In order to provide prospective students with the best chance at having a great education, we have compiled this list of the top universities and colleges in Minnesota. Some schools may excel at online programs while others may focus exclusively on the traditional, on-campus aspect of higher education. Regardless of the delivery format, these schools excel at providing a quality education for their students.
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Higher education has been a means of preparing adults for specialized employment for centuries. Education is an investment that yields the best return of any other investment you will every make in you life. Individuals holding a degree enjoy greater opportunities for employment, increased income, and greater career growth and stability. As with any investment, there is a cost, with college that cost is tuition and time. To better make the decision of what college and program are best suited for you, we have compiled a list of the tops colleges with online and traditional degrees and programs in the state of Minnesota.
To best serve students the Minnesota Office of Higher Education offers numerous resources to students interested in online education, including links to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities website where students can calculate tuition costs, find financial aid, demo courses and go through the process of admission and enrollment. The Office of Higher Education also offers links to resources designed to help students determine if they are ready for online education and what is required to successfully earn a degree.
The Minnesota Online Quality Initiative exists to improve the overall quality of all courses offered online in its network of affiliates. Students attending online colleges in MN can explore qualifying courses and schools here, and educators and administrators will find resources for course review, certification and professional development.
Other resources that strive to enhance online learning across Minnesota in various colleges and universities are the eLearning Consortium, and the State Authorization Network. The eLearning Consortium strives to enhance online course work and availability and to serve as auxiliary support to the online education community. The State Authorization Network helps make sure institutions are meeting the state regulations and requirements for them to deliver online educational opportunities. With no lack of highly aware and involved organizations Minnesota has surely proved itself to be forward-looking and concerned with the future and success of its online education network. If you’re looking for the best online colleges based in Minnesota, you’ve come to the right place.
|1||Minnesota West Community & Technical College||Worthington, Minnesota|
|2||Central Lakes College – Brainerd||Brainerd, Minnesota|
|3||Winona State University||Winona, Minnesota|
|4||Minnesota State University – Mankato||Mankato, Minnesota|
|5||Northwest Technical College||Bemidji, Minnesota|
Here are the Best Colleges in Minnesota
Minnesota West Community & Technical College
Named among one of the top 150 community colleges in the country by the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Minnesota West Community and Technical College offers more than 40 online programs, many of them focusing on subjects like accounting, management, and other business degrees. Whether you’re looking to complete a short-term certificate program or an associate degree which you can use to transfer to a four-year institution, Minnesota West might be the place for you. In addition to their business-related options, the school also offers healthcare programs that include everything from a medical coding diploma to an associate degree in nursing. Minnesota West also offers specialized programs, such as biofuels technology, and over a dozen of online programs in the computer field. All these reasons and more are what makes Minnesota West one of the best online colleges in Minnesota.
Central Lakes College – Brainerd
Central Lakes College started offering courses online during the 2017-2018 school year. Students can either attend personally or tune in during the class form anywhere as long as they have internet access. The format will be using D2L to accomplish this among other online learning opportunities now offered by Central Lakes. Classes offered via Live Online this year are in the disciplines of Accounting, Communication, Earth Science, Engineering, English, Math, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology and Spanish.
Winona State University
Winona State is ranked as the second-best public institution in Minnesota by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges,” has been named among the “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review for 13 years in a row and has been featured as one of America’s 100 Best College Buys for quality and value for 21 consecutive years. To continue to earn these distinctions Winona offers a wide range of courses and programs online to allow for further flexibility and affordability for its students. Programs in nursing, education, business and the sciences are currently offered.
Minnesota State University – Mankato
Minnesota State is a public research university that engages students learning experience with cutting edge research and a unique focus on real-world problem solving. Undergraduate programs are enhanced through the Undergraduate Research Center. Minnesota State University offers online programs and degrees for associate’s, bachelors, masters, and even graduate programs. It is currently one of the best universities offering online degrees in the state of Minnesota. Degree completion programs include applied organizational studies, international business, technical communication, dental hygiene, and RN to BSN. The school offers an Online Course Demo for new online students. Minnesota State also has licensure preparation for reading K–12 and library media education K–12. Distance learners have access to the Career Development Center, library services, the counseling center, and others. Online programs are taught through the Desire 2 Learn platform.
Northwest Technical College
Northwest Technical College offers certificates, diplomas, and degree programs online. The school’s online curriculum covers business, technology, and health and human services. Credentials earned in these areas are considered “stackable” – for example, credits from a certificate also apply to your pathway to earning a diploma. Students earning an associate degree can usually transfer directly to Bemidji State University and other state schools. Northwest Technical College is a part of Distance Minnesota, which is a consortium of five schools that work together to provide classes online.
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Lake Superior College
Lake Superior College is a public two-year community and technical college. The college offers pre-baccalaureate majors for students interested in transferring to 4-year educational institutions as well as more than 90 certificate, diploma and degree programs in career and technical fields. Lake Superior College offers online courses through its exclusive ed2go program.
Martin Luther College
The mission of Martin Luther College is to train a corps of Christian witnesses who are qualified to meet the ministry needs of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.” With staying true to the mission Martin Luther offers degrees in education and ministry. Whether students desire certification or degrees Martin Luther provides opportunities to earn both in a flexible online format.
Saint Cloud State University
Saint Cloud offers a variety of degree completion programs in an online format to better fit the needs of flexibility for students. One such program is the completion program in elective studies with a major in liberal studies, this degree can be completed with a number of different minors.
The BES degree can be completed with several majors and minors, including biology, music, and women’s studies. Saint Cloud is one of the best colleges in Minnesota for biology. Other degree completion programs include an associate of arts or science and RN to BSN. Saint Cloud is among online colleges in Minnesota to offer graduate degree and certificate programs online. Master’s programs include applied behavior analysis, electrical engineering, business administration, and more. Online courses are taught through D2L Brightspace. Students have access to the same benefits as traditional students such as tutoring and library services.
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota is a fully accredited public university that offers online courses and degrees. Degrees that are offered entirely online include a bachelor’s of applied health, a bachelor’s of applied science, a bachelor of arts, and a bachelor’s of manufacturing management. Currently several bachelor’s degrees in science are also offered online with concentrations in accounting, entrepreneurship, international business, and marketing. Students have the opportunity to pursue graduate and doctoral degrees, including graduate certificates. Like many online colleges in Minnesota, programs are offered in either a fully online, primarily online, or hybrid format. Programs that are taught partially online have about 80% of their classes online. Online resources include technology help, online access to the library, and tutorials and workshops.
Bemidji State University
Bemidji State University is nationally recognized for its programs in Industrial model-making and exhibit design. Bemidji offers degree completion programs, including accounting, applied management, criminal justice, marketing communication, and psychology. The university also offers several graduate degree and certificate programs. To qualify for these programs, students must have completed their first two years of college. Minors are available in business administration, criminal justice, fraud examination, and more. Hybrid programs are also available. Online students receive the same access to the Advising Success Center, careers services, tutoring, the Writing Resource Center, and more. Online courses are taught through Desire 2 Learn Brightspace.
Metropolitan State University – Minnesota
Metropolitan State University offers diverse degree programs, may of which do require the first two years to be completed on campus with the remainder available online. The online courses are known for their high quality and financial affordability. Online programs are taught through The Center for Online Learning (COL). The COL, which has been operating for more than a decade, works closely with faculty and staff to design distance courses. Online programs include business administration, finance, human resource management, management, marketing, and law enforcement. Bachelor of applied science degrees are available in industrial management and organizational administration, and one bachelor of arts degree is available in individualized studies. Online courses are taught through D2L Brightspace. Metropolitan State also offers graduate degrees and certificates completely online.
Minnesota State University-Moorhead
Minnesota State University-Moorhead offers the most to non-traditional students in flexibility and quality. Students have opportunities to engage in online only degrees and hybrid format degrees. Either avenue employ the same materials, and encourage interaction between professors and students. Undergraduate programs include business administration, RN to BSN, operations management, and project management. Students pursuing the project management degree take a range of classes to establish a strong business background, ensuring students leave the program well-equipped to design, execute, and monitor complex projects. For students that graduate with a “B” average or better in core project management classes, the university will pay for each student’s national certification. Graduate and undergraduate certificate programs are also available. Master’s programs include health administration, business administration, special education, and more.
University of Minnesota – Crookston
University of Minnesota – Crookston offers many courses completely online. There are various formats for students to take courses, some are exclusively online, others are face-to-face, while still others are a hybrid, where some coursework si completed online. Currently students can pursue online bachelor’s degrees in manufacturing operations management, tribal administration and governance, multidisciplinary studies, and more. Online undergraduate certificate, graduate certificate, graduate, and doctorate programs are also available. Master’s programs include health care administration, public health administration and policy, applied child and adolescent development, and business administration. Online students are treated as traditional students with in-state tuition, and they still have access to financial aid, making it a standout among online colleges in Minnesota. The school also accepts transfer credits.
University of Northwestern – St Paul
The University of Northwestern is one of the best liberal arts colleges in Minnesota. It is a private Christ-centered, liberal arts institution for higher education. Northwestern is proud to offer both quality and flexibility for its online students. The bachelor of arts in biblical studies online program is for students seeking a career in ministry; coursework includes spiritual formation, Christianity & culture, and theological philosophy. The university also offers early college, dual enrollment programs, and master’s programs. Graduate programs include education, human services, business administration, and organizational leadership. The school’s post-secondary enrollment option allows high school students to earn a free college education while completing their hish school diploma.
Students have the opportunity to take their desired program online in Argosy‘s interactive, user-friendly classroom where students can connect to faculty and resources without disconnecting from your professional and personal life. Students have access to a 24/7 classroom, connections to other online students, and career advisors. Degrees offered by Argosy include associate, bachelor’s and master degree programs in areas of business, criminal justice, liberal arts, information technology, and psychology.
Bethel University – Minnesota
Bethel University has been a leader of merging evangelical faith with academic education for over a century. The online programs offered by Bethel are no less different, they aim to prepare students with the foundational skills, experience, and knowledge needed to build a strong career and live a life with purpose. Bethel offers several formats for students to benefit from online learning: online-only, hybrid, and online-only with a required two-week annual on-campus intensive. Program format depends on the degree and concentration. Bachelor’s degrees include business management, Christian ministries, finance, human services, RN to BSN, and more. Seminary and graduate programs are also available. Staff members personally meet with and help students design their degree, get enrollment advising, and transfer credits.
Oak Hills Christian College
Oak Hills Christian College is where online education meets convenient, flexible and affordable. This is one college that offers associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees entirely online. As with most private Christian institutions for higher learning, Oak Hills provides an education founded on Bible principles. Online programs do have specific starting and ending dates that can be completed one unit at a time. Another added benefit Oak Hills offers is credit from a number of sources such as professional workshops, seminars, self study, and non-credit classes. Online bachelor’s degrees at Oak Hills include programs in business administration and leadership and ministry. The leadership major is designed for students seeking a career in a church or ministry setting. Ministry courses include advanced biblical studies courses.
Crown College has been educating students with a Christ-centered education for over 100 years. Students participate in bible study, fellowship groups, worship nights, and more. Crown has repeatedly ranked as an affordable online college among institutions of higher education in Minnesota.
Crown offers affordable online pre-college prep courses, associate, bachelor’s, graduate, minors, and certificate programs. Graduate programs include business administration, Christian studies, counseling, and global leadership. The college’s online programs instill students with the core principles needed to apply a Christian perspective to problems in the real world. All online degrees are self-paced. One of the greatest benefits Crown offers is the ability for online student collaboration with other students, professors, and academic advisors. The College offers several programs, including ten bachelor’s of science programs in disciplines such as alcohol and drug counseling, criminal justice, global and cultural studies, and more. The online library allows online students to access journals, books, articles, and more.
Saint Mary’s University
Saint Mary’s University has had ties with the Lasallian Catholic heritage and continues to be a top tier university. Our fully online programs allow busy adults the opportunity to reach career goals from anywhere Internet access is available. Some of these programs are RN to BSN, Accounting, Business, Education, MBA, Organizational Leadership, Public Administration, and Special Education.
Concordia University – Saint Paul
Concordia University is rooted in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, as such its mission states its purpose is “to prepare students for thoughtful and informed living, for dedicated service to God and humanity, for enlightened care of God’s creation, all within the context of the Christian Gospel.”
The university offers 53 majors, and maintains a small class size averaging a 16-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. The school has many online programs. Students can choose between two associate degrees, 19 bachelor’s degrees, and 20 master’s degrees. The school also has doctorate programs in physical therapy and education. Undergraduate programs include business, child development, criminal justice, family science, sports management, and more. The sports management program requires students to earn 45 credits, and courses last seven weeks. Graduates are prepared for careers as sports marketers, coaches, and athletic directors. The goal of all online programs at Concordia are to offer greater flexibility for students taking the courses and working towards their degrees. Concordia has an easy one-click upload for online assignments. Online students have access to great student support services, and professors are available to offer advice and answer questions. A last added benefit of Concordia is its designation as a military-friendly school.
North Central University
North Central University is a Christ-centered, Bible-based, Pentecostal school with a mission to continue its commitment to academic excellence that prepares students to fulfill biblical models of leadership and ministry throughout the world. The goal of an education from North Central is to have Christ part of every course. Pathways is the online degree completion format that North Central uses to enable students to graduate by finishing their degree with online courses.
Saint Johns University
Saint Johns University is a private institution for higher learning rooted in the Roman Catholic Church that has been operating since 1857. Degrees available are Business Administration and Management, General; Accounting; Economics, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; and Computer Science.
The College of Saint Scholastica
The College of Saint Scholastica is a private Catholic College with deep Benedictine roots that has served students with a higher education for over a century. Saint Scholastica has had years of experience with distance education and the online education offered now continues to assist students reach their educational goals. Distance learners can choose between several online bachelor’s programs, including accounting, computer information systems, management, and organizational behavior. Certificate, licensure, graduate, and doctorate programs are also available online. Saint Scholastica has two learning formats: online courses and virtual classrooms. Online courses are dynamic, and filled with tools, presentations, and interactive discussions. Virtual classrooms are synchronous and allow students and professors to come together live, with video and audio conferencing technology. Student services include counseling, tutoring, and personal advising services, where students can get assistance designing an individual course plan to reach academic goals.
Augsburg University educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.
Hamline is a private liberal arts college with its roots in the Methodist Church for over a century. Currently Hamline offers numerous Master degrees that can be completed online in disciplines such as ESL, Education, Public Administration, TESOL, and other educational disciplines. Students and adults alike can also obtain online certificates and licensure in a variety of areas.
Academy College has a simple mission, to provide quality education through career programs that are designed to enable students to succeed personally and in their careers. Currently, Academy College offers degrees and certification in areas of business accounting and computer technology. Most students can complete their degrees in as little as 3 years with year-round classes.
For information on how this list was created and ordered, please visit our methodology page.