The number of universities and colleges offering high-quality online education grows from year to year. The number of online college degree programs is growing, and it becomes tough to choose a suitable university for online education. In this article, you will find a list of the 15 best accredited online colleges and links to their online college courses – many of them are available online for free.
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley, which is also known as simply UC Berkeley, appears to be a U.S. public research university, which was founded back in 1868. This university tends to be one of the ten most renowned and prestigious educational institutions in California, as well as it is one of the best universities to undertake online college programs. Additionally, this university appears to be one of the 14 founding members of the Association of American Universities.
UC Berkeley consists of 15 different divisions, schools, and colleges that offer more than 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. At the time of writing this article, more than 42,000 students studied at this university – almost 12,000 of them were postgraduates. The university is also well-known for a large number of prominent alumni associated with it. 107 Nobel laureates are associated with this university, i.e. they are either alumni or researchers or faculty members of this university.
But apart from offering top-quality undergraduate and postgraduate audience courses, UC Berkeley was also one of the first universities to adapt to the modern-day education. Without doubt, this university can be recognized as one of the best educational institutions where one may apply for online college degree programs. The variety of online courses available to the public is both immense and impressive.
Another thing to point out is that a large number of its online college courses can be accessed for free on edX, a provider of massive open online courses that was founded by MIT and Harvard. In particular, you can find these online college programs on this page. This list of online courses range from Data Science to Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies. You can also get access to the learning materials of this university here.
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Stanford University, the full name of which is Leland Stanford Junior University, appears to be an American private research university and one of the world’s best and most advanced educational institutions. Its proximity to the Sillicon Valley, wealth, and academic strength make it one of the most prestigious places to study at. The university was founded by Leland Stanford, a senator from California, and his wife, who decided to name it after their son, who had died at the age of 15.
Despite its present-day academic strength, the university struggled financially almost throughout its existence. Only the idea of creating a self-sufficient local industry – which was put forward by Frederick Terman and which would later become known as Sillicon Valley – has helped this university to become one of the most influential educational institutions in the world.
Nowadays, the university consists of 40 academic departments that offer undergraduate and graduate programs. Also, four professional schools are a part of this university too, and they offer professional education in Business, Medicine, Law, and Education respectively. At the present time, the number of students studying at Stanford barely exceeds 16,000 – the majority of them are postgraduates.
Not surprisingly, Stanford is oftentimes named as one of the most selective U.S. universities. But it is also known as one of the best accredited online colleges, as this university offers a variety of online courses. Many of Stanford online college programs are available online here. But if you want a certificate of accomplishment yet you are seeking affordable online colleges, you can take up Stanford online courses on Coursera – fees charged by this platform are not high at all.
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University of Virginia
The University of Virginia, which is also known as UVA, appears to be a public research university, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. The university was founded by Thomas Jefferson, by the former U.S. President and author of the American Constitution, back in 1819. Nowadays, University of Virginia is particularly known in the United States for its secret societies, honor code of students, and historic foundations.
At the present time, UVA remains one of the most prestigious universities not only in the U.S., but also in the world. Recent studies have shown that UVA was credited for two out of 10 global breakthroughs in 2015. Its alumni and faculty founded many famous companies, including Reddit, a forum-like platform, and the annual revenues of all those companies would be equal to $1.6 trillion – this might stand for a 10th-largest economy in the world.
At the time of writing this article, 24,360 students studied at UVA. The majority of these students – more than 16,000 – were undergraduates. The university offers 121 majors in undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
Apart from that, UVA is recognized as one of the best online colleges. In particular, it offers numerous undergraduate and graduate degrees for online learning, including Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management, and Master of Public Safety (see the full list here). But if you are looking for online courses from this university, you can also find them on Coursera, a MOOC platform. The admission to these courses is free, but you may get a certificate for paying a rather small fee and passing the course.
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Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Institute of Technology, known simply as Georgia Tech, appears to be a public research university which was founded back in 1885. The university is located in Atlanta, the capital of Georgia. At that time, this educational institution was known as Georgia School of Technology, and it was created with an aim to build an industrial economy in the U.S.
Georgia Tech consists of six colleges, which are organized into 31 departments. Not surprisingly, though, the key focus of this university is placed on technological sciences and engineering. At the time of writing this article, almost 30,000 students studied at Georgia Tech – only slightly than a half of them were undergraduates.
This institute is not only ranked as one of the best educational institutions in the U.S. in general, but it is also known to be among the best accredited online colleges. You can find even some rankings in which Georgia Tech tops the list of online colleges. And that’s not surprising, as this university offers 12 complete online Masters degree programs (you can read about these programs here).
Among other things to mention, one should say that you can take advantage of specific online programs, such as high school math, competency assessments, or Summer Online Undergraduate Program. Moreover, online courses and degrees from this university are also available on the most popular MOOC platforms, such as Coursera, edX, and Udacity.
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University of Southern California (USC)
University of Southern California, also known simply as USC or SC, appears to be an American private research university, based in Los Angeles. It was established back in 1880, and the university is known for its prestige, whereas many business and political leaders of the U.S. studied here. USC is also well-known for its contribution to the development of internet domains (Domain Name System), as well as dynamic programming, DNA computing, antivirus software and image compression.
The number of students who chose the University of Southern California as their alma mater exceeded 45,000 in 2018. Moreover, the majority of these students were postgraduates. Among its alumni, researchers, or faculty, this university can boast to have 9 Nobel laureates and 22 billionaires, as well as a number of other distinguished personalities.
All that makes the University of Southern California not only a decent choice for learning in general. This is also one of the best online colleges, offering plenty of online college degree programs. So, even if you can’t afford to go to California to study at USC, you can enroll in one of its online college courses – it’s one of the most affordable online colleges.
In particular, you should seek the top-quality online courses on the USC Portal of Online Education, a storage of top-quality graduate and professional programs. Here, for instance, you can find all the online degree programs available at USC, and their number far exceeds 50.
The online Masters degree programs are available in a variety of fields, from Law to Engineering or Business. All in all, USC offers one of the most advanced platforms for online education. But, unfortunately, the university’s courses are not available for free on such portals like Coursera or edX.
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Princeton University, one of the Ivy League educational institutions, was founded in Princeton, New Jersey, back in 1746. It appears to be the fourth-oldest and one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the United States. This is also one of the nine universities that were founded in America before the American revolution, still during the colonial rule.
The university offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The university also offers professional education in its four professional schools: the School of Architecture, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the Bendheim Center for Finance.
More than 8,000 students study at Princeton University, though only a quarter of them are postgraduates. There are many recognized alumni and researchers/professors associated with this university, who hold different rewards and medals. Only the number of Nobel laureates associated with Princeton is 65.
And while Princeton University is known as one of the best educational institutions to study in-campus, it currently doesn’t offer actual online college programs. But there are separate courses available online, and you are can receive certificates of accomplishment upon completion of those courses.
At the present time, the university provides free access to more than 20 online courses, ranging from algorithm studies to historical subjects. This page offers you free access to such massive open online courses. Apart from that, you can find online courses of Princeton University on Coursera and edX, two popular MOOC platforms. For a small fee, you will receive a certificate of accomplishment after completing these courses.
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, widely known as simply MIT, appears to be a private research university, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This educational institution was among the first universities in the United States to adopt a polytechnic university model from Europe, whereas it focused on laboratory instruction in engineering and applied sciences.
During the last decade, MIT was oftentimes placed in the first places on the ranking of the world’s best educational institutions. The university is traditionally known for its high-quality education in engineering and physical sciences, but it also provides professional schooling in management, economics, biology, and linguistics.
Less than 12,000 students study at this university annually, and the majority of them appear to be postgraduates. This is the reason why the number of Nobel laureates associated with this university exceeds 90. Thanks to the university’s focus on technical subjects and a strong culture of entrepreneurship, its alumni managed to establish companies that nowadays generate $1.9 trillion in revenues combined.
And while the university strives to adapt to the present-day online learning popularity, it currently doesn’t offer online college degree programs. Yet, MIT is still recognized as one of the best online colleges, whereas there are plenty of online college courses from this university. Moreover, MIT – along with Harvard University – is a co-founder of edX, a platform for massive online open courses.
Many of the courses available on edX are completely free, though you may pay a fee and receive a certificate of accomplishment. You can find out more about MIT online learning here, while this link offers you access to the online college courses of MIT that are available on edX.
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California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology, more widely regarded as Caltech, appears to be a private research university, which is based in Pasadena, California. It was established back in 1891 by Amos G. Throop, a Chicago-based politician and businessman. The university (which had been a vocational school at that time) started to attract influential scientists almost immediately.
Nowadays, California Institute of Technology is divided into six academic departments, and it primarily focuses on science and engineering. The number of students studying at Caltech barely exceeds 2,000, and the majority of the students are postgraduates – this makes this university among the most selective U.S. educational institutions.
Even though the university is also recognized as one of the most affordable online colleges, this education institution currently doesn’t offer online college degree programs. There are only separate online courses for distance learning available, but even the number of such courses is not that impressive – other universities in this list offer a far larger number of free online courses available.
There are also some educational materials from Caltech available online, and you can find them on this page. In terms of Caltech’s online courses, they are available on Coursera and edX, two MOOC platforms. But as it was pointed out above, their number is not that large.
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Harvard University, which is a part of the Ivy League, appears to be a private university, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The university was established back in 1636 by John Harvard, a clergyman, which makes it one of the oldest universities in the United States. Such an impressive history, as well as the university’s influence and wealth, made it one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world.
Harvard University is divided into 11 separate academic departments, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies and ten faculties. At the time of writing this article, more than 22,000 students studied at this university – the majority of them (more than 15,000) were postgraduates. The university’s alumni include 8 former U.S. presidents, over 30 heads of other states, and many other notable personalities. The number of Nobel laureates associated with Harvard reaches 158.
And while the university is a top place for traditional studying, it also offers fantastic opportunities for online learning. Harvard University offers both free separate online courses as well as online college degree programs, which can be completed almost fully online and at a much lower tuition fee.
Additionally, Harvard University – along with MIT – appears to be a co-founder of edX, an education platform that provides access to massive open online courses. You can submit an application for online learning at Harvard on this page, while you can find online courses (many of them can be accessed for free) on the edX website.
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University of Michigan
University of Michigan, which is also known as UMich, appears to be a public research university that is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Even though the university was founded in Detroit in 1817 (before Michigan even became a state), it was relocated in 1837 to Ann Harbor. This university is also one of the 9 founding members of the Association of American Universities.
This university is divided into 19 different colleges and schools to serve the needs of its students, offering undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate majors in more than 275 fields. The number of students studying here exceeds 46,000, but only slightly more than a third of them are postgraduates. 25 Nobel Prize winners are associated with this university.
And while the university – despite its brilliance – lags behind such behemoths like Harvard, MIT or Stanford in traditional schooling, the situation is completely different with online college courses. Deservedly, this university can be named as one of the best accredited online colleges, offering online degree programs, a series of courses (known as specializations), and separate courses.
You can research more about the university’s online degree programs and even submit an application here. But if you want to gain free access to some of its courses, you can check out the online college courses of UMich on Coursera and edX, two most popular platforms for massive open online courses. The majority of the courses are completely free there, though you may get a certificate of accomplishment after paying a small fee.
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University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania, which is also known as UPenn or Penn, appears to be a private research university located in the University City, Philadelphia. The university was founded back in 1740, and it appears to be one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities. Besides, it was among 9 universities that were created before the American Revolution.
Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, established this university during the colonial rule. Then, he wanted to create an institution that would focus on practical education for commerce as much as on the classical subjects. The university was also a home to numerous important innovations in the educational field and beyond.
UPenn is divided into 11 professional schools, which serve more than 21,000 students. The majority of the students are, however, postgraduates. In a result, the university can boast to have many distinguished alumni, including 14 heads of states, 25 billionaires, many American senators and governors. 35 Nobel laureates are associated with the University of Pennsylvania.
But as much as the university excels in the traditional education, so much it strived to bring that success into the realm of online learning. UPenn offers many online college degree programs, and you can research about them or submit your application on this page. Apart from that, you can access the online courses of the University of Pennsylvania for free on Coursera and edX.
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Harvey Mudd College
Harvey Mudd College, also known as simply HMC, appears to be a private undergraduate college for science and engineering, located in Claremont, California. The college was established only in 1955 and is named after Harvey Seedley Mudd, a co-founder of this college, who died shortly before the college was completed.
The college focuses on providing training and schooling in engineering and technological sciences. Primarily, there are 7 academic departments in this college: Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology, and a combination of Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts. The college in particular offers top-quality schooling in programming and technological subjects, which it is famous for.
And while this college offers top-notch programming education in campus, it doesn’t have online college degree programs. In terms of online education, all you can get is taking up some of its courses on edX, a MOOC platform. The majority of those courses will be especially useful to programmers and IT specialists, and they are accessible for free. Yet, you can get a certificate of accomplishment after paying rather a small fee.
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Dartmouth College appears to be a private university, a part of the Ivy League, located in Hanover, New Hampshire. It was established back in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock and appears to be the ninth-oldest higher educational institution in the United States. Initially, the university was known for training mostly Congregationalist ministers in the early state of its history, but later it was slowly secularized.
Dartmouth consists of 5 schools: the Guarani School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, the Tuck School of Business, the Thayer School of Engineering, the Geisel School of Medicine, and the original undergraduate college. The undergraduate college provides education in 57 majors from 40 academic departments and interdisciplinary programs, including such fields like engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
The list of its alumni include many influential American senators, governors and members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nobel Prize laureates and billionaires. But in terms of online education, this college is not among the most affordable online colleges for sure. For instance, it offers only 2 online Masters degree (you can find out about them here).
Apart from that, you can also find many of the college’s courses on edX, a MOOC platform. Most of these courses are available for free, but you may pay a small fee and get a certificate of accomplishment after completing a course.
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University of Maryland, College Park
The University of Maryland, College Park, known simply as Maryland, appears to be a public research university, located in College Park, Maryland. It was established back in 1856, and quickly became the most important educational institution in that area. It is also the largest university in the Maryland state and the Washington metropolitan area, which can explain why this university receives a lot of funding from the governmental agencies.
Even though this university is not a private one and doesn’t tend to be one of the Ivy League universities, many people call this educational institution a “Public Ivy,” which means the quality of education here. At the present time, more than 41,000 students study here, representing people from 123 countries. The majority of the students are undergraduates – only slightly more than 10,000 students are postgraduates.
The university offers more than 200 degree programs, including 92 undergraduate majors, 107 Master’s majors, and 83 doctoral degree programs. But apart from that, this university also offers a broad range of 90 online college degree programs, ranging from separate courses up to whole specializations and even degrees. You can get more information about online learning at University of Maryland here.
Another thing to point out is that many online courses developed by University of Maryland are available on Coursera and edX, two largest MOOC platforms. In particular, you can find whole specializations from Maryland on Coursera, ranging from Cybersecurity to Corporate Entrepreneurship and Survey Data Collection.
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University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles, which is also widely known as UCLA, appears to be a public research university, located in Los Angeles, California. The university was established back in 1919, and it tends to be one of the oldest American universities in this state.
As of the present time, almost 45,000 students study at UCLA – over 12,000 of them are postgraduates. This university also receives record numbers of student applications among the American universities. The University of California, Los Angeles currently offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a variety of fields. The university consists of seven professional schools, six undergraduate schools, and four professional health science schools.
UCLA also provides fantastic opportunities for online learning, offering a variety of online degree programs and separate courses. You can find all the online degree college programs you may take up on the university’s website, as well as you can submit your application there. But the courses aren’t free, and there are no free online college courses from UCLA available online. UCLA simply hasn’t published its courses on Coursera or edX.
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