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Grand Canyon University

541 Reviews

Salary Score







59% of 541 students said this degree improved their career prospects
50% of 541 students said they would recommend this school to others
By the OnlineU team | Updated 3/1/2023


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Grand Canyon University is a private, for-profit, Christian university with over 200 online programs. GCU primarily serves online students, with two-thirds enrolled in distance education programs. Students can also attend on campus in Phoenix, Arizona. Just over half of students at GCU are over the age of 25, making the university a popular option for adult students returning to education. GCU's most popular bachelor's degrees include registered nursing, business administration, and teaching programs. While GCU is a religious school, students from all backgrounds are welcome.

Fast Facts

Average Financial Aid: $9,933

Accreditation: Grand Canyon University is acredited by 4 agencies

Salary Score for Online Degrees at Grand Canyon University

Bachelor's Degrees

Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing $17,778 $78,940 90
Social Work $27,000 $35,775 83
Homeland Security $25,000 $63,625 82
Visual and Performing Arts, General $26,645 $28,672 78
Business Administration, Management and Operations $24,500 $47,402 74
Film/Video and Photographic Arts $27,000 $26,438 67
Mental and Social Health Services and Allied Professions $33,804 $34,191 61
Criminal Justice and Corrections $26,956 $35,660 56
History $27,000 $30,722 56
Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science/Research and Allied Professions Not Reported $57,101 52
Health and Medical Administrative Services $31,988 $39,965 51
Communication and Media Studies $24,335 $32,141 48
Human Services, General $27,000 $32,131 46
Marketing $23,081 $39,798 40
Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Levels and Methods $32,813 $34,808 39
Accounting and Related Services $26,553 $45,144 36
Community Organization and Advocacy Not Reported $31,651 34
Finance and Financial Management Services $24,500 $45,302 34
Literature $27,000 $21,664 33
Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations $25,850 $34,651 24
Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Subject Areas Not Reported $32,529 24
Special Education and Teaching $40,122 $35,016 20
Allied Health Diagnostic, Intervention, and Treatment Professions $24,148 $29,792 11

Master's Degrees

Education, General $18,920 $59,308 87
Religious Education $33,668 $42,008 86
Educational/Instructional Media Design $22,569 $62,516 80
Teaching English or French as a Second or Foreign Language $20,473 $56,028 68
Computer and Information Sciences, General $30,176 $86,965 60
Curriculum and Instruction $31,436 $50,846 59
Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Subject Areas $20,537 $51,330 59
Educational Administration and Supervision $25,486 $56,083 51
Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing $32,040 $97,451 47
Mental and Social Health Services and Allied Professions $45,858 $42,189 47
Psychology, Other $30,140 $43,695 42
Public Administration $33,116 $51,638 40
Business Administration, Management and Operations $32,660 $65,248 40
Accounting and Related Services $26,149 $58,382 39
Marketing $31,840 $55,864 38
Criminal Justice and Corrections $35,614 $45,908 37
Health and Medical Administrative Services $39,800 $59,268 35
Special Education and Teaching $31,340 $45,704 25
Public Health $43,740 $44,120 25
Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Levels and Methods $30,917 $40,997 20

Doctoral Degrees

Psychology, General $64,900 $75,505 86
Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing $41,926 $117,397 53
Educational Administration and Supervision $76,516 $75,319 35
Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Levels and Methods Not Reported $56,959 20

FAQs About Grand Canyon University

Is GCU Legit?

Yes, Grand Canyon University is a legitimate university with accreditation from the the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This accrediting body reviews universities, its faculty and staff, and its programs to ensure they meet quality academic standards. 

Importantly, all higher education institutions on OnlineU have been accredited

Today's online degrees from accredited universities are widely respected by employers. Many online schools offer targeted degrees designed to fill skills gaps in industries where trained professionals are in high demand. Often, employers cannot tell if a degree was earned online or in person.

What Is GCU Known For?

Grand Canyon University is known for being the largest Christian university in the U.S. In the 2020-21 school year, nearly 159,000 students were enrolled — most of whom were enrolled online. Students also attend on-campus in Phoenix, Arizona. 

GCU is currently a large, for-profit, private college. It began attempts to transition to a nonprofit school in 2015. While the transition was recognized and approved by the IRS, it was rejected by the U.S. Department of Education. The university is now suing the agency over its decision.

Academically, GCU is known for being highly popular with nursing students. Its largest program by far is the registered nursing degree, according to federal data from College Scorecard. Graduates also often work for healthcare companies. Degrees in business, teaching, and human services are also popular. 

What Are the Career Outcomes and Top Employers for GCU?

At OnlineU, we work with labor market analytics company Lightcast to gain current insights into where recent college graduates end up. According to data from Lightcast, education and healthcare are the most popular industries for GCU graduates.

The top occupation for recent GCU alumni with bachelor's and associate degrees is a registered nurse. Graduates also work as chief executives, sales representatives, general and operations managers, and health services managers.

For graduate students, teaching is the most popular career path. Twelve percent work as teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools, in special education, and on college campuses. Registered nurses and nurse practitioners are also top occupations after college.

The largest healthcare employers for GCU alumni are Banner Health, Dignity Health, Honorhealth, and Kaiser Permanente. Many graduates also work for the U.S. Army, Air Force, or the Department for Veterans Affairs. Amazon, financial company USAA, and GCU are also top employers for graduates.

How Difficult Is It To Get Into GCU?

GCU has an 81% acceptance rate, meaning most students who apply get in. The application process should not be too competitive. Whether or not a student will get in depends on their previous education, GPA, and test scores. Students will need at least a 3.0 GPA to get in without taking the SATs or ACTs. Those with a 2.5 to 2.9 GPA can still get in with qualifying SAT/ACT test scores.

What Are the Admission Requirements for GCU?

Admission requirements vary depending on what program a student is interested in. Generally speaking, students applying for an associate or bachelor's degree need to have a high school diploma or GED, at least a 2.5 GPA, and SAT/ACT test scores. Those with a 3.0 GPA or higher do not need to take the SAT or ACT to get in. Transfer students should have at least a 2.25 GPA and at least 25 transferable credits. Graduate students will need a 2.8 GPA for their undergraduate degree, and doctoral applicants need at least a 3.4 GPA, although there is some flexibility here.

GCU is a Christian university, but welcomes students from all religious backgrounds. Applicants will also need to submit transcripts from their high school and previous college experiences.

To apply for an online degree, students start by submitting an admissions form that asks questions about what program they want to apply for and how they want to attend — online or on campus. They will also need to submit official transcripts from their high school and previous colleges attended, if any. Students can request copies of official transcripts from their previous schools and either mail, fax, or hand deliver them. They can also request to send their transcripts to GCU directly from their previous schools.

Depending on what program a student is interested in, there may be additional application requirements, such as an essay. 

Next students can apply for financial aid by filling out the FAFSA. This form is an application for financial aid, including grant money, scholarships, and optional student loans, from the federal government, state, and from GCU.

Finally, students will hear from a university counselor to talk about the admissions process and what happens next.

Student Reviews

Student Reviews

Write a Review 


Reviewed: 3/28/2023

Degree: Counseling

Please believe these students when they tell you this is the worse school ever! What Jennifer stated is exactly true! I am going through the same thing now. I have not received my disbursement and it's going on 2 months. When I asked for thr financial aid department they said that they did not have one and I could only talk to my studen service counselor which handles both. I asked how is this legal?? How can you call yourself an university with no financial aid department! I was appalled. I even... Read More


Reviewed: 3/28/2023

Degree: Nursing

I had an excellent learning experience. The instructors were helpful, the counselors encouraged me till graduation. I have no negative feeling about this school.A friend that I recommended the school to graduated right after me and we are enjoying a wonderful nursing career. Would have gone back if they had Masters program in psych.


Reviewed: 3/25/2023

Degree: Clinical Psychology

Stay far away from this school. They are all about money. They require special classes in the beginning that do not transfer to other colleges after forcing you to complete a semester or face severe financial repercussions. They do not have any finance department and take forever to refund any excess funding or financial aid needed for book money until well after the class ends. This school forces students to go through a counselor for everything, and most of the time, you cannot get ahold of them,... Read More

Luna Alvarez

Reviewed: 3/21/2023

Degree: Business

I guess I should have read the reviews before attending this university. The professors should not be called professors. They lack ethics and don’t help you with anything. You are teaching yourself 100% of the time. What are we paying for? Materials and assignments? I think that school has been a waste of my time even though I learned a few things ON MY OWN. They don’t care if anyone learn different and need help l. Yet they teach you about the development of learning and how everyone is not always... Read More


Reviewed: 3/16/2023

Degree: Clinical Psychology

I only attended GCU for one class before ultimately deciding it was not the right program for me. The online platform is very difficult to use, assignments must be submitted as specific attachments and I spent hours trying to upload homework assignments correctly. Once I decided to drop out, which was after 2 weeks, I was told I was past the point I could receive any money back and would have to pay full tuition. I tried to fight this but ultimately ended up paying 2k for 2 weeks of class. Ridiculous.... Read More


Reviewed: 3/5/2023

Degree: Nursing

Worst school i ever attended. They lie about clinical placements and then students cannot complete their degrees because it is hard to find clinical sites who want to partner with the school. How did i get fooled like this ? Will never recommend this school

Gabrielle Rafail

Reviewed: 3/1/2023

Degree: English

If it weren't accredited, I'd think GCU is a scam. They try to keep students paying and going to school for an extra full year by forcing them to take 1 class at a time for several semesters. There is no need to do this, and it is strictly for profit. They will not be accommodating either. If you choose to pull out, there is no refund offered after only 1 week of the course. It's a trap. Don't go here.

Eric M

Reviewed: 2/23/2023

Degree: Cybersecurity

I have read about 30 of these reviews and most of them are negative so far. I know many will read this and just pass it by or look at the length and say no thank you, but please if you are struggling ask for help if you are on the fence find a friend or a councilor, help is available and there are far far worse schools and educational experiences that will leave you wanting. I can completely understand being frustrated and even hurt when you believe your expectations are not being met and I would... Read More

Sara Mijee

Reviewed: 2/16/2023

Degree: Early Childhood Education

This is not a real school; it is a money making factory! I was there for a semester and I had the most horrible experience at GCU. I chose this school because it is a Christian school but it was a big mistake. GCU has no CHRISTIAN VALUES. I think its just a name. The advisors won't answer your email; it takes a week to email back. They would not release your transcript because they made up some scholarship that was never applied for my tuition. I had to go for a surgery for the first week that I... Read More

Dorsel Edwards

Reviewed: 1/27/2023

Degree: Nursing

GCU is the worse school I have ever attended. All they care about is Money. There are not standard rules and each professor makes their own rule. They are rude and unprofessional. I would never recommend this school to anyone. Do not waste your money or time with GCU"