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Grand Canyon University

562 Reviews

Salary Score







58% of 562 students said this degree improved their career prospects
49% of 562 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.

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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
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

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Reviewed: 9/15/2023

Degree: Communications

My advice would be to look elsewhere. I should have done more research and gone to somewhere like Liberty University. This has not been a good experience as far as knowledgeable and helpful instructors go. I have never been called by my Student Counselor. The material and curriculum for every class I have has so far has been flawed. I have an gotten A's so far. It seems like the program in new which they are saying it is not. However, for an established program, it should not have flaws in weekly... Read More


Reviewed: 8/29/2023

Degree: Teaching

At first I thought GCU was an awesome school. The classes are challenging and I loved that. As the classes progressed I realized all they wanted to do is indoctrinate students in to a one world government. They’re not Christians they’re Democrats. I also feel they required you take an excessive amount of unnecessary classes not pertaining to the degree. I definitely would not recommend this school. It saddens me to say that.

Marie Mckee

Reviewed: 8/20/2023

Degree: Nursing

Horrible School! I do not recommend this school, especially their online classes. This university has a high rank of graduate students who can’t get a job anywhere, incompetent teachers who have no clue about the subjects. They are basically just in it for the money, but they can’t answer any of the student questions. I repeat, do not go to GCU, it is the worst school in the US. They will get your money, you will learn absolutely nothing. In addition, they would try to appear as Christian, but they... Read More

Raphael S

Reviewed: 8/4/2023

Degree: Computer and Information Science

Horrible School, Terrible Program, Faculty is underqualified, Campus is Depressing, Entire Environment feels artificial, if they care so much about their school they should spend money improving conditions instead of trying to market the school eveywhere like a cancer.


Reviewed: 7/20/2023

Degree: MBA in Organizational Leadership

Originally I was admittedly hesitant to begin an online MBA program; however, my counselor and professors have been phenomenal. I’m currently in my fourth class (Finance 504), and although the program coursework is rigorous and seemingly daunting at times, I can’t speak highly enough on how much I appreciate receiving a quality education from this institution. Students definitely will have to dig into their texts and earn their degrees; nonetheless, the depth of knowledge and level of business acumen... Read More


Reviewed: 7/18/2023

Degree: Clinical Psychology

I attended Grand Canyon University for several years, expecting to graduate with the ability to license as a clinical counselor, only to find it impossible to complete to be licensed. Had I known their accreditation would not satisfy state requirements I would have never ever waited my time and all of the money I now owe in student loan debt.


Reviewed: 7/17/2023

Degree: Business

I have to agree with all of the one star reviews here. They only care about your money. It's evident. They absolutely did not care if you work full time, have kids and are trying to make it work. ZERO help with anything regarding the coursework. Decided that I did not have the proper time to commit to this and dropped out. I understand tuition is still owed, but, to be hounded and basically harassed for money after the fact shows you exactly why they, and every other institution for that matter,... Read More


Reviewed: 7/15/2023

Degree: Project Management

GCU is no different from any other online school. They all pretty much follow the same format, with a few wrinkles. I find some of the course work challenging and some of the course work easy. I have attended several online schools and they all are about the same. GCU is like every other online school, they have some people that like it and some people that do not. Remember, education is what you make it. There are numerous of people who have become successful from GCU. I completed a Masters from... Read More


Reviewed: 7/14/2023

Degree: Elementary Education

Like others have said I wonder what school many of the negative reviews are referring to? I majored in Educational Studies, though I had planned on getting certified as an elementary school teacher. I knew that Educational Studies would not lead to teacher certification, but Covid was spreading at the time and I could not get into the classrooms to do my field work like I wanted to, so I decided to pursue a degree that required minimal classroom participation. After I finished the degree in Educational... Read More


Reviewed: 6/28/2023

Degree: RN to BSN

Not the best school if you are still working while doing the RN-BSN program. While it’s not impossible to meet to coursework requirements, there are other universities that provide more flexibility for working RNs. You will be required to do 2 discussion board posts a week, 6 weekly peer responses scattered on different days, and one essay or PowerPoint presentation a week (or sometimes more). I switched school and we only have 1 discussion post and reply a week, and 1-2 essays for the whole course.... Read More

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