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 Michigan. 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.
Do you ever feel like there’s just not enough time in the day to accomplish everything on your to-do list, let alone finding the time to attend class and get the degree you’ve been thinking about? Well, you’re not alone! Online colleges in Michigan were designed precisely for people like you.
Not everyone has the time to drive to campus and attend classes that may or may not line up with their schedule. Online learning is becoming a much more popular option for students in the United States so they can learn at their own pace, learn on their own time, and even save money on living costs. Getting your degree online will help you take a step toward a better future. Take a look below to find the best school for you!
|1||Central Michigan University||Mount Pleasant, Michigan|
|2||Davenport University||Grand Rapids, Michigan|
|3||Ferris State University||Big Rapids, Michigan|
|4||Andrews University||Berrien Springs, Michigan|
|5||Saginaw Valley State University||University Center, Michigan|
The Top Colleges in Michigan
Central Michigan University
Central Michigan University was founded in 1892 and has since delivered educational opportunities. Today it offers challenging and engaging online courses to those seeking undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees. The fully online programs provide education in areas including political science, liberal arts, health, and education. CMU also offers short certificate programs that are geared toward working professionals and accelerated bachelors to master’s degree programs where students can take 12 online credits of master’s degree-level coursework as an undergraduate. Online courses are offered in different formats from eight to sixteen weeks.
Davenport University is a private, nonprofit institution that offers nearly 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered by the Colleges of Business, Arts and Sciences, Health Professions, Urban Education, and Technology. Most online courses are taught asynchronously, though some instructors broadcast their courses in real-time. Adult learners receive considerable support, including a generous credit transfer policy and school credit for relevant professional experience. Distance learners from out-of-state are eligible for a tuition discount as well.
Ferris State University
Ferris State is a public university that was founded in 1884 that is dedicated to helping all students earn a baccalaureate education. FSU actually accepts more transfer students than any other four-year college in the state! It offers distance learners a wide range of online programs including bachelor-completion and master’s degrees, and undergraduate and graduate certificates. While online courses are mostly offered asynchronously, some classes do contain on-site elements, such as a summer lab session or practicum.
Andrews University was founded in 1874 and has since provided an education based on practical Christianity, scholarship, and research. Unlike other online schools, Andrews does not offer full undergraduate degree programs online for nontraditional students. However, it does provide distance learners with many courses to choose from, which is particularly valuable for students looking to meet graduation deadlines at another institution. The courses offered by the university include undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting, economics, English, and psychology. At Andrews, online courses have no specific class meeting times, so virtual lessons, group discussions, readings, and presentations are all experienced online at the student’s own schedule. Online course offerings are limited to a few topics each semester.
Saginaw Valley State University
Saginaw Valley State is a public university and is one of many online colleges in Michigan that offer both graduate and undergraduate programs in a distance format. The school strives to accommodate adult students, both by providing evening classes and by encouraging students to take distance courses. SVSU offers a variety of classes and programs online and in a hybrid format.
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Cornerstone University is one of the best christian colleges in Michigan . It is an independent evangelical Christian college that started as an evening Bible Institute in 1941. Today it offers undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs to distance learners. All CU Online classes are facilitated through the Moodle learning management platform. Course schedules vary but are generally eight or 16 weeks in length.
University of Michigan – Flint
The Flint campus of the University of Michigan was first opened to 167 students in 1956, over 100 years after the first mention of such a campus. It received accreditation in 1970 and today offers quality education to over 8,600 students and flexible learning opportunities for nontraditional students. Those taking online classes will use the Blackboard course management system with courses beginning on the same day as the corresponding on-campus courses.
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University is a public university that was founded in 1849 as the Michigan State Normal School. Its online programs designed to meet the needs of working professionals and follow and normal semester schedule. It offers many programs, certifications, and individual courses for online learning, including bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, HR and educational certificates, all through the Canvas online learning platform. Also, all distance learning students can receive in-state tuition rates regardless of their residency!
Spring Arbor University
Spring Arbor University is a small private university that is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church and delivers a liberal arts education from a Christian perspective. All distance courses at SAU are offered in seven-week blocks, and classes are delivered asynchronously. Where applicable, distance learners are expected to arrange to complete on-site curriculum requirements at an approved facility.
Washtenaw Community College
Washtenaw Community College is one of the best community colleges in Michigan. It was founded in 1959 with a mind to provide the community with strong technical and workforce training. Today, Washtenaw teaches about 1,500 classes a year in business, manufacturing, humanities, arts, healthcare, and media. It also has an agreement with many 4-year colleges in Michigan to make transferring easy. So if you’re looking for a course to take online, check out WCC’s more than 18 online programs!
Siena Heights University
Siena Heights has been offering online classes and online bachelor degree programs for more than a decade and has designed such programs around the working adult. Each class can be taken in either an eight- or ten-week format to accommodate students’ busy schedules. A unique offering among online colleges in Michigan is SHU’s bachelors of applied science degree. This degree is suited for working professionals who want to have a hand in designing their degree! This program allows students to build a tailored degree track around an already completed major.
Northwood University – Michigan
Northwood University was founded in 1959, holding its first classes in a former mansion in Alma, Michigan. Today, Northwood focuses its efforts on business education and offers several online degrees such as a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree, an online MBA, and online degrees in accounting, automotive marketing and management, computer information management, entrepreneurship, finance and healthcare management.
University of Michigan – Dearborn
Though UM’s Dearborn campus is much smaller than the flagship university in Ann Arbor, UM-Dearborn offers 16 online graduate degree programs designed around the working adult. It uses the Canvas learning management platform to deliver its distance education curriculum. Courses are generally taught asynchronously, though some professors may require occasional time-sensitive log-ins. It was also ranked sixth among masters-level public universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. The university was among the highest-rated, regional public universities in Michigan.
Students who are looking to enroll at an online college should definitely consider Oakland University. It’s a top choice due to its flexible class schedules, great real-world internships, and research opportunities. The online courses offered by Oakland include finance, language, science, and public health. Interested students can enroll online and will be required to pass an online typing test to be admitted to the university.
Northern Michigan University
NMU’s global campus is designed for both first-time students and working professionals looking to start or complete their degree. These online programs can be taken entirely online, or in a hybrid format that uses distance learning and traditional seated classes. Distance learners can pursue an associate of science in criminal justice, or bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice or loss prevention management. The loss prevention program is unique among online colleges in Michigan and caters to specialists and managers in loss prevention who want to learn about the best practices in this field in an academic context. NMU also offers a variety of online master’s degree options, particularly within the School of Education. It also caters to guest students who are regularly enrolled at another college or university and would like to earn credits to transfer from NMU to their home institution.
University of Detroit Mercy
The University of Detroit Mercy is a private Catholic institution that offers higher education programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Since it’s a small school, UDM is able to maintain an optimal student-to-faculty ratio, and the average class has just 11 students. UDM’s online education programs are targeted toward graduate students, with nursing professionals enjoying a particularly comprehensive amount of programs. They are offered two-year master’s degree programs available in clinical nurse leadership, health systems management, and nursing education. Non-degree-seeking nurses can choose from a handful of graduate certificate programs. For business-minded students, master’s degrees in finance, economics, information systems, and cybersecurity are also available entirely online. UDM uses Blackboard as its online platform to deliver its online courses. While all coursework can be completed online, any required practical experiences must be arranged at a facility approved by the department.
Henry Ford College
Henry Ford College offers more than 100 programs that prepare students for careers directly out of school or for transfer to a 4-year college or university to continue their work on a bachelor’s degree. In addition to its numerous association degrees and certification programs, HFC offers its first bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts. HFC’s programs are offered in a variety of academic areas, including business and IT, health sciences, the arts, fitness, and several others.
HFC offers multiple Pathway programs for highly motivated high school students, including Dual Enrollment and Advancement Plus, which offers students with above-average academic status the opportunity to take more challenging college-level courses for credit. The College’s Inside Track Mentoring program, designed for first-time students, is a set of comprehensive services that include financial workshops and counseling, along with guidance and support from older students.
The Learning Lab provides all students with in-person tutoring, test preparation, computer-assisted learning programs, and other helpful resources. HFC offers a four-year tuition freeze rate for students who graduate within four years. An active campus community includes short-term study abroad programs and a Cultural Friendship Program, which pairs HFC international students with students and faculty.
Wayne State University
WSU was founded in 1868 by a group of civil war doctors who envisioned a better world through better medicine. What started as the Detroit Medical College has now become one of the 50 largest public universities in the United States. WSU’s online offerings include a bachelor’s in social work and master’s degrees in criminal justice, library and information science, and theatre and dance with a teaching artistry concentration, among others. Distance learners can also pursue a variety of online certificates in education, business, and more. All online courses are facilitated through the Blackboard learning management platform and taught by campus-based faculty. Classes follow the traditional semester calendar and are taught asynchronously, though some instructors may occasionally require timed online attendance.
Jackson College was founded as Jackson Junior College in 1928 and operated as a division of the Jackson Union School District. In June 2013, in light of the College’s decision to begin development of curriculum for two bachelor degree programs and increased efforts in international studies, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name to Jackson College. Jackson College’s online classes teach the same concepts as the traditional classroom courses but eliminate time and place restrictions which let students study when it fits their lifestyle. There are ten online programs to choose from, one of which is Jackson’s online medical sonography program, one of only two institutions in the nation to have its online medical sonography programs fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Michigan Technological University
MTU is known for its academically rigorous programs, both on-campus and online. For distance learners in the United States, MTU offers eight post-baccalaureate degrees in engineering, science education, geospatial technology, and medical informatics entirely online. These flexible programs allow students to pursue their degree through a thesis or non-thesis option. Practical experience substitute for other requirements like design projects or other coursework. Distance learners can also pursue various certificate programs and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering online. The courses are delivered through the Canvas learning platform and are taught asynchronously, though some professors choose to live-stream their courses for distance learners who want to follow along in real time.
Kettering University was founded in 1919 after Dr. Charles F. Kettering, the man who invented the self-starter in automobiles. He was also General Motor’s director of Research Laboratories, and it was possibly him who convinced General Motors to take over the then-struggling Flint Institute of Technology in 1926 and rename it General Motors Institute. Today Kettering University offers nine online graduate degrees and certificates for students to choose from.
Grace Bible College
Grace Bible College delivers a Christian education in a format that’s designed for busy adults. This private school builds every program’s curriculum on a foundation of general education, Biblical and theological study, and vocation. Outside of the traditional classroom, Grace also makes some of its associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs available via evening classes or distance education. The school’s two-year and four-year online programs in leadership and ministry, business, or human services can be completed entirely online. Adults who have already completed an associate degree or its equivalent can choose to transfer credits to earn their bachelor’s degree online.
Lawrence Technological University
Lawrence Technological University (LTU), established in 1932, has a reputation for excellence. Lawrence Tech’s recent awards and recognitions include a Top 30% ranking of universities nationwide by Bloomberg Businessweek, a “Best in the Midwest” designation from the Princeton Review, and for the past 20 years LTU has been highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report. LTU began offering some of its most popular degrees online in 2006. Today, master’s degrees are offered in architecture, business, information technology, and engineering. Graduate certificates in cybersecurity, project management, and public interest design are also offered online.
Kirtland Community College
Kirtland Community College is a great place to start for people who want to get a better job, a new job, or an advanced degree. It offers students the option of getting an online associate degree in accounting, business administration, business management, and health information technology. It also offers two online certificates 100 percent online—one to become an accounting clerk and another in entrepreneurship. Students can complete their online degree programs by taking a combination of classes through KCC as well as Michigan College Online.
Lansing Community College
Lansing Community College was established in 1957 and offers certificates and degrees in four areas: career and workforce development, general education, developmental education, and personal enrichment. LCC offers online students access to everything on-campus students have, including advising, the library, and financial aid.
Adrian College has recently experienced enormous growth, which has received national recognition. Adrian offers 40 majors and pre-professional programs as well as 32 athletic programs for those who enjoy activities. Adrian is associated with the United Methodist church and is dedicated to helping students grow a more socially just society.
Hope College is a four-year institute where Christian faith and academic excellence come together to create a unique college experience. Chartered in 1866, Hope was created to enhance education and inspire a passion for knowledge that will blossom into wisdom. Hope also offers off-campus studies with over 300 programs in 60 different countries.
Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University was founded in 1903 and is a learner-centered, discovery-driven, public college. Students attending WMU enjoy over 200 top-notch programs, teachers, facilities and hands-on learning opportunities. WMU maintains student flexibility by providing undergraduate and graduate programs online.
Grand Valley State University
All of the classes at GVSU are already available so that they are available to students at any time throughout the year. The accessibility allows students to have maximum flexibility with time management of the courses they take. Many of the programs at GVSU also lead to a state teaching endorsement, which allows students to find employment upon graduation immediately. GVSU also offers some hybrid courses that enable students to complete coursework online, while still being able to meet with their counselors, administrators, and faculty face to face.
Best Colleges in Michigan Ranking Process
These schools are ranked by the number of academic programs that are offered, by the cost of tuition per credit, and other factors.
We know that finding the best school to fit your unique needs is a huge challenge. For that reason, we work hard to develop lists of the best schools based on the characteristics most important for you. Whether that be the cost of attendance, student success, resources available, flexibility of schedule, or any other number of important factors, we’ve got you covered. For more information about our ranking process and to find lists of schools based on specific characteristics, check out our methodology page.
If you are associated with a school on this list and would like to make edits or add additional information, or you would like to add your school’s program to our list, please feel free to contact us with additional information.