With demand for management positions on the rise, graduates of online MBA programs can expect to enter an expanding, lucrative field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some of the top-earning management occupations as of 2019 included computer and information systems managers, with an annual median wage of $146,360, and architectural and engineering managers, who earned $144,830.
Prospective students should engage in careful research as they hunt for the ideal program. They can bolster their search using this list of the top affordable online MBA programs as a foundation. The updated rankings include the top information technology and information science programs, which update each year to reflect a rapidly evolving field.
WHY GET AN AFFORDABLE ONLINE MBA?
The MBA, the nation’s most popular master’s degree, prepares students for their choice of executive careers. As schools increasingly offer affordable online MBA programs, more students can access the degree’s numerous benefits. Online MBAs can cost less and are more flexible than on-campus programs, ideal for working students in any location.
Many students pursue an MBA as a means of boosting their salary or qualifying for a promotion. Naturally, most MBAs require applicants with a bachelor’s degree (preferably, in business) and work experience.
Online MBAs can provide virtual access to a broader professional network while offering flexible hands-on learning opportunities.
Location: Online MBAs enable students to pursue their top choice of school, without paying out-of-state tuition rates or interrupting their work or family obligations.
Diversity: Affordable online MBA programs often emphasize global business through international networking opportunities, as they are not confined to a physical campus.
Flexibility: Students enjoy greater flexibility in an online MBA than a campus program. Some of the cheapest MBAs enable students to choose a self-paced format, which suits quick learners looking to cut costs through an accelerated program.
Technology: Students who complete their MBA online are required to develop computer, technology, and social networking skills—all invaluable to students in the workforce after graduation.
Transferability: Since so many schools offer online MBA coursework, students can often seamlessly transfer core and requisite courses from their bachelor’s degree online.
BEST AFFORDABLE ONLINE MBA PROGRAM RANKINGS
The following ranking details 10 of the most affordable online MBA programs. Our ranking includes only accredited schools, many receiving additional programmatic accreditation through an organization such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The following schools embody the top choices in the search for flexible, affordable online MBAs.
1. Drake University
A private university in Des Moines, Iowa, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
Founded in 1881, Drake enrolls more than 4,800 graduate and undergraduate students. The university houses the nationally renowned College of Business & Public Administration (CBPA), which delivers online and hybrid MBAs. The CBPA is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
College of Business & Public Administration
Drake offers an affordable online MBA program through the CBPA. Coursework emphasizes analytical reasoning, strategic decision-making, and ethical leadership. Students who enroll part time in the 39-credit program can graduate in two years. Drake also offers its traditional MBA in a hybrid format.
Drake’s MBAs offer nine concentration options, including some only available online. Students may choose to customize their concentration to include MBA, communications, and public administration coursework. The MBA includes professional development seminars in topics like globalization and cross-cultural communication. The program culminates in a capstone in strategic business processes.
2. Union University
A private university in Jackson, Tennessee, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
As the oldest school affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Union University offers more than 100 liberal arts programs in the Christian tradition. Union offers affordable online MBA programs through its McAfee School of Business, accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
McAfee School of Business
Union’s online MBA encompasses 12 three-hour courses. Students can choose one of five entry points throughout the year and may complete the MBA in 12, 18, or 24 months. Enrollees can take all courses online or through a flexible hybrid program. Union is temporarily waiving its GRE/GMAT admission requirement for graduate business applicants.
Students may choose from one of four concentrations or pursue a thesis program. The accounting concentration prepares students to sit for the CPA certification exam. Congruent to the MBA, students may choose to earn a dual graduate degree in nursing, nursing practice, pharmacy, or social work.
3. Butler University
A private university in Indianapolis, Indiana, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
BU emphasizes experiential learning through programs across six academic colleges. The university boasts a 99% success rate for graduates of the Andre B. Lacy School of Business, which offers one of only two MBAs in Indianapolis accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Andre B. Lacy School of Business
BU’s online MBA follows a hands-on learning model. In addition to mostly online coursework, students must complete a business practice or global business experience to earn the degree. The program also begins with a gateway immersion experience and culminates in a semester-long capstone experience.
Students can enroll in the online MBA in the fall or spring semester. Admission requires applicants to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Distance learners may complete the online, part-time program in as few as 2.5 years. BU ranks among U.S. News & World Report’s best graduate schools for its part-time MBA.
4. Valparaiso University
A private university in Valparaiso, Indiana, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
Headquartered near Chicago, Valpo delivers liberal arts programs in the Lutheran tradition. Valpo’s graduate school and its affordable online MBA programs rank among the nation’s best, according to U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review.
The Valpo MBA receives accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Students may choose from a part-time professional MBA or a daytime global MBA, offered via cohort for full-time students. Both MBAs include a general business certificate.
Valpo’s MBA curriculum also embeds certificates in business decision-making and global enterprise. Part-time MBA students may choose an additional certificate in one of the concentrations listed below. Additionally, Valpo recommends that students choose at least one study abroad or internship experience, special topics course, or field project, each worth three credits.
5. Providence College
A private university in Providence, Rhode Island, accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education
The only U.S. college founded by Dominican Friars, PC provides liberal arts programs in the Roman Catholic tradition. Alongside graduate departments in history, theology, and education, PC’s esteemed School of Business boasts a 98% employment rate within six months of graduation.
Providence College School of Business
PC offers numerous affordable online MBA programs through its business school. Students may choose from a part-time, full-time, or accounting cohort MBA. Full-time students may graduate in as little as one year, while part-time students may complete the MBA in 1.5-2 years. PC offers MBA courses in fall, winter, spring, and summer semesters.
Students must complete PC’s signature MBA core sequence, which includes a business internship and a capstone course in strategic management in a global environment. Applicants may qualify to waive the GRE/GMAT admission requirement. PC ranks among U.S News & World Report’s best graduate business schools for its part-time MBA.
6. University of Scranton
A public university in Scranton, Pennsylvania, accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Founded in 1888 as Saint Thomas College, Scranton offers more than 150 academic programs from a Jesuit Catholic perspective. Three of the school’s 10 programs delivered through the Kania School of Management rank among the nation’s best, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Kania School of Management
Scranton offers an affordable online MBA with a focus in global business. The 36-credit program begins with Scranton’s signature cornerstone course requirement and culminates in a capstone course. Students must also complete a three-part core sequence and electives in their choice of concentration, including at least one international course.
Applicants with at least three years of supervisory work experience may waive the GMAT/GRE requirement for admission into the online MBA. Students can choose from six start dates per year. Each course lasts for eight weeks. The program receives accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
7. Bethel University
A private university in Saint Paul, Minnesota, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
The largest university in the Christian College Consortium, Bethel enrolls more than 4,500 graduate, undergraduate, and seminary students. Bethel’s graduate school offers affordable online MBA programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Bethel’s affordable online MBA imparts a holistic curriculum for spiritual, professional, and intellectual growth. Students complete a total of 42 credits, combining core and concentration course requirements. Bethel co-hosts some concentrations, marked below with an asterisk, through a partnership with MIT.
Most concentrations enable students to choose an online or hybrid delivery format. Courses in the online MBA begin every six weeks. While completion times vary by concentration, most students can complete the program in 18-24 months. All programs culminate in a capstone requirement.
8. Creighton University
A private university in Omaha, Nebraska, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
Creighton enrolls nearly 8,900 graduate and undergraduate students in Jesuit-Catholic academic programs. The Heider School of Business recently ranked among U.S News & World Report’s best in the nation for its online MBA and graduate business programs.
Heider College of Business
Creighton focuses on producing MBA graduates poised for success in business and leadership fields. The 33-credit program requires core and functional core coursework. Students must complete a graduate internship and a project management capstone, which also prepares students for popular professional business certification exams.
Creighton students may choose to pursue a dual degree such as an MBAjuris doctor, MBA/MD, or MBA/doctor of pharmacy. Applicants with work experience and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 may waive the GMAT entrance requirement. Online MBA students can choose one of five start dates.
9. Salve Regina University
A private university in Newport, Rhode Island, accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Salve is a Catholic university offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate programs. Salve’s Office of Graduate Studies houses a variety of affordable online MBA programs and liberal arts degrees.
The Salve MBA emphasizes customizable degree options. Students must complete 12 courses, totaling 36 credits, in topics including business law, managerial accounting, and creative problem-solving. Prerequisites include accounting, economics, and statistics. The online MBA culminates in a strategic management capstone.
Students can supplement the online MBA with electives in any graduate field. The program offers rolling admission for prospective students. Distance learners may complete the degree in 18-24 months. Online courses follow a 15-week semester schedule. The MBA is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
10. Xavier University
A private university in Cincinnati, Ohio, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
Among the nation’s leading Jesuit Catholic universities, Xavier boasts a 98% graduate success rate. Xavier enrolls more than 6,500 students across three colleges, including the Williams College of Business, which receives accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Williams College of Business
Xavier’s affordable online MBA program requires 39-45 credit hours, culminating in a global strategic thinking capstone course. Students may complete the online MBA in 1.5-3 years. Xavier also offers day and evening MBAs held on campus, and an accelerated executive MBA.
Online MBA students belong to a far-reaching network of alumni and business professionals. Xavier MBA graduates earn some of the highest starting salaries in their field in Ohio. The online MBA begins at multiple start dates throughout the year and offers full- and part-time enrollment options.