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Grand Canyon University

550 Reviews

Salary Score







59% of 550 students said this degree improved their career prospects
49% of 550 students said they would recommend this school to others
By the OnlineU team | Updated 3/1/2023



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 accredited by 4 agencies

Find an Online Degree:

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: 5/15/2023

Degree: Business Administration

In my previous academic endavors I graduated one school with a 4.0 GPA and the undergrad with a 3.7 GPA. This experience was really horrible for me and my finances. I feel that I really made the wrong decision. I agonized over writing a review here, because it is in my nature to be positive and also to think of others - the staff, the school spirit with the students - etc. I hope you have a better experience and that things improve with the masters programs to the point that they properly accommodate... Read More


Reviewed: 5/8/2023

Degree: Education Administration

This school sucks. I was pursuing my doctorate and I've never been treated so much like a child. I felt like the program was designed for idiots and they forgot that by the time you reach the doctoral level, you've been to college several different times. The professor I had was rude and unaccessible. She wouldn't respond to simple emails. It was very difficult just to ask a question. The way the coursework and discussions are due is unnecessarily complicated and convoluted. It was just a very unpleasant... Read More


Reviewed: 5/4/2023

Degree: Early Childhood Education

Worst school EVER... instructors could care less about the success of their students. Counselors are the same. When you reach out for help nothing is ever RESOLVED all they do is give you the run around. Do yourself a huge favor & LISTEN TO THESE REVIEWS... I SURE WISH I HAD....

School is a disaster in the making

Reviewed: 4/24/2023

Degree: Nursing

The school is a disaster in the making because students get away with plagiarizing and when instructors report them for plagiarizing instead of disciplining the student the instructor gets slapped on the hand and sometimes discipline to the point that the instructor is let go. University would rather have students who plagiarize and keep enrollment up then to work with instructors who maintain integrity and promote overall learning. I just now found this or I would have written this review a long... Read More

Jennifer S.

Reviewed: 4/20/2023

Degree: Social Work

Like others have said, I am seeing many negative reviews. I do not identify as Christian, however I am spiritual, and thought that this would be an amazing opportunity and it has been so far. It almost sounds like some of these comments are referring to a completely different university in regards to staff being unresponsive because nearly every single person I have contacted at this school has gotten back to me within the same day. My enrollment counselor would follow up with me weekly until the... Read More


Reviewed: 4/19/2023

Degree: Healthcare Administration

I have a Doctorate already and wanted and additional degree. I do not recommend this school for anyone. Ever heard of the 1980-1990’s universities mail order class degree mills? The online programs are the very same at this school, but worse. Instructors are not qualified or don’t give a darn as the class is an extra income. The tasks set forth to do are so vague and abstract that one is clueless as what is required. There is very little contact with instructors. There is no complain system intact.... Read More


Reviewed: 4/19/2023

Degree: Cybersecurity

I withdrew from a class within the first week because they miscalculated my financial aid. They came after me for over $1,000 reported it on my credit and hurt my credit score. I was forced to pay them $1,000 for a class that I never took and withdrew from because they miscalculated my financial aid. This is a predatory institution that should be penalized for causing undue financial harm to their students.


Reviewed: 4/6/2023

Degree: Special Education

Do not go to GCU, they do not care about your education, your career, or your “purpose,” they care about your money. They have great counselor that bring you in and get you set up then during your time with them you have about 10-12 different counselors who never respond to emails. They continually mess up grants and scholarships leading you to pay out of pocket or if unable to have to take out dreaded student loans. They advertise they haven’t raised their tuition in years but they sure know how... Read More

James Jimenez

Reviewed: 3/29/2023

Degree: Organizational Leadership

This is the worst school you can go to. I caught two fellow students plagiarizing papers I had to edit for the group and the professor had no issue with it. I got my undergraduate degree at CSULB and 70% of the class at GCU in the master's program would never be able to pass at Long Beach because most of the students write at about a 6th or 7th grade level. How does a person get a passing grade with horrible grammar and sentences like "a leaders responsibility is to lead the group." It's a slap in... Read More


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