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Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

By James Holbrook | Updated 8/10/2022
2020 Best Online Colleges in North Dakota Badge

These schools are the best online colleges in North Dakota based on alumni salaries and low-cost tuition. Ranked #1, Bismarck State College offers a tuition rate of $6,498 per year and has a median alumni salary of $102,500. University of North Dakota, ranked #3, has over 50 online degrees available ranging from a Bachelor of General Studies to a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering. For those seeking an online BSN, North Dakota State University - Main Campus offers an annual tuition of $10,216 and has a median alumni salary of $84,700.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 Bismarck State College $6,498 $102,500
# 2 #2 North Dakota State University - Main Campus $10,216 $84,700
# 3 #3 University of North Dakota $11,970 $82,800
# 4 #4 University of Jamestown $13,485 $70,300
# 5 #5 Mayville State University $9,150 $68,700
# 6 #6 Dickinson State University $6,947 $61,400
# 7 #7 Minot State University $6,087 $59,700
# 8 #8 Trinity Bible College $13,320 $36,500
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

Online Colleges in North Dakota Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

#1 Bismarck State College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,498
  • Median Salary: $102,500
  • Locations: Bismarck
  • Accreditation: HLC

Bismarck State College is the third largest college in the North Dakota University System. Nearly 20 online associate degrees are available in subjects, such as cybersecurity, criminal justice, electric power technology, nuclear power technology, and web page development and design. Additionally, a Bachelor of Applied Science in energy management is offered online. Coursework is delivered via the Blackboard online learning management system. Services for online students include a bookstore, a library, financial aid, testing services, disability services, and veteran services. Online students have weekly assignments, quizzes, and tests, and they are required to meet deadlines and participate in discussions on a schedule established by the instructor. They must log on daily to keep up to date with class announcements, assignments, and other pertinent information.

#2 North Dakota State University - Main Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $10,216
  • Median Salary: $84,700
  • Locations: Fargo
  • Accreditation: HLC

North Dakota State University (NDSU), founded in 1890, is a public research university located in the city of Fargo. Bachelor’s degrees in the fields of nursing and human development & family science are offered online. Fifteen online master’s degrees are also offered at NDSU; popular programs include community development, construction management, dietetics, merchandising, transportation and urban systems, and human development and family science — the latter is available with three different concentrations. Several online graduate certificates are also offered at NDSU. Coursework is delivered via the Blackboard online learning management system, and tutorial videos are provided.

#3 University of North Dakota

  • Annual Tuition: $11,970
  • Median Salary: $82,800
  • Locations: Grand Forks
  • Accreditation: HLC

Established in 1883, the University of North Dakota (UND) is the state’s oldest university. Located in Grand Forks, UND offers a wide variety of online degrees. Its programs include undergraduate, master’s, doctoral, and combined (major and master’s). A few popular degree fields at UND are aerospace sciences, cyber security, early childhood education, forensic psychology, nutrition, petroleum engineering, space studies, and unmanned aerial systems engineering. UND also offers a number of online graduate certificate programs. Coursework is delivered via the Blackboard online learning management system. Support for distance learners includes online tutoring, a student success center, a writing center, tech support, an online library, multicultural programs and services, disability services, and financial aid.

#4 University of Jamestown

  • Annual Tuition: $13,485
  • Median Salary: $70,300
  • Locations: Jamestown
  • Accreditation: HLC

Founded by the Presbyterian Church in 1883, the University of Jamestown (UJ) is a private liberal arts college with the motto, "Lux et Veritas" (“Light and Truth”). Both online bachelor’s and master’s degrees are available, and students have 24/7 access to course material, as there are no scheduled classes. Four online undergraduate degrees and three online graduate programs are offered. Master’s degrees are available in leadership, education, and clinical counseling. Online undergraduate offerings include degrees in financial planning and wealth management, industrial management, emerging media, and human resource and organization. Distance learners are able to interact with university faculty, access tutoring services, work with a student success coach, and seek help and advice from both the UJ chaplain and counseling services via online video chat.

#5 Mayville State University

  • Annual Tuition: $9,150
  • Median Salary: $68,700
  • Locations: Mayville
  • Accreditation: HLC

Part of the North Dakota University System, Mayville State University (MSU) offers more than 10 online degrees, including associate, bachelor’s, and master’s programs. Popular degree fields at MSU include business administration, early childhood education, mathematics, nursing, and special education. Courses can be taken on a full- or part-time basis, and most courses follow the regular semester schedule. Coursework is delivered via the Blackboard online learning management system. While coursework is asynchronous, online classes are not self-paced, and many classes follow a scheduled weekly structure with due dates. Online orientation is available for both distance learning and Blackboard. Previous credits earned through another accredited college or university can be used toward an online degree.

#6 Dickinson State University

  • Annual Tuition: $6,947
  • Median Salary: $61,400
  • Locations: Dickinson
  • Accreditation: HLC

Founded in 1918 as Dickinson State Normal School, Dickinson State University (DSU) was granted full public university status in 1987, becoming part of the North Dakota University System. Several online programs are offered at DSU, including bachelor’s, master's, and associate degrees. Popular degree fields include accounting, human resource management, international business, nursing, and agriculture sales. Distance learners have access to training tutorials and various software specifically designed for online students. They also have an experienced point-of-contact person for any questions that arise, as well as a faculty advisor in their chosen field of study. Online courses at DSU follow the regular semester schedule.

#7 Minot State University

  • Annual Tuition: $6,087
  • Median Salary: $59,700
  • Locations: Minot
  • Accreditation: HLC

Located in the city of Minot, Minot University was founded in 1913 and is the third-largest university in North Dakota. The institution offers more than 15 online degree programs along with online minors and graduate certificates. Popular programs include criminal justice, early childhood education, marketing, nursing, information systems, and sports management. Many are offered entirely online. The Blackboard online learning management system is used to deliver coursework, and both a general and a Blackboard online tutorial help students prepare both themselves and their computers for the online learning environment.

#8 Trinity Bible College

  • Annual Tuition: $13,320
  • Median Salary: $36,500
  • Locations: Ellendale
  • Accreditation: HLC

Located in Ellendale, Trinity Bible College is a private college and graduate school affiliated with the Assemblies of God USA. The college offers three online programs in the theology field: a Bachelor of Arts in biblical studies, a minor in church ministries, and an Associate of Arts in biblical studies. Students who complete the BA in biblical studies have a deeper knowledge of Christian theology and especially doctrine taught by the Assemblies of God. Areas of study include Old and New Testament history, the life of Christ, hermeneutics, and Pentecostal heritage.

Overview of Higher Education in North Dakota

North Dakota has a long history of quality education. In fact, the University of North Dakota was founded before North Dakota was even established as a state. It’s also more affordable than other states, with lower tuition than the national average.

In all, North Dakota has 20 universities, including four Tribal colleges, two special focus universities, and two research-based universities. All 20 colleges in the state offer scholarships and grants, so pursuing an online degree is affordable and convenient. Furthermore, North Dakota colleges have a graduation rate of 55%, which is approximately equal to the national rate of 57%.

Online Colleges in North Dakota

North Dakota is following the countrywide trend of online, distance education. Overall, 43.2% of all university students in the U.S. earn their degrees fully online, while 34.1% take hybrid programs. Meanwhile, 62% of North Dakota’s university students are pursuing their degrees online. That’s nearly 40,000 people. Almost all of the 20 universities in North Dakota offer online degree programs. From certificate programs to PhDs, there are many programs to choose from.

62% of North Dakota’s university students are pursuing their degrees online. That’s nearly 40,000 people.

Most of the colleges accept military and work experience as credit, and they help students find internships. They provide online advisors, payment plans, and financial aid to make it as easy as possible to get your degree and pursue a successful career. Whether you’re interested in self-paced courses or want to follow a typical semester schedule, there is a degree program for you.

Accreditation of Online Colleges in North Dakota

When choosing a university, make sure to check their accreditation status. An institution becomes accredited after an independent agency evaluates it and determines that it meets quality academic standards. Schools may be accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.

Ensure that your chosen school is accredited by checking our list of accredited online colleges.

The 2020 US Census data shows the most popular degree programs in North Dakota. Of the 167,975 students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the last 5 years, 67.1% pursued these fields:


Business is a broad and varied category. A bachelor’s degree in business provides students with the skills to succeed in a variety of industries. Since a business degree builds a solid foundation of skills — from problem-solving and data analysis to project management — it can translate to various career paths, such as sales, management, or finance. It can also lead to higher education in a more specialized field.


If you’re interested in teaching, researching, or working at an educational institution in another capacity, consider a degree in education. A bachelor’s degree program in education provides students with skills like communication, problem-solving, and organization.

Science and Engineering

A bachelor's in engineering offers a broad career trajectory, but individuals can also specialize in more specific types of engineering, such as computer engineering, electrical engineering, and civil engineering. While a bachelor’s degree definitely opens doors, some positions may require a graduate degree, so it's important to consider your long-term goals.

Agriculture and Environmental Studies

Now more than ever, the field of environmental science is expanding, competitive, and lucrative. A degree in environmental science can lead to careers in ecology, advocacy, and environmental planning.

Social Sciences

Social science is another wide-raning field that can lead to more specific careers, such as psychology, anthropology, or history. In general, these fields involve the study of people, society, and our world at large.

Cost of Online Universities in North Dakota

The average yearly tuition cost at public, 4-year North Dakota universities is $8,628, and at private universities, it’s $15,732.

However, some of these universities lower the cost per credit hour for online courses. They may also offer payment plans, so don’t let the cost be a barrier. You may be able to pay as you go and still work toward your degree. In addition to a potentially lower cost, earning your degree online means you aren’t paying for housing and food. That can save you an average of $5,973 per year. For context, the average yearly cost of tuition in the nation is $9,349 for public universities and $32,729 for private universities.

Financial Aid for Online Students in North Dakota

North Dakota offers many scholarships and grants for students, both in-state and out-of-state.

For example, the North Dakota Dollars for Scholars scholarship creates statewide and local opportunities to encourage post-secondary education. There are also field-specific and college-specific scholarships.

For more information about financial assistance, check out our online Financial Aid Guide and article about How To Save Money in College.

Employment Outlook for College Graduates in North Dakota

Overall, college graduates have a fairly positive job outlook. The national employment rate is at 87% for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Additionally, college graduates are 47% more likely to have their employer provide health care. However, the average salary for students who graduate from a North Dakota college is $41,176, which is slightly lower than the national average of $47,891.

The most common career fields in North Dakota are agriculture, business, engineering, and pharmacy.

A 2019 study by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact found that 72% of jobs require postsecondary education, and it's predicted that this number will continue growing. They also report that North Dakota places in the top five states in terms of full-time students who complete their degree.

FAQs about Online Colleges in North Dakota

Are Online Degrees Respected?

Yes. Online degrees have always been respected, and that respect continues to grow among employers, as an increasing number of courses and colleges are incorporating distance education into their degree programs.

Does North Dakota Have Good Online Colleges?

North Dakota has a history of providing quality distance education, as discussed above. From mailing in assignments to using the latest learning management systems, North Dakota’s online colleges are committed to providing students with high quality education and experience.

Accreditation is a key indicator of an online college's quality, and all of the colleges we rank on our site are accredited.

Are There Scholarships in North Dakota for Online College?

Yes, the state and colleges within North Dakota offer many scholarships and grants, so students can afford a quality education. These scholarships and grants also apply to online students. For more information, check out our 2022 Scholarship Guide.

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