#1 Columbia Southern University
Columbia Southern University (CSU) is a private, for-profit institution. CSU offers several online degree programs — ranging from bachelor's degrees to doctorates. CSU’s online bachelor’s programs are designed for working professionals, parents, and anyone with commitments outside school.
CSU facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning via the Blackboard learning management system (LMS). The online bachelor’s degrees at CSU include Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Information Systems and Cybersecurity, Fire Administration, Health Care Administration, Homeland Security, and Occupational Safety and Health. Online students can access academic advising, career services, remote proctoring, a math and writing center, and more.
#2 Auburn University
Auburn University is a public institution that offers a limited number of online bachelor's and master's degree programs. To earn bachelor's degrees, distance learners can study business administration, accounting, computer science, or nursing. Master's options include agronomy and soils, environmental science, business administration, accounting, finance, or information systems.
Distance learners access their online courses through the Canvas learning system. Auburn University has a somewhat competitive acceptance rate of 44% and a graduation rate of 81%, and 91% of its enrollees are full-time students.
#3 University of West Alabama
At the University of West Alabama, a public institution, students can opt for one of 68 online degrees, including 17 bachelor's degrees, 28 master's degrees, and two online doctoral degrees. One of the highest-ranking online programs is the master's in student counseling and personnel services. The university has a 69% acceptance rate and a 38% graduation rate.
West Alabama's online students use Blackboard to access course materials and submit assignments. About three-quarters of the school's students attend college full time.
#4 University of Alabama
The University of Alabama (UA) is a public institution. UA offers online bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, specialist, and certificate programs for prospective students. UA offers many majors in an online format, with topics covering education, health science, business, and nursing, to name a few.
At UA, distance learners complete coursework and engage in peer discussion through the LMS Blackboard, which delivers the material asynchronously and synchronously. UA’s online bachelor’s degrees include (but are not limited to) Public Health, Human Environmental Sciences, General Business, Advertising, Communication Studies, Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Hospitality Management. Online student resources at UA include virtual academic coaching, tutoring, disability support, library services, a writing center, and a career center.
#5 Athens State University
At Athens State University, a public institution, online students can pursue online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Athens has transfer-friendly online bachelor’s degree programs, which is an excellent option for students who already have an associate degree but want to obtain a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college. Athens aims to deliver online degree programs that increase job opportunities for graduates.
Athens facilitates distance learning through the LMS Blackboard. Some of the school's online bachelor’s programs are Aerospace Systems Management, Criminal Justice, Health Care Management, Human Resource Management, Educational Studies, Religion, and Accounting. Online students can access counseling, career development services, and academic advising.
#6 Samford University
Samford University is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Baptist Church. Students here can opt for one of 21 online degrees, including two bachelor's degrees, 12 master's degrees, and seven online doctoral degrees. Offerings are particularly strong in the areas of nursing and public health. The university has a 83% acceptance rate and a 78% graduation rate.
At Samford, online students use Canvas to access course materials and submit assignments. Nearly all of the school's students attend college full time.
#7 Troy University
At Troy University, a public institution, prospective students can pursue online bachelor’s degree in various specialties. Troy offers 9-week terms, which allows students to enroll at one of the five start dates throughout the school year. Troy’s online programs provide scheduling flexibility for students who work or have other commitments.
Troy's online students complete coursework asynchronously and synchronously through the popular LMS Canvas. A few examples of online bachelor’s degree programs at Troy include Anthropology, Computer Science, Human Services, Interdisciplinary Studies, Graphic Design, and Occupational Education. Troy’s remote student support provides tutoring, counseling, writing centers, and career services.
#8 University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a public university with several online undergraduate degrees across varied majors. From marketing to healthcare management, prospective students have a wide variety of online degree programs to choose from.
UAB facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning via the LMS Canvas. Some of UAB’s popular online bachelor’s degree programs are Accounting, Community Health and Human Services, Finance, Industrial Distribution, Management, Criminal Justice, and Information Systems. Remote students at UAB have access to the following resources: a writing center, tutoring services, academic advising, and IT support.
#9 University of Alabama in Huntsville
The publicly operated University of Alabama in Huntsville offers distance education degrees at all levels. Among the school's offerings are online master's degrees in computer/information technology administration and management, industrial engineering, and teacher education. The Huntsville location accepts 78% of applicants and graduates 63% of its students.
Online learners view their course lectures and readings, engage in group learning activities, and complete homework assignments through the Canvas learning management system. Of all enrollees, 82% are full-time students.
#10 Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville State University is a public institution that offers online bachelor's and master's degree programs. Among the most popular programs are the bachelor's degree in public administration and social services and the master's in education. This school also ranks high on our lists of the most affordable online master's programs in English, systems engineering, and nutrition.
Distance learners at this school access their online courses through the Canvas learning system. Jacksonville State has an acceptance rate of 78% and a graduation rate of 52%, and just over three-quarters of its enrollees are full-time students.
#11 University of North Alabama
The University of North Alabama, which is a public university, offers bachelor's and master's degrees through distance education. Among the school's most notable online programs is the master's in education. North Alabama accepts 96% of all applicants, and 52% of students earn their degree.
At this school, online students access their online courses through the Canvas learning management system. Three-quarters of enrollees are studying full time.
#12 University of South Alabama
The University of South Alabama, which is a public university, offers a limited number of bachelor's and master's degrees through distance education. Among the school's offerings are a bachelor's in interdisciplinary studies, an RN-to-BSN bridge program, and 13 master's degrees in nursing, education, and business. South Alabama accepts 65% of all applicants, and 48% of students earn their degree.
At this school, online students access their online courses through the USAonline learning management system, powered by Canvas. Of all of the school's students, 84% attend college full time.
#13 Faulkner University
Faulkner University is a private, non-profit institution affiliated with the Churches of Christ. The university provides a wide selection of online degrees at all levels. Some of the highest-ranking distance learning programs include the bachelor's degree in business and commerce and both the bachelor's and master's degrees in criminal justice and corrections. The school has an 82% acceptance rate and a 33% graduation rate.
Faulkner University delivers its online course offerings through the Blackboard learning platform. Just over two-thirds of the school's enrollees are full-time students.
#14 Amridge University
A private, nonprofit school, Amridge University is associated with the Churches of Christ. The school offers more than 40 online degrees at all levels — primarily graduate degrees — in four major areas: general studies, business and leadership, education and human services, and theology. Some specific examples include an associate degree in information systems management, a bachelor's in Biblical studies, and an MBA.
Amridge students use the Canvas learning platform to participate in their online classes. Just over half of the student population studies full time, and 50% earn their degree.
#15 Auburn University at Montgomery
The public Auburn University at Montgomery offers a small selection of online undergraduate degrees and an extensive selection of online graduate degrees and certificates. Bachelor's degrees are available in general business, nursing, and medical laboratory science. Options for master's degrees include business administration, exercise science, criminal justice, nursing, and healthcare administration.
Online learners access their course materials and engage in learning activities through the Canvas platform. Three-quarters of Auburn learners are full time students. The school has a 92% acceptance rate and a 36% graduation rate.
#16 United States Sports Academy
The United States Sports Academy is a highly specialized private, nonprofit institution. The school offers online degrees exclusively and only in sports-related fields. Some of the programs available include bachelor's and master's degrees in sports management, coaching, exercise science, sports science, and sports studies.
The academy delivers all of its online courses through the Canvas learning management system. All applicants are accepted, and 80% of students are enrolled part time.
#17 Heritage Christian University
Heritage Christian University is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Churches of Christ. The school's online offerings include bachelor's degrees in general education, Biblical and theological studies, and professional studies. There are also three master's degrees available in Biblical languages and ministry.
Distance learners access their courses through the Populi learning platform, and they can use online library resources. The school accepts all applicants, and 60% of the student population are enrolled part time
Higher Education in Alabama
Alabama is home to 61 universities, community colleges, and technical schools, where more than 350,000 students pursue degrees, certificates, and diplomas each year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education's IPEDS system. The majority of colleges in Alabama are public schools, with only 18 private nonprofit universities and four for-profit colleges in the state.
More than half of the schools in Alabama are four-year universities, where most students are earning bachelor's degrees or are in graduate school. The state also has 26 two-year colleges that offer certificates, diplomas, job training, and associate degrees.
Business, healthcare, and engineering are the three most popular bachelor's degrees for students in Alabama, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). In general, Alabama has degrees in nursing and other healthcare fields, business, education, and social work are popular for online learners.
Fewer Alabama residents have a college education than the rest of the United States, with only 27% of adults over 25 holding a bachelor's degree or higher, according to census data. That means earning your degree as an Alabama student might give you a bigger advantage in the workforce.
Online Colleges in Alabama
At least 32 colleges and universities in Alabama offer online programs, according to data from IPEDS. Students can earn certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees online.
Online community colleges in Alabama offer certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. These schools help students get their GED, train for specific careers (such as medical billing and coding), get a general education in areas like business or elementary education, or finish the first two years of their bachelor's degree.
Four-year universities usually offer some certificates and associate degrees but focus more on bachelor's and master's degrees. Some also offer online doctorates.
There are a few different types of online options for Alabama students. Many people prefer fully online degrees, which don't have any on-campus requirements. Some schools also offer hybrid options, where students complete some parts of their program online but might go to campus for labs once a week or complete one quarter in person.
Some online classes are self-paced, but most online programs operate similar to the ones on campus and require students to complete assignments and follow a set class schedule.
Students can look for synchronous classes, where students login and complete classwork at a set time, or asynchronous classes, where students can review lectures when it's convenient for them. Some schools offer one or the other, while some schools offer both.
Students applying for an associate or bachelor's degree will need a high school diploma or GED. Master's and doctoral degrees require a bachelor's degree. Other requirements will vary depending on the program and school.
Common admissions requirements include high school transcripts, application letters, and letters of recommendation. Some schools also require you to have a certain GPA to get in, or may require SAT/ACT scores. However, these are less often required for online programs.
FAQs About Online Colleges in Alabama
How Many Colleges Are in Alabama?
There are 61 colleges in Alabama, including 32 four-year universities and 26 community colleges and technical schools. The majority of colleges in Alabama are publicly funded, with 39 public colleges and universities and 22 private schools.
Can DACA Beneficiaries in Alabama Attend Public College?
While Alabama is one of the most restrictive states for undocumented students in college, students with DACA can attend some public colleges. However, this depends on the school. Because Alabama laws are so restrictive for undocumented students, those without DACA might look at online schools in other states, such as Washington or California, where state laws make it easier for undocumented students to go to college.
Our college guide for undocumented students can help people without citizenship get financial aid and find colleges that will support them.
How Much Is College in Alabama?
How much college costs in Alabama depends on where you go to school and what kind of degree you get. The average in-state tuition for a bachelor's degree in Alabama was $14,666 for the 2021-22 school year, according to data from IPEDS.
However, private universities tend to be much more expensive than public colleges. IPEDS data shows tuition at public four-year universities in Alabama ranged from $8,568 to $13,710. The sticker price at private Alabama schools ranged from $11,392 to $35,360.
Community and technical colleges are also usually more affordable than four-year schools. The average in-state tuition at two-year colleges in Alabama was $5,817 for the 2021-22 school year. The most affordable community college cost $3,936, and the most expensive was $17,773.
What Are the Best Colleges in Alabama?
Choosing a college that best fits your needs means considering what you want to get out of your program, what level of flexibility you'll need, what kind of support you'll need in school, what career outcomes alumni have, how much it will cost, and other factors.
The best colleges in Alabama are ones that help their students succeed and finish their degree while preparing them for successful careers after college. For some students, the option to earn their degree online and a low tuition cost are the most important factors. For others, finding the right program to fit their career goals might be more important. Students should look closely at the degrees available and make sure to get all their questions answered to help them make an informed decision about where to go to school.
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