The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is a private university located in the largest city in the state, Philadelphia. It's best known as being the first Ivy League school to offer an online bachelor's degree in 2019 and for having one of the highest graduation rates in the country (97%). Instructors have been teaching online courses at Penn since 2012, and today, they offer seven fully online degrees — most of which are at the master's level. Examples include a Master of Computer and Information Technology, a Master of Healthcare Innovation, and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership. In addition to advanced-level degrees, they also offer a number of programs, certificates, and individual courses ranging from digital media to social work. Some online programs, such as those from The Wharton School, are self-paced and asynchronous, allowing 24/7 access to coursework through the Canvas learning management system (LMS). Online students receive career support, learning resources, and access to a mentorship program.
Prestigious Villanova University is a private, Roman Catholic institution offering select online degrees at the bachelor's level through its College of Professional Studies. Popular majors include human resource management, information systems & technology, and public service & administration. An online associate of arts is also available. While only 1% of Villanova undergrads participate in online-only education, 39% of graduate students take advantage of working entirely remotely. Competitive Villanova accepts 25% of applicants, and 88% of students graduate.
Villanova delivers its online programming via Blackboard. Its low 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio allows for comfortable class sizes and individualized instruction. At the same time, educators get to know their students, and peers get to know each other. Villanova awards need-based scholarships that distance learners may qualify for to help pay for college. In addition to being a famous basketball powerhouse, academically, Villanova is known for being an R2 Carnegie-classified university for its high research activity.
Bethlehem's Lehigh University (LU) is a private, nonprofit institution featuring 8 online master's degree programs. Approximately a quarter of LU's graduate students enroll in online-only education. Most of LU's online master's degree programs are in various engineering fields, such as mechanical, molecular, biological chemical, and healthcare systems. It generally takes full-time students about two years to finish LU's online master's degree programs. Students can transfer 9 previously earned credits into these online graduate programs.
LU uses Moodle's Course Site for online program delivery to distance learners. LU has an average class size of 26 students and a low 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio. As indicated by its online master's degree offerings, LU is known for its engineering-based curriculum, academic rigor, and high earnings potential, with average starting salaries for graduates at $75,000.
Roman Catholic Saint Joseph's University (SJU) in Philadelphia is a private institution offering online degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Most of SJU's online degrees are at the graduate level. Approximately 85% of SJU's graduate students enroll exclusively online. Popular majors for in-demand industries include clinical mental health counseling, criminal justice, social work, education, business administration, and healthcare administration. Depending on the course of study and enrollment status, SJU's online master's degrees take 1-2 years to complete.
SJU uses Canvas and D2L to deliver its online curriculum to distance learners. Class sizes are small due to SJU's low 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio. As a Roman Catholic institution, SJU is guided by the Jesuit educational tradition that encourages students to grow mentally, spiritually, personally, and creatively to work toward the greater good.
Drexel University is a private institution situated in Philadelphia, PA. This research-focused university uses a learning style that's both experiential and cooperative. This type of education is also observed in the school's online learning programs, where over 150 degree options are held in over 25 subjects. Students may take bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, doctorates, and certificates through Drexel's online school. This includes 11 bachelor's degree options, covering subjects from business and communication to criminal justice and psychology.
For students who are new to online learning, Drexel uses a test drive that offers first-hand experiences of what it's like to study remotely by submitting sample assignments and engaging in class discussions. Instructors mostly deliver coursework asynchronously through the popular LMS Blackboard, meaning that students can study at their own pace. Once enrolled, students may take advantage of support systems such as 24/7 tech support, digital libraries, and a career center.
West Chester University of Pennsylvania (WCU of PA) is a public, suburban institution offering a limited selection of online degrees, mainly at the master's and doctoral levels, except for an online bachelor's completion program in nursing. Notable online master's degrees include business administration, exercise and sport science, and human resource management. Out of a student body of about 17,600, 4% of WCU undergrads and 42% of graduate students exclusively attend online. WCU accepts 89% of applicants, and it still maintains a relatively high graduation rate of 75%.
WCU delivers its online curriculum via Brightspace. It has a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio. WCU offers distance learners access to the Learning Assistance and Resource Center for tutoring, the Writing Center for help with writing assignments, University Libraries for research assistance, and the Twardowski Career Development Center.
Pennsylvania State University (PSU) is the only public university on our list. PSU's online division features over 200 online degree programs — including certificates, associate degrees, undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and doctorates. There are 13 general topics to choose from, such as homeland security, engineering, nursing, and business. Among the 38 options for bachelor's degrees along, here are some examples of specific degree options: Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness Management, Bachelor of Design in Digital Multimedia Design, and Bachelor of Arts in History.
Students at PSU use Canvas as their main LMS, where they can study asynchronously using a combination of peer-to-peer and self-study formats. Through this digital platform, students use video conferencing, discussion boards, and live chats to engage with their peers and instructors. Among the support services for remote students are digital libraries, virtual writing and math tutoring, technical support, and career counseling.
Thomas Jefferson University, sometimes simply called Jefferson, is a private university in Philadelphia, PA that's best known for its research activity. Jefferson's online degrees are collaborative and interdisciplinary while varying in subjects — ranging from health and science to fashion and design. There are 57 remote degrees to choose from, including nine options to pursue a Bachelor of Science. At the bachelor's level, students may choose to study information technology, organizational leadership, health sciences, and business management, among other subjects.
Online learning at Jefferson is flexible and delivered through the Canvas LMS. Students have 24/7 access to tutoring support through Canvas, as well as counseling and career services.
La Salle University (LSU) in Philly is one of many private, Roman Catholic institutions in the state offering online degrees at the master's level. Approximately 61% of LSU graduate students participate in online-only education. Fields of study include business administration, business systems and analytics, technology, and nursing. Programs are designed to be completed in less than two years if students attend full time. Online classes last eight weeks.
LSU delivers its online curriculum to distance learners via the Canvas learning management system. As with many private universities, class sizes are small, and this is due to LSU's 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. LSU is known for its online MBA degrees in several concentrations, including accounting, business systems and analytics, finance, health systems management, management, and marketing.
#10 Peirce College
Peirce College is a private university in Philadelphia, PA that's focused on providing flexible opportunities for adult learners. Its programs are 100% online and allow students to choose whether they want to attend weekly online sessions or study asynchronously. Peirce has a number of undergraduate and graduate degrees, along with over a dozen certificate options. When it comes to full degrees, students may select from options such as a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration, or a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.
Coursework for each program is primarily delivered through the Canvas LMS. Once enrolled, students receive academic, financial, and career counseling, along with academic advising that helps adult learners organize their academic needs.
Alvernia University (AU) in Reading is a private, Roman Catholic institution offering 12 online degree programs at the bachelor's and master's levels. Of AU's total student body, 9% of undergrads and 20% of graduate students enroll in distance-only education. Majors range from criminal justice and healthcare administration to psychology. In addition to completing the required 123 credits to graduate with an online bachelor's degree, students must also complete community service hours. AU has a 58% acceptance rate and a 61% graduation rate.
AU delivers online coursework and instruction via Canvas. Class sizes are small, with a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Several merit scholarships are available to qualified students awarding up to $25,000 to recipients with a cumulative high school GPA of 3.5 or higher. As a Roman Catholic university, AU is known for infusing its Franciscan values throughout its academic programming.
Roman Catholic Holy Family University (HFU) in Philadelphia is a private institution offering a small sampling of online degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels. Out of a student body of approximately 3,000, 5% of HFU's undergrads and 73% of its graduate students enroll in online-only education. Online bachelor's degrees in supply chain management, radiologic science, psychology, and business administration are available. Online master's degrees are available in education, business, nursing, and organizational leadership. HFU has a 77% acceptance rate and a 64% graduation rate.
HFU delivers its online curriculum via the Canvas learning management system. It offers small class sizes and a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. HFU is relatively affordable and provides a good return on investment. Its average annual cost of $11,700 is approximately 47% less than other four-year schools. Median earnings for graduates are about $10,000 higher than average at $60,500.
The University of Scranton (UOFS) is a private, Roman Catholic institution steeped in Jesuit values offering 23 online master's degrees. Most degrees are in business and health administration. This includes a dual MBA-MHA degree, MBAs in business analytics and finance, and MHAs in global health and health informatics. Of its ~1,000 graduate students, 45% are enrolled in distance-only education. The online master's degree format is traditional, with students finishing programs in 2 to 2.5 years. Students can transfer up to nine previously earned credits, which may shorten the time to graduate.
UFOS online students use Brightspace to access asynchronous online coursework and instruction. Class sizes are small, with a maximum of 20 students, due to the university's 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. UOFS is known for its alumni ambassadors, who share what it's like to be a student through blog posts, webinars, and panel discussions.
Widener University (WU) in Chester is a private, nonprofit institution offering several select online master's degrees and graduate certificates. Approximately 36% of WU's graduate students attend solely online. Popular majors include business administration, criminal justice, public administration, and social work. An online nursing practice degree is also offered. Some online master's degrees, such as the online MBA program, can be completed in as little as a year with full-time study.
WU delivers online coursework and instruction via Canvas. It has a low 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio allowing small class sizes and individualized instruction. Some graduate students may be eligible for scholarships to help pay for college, which will be determined automatically during the application process. WU is known for its high median earning among graduates who earn $68,900 on average, about 31% more than graduates of other four-year schools.
Gwynedd Mercy University (GMercyU) is a private, Roman Catholic institution offering online degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, including accelerated options. While only 1% of GMercyU's undergrads participate in distance-only education, 85% of its graduate students do. Online bachelor's degrees include organizational management and healthcare administration. Online master's degrees include majors such as nursing, public health, and counseling. GMercyU has a 91% acceptance rate and a 61% graduation rate.
GMercyU's distance learners use Blackboard to engage in classes virtually, and it's known for its small-class environment, boasting a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio. GMercyU is known for its innovative online doctorate in education (EdD) in Leadership and Teaching & Learning that's offered in an accelerated format. Students can finish this 54-credit advanced program in less than three years.
Roman Catholic DeSales University (DSU) in Center Valley is a private institution offering 15 online bachelor's degrees and certificates. About 12% of DSU's undergraduate students enroll exclusively in online education. They choose from majors such as business administration, criminal justice, Homeland Security, and Psychology. Many of these programs are accelerated, allowing full-time students to complete 120 credits in less than four years. DSU accepts 78% of applicants, and 61% of students graduate.
DSU provides distance learners access to Brightspace to log into classes and engage in classroom discussions. Small classes and a low 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio may appeal to students seeking individualized instruction and the opportunity to build relationships with their instructors. DSU is known for its Four-Year Career Development Plan that serves as a roadmap starting in a student's first year to help them prepare for careers after graduation.
Philadelphia's Temple University (TU) is a public institution offering online degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Out of a student body of almost 36,000, 9% of TU undergrads and 17% of graduate students participate in distance-only education. Online bachelor's degrees include business administration, liberal studies, and social work and generally take four years to complete. Notable online master's degrees include education, public health, and business administration, and take about two years to finish. TU has a 72% acceptance rate and a 73% graduation rate, significantly higher than average.
TU's online students use Canvas to complete assignments, engage in classroom discussions, and watch lectures. TU has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio and small class sizes. TU is known for being a top-tier research institution. It's designated as an R1 institution for high research activity by Carnegie. Areas of research include medicine, science and technology, and health sciences.
Wilkes University (WU) in Wilkes-Barre is a private, nonprofit institution offering online degrees primarily at the graduate level, except for one online bachelor's degree in elementary and early childhood education. Almost 90% of WU graduate students attend exclusively online. They enroll in online master's degree programs such as nursing, education, creative writing, and business administration. Depending on the major, WU's online graduate programs generally take full-time students about two years to complete.
D2L is the online learning platform WU uses for distance education delivery. For classes, prospective students can expect fairly small sizes, as WU has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. According to its website, WU has a 94% job placement rate. Median earnings for graduates are also higher than average at approximately $61,500 (compared to $50,400).
Millersville University of Pennsylvania (MUP) is a public institution offering online degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels. This includes an online RN to BSN program and online MSNs in nursing education, nursing leadership, and school nursing. Students with a transferable associate degree may be able to finish an online bachelor's degree in two years. MUP's online master's programs are accelerated and can be completed in as few as 12 months if attending full time. Out of approximately 7,200 students, 10% of undergrads and a little over a quarter participate in online-only education. MPU has a 96% acceptance rate and a 59% graduation rate.
MUP delivers online coursework and instruction via Brightspace. It has a 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio. First-year students may be eligible for admission merit scholarships. Consideration is automatically given during the application process. MUP is known for being military-friendly and for its Veterans Resource Center, designed to help former military members and their families enroll in college and use their GI Bill benefits.
Immaculata University (IU) is a private, Roman Catholic institution offering online degrees at the associate, bachelor's degree completion, and master's levels. Of approximately 2,500 students, 15% of undergrads and 43% of graduate students participate in online-only education. They enroll in majors such as nursing, business management, cybersecurity, business administration, and educational leadership. IU accepts up to 72 undergraduate credits for bachelor's degrees, allowing students to finish faster than in traditional four-year degree programs. IU has an 80% acceptance rate and a 69% graduation rate.
IU delivers its online curriculum to distance learners through Moodle. Small class sizes and a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio help students and instructors get to know each other better, and it makes individualized instruction possible. Online student services include academic and career advising, tech support, and writing help through the writing lab. IU was founded and sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, an order committed to scholarship, leadership, and service.
The University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus (Pitt) is a public institution offering a limited selection of online graduate degrees at the master's and doctoral levels, except for one online bachelor's degree in emergency medicine through Pitt Online. However, some programs, such as the online MBA, may require one or more residency weekends on campus at the beginning and end of a program. Online master's degrees are available in other popular fields of study, such as public policy and management, nursing, law, and data science.
Pitt uses Canvas so distance learners can log into their courses to access course materials, assignments, and instruction and engage in virtual classroom discussions. It has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Pitt is a member of the Association of American Universities of leading research universities. As such, it's also ranked as an R1 university by Carnegie for high research activity. It has also received the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for its community engagement.
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania (KU) is a public institution offering just a few online degrees at the bachelor's and bachelor's-completion levels that 5% of its undergraduate student body participate in. Online bachelor's degrees include communication studies and sociology, whereas online completion programs include general business and general studies/professional studies. Programs are accelerated, allowing students to finish quickly by taking five and seven-week courses. KU accepts 97% of applicants, and 58% of students graduate with degrees.
Like many universities in Pennsylvania, KU uses D2L to deliver its online coursework and instruction. It has a 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio. KU awards full-tuition merit scholarships to first-year and transfer students; students are automatically considered during the application process. KU also awards need-based scholarships in varying amounts. Consideration is given when students submit the FAFSA and it's processed.
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania (BU) is one of 14 public universities in the Pennsylvania State System. It offers online graduate degrees at the master's level. Majors include information technology, business administration, nursing administration with an MBA option, and instructional design and technology. An online RN to BSN and a nursing practice program are also available. Students may be able to finish some online master's programs in under two years if enrolled full time.
BU uses D2L to deliver its online program content to distance learners. BU is known for several recognitions, including receiving a Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement for demonstrating the spirit of volunteerism, community involvement, and civic engagement. It is also known for being accredited by 14 industry associations for its nursing, education, engineering, computing, and social work programs.
Interdenominational Messiah University (MU) in Mechanicsburg is a private institution offering online degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels. Online bachelor's degrees are available in accounting, business administration, digital marketing, healthcare management, and organizational leadership. Online master's degrees in business and leadership, education, and nursing are available. While only 4% of MU's undergraduate students participate in online-only education, over half of its graduate students do. MU has a 77% acceptance rate and the graduation rate is the same.
Distance learners at MU use Canvas to log into their courses and engage in classroom discussions. Classes at MU are small, and the student ratio is 12:1. MU's Christian evangelical faith is reflected in its academic programs and school policies. It asks that all community members affirm the Apostle's Creed and support the Confession of Faith that emphasizes Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan traditions. However, its students and staff represent a variety of denominations and Christian faith traditions.
Williamsport's Pennsylvania College of Technology (PCT) is a public institution offering a handful of online undergraduate degrees at the associate and bachelor's levels and one online master's degree in nursing. Approximately 8% of PCT's undergrads engage in distance-only education. They enroll in programs such as nursing completion (BSN), emergency management & Homeland Security, accounting, and business administration. Online bachelor's degree programs at PCT follow a traditional undergraduate format and take full-time students approximately four years to complete. PCT has an open admission policy and accepts all applicants, while 53% of students graduate with degrees.
PCT delivers its online curriculum to distance learners via the PLATO learning management system. PCT's low 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio results in small class sizes and individualized instruction. PCT is known for trying to help students lessen the burden of student debt. As a result, it offers over 350 scholarships to students. Each year, students submit a Penn College Scholarship Application in the hopes of receiving free money to help pay for college.
Lock Haven University (LHU) is a public institution that's part of the Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania. It offers five online graduate programs at the master's degree level. Online majors include alternative education, clinical mental health counseling, health science, sport science, and teaching and learning. In addition to lectures and classroom discussions, educators use a blend of course wikis, blogs, journals, and podcasts in order to deliver instruction. Instructional methods are designed to help create one-on-one mentoring and supervision relationships between instructors and students and working relationships between peers.
Courses at LHU are primarily delivered synchronously through D2L. While scholarships are not awarded to graduate students, they are encouraged to apply for federal financial aid by completing the FAFSA. Since its inception as a normal school in 1870, LHU has a long history of training educators and is known for offering some of the best teacher preparation programs in the state.
Robert Morris University (RMU) in suburban Moon Township is a private, nonprofit institution offering a small selection of online degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels and several online certificates. Online undergraduate majors are in business, computer & information systems, leadership, and science/healthcare. Notable online master's programs include nursing, education, and cybersecurity. Less than 10% of RMU's undergraduate students enroll in online-only education. However, more than half of its graduate students take advantage of the convenience and flexibility of online learning. RMU has a 94% acceptance rate and a 60% graduation rate.
RMU's distance learners log into Blackboard to participate in class and complete assignments. It has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio that helps keeps students engaged in class and helps them get to know their instructors and peers. First-year students may qualify for RMU's merit scholarships that are awarded during admissions. RMU is known for its flexible learning opportunities allowing students to study online, at work, on base, and globally.
Chatham University (CU) in Pittsburgh is a private, nonprofit institution offering online degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Approximately 14% of CU's undergrads and 22% of graduate students enroll in online-only education. Online bachelor's degrees include business administration, psychology, and nursing. Popular online graduate degrees include business administration and nursing. Full-time students can finish an online bachelor's degree in less than four years due to courses in seven-week formats and the ability to transfer up to 90 credits. Online graduate students can finish faster due to a 7.5-week course format. CU has a 73% acceptance rate and a 69% graduation rate.
CU uses Brightspace to deliver online programming. A low 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio means that class sizes are small, fostering virtual classroom engagement and relationship-building. Students may be eligible for scholarships to help pay college costs, with some paying the total cost of annual tuition. CU is known for being founded in 1869 to give women access to higher education. It continues to invest in women's rights and gender equity.
Pittsburgh's Duquesne University (DU) is a private, Roman Catholic institution offering several online graduate degrees at the master's and doctoral levels, except for one online bachelor's degree. Online graduate degrees include areas of interest such as business, higher education administration, health administration, and nursing. Online master's degrees follow a traditional format, taking full-time students around two years to finish the 30 required credits. About 22% of DU's graduate students participate in online-only education.
DU provides distance learners access to Canvas to receive instruction and participate in classes. A 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio helps guarantee classes are the right size to deliver individualized instruction. Students applying for admission as first-year or transfer students are automatically considered for scholarships based on financial need. As a Roman Catholic university, DU is the only Spiritan institution of higher learning in the U.S., with a deep commitment to educational excellence, moral and spiritual values, and community service.
Eastern University (EU) in Saint Davids is a private, American Baptist institution offering a limited number of online degrees at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. Fields of study include liberal arts, early childhood studies, business administration, special education, data science, social work, and psychology. Out of approximately 4,400 students, 19% of undergrads and 83% of graduate students participate in distance-only education. Distance learners enroll through EU's LifeFlex program, which includes 7-week terms, allowing students to graduate faster than in traditional degree programs. EU has a 69% acceptance rate and a 62% graduation rate.
EU's distance learners use Brightspace to log into their classes and engage with instructors and peers. Classes at EU are small due to its low 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Full-time applicants are automatically considered for scholarships — ranging from $12,000 to $21,000 — as part of the application process. Since EU is known as a faith-based institution, religious beliefs are woven throughout its academic programming and school policies.
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (SRU) is a public institution offering online degree programs at the bachelor's-completion, master's, and doctoral levels. Seven online bachelor's completion programs include majors such as nursing, management, and healthcare administration and management. Online master's degrees include fields of study such as criminal justice, elementary education, special education, and data analytics. While only 6% of SRU's undergrads participate in online-only education, 64% of its graduate students do. SRU has an 80% acceptance rate and a 67% graduation rate.
SRU delivers its online program content through D2L. The student-to-faculty ratio at SRU is 19:1. The university is known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion and created the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging that works to recognize and value human differences, ensure fairness and justice, and create a welcoming and supportive environment.
Central Penn College (CPC) in Summerdale is a private, for-profit institution offering online degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. Notable majors include an online associate degree in criminal justice, a bachelor's degree in corporate communications, and an online master's in organizational leadership. Programs are accelerated so full-time students can complete online bachelor's degrees in three years and master's degrees in less than two. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 55% of undergrads and 7% of graduates at CPC enroll in online-only education. And federal data from College Scorecard shows that CPC has an 89% acceptance rate and a 41% graduation rate.
CPC uses Blackboard to deliver its online coursework and instruction to distance learners. It has a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio, so class sizes are manageable and help instructors provide individualized instruction. Full-time associate and bachelor's students may be eligible for $500 per term scholarships to assist with covering tuition costs. CPC is known for its "student-first" approach to education, which helped 86% of its graduates find jobs in their chosen fields or continue their education within a year of graduating in 2022.
PennWest California in California, Pennsylvania, is a public institution offering a robust online degree program at all academic levels through PennWest Global Online. Areas of study range from allied health and business administration to criminal justice and nursing. Notably, it offers online bachelor's and master's degrees in social work and nursing, a bachelor's degree in computer information systems, a master's degree in business administration, and a doctoral degree in criminal justice. PennWest has a 94% acceptance rate and a 48% graduation rate.
PennWest delivers its online coursework and instruction via Brightspace. PennWest's online student support services are extensive and include coaching, advising, career help, student wellness, tech support, and new student orientation to familiarize new students with the online learning environment.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus (IUP) is a public institution offering a small selection of online undergraduate and graduate degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. Online undergraduate majors include accounting, communications media, marketing, and management. Online graduate majors include criminology, health services administration, and mathematics education. Of approximately 9,200 IUP students, 4% of undergrads and a quarter of graduate students enroll exclusively online. IUP has a 94% acceptance rate, and 57% of students graduate with degrees.
IUP provides distance learners with Desire2Learn, which is a platform that allows them to access and participate in their online classes. Class sizes are average based on the school's 22:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Applicants are automatically considered for IUP's academic scholarships. It's designated as High Research Activity by Carnegie due to the quality and amount of research IUP conducts.
Point Park University (PPU) in Pittsburgh is a private, nonprofit institution offering many popular online degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Out of a student body of approximately 3,500, 9% of undergrads and over three-quarters of graduate students participate exclusively in online education. Notable fields of study include public relations, business administration, criminal justice, and educational administration. Online bachelor's degree programs are traditional in length, taking up to four years to complete, and online master's degrees take about two. PPU accepts 82% of applicants, and 55% of students graduate.
Schoology is the learning management system at PPU that distance learners use to access virtual coursework and instruction. PPU's classes are small due to a low 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, which is conducive for instructors to get to know their students and provide individualized instruction. To help students avoid excessive student debt, PPU offers a pay-as-you-go tuition payment plan for those who qualify. PPU is known for providing manageable workloads for full-time working professionals interested in earning their degrees for career advancement.
PennWest Clarion (formerly Clarion University of Pennsylvania) is a public institution offering online degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Undergraduate fields of interest range from allied health and business administration to nursing and psychology. Graduate studies range from computer information science and education to accounting and nursing. PennWest Clarion accepts 99% of applicants, and 53% of students graduate with degrees.
PennWest Clarion delivers its online curriculum via Brightspace. Online students receive individualized instruction because PennWest Clarion's low 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio means that students experience smaller class sizes. And students who complete the FAFSA will be considered for merit scholarships to help pay for college. Finally, PennWest Clarion boasts 28 national accreditations for its programs, the most in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
The Roman Catholic school, Saint Francis University (SFU), is a private institution in Loretto offering numerous online degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels and skill-building certificates. About 9% of SFU's undergrads and 52% of its graduate students participate in distance-only education. Popular online bachelor's degrees include various nursing programs and degrees in behavioral science and healthcare management. Popular online master's degrees are available in business/leadership, education, and healthcare. Five accelerated online degree programs are available, including accounting to MBA, computer systems management to MBA, and organizational leadership to MBA. SFU has a 73% acceptance rate and a 62% graduation rate.
Online students access Canvas to receive instruction and assignments. SFU has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio, so class sizes are manageable. SFU offers five merit-based scholarships that first-year students may qualify for during the application process. SFU is known for being one of the oldest Catholic universities in the U.S. It celebrates the Franciscan values of faith, generosity, respect, discovery, and joy.
Private, nonprofit Carlow University (CU) in Pittsburgh is another Roman Catholic institution of higher learning in the state offering select online degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels. About a quarter of CU's undergrads and just under half of its graduate students enroll in online-only education. Ethics-focused online degrees include undergraduate majors such as criminology, psychology, healthcare data analytics, and nursing. Online graduate majors range from business administration specialties — such as healthcare management and human resources — to accounting and social work. CU accepts 92% of applicants, and 54% of students graduate.
CU's distance learners use the learning management system called, Schoology, to log into classes and engage with instructors and peers. As with many private schools, students enjoy small class sizes due to its low 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Full-time online students may qualify for CU's institutional scholarships, and CU is also a proud participant of the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program, so military members and student veterans can use their GI Bill benefits to help pay for college. CU is known for being rooted in the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy.
PennWest Edinboro (formerly known as Edinboro University of Pennsylvania) is a public institution offering online undergraduate degrees at the associate and bachelor's levels and online graduate degrees at the master's and doctoral levels. Fields of study worth mentioning include nursing, education, business administration, legal studies, and social work. PennWest Edinboro (also known as The Boro) has a 92% graduation rate, and 46% of students graduate with degrees.
PennWest Edinboro's distance learners use Brightspace to engage in classes. Classes are small, with a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Prospective students may qualify for PennWest Edinboro's Premier Scholarship Award during the application process, with awards ranging from $1,500 to $4,000 and renewable for up to four years. PennWest Edinboro is known for the services and support it provides to students. These services include an Academic Success Center; the Center for Career Development and Experiential Learning; the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and general tech support for online students.
Clarks Summit University (CSU) is a private, Baptist institution in suburban Pennsylvania offering online degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels. Approximately 40% of CSU's undergrads and 54% of graduate students enroll in these online degree programs. Most bachelor's majors are in ministerial studies, including general, pastoral, Christian, and counseling ministries. Online master's degrees include business administration, education, and counseling. CSU is relatively competitive, accepting 58% of applicants. It has a 58% graduation rate.
CSU delivers online coursework and instruction via the Schoology learning management system. Classes are small, with an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, to foster one-on-one instruction and classroom engagement. CSU is a faith-based institution known for its accelerated general and pastoral ministry programs that allow students to earn their bachelor's degree with their Master of Divinity in as few as five years.
#41 Wilson College
Chambersburg's Wilson College (WC) is a private, Presbyterian Church institution offering several online degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels. Approximately one-quarter of WC's undergrads and 87% of its graduate students participate in distance-only education. Popular majors include business management, accounting, nursing, criminal justice, and healthcare and medical humanities. Online bachelor's programs, such as the RN to BSN program, may be completed in as few as 18 months if attending full time. WC has a 93% acceptance rate and a 57% graduation rate.
WU uses Canvas to deliver its asynchronous online programming to distance learners. It has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio and small classes that enable individualized instruction and relationship building. Online student support services include tutoring, writing support, accessibility accommodations, supplemental instruction, and academic coaching. WU is known for its degrees focused on social good with the expectation that students will become "agents of justice."
#42 Gratz College
Private, nonprofit Gratz College (GC) is a Jewish institution based in suburban Melrose Park. It accepts secular and non-secular students and offers 8 online master's degrees and 3 online doctoral degrees. Nondegree-granting professional development certificate programs are also available virtually. Distance learners can choose from majors such as nonprofit management, teaching practice, Jewish studies, and human rights. Courses run in accelerated eight-week terms so that students may finish faster than in traditional graduate programs.
Courses are available asynchronously through the Canvas learning management system. Instructors can deliver individualized instruction due to small class sizes and a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. GC awards scholarships to qualified students. An enrollment advisor can provide more information. GC is known for being the "oldest independent and pluralistic college for Jewish studies in North America." As such, it offers unique programming that includes holocaust and genocide studies.
Higher Education in Pennsylvania
Studying online for an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree in Pennsylvania can benefit remote students. In recent years, The Keystone State has increased its funding in postsecondary education through different initiatives. As of 2022, the state has agreed to invest $227 million into future higher education programs. There are a number of statewide loan, grant, and aid programs for prospective students, as well as PAsmart job resources, which help students connect with training, apprenticeship, and STEM career opportunities after graduation.
To say that Pennsylvania has a rich history in higher education is an understatement. The University of Pennsylvania — still one of the premier private universities in the state — has been educating students in Philadelphia since 1755. The state's commitment to education has continued with the founding of Villanova University in Villanova in 1842, Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in 1878, and Temple University in Philadelphia in 1884.
Today, Pennsylvania residents have even more options for getting a college education. In addition to the many private institutions in the state, Pennsylvania boasts nearly 100 public schools. Perhaps the biggest and best known is Pennsylvania State University, with a main campus in University Park, 19 additional campuses across the state, and a world campus for all of its online degree programs.
Other state-run schools include the University of Pittsburgh, which has five campuses, and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), which encompasses ten universities dedicated to providing affordable degrees for students.
Pennsylvania also oversees a system of 15 community colleges, some of which have multiple campuses. With an emphasis on technical and vocational training, including dual enrollment programs for high school students, each of the state's community colleges offers programs in the fields that are most needed in the immediate region.
Online Colleges in Pennsylvania
Over the past two decades, many colleges in the Keystone State have increased their offerings of online courses and distance education programs.
You'll find degree programs for all of the most common fields of study, including business administration degrees, criminal justice programs, human resources degrees, and health sciences degrees. All of these undergraduate programs and more are available through Pennsylvania's online colleges.
Just like traditional programs, online bachelor's degrees usually require the completion of 120-126 credit hours. Most full-time students need four to five years to finish a bachelor's program, and part-time students may need up to six years. Depending on the number of credit hours in an online master's program, students may need two to three years of full-time study or three to four years of part-time attendance to complete a degree.
Undergraduate admissions requirements are fairly similar across all Pennsylvania schools, regardless of whether you're applying for online programs or on-campus programs.
Admission into one of the more competitive colleges with low acceptance rates may require a high school GPA of 2.8 or higher as well as participation in extracurricular activities, such as sports, clubs, and volunteer work. Along with your application, you may be asked to submit one or more of the following: high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, a personal essay, letters of recommendation, and a list of extracurricular activities.
Another essential factor in selecting an online program is the program's format. Your online courses may be asynchronous, which means that you can log in at any time and complete your assignments according to the instructor's deadlines. However, some of your online courses may be synchronous. These courses are a little less flexible because you're required to log in at specified times to live stream lectures and participate in virtual learning activities with your classmates.
One of the most important considerations in choosing an online college in Pennsylvania is the school's accreditation status. Enrollment in an accredited college may be necessary for you to qualify for financial aid, transfer credits from one school to another, gain acceptance into a graduate program, or obtain a state-issued license or credential to practice a specific profession, such as teaching or counseling.
All of the online Pennsylvania colleges that appear on our rankings list are accredited, most likely by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) or the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC).
FAQs About Online Colleges in Pennsylvania
How Many Colleges Are in Pennsylvania?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator, there are 333 postsecondary educational institutions in Pennsylvania. Approximately one-third of these are public schools and the other two-thirds are private institutions of higher education.
What Are the State Colleges in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education oversees 10 state-owned universities. These include Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Western University, and Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. However, there are many other public colleges, including Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, and 15 community colleges, such as Harrisburg Area Community College and Bucks County Community College.
How Do You Get Residency in Pennsylvania for College?
To qualify for in-state resident tuition rates at colleges in Pennsylvania, you need to have lived in the state for at least one year for non-academic reasons before enrolling in school. This may be particularly important for some students because Pennsylvania is one of the few states that does not have any reciprocity agreements that might entitle students from other states to pay in-state resident rates.
How Much Does College Cost in Pennsylvania?
Current NCES data shows that college tuition and fees in Pennsylvania are generally higher than the national average. However, there are several ways you might be able to reduce the cost of your college degree:
- Consider enrolling in a Pennsylvania online degree program since some schools charge lower tuition rates for their online programs than they charge for on-campus programs.
- Consider completing some of your preliminary general education coursework at one of Pennsylvania's online community colleges before enrolling in a bachelor's degree program at a four-year university.
- Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for government funding for college students. In addition to federal aid, you may be eligible for a range of state-funded programs such as the PA State Grant Program, the PA Forward Student Loan Program for both undergraduate and graduate students, and tuition assistance for students pursuing degrees in high-demand fields in Pennsylvania like nursing, energy, health, manufacturing, and agriculture.
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