If you’ve got your heart set on earning an online bachelor’s degree in business administration but aren’t sure which school and program are best for you, you’re in the right place. To help you sort through all the online business administration degree programs out there and find the right one for you, we’ve reviewed the programs and ranked them by weighing factors such as affordability, academic quality, scheduling flexibility, and student support services. The full rankings list will come out later this year, but until then, we’ve identified three notable colleges worth considering.
University of Florida
One of the most unique features of the online business administration program from the University of Florida is that it lets students choose from between a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts. The bulk of the business curriculum is the same for both degrees, but the bachelor of science places a greater emphasis on specialty business courses while the bachelor of arts gives students more flexibility to take classes in other subjects and customize their degree. Both degrees are set up with modified curriculums for applicants who already have a bachelor’s degree or who wish to move on to the University of Florida’s accelerated 16-month MBA program, which is also available online. As for online learning, the bulk of the classes are offered through Canvas and Zoom. Most courses are offered asynchronously, meaning students can attend from anywhere and at any time that fits their schedule.
- Bachelor of Arts or Science in Business Administration
- Credits: 120
- Length: Four years
- Cost: $129.18/credit in state | $552.62/credit out of state
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
University of Arizona
Offered through the Eller College of Management, the bachelor of science in business administration program from the University of Arizona has several unique features that make it a great option for prospective business professionals.
It’s fully online, with no campus or in-person requirements. Even though the University of Arizona is a public institution, the online tuition rate is the same regardless of a student’s residency status. You can choose to enroll as a part-time or full-time student. Students with an interest in accounting can earn an accounting certificate to go along with their business degree.
To be well prepared for the professional world, students will have access to several professional development programs, including new professionals, career changers, and graduate programs. Each of these programs provide extra guidance for students who are just entering the business world, plan on earning a graduate degree after they graduate, or are going to business school as a second career move.
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
- Credits: 120
- Length: Four years
- Cost: $530.00/credit in state | $530.00/credit out of state
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission; AACSB
San Diego State University
San Diego State University’s bachelor of science in business administration online degree completion program is designed for working professionals. Students only need to complete 51 credits to graduate. This means incoming students are expected to have completed a significant amount of college courses before enrolling. To apply, students must have at least 60 transferable credits with an overall GPA of at least 2.75 on a 4.00 scale.
This program is 100% online and almost all the course requirements can be completed asynchronously. In addition to taking online courses from anywhere there’s a broadband internet connection, students can attend class at almost any time. This is perfect for students who have families and full-time jobs. Each class lasts six to eight weeks, making it easier to arrange curriculum requirements into busy schedules.
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Online Degree Completion Program
- Credits: 51
- Length: About two years
- Cost: $552.00/credit in state | $552.00/credit out of state
- Mode: Fully Online
- Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB
Curriculum of an Online Business Administration Degree Program
When you enroll in an online business administration degree program, you’ll take general education courses in addition to business-related coursework. This is to ensure you receive a well-rounded education and to provide you with the opportunity to take electives and a few courses purely for the sake of academic curiosity. As for courses in the major, those will usually consist of core business classes and classes in a particular concentration (or business electives). Below are some topics and classes you can expect to take as a part of an online business program.
Key Topics Covered
- Management styles and techniques
- Oral and written business communication
- Quantitative and analytic thinking
- Ethical and legal challenges in business
- Application of information systems to the business environment
- Workforce recruitment and retention
- Corporate governance
Foundational Coursework (Years 1 and 2)
Much of the coursework during your first two years will consist of general education courses. These can include subjects such as college writing, literature, foreign language, and a science laboratory course. However, during these first two years there are also business prerequisites and introductory business classes, depending on the school. Almost all these business-related courses will be part of the core curriculum.
- Economics: This course is sometimes divided into two separate courses to cover both microeconomic and macroeconomic principles and concepts. Microeconomics focuses on transactions between businesses and individuals while macroeconomics addresses concepts that apply to the entire economy of a nation or region of the world.
- Probability and Statistics: This class can be a prerequisite to admission to the business program or part of the core curriculum. Either way, students learn about the collection, organization, and analysis of data and drawing useful inferences.
- Financial Accounting: Financial accounting teaches students the basics of recording and summarizing financial data. Part of the course includes preparing and interpreting financial documents like balance sheets, income statements, and statements of cash flow.
- Managerial Accounting: Usually taken after an introductory financial accounting course, students learn about accounting concepts and financial information that management uses to make business decisions that affect the entire organization, especially in the long term.
- Introduction to Finance: Students in this class will learn about theories and financial concepts that allow them to better understand how the financial systems, like bond and stock markets, operate in the United States. There will also be coverage of using financial data for making strategic and tactical business decisions.
Advanced Coursework (Years 3 and 4)
The final two years will consist of the bulk of core business classes, as well as business electives and classes relating to a business concentration if offered. Courses will often cover topics that apply what was learned in foundational courses to real-world situations. Course curricula may consist of class discussions about specific business case studies where you analyze what happened and why. There will be more group projects and presentations that apply what you’ve learned to hypothetical business problems.
- Project Management: This course looks at how to manage organizational projects through the study of management styles and the use of information technology. Students will learn about different types of project management software, as well as how to effectively direct and keep track of project progress among group members.
- Organizational Theory and Behavior: This course covers the psychology of business and human resource decisions and the workers who make them. A review of human motivation, conflict resolution, and workplace interactions will be covered in this class.
- Business Production: This class is all about operating production lines as efficiently as possible. Topics covered include inventory management, production system design, quality control, and analytical tools used to monitor product management operations.
- Quantitative Data Analysis: More of a mathematics course, students will use statistical and probability principles to solve practical business problems, such as risk management, quality control, and financial forecasting.
- The Business Legal Environment: The curriculum starts with basic legal principles, then shifts into more advanced concepts such as the administrative regulatory process and legal compliance of local, state, federal, and international laws.
Applying to a Highly Ranked Online Business Administration Program
The general admissions requirements are straightforward for most online business administration programs. These requirements typically consist of the following:
- Online application
- Application fee
- Copies of official transcripts
Differences in the admissions process exist depending on whether you’re a first-year applicant or a transfer student. If you’re the latter, you’ll often need to have a minimum GPA in regard to your prior college courses. For example, transfer students with 24 or more credits will need at least a 2.50 GPA when applying to the University of Louisville’s online business administration bachelor’s degree program.
Some of the more competitive business programs will have additional admissions requirements, such as Arizona State University. Here, first-year applicants must have a minimum SAT score (1040 to 1180, depending on when they took the test and their residency status), class rank (top 25%), ACT score (22 or 24 depending on residency status), or high school GPA (3.00 on a 4.00 scale). While not common, applicants may also need to provide a personal statement and letters of recommendation, such as when applying to the Morehouse College business administration bachelor’s degree program.
Financing Your Online Business Admin Degree: Tuition and Financial Aid
In addition to the tuition rate, it’s important to understand that the total cost of your online bachelor’s degree in business administration will depend on several other factors. These include the acceptance of prior transfer credits, state residency status, course load, type of school (public versus private), and availability of financial aid. You’ll need to consider all these factors for each school you’re interested in to most accurately calculate how much your potential degree will cost.
These factors matter because they can turn a seemingly expensive program into the most affordable one for you. For instance, a school with the highest tuition rate could be your cheapest option because you’ll have in-state residency status, you can attend school part time so you can continue working while in school, and the school offers you an exclusive scholarship not available anywhere else.
In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000 over four years for your degree. Keep in mind this amount doesn’t apply any financial aid or tuition discount adjustments and assumes you’ll need to earn the full 120 or so credits to graduate.
|Purdue University Global
|180 (quarter credits)
|Kentucky Wesleyan College
|Indiana State University
|University of Colorado
No matter how great of a tuition rate you get for your online business administration degree, you may still need to obtain financial assistance to help you pay for it. Luckily, most schools will have robust financial aid options available. A great example of this is Indiana State University, which outlines the various state-based and private scholarships available, as well as federal work-study, loans, and military tuition benefits. If you’re working full-time, another source of financial aid could be employer tuition reimbursement benefits. This is where your employer will pay for some or all of your tuition in return for a promise to continue working for them for a minimum amount of time.
FAQs About Earning Your Bachelor’s in Business Administration Online
Are online business administration degree programs fully online?
One of the great things about a business administration degree is that it doesn’t require hands-on skills development like a more technical degree might. As a result, most online business administration degree programs will be available fully online, with no campus visits or other in-person curriculum requirements. Given the importance of networking for the business world, some programs will offer optional networking opportunities or allow students to take some classes on campus.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in business administration?
A bachelor’s degree in business administration is best suited for those who wish to have a career at a company, whether it’s a nonprofit or for-profit organization. This means you’ll be working for a wide range of employers in either the public or private sector, from business as small as that mom-and-pop store in a small town or a Fortune 500 company in a major city. Here’s a list of common careers where a bachelor’s degree in business administration would be helpful.
- Management analyst
- Financial manager
- Human resource specialist
- Budget analyst
- Cost estimator
- Market research analyst
- Project management specialist
- Public relations specialist
What’s the difference between a business administration and business management degree?
There is a lot of overlap between these two business degree programs, as they both cover the same basic business principles such as accounting, finance, and marketing. In many schools, these two programs differ in the level of detail they get into regarding how to achieve organizational goals. Generally, business administration focuses on the technical aspects of business operations and the tasks required within a specific department. In contrast, business management looks at the human requirements for running a business organization and the bigger-picture issues of organizational planning and managing.
Is earning a business administration degree a worthwhile investment?
Earning an online degree in business administration can lead to higher earnings. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median wage for workers with a bachelor’s degree is $60,000. However, the median wage for someone with a bachelor’s degree in business is $65,000. The degree will also provide training for many potential positions as its curriculum covers varied subjects, such as business law, ethics, marketing, production, accounting, finance, business psychology, quantitative analysis, human resources, and management information systems. These topics will help you understand how almost any organization operates and functions.
What accreditation should I look for in a business administration degree program?
When choosing an online business administration degree program, there are two types of accreditation to look for. First, there’s institutional accreditation, which refers to an independent body reviewing a school’s academic programs and ensuring they meet basic quality standards. Second, there’s programmatic accreditation, which applies to a specific program.
When choosing a bachelor of science in business administration degree program, the two primary accrediting bodies you should look for are the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and the AACSB. Another less common one is the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
How long does it take to complete a bachelor’s degree in business administration?
For most full-time students, it takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration. However, several factors can affect this timeframe. One of the biggest is prior college training and how much of that will transfer to the online business administration program. For example, those with an associate degree can usually shave one to two years off the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree in business.
Another factor is the pace of learning. Online programs make it easier to customize the pace of learning, which can add or reduce the time it takes to earn a degree. This self-paced learning can be the result of taking more or fewer classes or enrolling in a part-time or accelerated program.
Job Market for Graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Admin
An online bachelor’s degree in business administration is ideal to open doors to business-related positions. But its curriculum is also broad enough that it can lead to a plethora of entry-level careers with great starting salaries and plenty of professional growth potential. The following chart will give you an idea of what you can expect to earn after you graduate with your business degree.
|Median Annual Earnings (2021)
|Job Growth (2021-2031)
|Accountants and auditors
|Human resources specialists
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics