Arts degrees
- 8 Bachelor’s degrees
- 4 Master of Divinity degrees
- 3 Doctor of Ministry and 5 Doctoral degrees
Throughout the years, Amridge has developed a name for itself within the realm of learning from afar. The U.S. Department of Education selected the university as one of 15 institutions to begin the Distance Education Demonstration Institution. The institution began offering remote learning opportunities in 1993 leading to online degree availability in 1999.