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The Top AACSB Accredited Online MBA Programs

The Top AACSB Accredited Online MBA Programs

AACSB accreditation is the gold standard when it comes to MBA programs. But what does it stand for, and why is it important? This page takes a look at top schools that are AACSB accredited and answers your questions about choosing a high-quality program.

As a current or future business student, you know how important it is to protect your investment. When it comes to selecting an MBA program, that means choosing one accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The AACSB’s mission is to ensure the quality and consistency of business programs worldwide. When you select an AACSB accredited MBA, you ensure that you’ll graduate with a first-rate education and widely recognized credentials.

We can’t emphasize enough how important selecting an AACSB accredited business program is — so we wrote an entire guide about it! If you have questions about accredited online MBA programs or want answers to accreditation questions, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to become an accreditation expert and discover your dream AACSB online MBA program. 

Spotlight on AACSB Accredited Schools

Arizona State University

At Arizona State University (ASU), a streamlined online MBA program equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in the business world. ASU’s accelerated schedule lets students complete 17 classes (49 credits total) in a mere five weeks each. However, the condensed timeline doesn’t mean the curriculum skips on depth. Rather, the intensive class schedule lets students fully immerse themselves in essential topics like ethics, management, and reporting without the distraction of juggling many subjects at the same time.

This well-rounded program emphasizes leadership and managerial strategies in order to prepare students to succeed at the highest levels.

Drexel University

The online MBA at Drexel University is a great option for students with specialized interests. The school offers tailored concentrations in business analytics, corporate sustainability, finance, general business, and marketing. No matter what your career aspirations are, you can develop the background you need to seek out high-level positions in your field. You’ll complete 49 credits in this program, with a tuition rate of $1,306 per credit.

Drexel also allows significant flexibility to accommodate the needs of many types of students. Motivated full-time students can complete the program in as few as 18 months. Students who need more time can take up to five years to complete their coursework. 

Texas A & M International University

This 30-credit online MBA from Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) prepares students for big roles in a globalizing world. To that end, the school offers specializations in international business, international banking and finance, and international trade and logistics. Or students with more domestic aspirations can opt for concentrations in management, criminal justice, or healthcare administration. Regardless of concentration, you’ll pay $367 per credit for your online MBA.

TAMIU’s high bar for admissions ensures you’ll be studying alongside dedicated future business professionals. Applicants should prepare for a competitive admissions process including mandatory GRE/GMAT scores, a 3.0+ undergraduate GPA, and three to five references. 

University of Washington

Networking is an essential part of your MBA, but studying online can make it hard to build lasting connections. The hybrid MBA at The University of Washington (UW) addresses this by building face-to-face interaction into its program. To ensure flexibility, you’ll complete 95% of your classwork online; however, you’ll spend three to five days on campus each quarter connecting with your peers and faculty for hands-on learning experiences.

Students should budget two years to complete this 62-credit program (expect six quarters at $15,500 each), and be sure to plan for some synchronous classes and campus visits. Along the way, you’ll develop strong bonds with your 87-person cohort that will extend long past graduation. 

School Tuition Cost*SpecializationsPublic/Private
American University$1,922/creditBusiness Analytics, Cybersecurity, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Legal Studies, MarketingPrivate
Arkansas Tech University$315/creditGeneral, Business Data Analytics, Digital MarketingPublic
Boise State University $750/creditGeneral, Business Analytics, Construction Management, Cyber, Finance, Healthcare Leadership, Management, Marketing LeadershipPublic
Bowling Green State University$595/creditGeneral Management, Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Supply Chain ManagementPublic
Clemson University$1,319/creditCorporate ManagementPublic
Duke University$159,700 for full programEnergy and Environment, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Finance, Marketing, Strategy, Health Sector ManagementPrivate

* In-state estimates, where applicable.

AACSB Accreditation: Why is it Important?

Researching accredited online MBA programs is typically the first and most important step in choosing your future college. Business programs that are certified by the AACSB have been through a rigorous review process to ensure that your education is of the highest quality. Here are some of the top reasons that AACSB accreditation matters when it comes to picking an MBA program.

  • High-quality education

    If you’re dedicated enough to overcome the challenges associated with securing your MBA, you’ll want to walk away with tangible skills and innovative leadership philosophies. Attending only accredited online MBA programs ensures you graduate with the knowledge you need to succeed in your future career. In fact, you’ll rest assured knowing your education is high quality and meets the same demanding standards as other AACSB accredited schools.

  • Top-level faculty and instructors 

    Naturally, you want to attend the highest quality MBA program out there. This means learning from the best instructors at the best schools. So, it stands to reason that just as you’re seeking out AACSB accreditation in your MBA, so are high-level faculty when they’re selecting where to teach. When you attend an AACSB accredited school, it follows that you’ll be learning from the top faculty in the country.

  • Makes you more appealing to future employers

    It’s worth saying again: AACSB accreditation is an indicator of quality. Your future employers know that, too. If someone isn’t familiar with your MBA program, their first step will probably be to check its accreditation to make sure the school is legit. In fact, some hiring managers may not even consider candidates who don’t have an AACSB accredited MBA, so opting for an unverified school can significantly limit your employment options. On the other hand, future employers will note the AACSB’s stamp of approval on your degree and recognize that you have the skills it takes to excel at their organization.

  • Allows the school to be internationally recognized

    If you’re an international student or want to work internationally, you’ll need an MBA that is recognized in the countries in which you’re wanting to work. The AACSB is an international organization with member schools in more than 100 countries and three global offices. So whether you’re at home or abroad, international employers will recognize that your credentials are on par with — or better than — those from local universities. 

  • Easier to get financial aid

    To put it bluntly, most unaccredited schools range from questionable to outright sketchy. This can affect the availability of financial aid in a few different ways: 

    • Legitimate schools have scholarships and financial aid packages to help you lower the cost of your tuition; unaccredited schools typically want you to pay full price. 
    • Many private scholarship and grant programs won’t accept applicants at unaccredited schools. 
    • You can’t get federal financial aid when you attend an unaccredited institution.
    • If your employer offers tuition reimbursement, it likely only applies to accredited schools. 
  • Helps you avoid diploma mills

    Unfortunately, there are some shady organizations out there masquerading as legitimate schools or simply issuing fraudulent diplomas. These diploma mills leave students thousands of dollars poorer with nothing to show for it. If you want to dig deep, The U.S. Department of Education has an excellent guide on avoiding these scams. But you can sidestep some of the legwork by choosing accredited online MBA programs using this AACSB list or the U.S. Department of Education’s database.

  • Allows transfer credits

    If you decide to move programs, you don’t want to start from square one. This is where accreditation gives you a significant advantage. Because AACSB accreditation assures the quality of your coursework, your new school is more likely to accept your transfer credits knowing that your previous program was on equal academic footing. On the other hand, many schools aren’t willing to accept credits from unaccredited programs because they cannot be sure of their legitimacy. 

FAQs About Business School Accreditation

Do you have more burning questions about accredited online MBA programs? That’s great, because we have more answers. It’s imperative to think critically about this all-important piece of the education puzzle, and researching the answers to your questions is part of that process. Below, you’ll find five of the most questions current and future MBA students have about accreditation. After reading through these, check out our comprehensive accreditation guide to answer even more questions.

  • What are the different types of business school accreditations, and which ones does my school need?

    There are two levels of accreditation you need to consider when selecting a school: 

    1. Institutional accreditation: Any school you attend should be accredited by a regional or national organization. This ensures that the school as a whole is offering a quality education. 
    2. Programmatic accreditation: Organizations like the AACSB review specific programs and maintain their own set of quality standards. 

    Barring the very few exceptions we’ll talk about below, accredited online MBA programs should hold both institutional and programmatic accreditation.

  • Should I Ever Consider a Non-AACSB School?

    Generally, AACSB schools are going to be your best bet for a quality education. But there is an exception to this rule. Because it takes up to seven years for a school to earn their AACSB accreditation, there are reputable programs that are still working on earning certification. A few examples of this would be new business programs at established schools or new campuses of state university systems. If you’re considering a non-AACSB school, check out their other credentials to make sure they are legit and ask an admissions counselor or department chair about the program’s intention to seek accreditation in the future.

  • What is the process for business school accreditation?

    The process for earning AACSB accreditation is highly involved and takes multiple years to complete. There are five phases in the credentialling process, and failure at any stage can require a school to start back at the beginning. 

    1. First, the school must apply for AACSB certification.
    2. If the AACSB deems the school a likely candidate, the school will embark upon a self-review process that can take up to two years. The goal of this review is to prove that the program aligns with AACSB standards.
    3. After the self-review is accepted, the school spends up to three years implementing feedback from the self-evaluation phase and demonstrating ongoing compliance with AACSB standards.
    4. Next, the school begins to prepare for a peer review visit. This involves another application and another self-review report. 
    5. In the final phase, a group of faculty and administrators from other AACSB accredited schools visit campus, meet with department members, sit in on classes, and otherwise evaluate the quality of a program. If things go well, the reviewers will recommend AACSB accreditation for the program. 

    But that’s not all: The AACSB requires a continuous review process and re-certification every five years. So accredited online MBA programs are constantly evaluating and improving their programs in order to maintain their standing.

  • What does accreditation mean for your MBA and future job prospects?

    It is unlikely that your future boss has encyclopedic knowledge of every MBA program in the country. If a potential employer isn’t familiar with your alma mater, they’ll likely check its accreditation status. When hiring, confirming a school’s accreditation is a shortcut to confirming the quality of your education and your preparedness for a career in business. 

  • Are there other business school accreditations besides AACSB?

    AACSB is the oldest and best-known accrediting organization for business schools. But there are a few other players to consider. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) is another legitimate accreditor, and they tend to focus on smaller, private, or non-research focused schools. As its name suggests, the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) is focused on worldwide programs. The IACBE is also considered a credible accreditation body in the U.S. Education experts consider these certifications to be of about equal quality, but keep in mind that future employers may be less familiar with ACBSP and IACBE certifications. If, during your research, you find schools claiming an accreditation from an organization not listed here, consult the U.S. Department of Education Database to learn whether these accredited online MBA programs are legitimate.