Today’s world is a high-tech one and everyone seems to want things now, or at the very least fast, and higher education is no exception.
Nobody wants to (nor should) sacrifice quality over speed when it comes to the best degrees to get online, and the colleges and programs on this list have been chosen for this reason. The fastest online college programs are not always easy to define, and sometimes it all depends on the student and their prior knowledge, experience, or previously earned credits.
Quality is more easily measured through school statistics taken from schools which offer students fast online degrees. Below you will find 35 of the best online colleges which offer accelerated degree programs.
In order to find the best institutions of higher learning which offer students the fastest online programs, first the schools which offer accelerated programs were compiled to a list. Next, data was gathered using resources such as:
The data from NCES and COLLEGEdata consisted of the cost of attendance to the school, which can be an important factor for many students. Also, from these sources, the overall graduation rate was collected. All students are different and the personal drive will have a great influence on pursuing a program to end. However, institutions with a higher graduation rate may have an advantage when it comes to keeping students interested and motivated, therefore it was a factor taken into account.
Niche data is provided several ways, most schools have an overall score which was taken and converted into a numeric scale whereas A+ = 100, A = 90, and so on in that matter. In rare cases where the information was only presented in a 5-star format, 5 stars are converted to an A and then to the numeric scale whereas it would become a 90, 4 stars would be considered a B and then converted to a number, and so forth. Niche also provides an academic score which was used in the same fashion. When an academic score was not present, a professor score was used in place of it. If neither were available, the review stars were used in place once again, as most reviews are of the academic aspect of the school. It is rare that the star system is used in order to complete data collection in either case.
In order to assign a numerical score to the institutions, percentages for graduation were converted to plain numbers. For example, a 46% graduation rate would be counted as 46. The cost of attendance was rounded up or down to the nearest thousand, so a school which cost $42,395 to attend would be counted as a 42. The overall and academic/professor scores from Niche were then added to graduation rate. As a lower cost of attendance is more desirable, that number was then subtracted from the sum for a ranking score.
Graduation Rate + Overall Niche Score + Academic or Professor Niche Score – Rounded Cost = Ranking Score
Notre Dame College is located in Cleveland, Ohio and offers students a variety of online programs. The online courses at Notre Dame College are delivered in an accelerated format and most last for 8 weeks. Students are expected to spend 8 to 10 hours per week on a course which offers 3 credits. Learning activities are comprised of both online and offline activities and online terms do not have holiday breaks. Undergraduate degrees offered online are Associate of Arts in Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (Management), Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Bachelor of Arts in Education, RN to BSN, and Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. Graduate degrees available online through Notre Dame College are Master of Education, MSN, and Master of Arts in National Security and Intelligence Studies. Masters degrees are often regarded as the best degrees to get online, as they can be completed while maintaining employment.
Rasmussen College in Greenbay, WI. Image courtesy of Royalbroil
Rasmussen College is based in St.Cloud, Minnesota with campuses in Illinois, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. Rasmussen offers online degree programs in areas of study which include Business, Education, Design, Health Sciences, Nursing, Justice Studies, and Technology. Rasmussen College also offers Flex Choice Competency-Based Education courses or Self-Directed Assessments for students who qualify. While accelerated, it is still a self-paced course which is delivered in an online format. Students who participate in Flex Choice courses are able to save money while earning fast online degrees.
Mercy College is located in Dobbs Ferry, New York and offers students a fast track to earning their bachelor’s degree in the field of Organizational Management. Mercy College offers this program for qualified students who have already earned their associate’s degree or 60 undergraduate credits. Students who meet the requirements are able to obtain their bachelors degree in as few as 12 months. Online students will participate and meet their course requirements in a flexible time frame. While it is a three-semester schedule, students progress through one three-credit course per month.
Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs offers online students a fast track option to accelerate obtaining their degree. With this option, students can not only save time but money on courses and materials as well. Participating in Fast Track does not have an additional cost and students are able to take up to two Fast Track exams a week in order to gain credit for courses. There is no penalty for not passing, which would be below 70%, the course remains on the student’s schedule. Students are only permitted to take the exam once per course but are able to take multiple course exams.
Founded by 19 U.S. Governors and based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Western Governors University is focused on providing the best online programs which also save students time and money. Most bachelor degrees take students only three years to earn through WGU. Due to competency-based programs, students work with a Faculty Mentor in order to optimize their schedule and move quickly through material they already know and take the time they need to learn the material they don’t already know. Of course, students who have already earned college credits may be eligible to transfer those credits in order to further accelerate through their chosen program.
Limestone College can be found in Gaffney, South Carolina. The college offers students online courses through their Extended Campus. Classes are designed for adult learners and are offered in 8-week terms with 6 terms per year. Two courses are able to be taken per year which means a student may be able to earn up to 36 credit hours each year. Students have a choice of several popular areas of study such as Business Administration, Psychology, and Computer Science. Limestone College offers fast online programs for both associate and bachelor’s degrees.
As implied by the name, Jacksonville, Florida is where you can find Florida State College at Jacksonville, which offers students online courses for associate and bachelor’s degrees as well as certificate programs. There are several ways students are able to complete their programs quickly at Florida State College at Jacksonville, which include +1 Planning where students add one course each semester and attend year round to earn their degree sooner, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), and Accelerated Curriculums designed to streamline obtaining a degree. Some examples of the online degree programs which are accelerated are a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, an Associate in Arts degree, and a Real Estate Agent Workforce Certificate.
Beaumont, Texas is home to Lamar University which provides both graduate and undergraduate programs online. Undergraduate program courses can be taken in an 8-week format in order to accelerate your degree, and are also offered in the traditional 15-week format. Areas of Study for undergraduate programs include Business, Arts & Sciences, Engineering, and Fine Arts & Communication. Graduates are offered an Accelerated Master of Science in Nursing Program and several other programs have courses offered in the 8-week format, such as the MBA programs.
Charter Oak State College is located in New Britain, Connecticut and offers students several ways to accelerate their degree programs with prior learning assessment (PLA). With PLA students are able to gain college credits for professional experience, military experience, work or volunteer experience, and previously earned credits or certificates. Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees are available in General Studies, bachelors degrees offered are in Business Administration, Cyber Security, Health Care Administration, Health Information Management, Psychology, and General Studies, each with different electives and/or concentrations to choose from. A masters degree program in Organizational Effectiveness & Leadership is also available through Charter Oak State College.
Located in Immaculata, Pennsylvania, Immaculata University offers students online courses in the accelerated format through the College of Lifelong Learning. There are several Bachelor of Science degrees offered online, in popular areas of study such as in Business Management, Health Care Management, and Organizational Behavior These are offered online and accelerated and as degree-completion programs which allow students to transfer earned credits up to 72 credits in order to apply them toward their chosen degree. The accelerated RN to BSN program is also offered in online format.
Manchester, New Hampshire is home to Southern New Hampshire University which offers students a number of online courses and fast online degrees. Among these are two popular choices offered in an accelerated format: the RN to BSN option and an accelerated BS in Accounting program. Qualified students are able to complete these programs in less time than their peers and get started or advance in their careers sooner.
Concordia University — Chicago is located in River Forest, Illinois outside of Chicago. CUChicago offers several online accelerated undergraduate degree programs which include an AA in Organizational Management Healthcare Management, a BA in Organizational Management, a BA in Sports and Recreation, a BS in Management Information Systems, and College of DuPage 3+1: BA in Healthcare Management. Concordia University — Chicago has partnered with the College of DuPage in order to present the 3+1 program where students pay College of DuPage tuition rates for College of DuPage coursework for the first three years. Fourth-year classes are taken at Concordia University Chicago are offered at a significantly reduced rate, which helps students achieve their academic goals and provides added incentive for completion.
New Haven, Connecticut is home to Albertus Magnus College. The Online & Flex programs available at Albertus Magnus College are perfect for students who want to earn their degrees in a fast and efficient manner. The courses last 8 weeks and are in an accelerated format so that by taking two classes each term, students are able to earn up to 30 credits in a year.
Undergraduate programs available in the Online & Flex format are an A.A. in Liberal Studies, B.S. in Accounting, B.S. in Business Management, B.S. in Computer Information Systems, B.S. in Criminal Justice, B.S. in Finance, B.S. in General Studies, B.S. in Health Care Management, and a B.S. in Sociology. Graduate students are able to choose from an M.A. in Liberal Studies, M.A. in Leadership, M.S. in Business Administration (M.B.A.), M.S. in Accounting, M.S. in Criminal Justice, M.F.A. in Writing, and an M.S. in Management & Organizational Leadership. Many degrees are offered in various concentrations.
Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota has developed the FlexPath Self-Paced online programs for students who want to be able to move through material and courses as quickly as they can and begin the next. The beauty of this type of learning is the ability to take time learning new material while speeding through things the student already knows. Tuition is paid for the quarter and students are able to take two courses at a time and move onto the next as they complete them without waiting for a new semester, so the more courses completed in that time, the less the degree costs. There is a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs offered in the FlexPath accelerated format. Areas of study for these programs include Business, Education, Health Care, Information Technology, Nursing, and Psychology.
Schaumburg, Illinois is where to find American Intercontinental University headquarters, with courses offered in Houston, Atlanta, and online. Students are able to accelerate their progress at AIU in several ways. Previously earned credit transfer is one way students are able to advance toward earning their degree. CLEP and AP testing are other ways students can get credit for courses when they already know the material. Military students are often able to get credit for their past experience. Students who have spent years working may be able to turn that experience into course credits toward their degree with DSST exams.
American Intercontinental University offers students a wide variety of online programs for associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in many areas of study. AIU also has a one-year MBA program offered online for qualified students.
Located in Parkville, Missouri with 41 learning centers across the United States, Park University offers students a wide selection of programs both face-to-face and online. Online courses are scheduled in an accelerated 8-week format and start five times each year in January, March, June, August, and October. With starting dates virtually every other month (excluding December) there isn’t a long wait to get started earning a degree.
Park University offers students a choice of three associate degrees in the area of Business and Management. Bachelor degrees are available in many areas of study, such as Business, Criminal Justice, Education, Humanities, Information & Computer Science, Natural Sciences, Nursing, Public Administration & Leadership, and Social Sciences & Psychology. There are also 8 master’s programs available online which are Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership – M.A., M.Ed. Educational Leadership, M.Ed. Leading Adult & Organizational Learning, M.Ed. in Educational Technology, M.Ed. in Language and Literacy, Master of Healthcare Administration – M.H.A., and Master of Public Administration – M.P.A.
Colorado State University — Global Campus is in Greenwood Village, Colorado and offers students a wide variety of accredited bachelor’s and master’s programs. Online students can enjoy the accelerated 8-week courses which enable them to move through the material quickly as they work toward their degree goals. Also, CSU — Global Campus offers students monthly starts, so there’s never a bad time to get started. There are currently 13 different popular areas of study for bachelor’s degree programs and 11 for master’s degrees. Tuition rates are also the same no matter where the student lives and do not change from enrollment to completion.
Russellville, Arkansas is home to Arkansas Tech University and currently offers students an accelerated Bachelor of Professional Studies Degree. Concentrations offered for the degree are Public Relations, Workforce Technology, Applied Leadership, Early Childhood Education, Criminal Justice, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Agricultural Business. Students are offered an opportunity to advance up to 12 hours of academic credit through the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process. The PLA is conducted in a portfolio process and students are assisted by guidance from Professional Studies faculty.
Azusa Pacific University in Azusa California offers students online degree options through their University College. Courses are designed for adults and offered in evenings face-to-face and online. There are two bachelor degrees offered in the accelerated format offered through APU University College. A Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies can be completed in just over a year and a half. There are 6 8-week sessions offered throughout the year. Also, the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership is offered in the accelerated format and can be completed in just over a year by most students. The course also has 8-week sessions offered 6 times throughout the year. Students are also able to advance further through prior learning credit (PLA) if they have had professional work experiences which qualify.
Philadelphia University Banners on display at Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania
Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia University offers students accelerated degree programs online with 8-week courses. Students are able to complete their degrees within 2 to 3 years. Bachelor of Science degrees are offered in Accounting, Health Service Management, Business Management, Behavioral and Health Services, Human Resources Management, Organizational Leadership, Law Enforcement Leadership, Information Technology Management, and Professional Communications and Emerging Media. Philadelphia University online also offers an Innovation MBA which also features 8-week course schedule with an average completion time of 18 to 24 months.
Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona offers online students 4 credit courses with 7-week or 8-week durations. Online students are able to progress quickly through the material in this manner. There are hundreds of degree programs for online students to choose from including bachelor’s, master’s, as well as doctoral. Areas of study offered online through GCU are Business & Management; Criminal, Political & Social Sciences; Engineering & Technology; Medical Studies & Athletic Sciences; Nursing & Health Care; Performing Arts & Creative Design; Psychology & Counseling; Theology & Ministry; Teaching & School Administration; and Language & Communications.
GCU also offers an opportunity for adult students who may already have acquired college-level knowledge through life or work experiences may be eligible to earn up to 8 general education or elective credits based on one or more essays written by the student. The Lifelong Learning Assessment first requires students to complete ENG-135, which is a 4 credit course, in order to learn how to compose essays to receive course credit. Each essay is turned in with documentation to validate your experiences, such as job evaluations from employers, government documents, newspaper accounts, affidavits from community leaders, or police reports.
Denver, Colorado is home to Regis University which offers students a wide variety of accelerated programs for bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs online. Students who are prepared for rigorous 5 or 8-week courses will be rewarded by the satisfaction of earning their degree sooner than their peers who are taking traditional courses. Areas of study for degrees include Business, Economics, & Management; Humanities & Social Sciences; Computer & Information Sciences; Education; Health Care; and Science, Engineering, and Math.
The University of Indianapolis is in, as the name suggests, Indianapolis, Indiana. Students interested in accelerated online programs will find themselves checking out offerings in the School for Adult Learning at UIndy. Currently, there are 6 undergraduate degrees offered and 3 graduate degrees along with 4 certificate programs. Courses last for 8-weeks and new students are only permitted to take one course online for their first semester. Most online courses are offered the first 8 weeks of a semester, however, there are still a number of courses offered the second 8-weeks which allow students to be able to continue their accelerated studies. Adult students may also be eligible to earn college credits for their life experiences.
Elmhurst College is located in Elmhurst, Illinois and offers adult students three fast-track options for degree completion. Students are able to transfer any previously earned credits and continue on toward getting their degree in either Information Technology, Business Administration, or Applied Psychology. Adult degree completion programs are able to be completed in evenings or online. Applied Psychology is an evening class program with two hybrid courses. The Business Administration program offered at Elmhurst is completed in a hybrid format. Information Technology degrees are in an EC Flex model format which allows a student to choose online or classroom.
Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky offers students online programs which are accelerated. Courses are delivered in 6-week and 8-week format, depending on the term with 6 starting dates throughout the year. EKU offers students a variety of popular programs online which include 3 associate degrees, 10 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, 2 doctorates, and 8 certificate or non-degree programs. Full-time students are able to focus on just two programs at one time and stay on track.
Eastern Kentucky University also offers students three ways to earn credits for prior learning experience. Students meeting the criteria may be eligible for credit for their non-academic experience by preparing a portfolio for review. EKU also offers credit for College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) for certain subjects which meet the criteria the university has established. Military students may receive credit for prior learning through military transcripts.
Lewis University located in Romeoville, Illinois, offers adult students three Bachelor of Science degree programs and two Bachelor of Arts programs in the accelerated format which are 100% online. These programs are designed for adult learners to be able to earn their degrees quickly and conveniently. Currently, students are able to choose between online programs for Business Administration (BS), Information Security and Risk Management (BS), Information Technology Management (BS), Computer Science (BA), or Criminal Justice (BA).
Milwaukee, Wisconsin is where you can find Wisconsin Lutheran College which offers an accelerated program for a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Leadership. The program is offered both online or in evening classes on campus one night per week. Students are able to complete the program in as few as 20 months depending on their prior learning experiences and transferred credits. 60% of program graduates surveyed reported that they were promoted while enrolled in the program and 100% were “satisfied or very satisfied” with their experience at Wisconsin Lutheran College.
Riverside, California is home to California Baptist University. CBU offers students online options for accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degree programs through Online and Professional Studies. Some programs are able to be completed in as little as 16 months, depending on any transfer credits. Online courses are delivered through the Blackboard platform and there are two 8 week sessions per semester. CBU OPS offers flexible bachelor’s degree programs in Business Administration, Interdisciplinary Studies, Christian Studies, Communication Studies, Early Childhood Studies, English, Kinesiology, Liberal Studies, Nursing RN-BSN, Criminal Justice Leadership and Administration, Political Science, Psychology and Public Relations and Journalism. Graduate programs offered through OPS are a Master of Arts in Disability Studies program as well as a Master of Public Administration program, both available fully online.
Walsh University is located in North Canton, Ohio and currently offers an accelerated Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Development and Leadership entirely online. Students can enjoy the flexibility of online courses while participating in 8-week accelerated sessions. One of the more unique qualities of the program is that it uses theories and practical skills that can be found in Sociology, Psychology, Communication and other coursework at Walsh University. Also, as part of the Catholic mission of the university, ethics and responsibility are stressed throughout the coursework. Students also have an opportunity to work toward an MBA with a 4+1 program allowing students to earn their MBA in as little as one year. Online MBA programs are available in Management. Healthcare Management, or Marketing and are offered in the accelerated 8-week format. There is also a Masters of Art in Education program available online in the accelerated 8-week format.
Indiana Wesleyan University is a private evangelical Christian institution located in Marion, Indiana. Online courses through IWU are designed to be flexible for adult learners seeking to earn or complete their degrees. There are a large number of online programs offered in areas of study such as Business, Counseling, Communication, Education, Criminal Justice, Health Sciences, Nursing, Leadership, Liberal Arts, Psychology & Social Work, Theology and Ministry, and Wesley Seminary, although not all levels of degrees are offered for each area. IWU Online offers students accelerated degrees in the areas of Business, Management, Leadership, Technology, Nursing, Education, Counseling, and more.
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia is the largest Christian university in the world. Today, they offer students online options for a large number of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Programs are offered in an 8-week format and are often able to be completed faster than earning a traditional degree. Students may be able to further accelerate their progress by transferring previously earned credits or obtaining credit for real-world experience or professional training. Areas of study for degrees include, but are not limited to Business, Education, Criminal Justice, Communications, General Studies, Government, Healthcare, Information Systems, Information Technology, Psychology, Religion, Nursing, Social Work, and Paralegal.
St. Louis, Missouri is home to Saint Louis University which offers students online degree programs through its School of Professional Studies. Programs have 5 accelerated 8-week terms each year, which gives students an opportunity to get started working toward their degree virtually at any time. As an added benefit, courses offered through the School of Professional Studies are nearly half the cost of a traditional degree and active-duty military members and qualified veterans receive a reduced rate. There are currently 8 bachelor’s degree programs and 2 master’s degree programs available in popular areas of study. There are also 3 programs for accelerated bachelor’s to master’s programs available.
The University of Wisconsin system is based in Madison, Wisconsin and has campuses across the state as well as online. Individual courses are offered online in an accelerated format through University of Wisconsin Colleges Online. Courses are condensed into 3, 7, 8, 10 or 12-week terms rather than the traditional 16-week courses. It is recommended that students take no more than 2 accelerated courses at a time or only 1 when paired with a traditional course. The University of Wisconsin also offers a competency-based learning system which are Flexible Options which are mostly online, although the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration is currently the only one available fully online through UW-Extension and is a degree completion program. Other Flex options include an Associate of Arts and Science offered through UW Colleges, RN to BSN completion program, BS in Biomedical Sciences Diagnostic Imaging degree completion program, and a BS in Information Science and Technology degree completion program offered through UW-Milwaukee.
Located in Tempe, Arizona and with origins older than the state itself is Arizona State University. ASU offers students one of the largest selections of online degree programs, with more than 140 programs for both graduates and undergraduates. Online courses are 7.5 weeks which offer students multiple starting dates over the course of a year. ASU also offers a 4+1 Accelerated Degree Program which allows qualified students to earn their bachelor’s degree and then only take 1 year to earn their master’s afterward.
Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts has a strong reputation for its academic quality, and with good reason. Students reporting on Niche give the school an A+ overall as well as academically and the overall graduation rate is 84%, and that number doesn’t include students who transfer elsewhere. While Northeastern does offer accelerated bachelor’s in Finance and Accounting Management, Health Management, Information Technology, Leadership, and Management, it does still utilize semesters. There are also fast-track accelerated versions of bachelor’s degrees for Health Management, Information Technology, Management, and Leadership which requires that a student to have earned an associate’s degree or the equivalent number of credits toward a degree.