20 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

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Distant education or distant learning has been a feature of post-secondary education for over 150 years. The first distance learning degrees were offered by the University of London through its external program in 1858.

Best Online Colleges in Kentucky Badge

Today with the universal acceptance of the world wide web and the popularity of the internet, online learning is the favored delivery method for distant education and is being readily embraced by more and more academic institutions.

Either through synchronous learning, where all participants are together in a virtual classroom, or asynchronous learning, where participants access to course materials according to their own schedules, increasing numbers of students are gaining higher education degrees online.

This flexibility allows people who are excluded from being able to attend a university campus for any number of reasons to still gain the education they desire. Although, online learning should not be seen as an easy option, it requires the same if not more dedication. It is an alternative not a substitute.

And it’s not for everyone. Online students require a high level of motivation and well-developed time management skills. They need to have the free time to devote to their studies and be comfortable communicating with the written word. And have access to and be comfortable with the internet as well as having a more than adequate set of computer skills.

Top 10 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

Rank School Location
1 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
2 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
3 Asbury University Wilmore, KY
4 Murray State University Murray, KY
5 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY
6 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY
7 Bellarmine University Louisville, KY
8 University of Louisville Louisville, KY
9 Midway University Midway, KY
10 Brescia University Owensboro, KY

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What are the best online colleges in Kentucky?

College Choice has done the heavy lifting in comparing all the four-year degree colleges and universities in Kentucky and their online program offerings. Accessing information from college and university websites, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the U. S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the U.S. News and World Report, College Choice has ranked the top 20.

We’ve used metrics that include graduation rate, institutional reputation, programs offered online, tuition costs, average student indebtedness after graduation and graduates expected early career salary.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of Kentucky
    Location

    Lexington, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The public, co-educational University of Kentucky (UK) is physically located in Lexington, Kentucky and was founded in 1865. The Universitys 17 colleges offer some 200 majors and degree programs. Selected certificate and graduate credit programs are offered online either entirely or in a hybrid format (part on-campus and part online). Some courses that are relevant to undergraduate degrees are also offered online. Online courses are taught to the same academic level as on-campus courses. UK is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

    Features

    Online Masters degrees are offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Communication and Information, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and the College of Fine Arts. A Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management is available from the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration as well as a Masters degree. The College of Health Sciences offers a Bachelors degree in Medical Laboratory Science.

    Notables

    All UK courses are taught using the Canvas Learning Management System. The admissions and registration process is the same as that used by on-campus courses. A Distance Learning Library Service, which is staffed by a full-time librarian, is provided to access information resources for the students who take these classes.

  2. Eastern Kentucky University
    Location

    Richmond, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) is a bricks and mortar institution in Richmond, Kentucky, that has been educating students for over 100 years. It offers both undergraduate and graduate level teaching in general and liberal arts programs, pre-professional and professional training in education and other fields. EKU has over 40 online programs which except for the paralegal program can be completed without ever having to step foot on the campus. EKU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

    Features

    With colleges of Business and Technology, Education, Health Sciences, Justice and Safety, Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences and a College of Science, EKU offers associates, bachelors, masters and doctoral degree programs. Most online courses are offered as two 8-week terms during the fall and spring semesters and as two 6-week terms during summer.

    Notables

    Courses are delivered using The Blackboard Learning System that provides a website for each class. Instructors organize course material and interact with students through discussion boards, chat rooms and online assignments. Each student will need a computer with high bandwidth Internet access (dial-up connections are unsuitable), a Flash player and speakers. EKU recommends students use Mozilla Firefox as their primary browser. The universitys three libraries are available for online student use.

  3. Asbury University
    Location

    Wilmore, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Asbury College became a university in 2010 and is a Christian liberal arts bricks and mortar institution located in Wilmore, Kentucky. It offers 50 majors from 17 departments, undergraduate majors come from three distinct schools and all graduate majors are housed in the School of Graduate Professional Studies. The University extends its tradition of rigor, ethics, and professionalism to its online academic programs. Asbury is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

    Features

    The Schools of Arts and Sciences, Communication, and Education offer an online Associate degree in Science and online Bachelor of Science degrees in Instructional Design, Elementary Education, Leadership and Ministry, Organizational Management and Ministry Management. The School of Graduate Professional Studies offers Masters degrees in Social Work, Business Administration, Communication and Education.

    Notables

    Asbury uses the Discovery Learning Management System to deliver its online content that includes courses, grade book, activity and assessment items, communication tools, and messaging. Asbury also uses both synchronous sessions and asynchronous interactions via Adobe Connect for face-to-face, online sessions and forums. Asbury Universitys instructors make being available to students a priority often providing their personal contact information (phone/email). The Kinlaw Library is accessible 24/7 for online students.

  4. Murray State University
    Location

    Murray, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Murray State University (MSU) is a four-year public bricks and mortar university located in Murray, Kentucky. MSU offers 11 associate, 64 bachelor, and 42 master and specialist programs through its six colleges and schools that deliver 245 majors and programs. The University offers eight online undergraduate degree programs, 12 online graduate degree programs, two online Doctoral programs and two online certificate programs. MSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.

    Features

    Online undergraduate programs include Associate of Arts (General Studies), Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Integrated Studies, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, Nursing and Telecommunications Systems Management. Online Graduate Degree Programs include Agriculture, Business Administration, English, Human Development and Leadership, Information Systems, Library Media, Non-profit Leadership Studies, Occupational Safety and Health, Organizational Communication, Public Administration, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Telecommunications Systems Management. A Doctorate of Nursing Practice and a Doctorate of Arts in English Pedagogy and Technology are also offered online.

    Notables

    Courses are delivered using The Blackboard Learning System that provides a website for each class. Instructors organize course material and interact with students through discussion boards, chat rooms and online assignments. MSU advises students will not have any face-to-face interaction with their instructor or classmates.

  5. Northern Kentucky University
    Location

    Highland Heights, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Northern Kentucky University (NKU) is a co-educational public brick and mortar university in northern Kentucky and is located just seven miles southeast of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. NKU offers 79 bachelors degrees, three associate degrees, 22 graduate programs, one Juris Doctor, a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Online NKU offers ten undergraduate majors and eight minors along with 12 graduate programs. Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

    Features

    Online undergraduate majors include Business Information Systems, Communication Studies, Criminal Justice, Health Science, History, Integrative Studies, Library Informatics, Nursing, Organizational Leadership and Respiratory Care Completion Program. Undergraduate minors also include Information Systems, Management, Political Science, Religious Studies and Womens and Gender Studies. The online graduate programs cover the fields of business, education, emergency management, health and nursing.

    Notables

    NKU online uses the Blackboard course management system to provide access to course materials, University resources, and personal tools like email. The University recommends students use Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari as their primary browser along with Microsoft Office software. NKU also provides students with an NKU student email account at no additional cost.

  6. Western Kentucky University
    Location

    Bowling Green, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Although founded in 1906, the Western Kentucky University (WKU) became known by its current name in 1966. It is a public university that has been offering distance education since 1919 and online courses since 1998. Today WKU online enables students to earn more than 50 associate, bachelors and masters degrees, and over 40 certificates. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Features

    Fourteen bachelor degrees are on offer, nine of which can be completed 100 perccent online. The rest top up an associates degree and can be completed in as little as two years. Online, WKU also offers 31 Masters degrees in various disciplines, as well as over 25 graduate certificates and endorsements which may be earned as part of a masters degree program.

    Notables

    Courses are delivered either as the semester-based WKU Online or as the WKU On Demand. The WKU Online follow the face-to-face classes with the same start and end dates as on-campus programs, thereby giving 10 starting points throughout the academic year. The WKU On Demand courses can be started on any day of the year and completed in a minimum of seven weeks or within a maximum of nine months.

  7. Bellarmine University
    Location

    Louisville, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Bellarmine University (BU) is a private Catholic Liberal Arts University with a bricks and mortar campus located Louisville, Kentucky. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Universitys seven colleges and schools offer over 50 majors in graduate and undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences, business, communication, education, nursing and health sciences. Through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, BU offers online courses for professional development along with career certificates.

    Features

    With a catalog of over 400 courses, the areas of instruction include Accounting and Finance, Business, College Readiness, Computer Applications, Design and Composition, Healthcare and Medical, Language and Arts, Law and Legal, Personal Development, Teaching and Education, Technology and Writing and Publishing.

    Notables

    Designed to learn a new skill or enhance an existing one, each course is of six weeks duration. Students spend two to four hours each week completing two lessons in an interactive learning environment. Several courses can be bundled together for the in-depth study of an area of interest.

  8. University of Louisville
    Location

    Louisville, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Louisville (UofL) is a public research university located in Kentuckys largest metropolitan area. Its three campuses house 12 academic colleges that offer 70 bachelors degrees, 78 masters degrees and 22 doctorate degrees. The University of Louisville offers online courses and degree programs in various areas of study for students who are not able to attend a physical campus. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

    Features

    Bachelor degree programs are offered in Nursing, Organizational Leadership and Learning, Criminal Justice and Communication. Masters degree programs are available in Criminal Justice, Social Work, Human Resources and Organization Development, Engineering, Computer Science and Education. Certificate courses are offered in Accounting, Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis, Data Science, Cybersecurity and Engineering.

    Notables

    UofLs online courses are delivered using the Blackboard online learning platform which allows students and instructors to interact, network, collaborate on class assignments and team projects, exchange thoughts and ideas or share experiences. Admission requirements are the same as campus admissions and degrees awarded are likewise the same. The name of the degree and the transcripts will not indicate whether the degree was completed online, on campus or through a combination of both methods.

  9. Midway University
    Location

    Midway, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Midway University is an independent, liberal arts university associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and is surrounded by some of the top Thoroughbred farms in the world. It currently offers two and four-year degrees in business, equine studies, nursing, and teacher education amongst others. Midway Online offers accelerated degree-completion programs for working adults in popular programs. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Features

    Online bachelors degrees include Business, Criminal Justice, Education, Health Care Administration, Interdisciplinary Studies, Marketing, Nursing, Psychology and Sports Management. Masters degrees in Business Administration, Education and Nursing are also on offer and an Associates degree in Business Administration is available.

    Notables

    Midway Universitys online course format is based on 8-week module courses with each course being generally worth three semester hours credit. Modules start 5 times throughout the year in August, October, January, March and May. Midway delivers its courses using the Moodle learning platform that is designed to provide teachers, administrators and students with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalized learning environments.

  10. Brescia University
    Location

    Owensboro, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Brescia University is a coeducational Catholic bricks and mortar university located in Owensboro, Kentucky. Founded in 1950, Brescia began operating as a four-year College in 1951. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associates, bachelors and masters degrees. Fields of study include fine arts, humanities, mathematics and natural sciences, social and behavioral sciences, education and education. It offers an alternative learning environment for distance learners through BUonline.

    Features

    BUonline offers associate degrees in Business, Integrated Studies, Liberal Arts, Human Services and Education. Bachelor degrees are available in Business, Accounting, Integrated Studies, Theology, Political Science and Social Work. Masters degrees are offered in Social Work and Management along with a post-graduate certificate in Accounting.

    Notables

    BUonline delivers its courses using the Moodle learning platform that is designed to provide teachers, administrators and students with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalized learning environments. All students are issued with a Brescia University e-mail account. The BUonline help desk is available 24/7 and BUonline students have full access to Brescia Universitys Fr. Leonard Alvey Library. The University has partnered with MBS Online Bookstore enabling students to order their books online.

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