Continuing our series of best online college by state rankings, we have examined all online colleges in North Carolina and chosen to showcase the top 20 schools, based on the methodology stated below.
For this Top 20 Best Online Colleges ranking, we have rated each and every North Carolina-located college and university that has online academic programs available for distance-learning students. We then ranked the top 20 of those schools from the lowest scoring school to the highest. The combined score (each school’s final score) was obtained by adding the two rates that we used for our ranking criteria together (Freshman Retention Rates and Graduation Rates). This combination yields a maximum possible score of 200 and a minimum possible score of 2.
There are 66 online colleges and universities in the state of North Carolina that offer distance-learning students a selection of online and asynchronous academic programs.
North Carolina was the first state in the United States to open a public university — the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — in 1795; six years after the state became a member of the Union. Graduating its first class in 1798, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the only public institution to award students with higher education degrees in the 18th century.
We have ranked each of the North Carolina-based schools that offer to their distance-learning students a choice of online academic programs based on the following ranking criteria:
- 50%: Freshman Retention Rates and;
- 50%: Graduation Rates
To gather the information that was required to rank each school based on this ranking methodology, we have utilized each school’s website whenever possible to get the two rates that we were in pursuit of. In instances that this information was unavailable or incomplete directly from the school’s own website, we used the databases of both U.S. News and World Report and of National Center for Education Statistics. In cases where two or more schools were tied for a spot in this article, we used the alphabetical ordering of their names as our designated tie-breaking criterion. The first criteria — Freshmen Retention Rates — is the rate that a school can retain a student from their freshman year to their sophomore year. The second criteria–Graduation Rate–is the percentage of students who graduate from their degree program within a “reasonable amount of time,” which is reported by most schools as being a six-year time frame. We chose these two rates as the components to score each school upon due to the fact that, when looked at together, they give a solid overview of how capable each school is at providing students with a high-quality and comprehensive education.
We also consulted our notable ranking of the top 100 best online colleges when ranking these colleges and universities.
20: Gardner-Webb University
Gardner-Webb University is a private and not-for-profit four-year liberal arts university which is located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. Gardner-Webb University — which is commonly referred to as Gardner-Webb or just GWU — was originally established in 1905 as the Boiling Springs High School. GWU has also been known as the Boiling Springs Junior College; the Gardner-Webb Junior College and; Gardner-Webb College before being named Gardner-Webb University 1993; meaning Gardner-Webb University went from operating as a high school to a university in the relatively short span of 88 years.
Gardner-Webb University today has a wide variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs, and certification programs which span across an impressive amount of varying areas-of-study from which students can choose. Both traditional on-campus students and distance-learning students can access this selection as many of the offered academic programs are available in an online and asynchronous format. These include their fully online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Administration degree program and their Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree program among many others.
Gardner-Webb University’s campus is home to the E. B. Hamrick Hall, which is not only the oldest building on the campus (having been built in 1920) but was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service in 1982. Also located on the university’s campus is the John R. Dover Memorial Library, which is home to numerous literary and literary-related exhibits, examples and collections.
School’s Website: https://www.gardner-webb.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 73.0%
Graduation Rate: 52.0%
Final Score: 125.0/200
19: Campbell University
Campbell University is a private and not-for-profit four-year liberal arts university which is located in Buies Creek, North Carolina. Campbell University was originally established in 1887 by the North Carolina-native minister James Archibald Campbell (1862 – 1934) and was formerly known as the Buies Creek Academy. In 1926, the school attained junior college status and, due to this, changed its name from Buies Creek Academy to Campbell Junior College. In 1961, Campbell Junior College became a senior college, and the name was changed again. For this second name change, the name became its present-day name of Campbell University, which clearly expresses the institution’s ability to confer graduate degrees upon eligible students.
Campbell University is organized into ten academic schools and colleges, which are: the College of Arts and Sciences; the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business; the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law; the Campbell University Divinity School; the Catherine W. Wood School of Nursing; the Campbell University School of Education; the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine; the Campbell University School of Pharmacy; the Campbell University School of Engineering and; the Campbell University School of Adult and Online Education. Through these ten academic divisions, the more than 7,000 total enrolled students can choose from a selection of undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, or professional certifications, all of which span across many areas-of-study.
The Campbell University School of Adult and Online Education has undergraduate degree programs available which can be completed at the Fort Bragg Military Installation, at the Camp Lejune Military Installation, at the Raleigh Triangle Campus (known as the RTP Campus) and that can be completed fully online in an asynchronous format. One of these fully online and asynchronous programs which are offered through the Campbell University School of Adult and Online Education is their highly popular Bachelor of Business Administration degree program. This program is just one of many programs which are designed to provide distance-learning students with a flexible, high-quality education.
School’s Website: https://www.campbell.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 74.0%
Graduation Rate: 53.0%
Final Score: 127.0/200
18: Queens University of Charlotte
The Queens University of Charlotte is a private, not-for-profit, Presbyterian-affiliated comprehensive four-year university which is located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Queens University of Charlotte was originally established in 1857 as the Charlotte Female Institute. It would be known by this name until 1891. From 1891 to 1896, it would be referred to as the Seminary for Girls and would operate as a women’s only school. In 1896, the Concord and Mecklenburg Presbyteries chartered the Presbyterian Female College. The Seminary for Girls merged with this new college. The Seminary underwent another name change in 1912. In anticipation of the planned move to the Myers Park neighborhood of Charlotte, the school’s name was changed to Queens College. A coeducational Evening College was established in 1948 that provided instruction for adults. The school, however, did not become fully coeducational until 1987. Queens College underwent a final name change to its present-day name in 2002. This last name change occurred as a celebration due to the college achieving a University Level rank by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching after the college added more Master’s degree program offerings to what was already available to attending students.
The Queens University of Charlotte has more than 40 student-run clubs and organizations, which includes numerous social clubs, philanthropic clubs, academic clubs, and professional clubs. Additionally, The Queens University of Charlotte also has a strong Greek Letter life, with six sororities and one fraternity being present and active on-campus; Alpha Delta Pi (the Beta Iota Chapter); Chi Omega (the Theta Gamma Chapter); Kappa Delta (the Alpha Omicron Chapter); Phi Mu (the Gamma Gamma Chapter); Alpha Kappa Alpha (the Tau Beta Chapter); Zeta Phi Beta (the Sigma Upsilon Chapter) and; Pi Kappa Phi (the Eta Zeta Chapter).
School’s Website: https://www.queens.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 74.0%
Graduation Rate: 53.0%
Final Score: 127.0/200
17: Wingate University
Wingate University is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts university located in Wingate, North Carolina which operates an extension campus in Charlotte and another extension campus in Hendersonville.
Wingate University was originally established in 1896. Wingate University has a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1 and firmly believes that smaller class sizes lead students to a more solid academic foundation which leads to graduates that are more well-equipped to enact positive change in their chosen careers and the world as a whole.
Wingate University provides students with a varied selection of academic programs; 35 undergraduate majors, 34 undergraduate minors, 12 career-specific concentrations, and 9 graduate degree-granting programs are all available from which students can make a selection. The 13 graduate programs are divided into 9 Master’s degree programs and 4 Doctoral degree programs. The Master’s degree programs which are offered are: Master of Accounting, Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, Master of Arts in Elementary Education, Master of Arts in Elementary Education Dual Degree Option, Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Elementary Education, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in Sports Management, Master of Arts in Sports Management Dual Degree Option, and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS). The five available Doctoral degree programs are a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Community College Executive Leadership, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in School Superintendency, and an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in School Superintendency.
Wingate University also offers an international study tour program called W’International and has done so since 1978. After attending a one-hour seminar once a week during the regular semester, students will then be able to travel to their chosen destination with a faculty member after classes end. After arriving at their destination, students will be able to engage in various international study program activities that combine lectures, traditional studies, and experiential studies into a single dynamic academic program.
School’s Website: https://www.wingate.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 73.0%
Graduation Rate: 54.0%
Final Score: 127.0/200
16: University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (which is commonly referred to simply as UNC Greensboro) is a public research university located in Greensboro, North Carolina.
UNC Greensboro was originally established in 1891 by an act of the North Carolina State Legislature and was initially known as the State Normal and Industrial School, a women’s only school for teachers. In 1896, the school’s name was changed to the State Normal and Industrial College and again to the North Carolina College for Women in 1919. The college’s name of North Carolina College for Women would then be changed to the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina in 1932. The institution’s name would again be altered a final time to its present-day name in 1963.
Today the University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers its nearly 20,000 total enrolled students a selection of more than 100 undergraduate degree programs, 61 Master’s degree programs, 26 Doctoral degree programs and a myriad of certification programs. These academic programs cover numerous different areas-of-study, and many are available in an online and asynchronous format, such as their Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Administration degree program, for example.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has given UNC Greensboro the designation of being a Research University with a High Research Activity rating and the designation of being a Community Engagement University for the school’s efforts in community outreach, partnerships and encouraging community engagement through various program curriculum.
School’s Website: https://www.uncg.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 77.0%
Graduation Rate: 56.0%
Final Score: 133.0/200
15: Johnson & Wales University-Charlotte Campus
Johnson & Wales University-Charlotte Campus is a private, not-for-profit career-oriented liberal arts university which is located in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Johnson & Wales University was originally established in 1914 by Gertrude I. Johnson, and Mary T. Wales (two friends that were both college-educated teachers) and the university was initially operated as a business school.
JWU Charlotte–as the university is commonly referred to as–is just one of five regional campuses that operate under the Johnson & Wales University school system. The largest and oldest campus is located in Providence, Rhode Island and is the site of the initial school that was set-up by JWU founders Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales. This campus is known as JWU Providence Downcity. Also located in Providence, Rhode Island is the JWU Providence Harborside campus. There is also a JWU campus which is located in Miami, Florida (JWU North Miami) and one that is based in Denver, Colorado (JWU Denver).
Johnson & Wales University is currently organized into four academic units at four of its different campuses; these units are the College of Business; the College of Culinary Arts; the Hospitality College and; the College of Arts and Sciences. It’s through these units that more than 17,000 students that are enrolled at one of the JWU campuses are provided a varied selection of undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and certification programs. Distance-learning students are also able to enroll in an academic program, with 11 online Bachelor’s degrees and nine online Master’s degree programs being available.
Johnson & Wales University is well known for its culinary arts, business, and hospitality programs and is the largest food service educator in the world. The university owns and operates numerous hotels which are used as practicum education facilities for the university’s Hotel & Lodging Management, Food Service Management and Culinary Arts degree programs. JWU Charlotte owns and operates the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Charlotte, a 3-star hotel that consistently receives praise for its hospitality and customer service.
School’s Website: https://www1.jwu.edu/charlotte/
Freshman Retention Rate: 76.0%
Graduation Rate: 58.0%
Final Score: 134.0/200
14: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (which is commonly referred to simply as UNC Charlotte) is a public research university which is located in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte was originally established in 1946 by the State of North Carolina as the Charlotte Center of the University of North Carolina. In 1949, the Charlotte Center was taken over by the city school district, and its name was changed to Charlotte College. It began operating as a two-year collegiate institution at this time. The college became state-supported in 1958 when it joined the newly formed North Carolina Community College System. The college moved to its current location in 1961 and, in 1963, Charlotte College became a four-year college. In 1965, its name was changed to its present-day name when it became a member of the Consolidated University of North Carolina system.
Today the University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers its nearly 29,000 total enrolled students a selection of 85 Bachelor’s degree programs, 63 Master’s degree programs and 21 Doctoral programs. Fifteen different degree and certificate programs are offered to distance-learning students in an online and asynchronous format. UNC Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
UNC Charlotte is organized into nine colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the College of Arts and Architecture; the Cato College of Education; the College of Health and Human Services; the William States Lee College of Engineering; the College of Computing and Informatics; the Belk College of Business; the University College; the Honors College and; the Graduate School.
School’s Website: https://www.uncc.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 83.0%
Graduation Rate: 53.0%
Final Score: 136.0/200
13: Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University is a public, four-year liberal arts university which is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina.
Western Carolina University — or WCU as it is commonly referred to — was originally established by Robert Lee Madison in 1889 as the Cullowhee Academy or the Cullowhee High School. The school was initially chartered as a semi-public secondary educational institution. In 1893 the school was designated as a normal school by the North Carolina Legislature, making it the first state-supported normal school in the state of North Carolina. In 1905, the State assumed title to the school’s buildings and property and transformed it into a state institution. During that same year, the school’s name was changed to Cullowhee Normal and Industrial School. In 1925, the school’s name was changed again, this time to Cullowhee State Normal School. During its time as a normal school, the school’s primary purpose was to train teachers to serve the surrounding communities. Over time the school evolved into a junior college and in 1929 it was chartered by the State Legislature as a four-year institution and renamed to the Western Carolina Teachers College. The school’s name was changed again in 1953 to Western Carolina College and again to its present-day name of Western Carolina University in 1967 when it was designated as a regional university by the North Carolina General Assembly.
In 1972, Western Carolina University became a member of the University of North Carolina school system. WCU today offers a wide variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certification programs for traditional on-campus students and distance-learning students. WCU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
School’s Website: https://www.wcu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 80.0%
Graduation Rate: 57.0%
Final Score: 137.0/200
12: University of North Carolina at Asheville
The University of North Carolina at Asheville (which is commonly referred to simply as UNC Asheville) is a public four-year liberal arts university which is located in Asheville, North Carolina.
UNC Asheville was originally established in 1927 as the Buncombe County Junior College. In 1930 the school merged with the College of the City of Asheville (which was founded in 1928) to form the Biltmore Junior College. In 1934 the college was renamed to Biltmore College and was placed under the control of a board of trustees. In 1936 the name was changed again, this time to Asheville-Biltmore College and control of the college was transferred to the Asheville City Schools in the same year. In 1961 Asheville-Biltmore College moved to the present UNC Asheville campus location in Asheville, and in 1963 it became a state-supported four-year college. It underwent a final name change to its current name in 1969 upon becoming a part of the Consolidated University of North Carolina System.
UNC Asheville is designated as one of three liberal arts universities which are member-institutions of that system and has been classified as a Liberal Arts I institution since 1992. Today, UNC Asheville has nearly 4,000 enrolled students, each of which is seeking an undergraduate degree in one of 36 different majors; many of which are available to distance-learning students in an online and asynchronous program format.
UNC Asheville is home to the Botanical Gardens at Asheville, which is a 10-acre not-for-profit botanical garden located adjacent to the UNC Asheville campus proper. The gardens are open daily and do not charge visitors an entry fee. The gardens emphasize plants which are native to the southern Appalachian Mountains, and specimens representing approximately 700 different species of flora are present, including indigenous and exotic trees, shrubs, wildflowers, vines, ferns, lichens and various aquatic plants.
School’s Website: https://www.unca.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 79.0%
Graduation Rate: 60.0%
Final Score: 139.0/200
11: East Carolina University
Commonly referred to simply as ECU, the East Carolina University is a public sea-grant research university which is located in Greenville, North Carolina.
East Carolina University was originally established by an act of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1907 and was formerly known as the East Carolina Teachers Training School. In 1920 the East Carolina Teachers Training School became a four-year institution and was renamed to East Carolina Teachers College. 1951 the college’s name was changed yet again, this time to East Carolina College. The name was changed a final time to its present-day name in 1967. In 1972, ECU was incorporated into the University of North Carolina System.
Today East Carolina University is the third largest university in the State of North Carolina based on student enrollment size, with total enrollment nearly exceeding 29,000 total students.
ECU is organized into nine undergraduate colleges, one graduate school and four professional schools through which traditional on-campus students and distance-learning students can enroll into one of the many undergraduate degree programs, graduate degree programs and certification programs that are offered. Two such academic programs which are available online for distance-learning students is the university’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program and their Lean Six-Sigma Black-Belt (LSSBB) certification program, among many others.
School’s Website: https://www.ecu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 80.0%
Graduation Rate: 62.0%
Final Score: 142.0/200
10: Salem College
Salem College is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts women’s college which is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Salem College was originally established in 1772. The school was originally created by Sister Elisabeth Oesterlein when she was 23 and was initially known as the Little Girls’ School. It became a boarding school in 1802, and in 1866 it changed its name to the Salem Female Academy. In 1907 the name was officially changed to Salem Academy and College and to this day both the Salem Academy (which is still in operation as a boarding school for girls) and Salem College share the campus in nearby Old Salem, a historic district of the city of Winston-Salem. Salem College was founded long enough ago (1772) that it would have been considered one of the original Colonial Colleges, but because it wasn’t chartered until 1866, it wasn’t operating as a college for the first 94 years of its history. This makes it one of ten similar institutions. The other nine that are old enough to have been a Colonial College but were not chartered at the time are: King William’s School, Annapolis (established: 1696 and chartered: 1784; absorbed by St. John’s College); Kent County Free School (established: 1723 and chartered: 1782; later incorporated by Washington College); Bethlehem Female Seminary (established: 1742 and chartered: 1863); Free School (founded: 1743 and chartered: 1833); Augusta Academy (established: 1749 and chartered: 1782); College of Charleston (established: 1770 and chartered: 1785); Pittsburgh Academy (established: 1770 and chartered: 1787); Dickinson College (established: 1773 and chartered: 1783) and; Hampden-Sydney College (established: 1775 and chartered: 1783).
Salem College has a cross-registration relationship with Wake Forest University, in which undergraduate students at Salem College may take classes at Wake Forest’s Reynolda Campus when a particular course is not offered at Salem College and vice versa. Salem is also home to the Salem College Center for Women Writers, a writing program which that awards women authors with annual prizes and literary awards, including the Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award, Rita Dove Poetry Award, and the Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award.
School’s Website: https://www.salem.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 83.0%
Graduation Rate: 60.0%
Final Score: 143.0/200
9: High Point University
High Point University is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts university which is located in High Point, North Carolina.
High Point University was originally established in 1924 as the High Point College. The name wasn’t changed to High Point University until 1991. HPU — which is what High Point University is commonly referred to — offers more than 4,000 total enrolled students a selection of 47 undergraduate majors, 51 undergraduate minors and 12 graduate degree majors to choose from, in addition to a variety of certifications which are available. Many of these academic programs are also available online, allowing distance-learning students to enroll in them.
In the 2016 U.S. News and World Report rankings for regional universities, HPU was ranked as the first best Best Regional College in the South Region for the fourth consecutive year and was ranked as the first best university in the “Most Innovative Regional College in the South” category. In the same academic year, HPU boasted a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1, which means each of the university’s 4,000+ students were provided with a more personalized and hands-on education than what they might have received elsewhere.
High Point University is organized into eight schools and colleges: the David R. Hayworth College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Education; the Earl N. Phillips School of Business; the School of Art and Design; the Congdon School of Health Sciences; the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy; the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication and; the Norcross Graduate School. It’s through these eight academic divisions that the school’s undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs, and professional certificate-granting programs are taught by HPU’s dedicated and qualified academic faculty members. These same teachers are also the ones that teach the university’s numerous online and asynchronous degree programs, ensuring that these programs are not only highly flexible but also are high-quality in nature.
School’s Website: https://www.highpoint.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 81.0%
Graduation Rate: 65.0%
Final Score: 146.0/200
8: University of North Carolina at Wilmington
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (which is commonly referred to simply as UNC Wilmington) is a public research university which is located in Wilmington, North Carolina.
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington was originally established in 1947 as Wilmington College. In 1958, Wilmington College was placed under the Community College Act of North Carolina, passing control from the New Hanover County Board of Education to a board of trustees as a state-supported college under the supervision of the North Carolina Board of Higher Education. Under the control of the New Hanover County Board of Education, Wilmington College earned accreditation from the North Carolina College Conference in 1948 and became a member of the American Association of Junior Colleges. Further certification was bestowed on the college in 1952 from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), a United States Department of Education approved regional accrediting body. Wilmington College became a senior college in 1963 when the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation which allowed the university to award eligible students with Bachelor’s degrees. Six years later in 1969, the name of the school was changed a final time to its present-day name of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, making UNC Wilmington the fifth campus of the University of North Carolina school system.
Today UNC Wilmington offers its more than 15,000 total enrolled students a choice of 54 different Bachelor’s degree programs, 29 Master’s degree programs and four Doctoral degree programs (an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership; a Ph.D. in Marine Biology, a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice).
School’s Website: https://uncw.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 85.0%
Graduation Rate: 71.0%
Final Score: 156.0/200
7: Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University is a comprehensive public university which is located in Boone, North Carolina.
ASU, which Appalachian State University is commonly referred to, was originally established in 1899 and was formerly known as the Watauga Academy and was operated as a teacher’s school. In 1903 a bill became law making the Watauga Academy a state-sponsored school. The same year, the Academy’s name was changed to the Appalachian Training School for Teachers. The name would be modified again in 1925 to the Appalachian State Normal School and again in 1929 to the Appalachian State Teachers College. The Appalachian State Teachers College attained national standards by becoming accredited by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) in 1939 and later by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 1942. In 1967 the college underwent a final name change, this time to its present-day name of Appalachian State University. In 1972 Appalachian State University became a member institution of the University of North Carolina educational system.
Today ASU offers more than 19,000 total enrolled students a myriad of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs, and professional and trade-oriented certificate-granting programs from which to choose. A number of these are available in an online and asynchronous format such as their Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree program and their Gerontology graduate certification program, among many others which spanning numerous areas-of-study.
School’s Website: https://www.appstate.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 86.0%
Graduation Rate: 71.0%
Final Score: 157.0/200
6: North Carolina State University at Raleigh
North Carolina State University at Raleigh is a public land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant research university which is located in Raleigh, North Carolina.
North Carolina State University at Raleigh was originally established by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1887 as the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. In 1918, the school’s name was changed to North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering. During the Great Depression in 1931, the North Carolina state government combined the University of North Carolina, the Woman’s College at Greensboro and North Carolina State University together. The product of this merger became the University of North Carolina. In 1962, State College officials desired to change the institution’s name to North Carolina State University. Consolidated university administrators approved a switch to the University of North Carolina at Raleigh and in 1963 State College officially became North Carolina State of the University of North Carolina. This occurred despite numerous protests against the name change, and in 1965, after two more years of protests, the name was changed again to its present-day name of North Carolina State University at Raleigh.
Today NCSU (which is what North Carolina State University at Raleigh is commonly referred to) is one of 16 campuses that constitute the University of North Carolina educational system. NCSU is organized into 11 different colleges and schools through which its more than 34,000 total enrolled students can pursue an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree or a professional certification, both on-campus and online. These 11 academic divisions are: the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the College of Design; the College of Education; the College of Engineering; the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Natural Resources; the Poole College of Management; the College of Sciences; the College of Textiles; the College of Veterinary Medicine and; the Graduate School.
School’s Website: https://www.ncsu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 93.0%
Graduation Rate: 75.0%
Final Score: 168.0/200
5: Elon University
Elon University is a private, not-for-profit and nonsectarian liberal arts university which is located in Elon, North Carolina.
Elon University was originally established in 1889 by the United Church of Christ, a mainline Protestant Christian denomination group. Elon University operates six schools and colleges (five schools and one college, to be exact) across its main campus, as well as a satellite extension campus which is located in nearby Greensboro, North Carolina. The six and colleges schools that Elon University operates are the College of Arts and Sciences; the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business; the School of Communications; the School of Education; the School of Health Sciences and; the School of Law.
The Elon College Historic District and Johnston Hall, two prominent areas on the Elon University campus, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service (NPS). The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
In 2009, the Greek fraternity Phi Beta Kappa Society, which is the oldest honor society for the liberal arts and the sciences in the United States, voted to establish a chapter at Elon University. This is one of the highest honors that a school can receive from a Greek Letter Society. Only approximately 10% of the institutes of higher learning in the United States have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa due to the selectivity of the widely renowned honor society. Furthermore, only about 10% of the Arts and Sciences graduates from the very few schools in that nation that have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa are invited to become members of the society. The fact that Elon University is one of the few schools that have the distinction of being home to a chapter of this Greek society should serve to underline the capabilities of Elon University as a provider of higher education.
School’s Website: https://www.elon.edu/home/
Freshman Retention Rate: 90.0%
Graduation Rate: 79.0%
Final Score: 169.0/200
4: Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University — which is commonly referred to simply as WFU — is a private, not-for-profit and nonsectarian research university which is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
In addition to Wake Forest University’s Winston-Salem campus (the Reynolda campus), WFU also operates a second campus in Winston-Salem (the Wake Downtown campus) and two satellite campuses; one is located in Ardmore (the Bowman Gray campus), and the other is based in Charlotte (the Charlotte campus).
Wake Forest University also owns numerous international properties: the Casa Artom in Venice (which houses the university’s Peggy Guggenheim art collection); the Flow House in Vienna (which is a study house for students abroad); the Worrell House in London (which is a study house for students abroad) and; the Casa Dingledine Conference Center in Managua, Nicaragua (which is a center used for collaborative partnerships).
Wake Forest University was originally established in 1834 by the North Carolina Baptist State Convention and was known as the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute. “Manual Labor” was included in the school’s name because students and staff were both required to spend half of each day doing manual labor on the 615-acre plantation on which the school was located. In 1838, the school was renamed to Wake Forest College, and the manual labor system was abandoned. Wake Forest College closed in 1862 during the American Civil War due to a decrease in student enrollment. The school wouldn’t reopen again for four years, until 1866. In 1942, Wake Forest admitted its first female undergraduate students, due to World War II dramatically depleting the pool of male students that were available. In 1967 Wake Forest College became the fully accredited Wake Forest University.
Today Wake Forest University offers more than 7,500 attending students a selection of 40 majors, 57 interdisciplinary minors, and numerous certification programs, all of which span across various areas-of-study. Many of these academic programs are also available in an online and asynchronous format, allowing the university to serve distance-learning students.
School’s Website: https://www.wfu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 94.0%
Graduation Rate: 82.0%
Final Score: 176.0/200
3: Duke University
Duke University is a private, not-for-profit research university which is located in Durham, North Carolina.
Duke University was originally established in 1838 as Brown’s Schoolhouse, which was a private subscription school that was founded in the present-day town of Trinity. Through the efforts made by the Union Institute Society –which is a group of Methodists and Quakers — Brown’s Schoolhouse became the Union Institute Academy in 1841 when the State of North Carolina issued the school a charter. The academy was renamed to Normal College in 1851 and then renamed again to Trinity College in 1859. In 1892, Trinity College moved to Durham, and in 1924 the school was renamed to its present-day name of Duke University.
Today Duke University provides its more than 15,000 enrolled students with a broad selection of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certificate-granting programs from which to choose. These available academic programs span across a myriad of different areas-of-study, and many are available in an online and asynchronous format to serve the university’s distance-learning students. Duke’s Master Of Environmental Management degree program and their Digital Media and Marketing certificate program are just two examples of the many online programs which are available. Additionally, Duke University offers distance-learning students a variety of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for free through their Coursera page. These MOOC programs span across many areas-of-study and can help to supplement a student’s current education or to provide students with the framework foundation of an entirely new academic field.
2: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (which is commonly referred to simply as UNC Chapel Hill) is a public research university which is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the second-largest university that is located in North Carolina. The university was originally established in 1789, which allows it to be one of three schools to claim the title of the oldest public university located in the United States. The other two schools with this accolade are the University of Georgia, located in Athens, Georgia, and the College of William and Mary which is located in Williamsburg, Virginia. All three of these schools have a clear basis for their respective claims of being the oldest public university in the United States.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first public university to graduate a class; the University of Georgia was the first public university to be created by a charter and; the College of William and Mary has the oldest founding date of any currently public university, though it was a private school for more than 250 years.
Today the school offers more than 29,000 enrolled students a choice of more than 71 Bachelor’s degree programs, 107 Master’s degree programs, and 74 Doctoral degree programs which all span across numerous different areas of study. Many of these academic programs are also available in an online and asynchronous format to serve the school’s many distance-learning students.
UNC Chapel Hill also offers its students 300 study abroad programs that are taught in 70 countries worldwide. In 2015, U.S. News and World Report ranked UNC Chapel Hill as the 5th best university among the top public colleges and universities in the United States. In 2016 the same publication ranked the UNC Chapel Hill Business School’s MBA program as the 16th best in the nation. In 2015, U.S. News and World Report ranked the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health as the top public school for public health in the United States, and as being tied for second best school of public health — public or private — that is located in the United States. Additionally, the university has been named a Public Ivy school. UNC Chapel Hill is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
UNC Chapel Hill is home to the esteemed Morehead Planetarium and Science Center (established in 1949), which is one of the largest and oldest planetariums in operation in the United States.
1: Apex School of Theology
The Apex School of Theology was ranked as the #1 Best Online School in North Carolina due to its stellar Freshman Retention Rate (97% of freshmen returning for their sophomore year), and for its highly respectable Graduation Rate (95% of students completing obtaining their degree in a timely manner). The seminary’s high levels for both of these ranking criteria is due in large part to the atmosphere that the school’s academic staff strive to maintain and due to the quality of the education that the staff, as mentioned earlier, provides to the school’s traditional on-campus students and the school’s distance-learning students.
In order to learn more about how the Apex School of Theology has achieved these scores, we should first take a look at the school’s past and the school’s present. This might also help to shed some light on the school’s future as well.
The Apex School of Theology is a private, not-for-profit seminary school which is located in Durham, North Carolina. The Apex School of Theology was originally founded in 1995 as Apex Academy School of Religion and later changed its name to Apex School of Theology (which is commonly referred to simply as ASOT). The school was originally founded by the Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Perkins at the Apex First Baptist Church which is located in Apex, North Carolina. Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Perkins is the retired pastor at the Apex First Baptist Church. The Apex School of Theology outgrew its space in the Baptist church and moved to Revere Road in Durham in 2002. then again in 2006 to 2945 S. Miami Blvd, Durham. They are currently located at 1701 T.W. Alexander Drive, Durham, NC.
ASOT is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), a national accrediting agency that focuses narrowly on Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries and which is a United States Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation approved accrediting body. The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools was founded in 1979 and, despite the “transnational” part of its name, it reviews institutes which are located in the United States almost exclusively.
ASOT offers both traditional on-campus students and distance-learning students a selection of counseling and theological degree programs. The Apex School of Theology’s online programs are all offered through the ApexDE program. Some of the available online academic programs include their Bachelor’s of Theology degree program and their Master’s of Arts (M.A.) in Christian Counseling degree program, among others.
School’s Website: https://apexsot.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 97.0%
Graduation Rate: 95.0%
Final Score: 192.0/200