Top 20 Online Colleges Near Chicago

Continuing our series of best online college by state rankings, we have examined all online colleges near Chicago, Illinois and chosen to showcase the top 20 schools, based on the methodology stated below.

Chicago, Illinois is known as “The Windy City” and offers residents and visitors alike plenty to do and see from the Willis Tower, which was built as and is still commonly known as the Sears Tower, one of the landmark skyscrapers of Chicago; to the Navy Pier; to Cloud Gate – also affectionately known as “The Bean” in Millennium Park.

Chicago is also home to a new feature for viewing the city with “Tilt” at the 360 Observation Deck located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center overlooking the Magnificent Mile. The observation deck actually moves to tilt downward to give an absolutely breathtaking view.

Online Colleges Near ChicagoThe Chicago area is also home to a large number of terrific colleges and universities, some of the oldest with origins dating as far back as the 1840’s before the great fire. Today students of all ages are working toward degrees and many are juggling a home life, work, and education in efforts to better themselves and their careers. Online college courses offered at colleges and universities are more desired today, and in some cases are nearly a necessity in order to continue school. We have found some of the best colleges offering online courses for students in Chicago and the surrounding area, all within a day’s drive.

Methodology

Using sources such as CollegeData and Niche, as well as the schools’ websites, each school was evaluated to find out if online classes were offered. Then, the schools were organized by adding together the percentage numbers for freshman satisfaction and graduation rates. Added to these numbers were a numerical equivalent of the academic and overall grades provided by niche, with A+ being 100, A being 90 and so on in this manner. In order to boost the score of lower cost schools, the (residential) cost of attendance in thousands was rounded and subtracted from the total of the other numbers to give a final score.

Example: 65 (percent freshman satisfaction) + 76 (graduation percent) + 70 (B+ Academic Grade) + 90 (A Overall Grade) = 301
301 (total from above) – 32 ($32,250 cost of attendance) = 269 (final score for ranking)

We also consulted our own ranking of the top 100 best online colleges when ranking these colleges.

20. Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana

Goshen College

116 Miles from Chicago lies Goshen, Indiana, home of Goshen College. In 1894 the Elkhart Institute of Science, Industry and the Arts was founded which was later renamed Goshen College in 1903 when it added a junior college list to its curriculum. The school now serves over 800 students and is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA.

Goshen College has a lot to offer to its students. 83% of graduates finish within four years and 95% of the class of 2015 who were seeking jobs were employed within a year after graduation. Undergraduates have more than 40 majors from which to choose their path of study. Graduate students are offered programs for a Master of Science in Nursing (Family Nurse Practitioner) and a Master of Arts in Environmental Education. Currently there are two programs available online at Goshen, a RN to BSN degree which is 100% online and a Master of Business Administration degree which is mostly online, but with brief residencies. Goshen also offers online courses during their summer sessions.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

Goshen College’s Websitehttps://www.goshen.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/goshencollege

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/GoshenCollege

19. St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana

Saint Mary's College

St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana is located about 95 miles away from Chicago. The school was first opened in 1844, not far from the campus of Notre Dame. St. Mary’s became the first women’s college in the Great Lakes area. Today, the school has grown and now sits directly across the street from the University of Notre Dame.

Currently St. Mary’s College offers undergraduate students a variety of more than 30 different majors from which to choose. Currently there are three graduate programs available, Master of Science in Data Science, Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. There are select courses available online at St. Mary’s, depending on the program chosen. Also summer sessions available at the college have online options as well.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

St. Mary’s Websitehttps://www.saintmarys.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/saintmaryscollege

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/saintmarys

18. Loyola University Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago has six campuses located throughout the metropolitan Chicago area, with the flagship campus being Lake Shore Campus. The school was established in 1870 as St. Ignatius College and later in 1909 began going by the name Loyola University. The school has been recognized for its high quality in education as well as the value of tuition.

Loyola University Chicago has 11 schools and colleges and offers more than 80 programs for undergraduates to choose from in a wide array of majors. For graduate students, there are even more programs available. LUC offers students programs online in 8 popular subjects, such as Law, Business, Education, and Nursing.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

Loyola’s Websitehttp://www.luc.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/LoyolaChicago

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/LoyolaChicago

17. Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois

Bradley University

160 miles from Chicago lies Peoria Illinois, home to Bradley University. The school was chartered in 1896 as Bradley Polytechnic Institute by the philanthropist Lydia Moss Bradley. The school did well and it expanded in both size and curriculum as time went on. By 1946 the school had adopted the name Bradley University.

In the 2015 edition of America’s Best Colleges published by U.S. News & World Report Bradley University was ranked fourth in the Midwest. The school offers a large range of both undergraduate and graduate programs. There are also a small number of high-quality online master’s degree programs available through Bradley University.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

Bradley’s Websitehttps://www.bradley.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BradleyUniversity

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/bradleyu

16. DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois

DePaul University

DePaul University in Chicago has two main campuses, one located in Lincoln Park and the other is in the Loop. The school was founded in 1898 and was originally named St. Vincent’s College after Saint Vincent de Paul, and 17th-century priest and served the Roman Catholic children of immigrants in the area. By 1907 times were changing fast and the school was rechartered as DePaul University and expressly welcomed students from any religious background to study there. In 1911 DePaul became one of the first Catholic universities to admit women in a co-educational setting.

Both undergraduate and graduate students are served by DePaul University. There are more than 130 majors for students to choose from, virtually something for everyone. While the curriculum may not be quite as diverse in their online programs as on-campus, there is still a large variety of programs available for students who want to earn their degree or certificate online.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

DePaul’s Websitehttps://www.depaul.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/DePaulUniversity

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/depaulu

15. University of Illinois at Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

UIC

The University of Illinois at Chicago is located in the Near West Side community of Chicago. The school has a history which dates back to multiple health colleges in the 1800s. New campuses weren’t built until the 1900s and UIC has continued to grow and change along with the world around it. Today, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest university in the area and is in the top 60 research universities in the nation. UIC has also been recognized for having excellent Career Services, ranking third overall.

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers undergraduates 83 programs to choose from. Graduate students have a variety of 93 master’s degree programs and 64 doctorate programs to fulfill their educational needs. There are several programs offered online at UIC including 3 of the most popular bachelor’s degree programs such as Business Administration and completion degrees for RN to BSN, and Health Information Management. Graduate students have 8 master’s degree programs and 1 doctorate program to choose from in the online format through UIC.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

UIChicago’s Websitehttp://www.uic.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/uic.edu

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/thisisuic

14. Hope College in Holland, Michigan

Hope College

Holland, Michigan, home to Hope College lies about 150 miles away from the city of Chicago. The college was first opened in 1851 as the Pioneer School and affiliated with the Reformed Church in America. In 1866, seven students who felt the calling to go on full time Christian ministry after they graduated appealed to General Synod of the Reformed Church requesting theological training through Hope College, however it became the birth of the Western Theological Seminary which shares the same campus as Hope College.

Today, Hope college offers its students a liberal arts based curriculum and still maintains a vibrant Christian atmosphere. The college has a reputation for maintaining high standards and excellence in education. There are more than 80 majors, minors, and pre-professional programs offered through the college. Hope students also have online options when it comes to summer sessions as well as other select online courses.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

Hope College’s Websitehttp://www.hope.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/hopecollege

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/HopeCollege

13. Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana

Butler University

Indianapolis, home of Butler University, is about 185 miles away from Chicago. Butler first opened in 1855 as North Western Christian University and has been through several changes on the way to becoming Butler University. The university was the third institution of higher learning in the nation, and the first in its state, to admit both women and men. Butler University is also home to the Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium, which has the largest telescope in Indiana.

Butler University has six colleges; Lacy School of Business, College of Communication, College of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Jordan College of the Arts. The school offers over 60 areas of study for students, both undergraduate and graduate. Not only does the school offer summer sessions with online options, but Fall and Spring semesters also offer online and hybrid courses in many different areas of study.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

Butler’s Websitehttps://www.butler.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/butleruniversity

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/butleru

12. Taylor University in Upland, Indiana

Taylor University

Less than 200 miles from Chicago you can find Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Taylor University is one of the oldest evangelical Christian universities in the nation, having been founded in 1846. Since 2007, Taylor has been ranked first among the 109 midwest colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Also, 97% of Taylor University students are employed or have enrolled in grad school within 6 months of graduation.

With 90 undergraduate programs in 61 majors, Taylor University has a diverse selection for students when it comes to academics. Taylor also has graduate school programs and more than 110 self-paced online courses available with open admission.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

Taylor University’s Websitehttp://www.taylor.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/tayloruniversity

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/tayloru

11. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana

Rose Hulman

Around 180 miles from Chicago lies Terre Haute, Indiana which is home to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. RHIT can trace its origins back to 1874 when the school was founded as the Terre Haute School of Industrial Science. In 1899 the school, known then as Rose Polytechnic Institute in honor of the founder, awarded what they consider to be the country’s first degree in Chemical Engineering. It wasn’t until 1971 that the school changed names to the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in order recognize the contributions of the Hulman family.

When it comes to getting a degree in math, science, or engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is one of the nation’s top choices. The school offers degrees to both undergraduates and graduate students. Students who sign up for online courses learn through the Moodle learning management system. Students should expect to find online courses to be equally as challenging as courses taken on-campus.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

RHIT’s Websitehttps://www.rose-hulman.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Rose-Hulman-Institute-of-Technology-10046401301/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/rosehulman

10. DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

DePawu University

DePauw University is a small, private university in Greencastle, Indiana located about 180 miles from Chicago. The school was founded in 1837 and opened the following year under the name Indiana Asbury University, but later changed names to honor a benefactor in 1884. The school now enrolls around 2,400 students and has been recognized by Forbes and U.S. News & World Report as being one of the top universities in the United States.

Students at DePauw have a choice of 45 majors, including three music degree programs. While many of the programs at DePauw are on-campus, the school does use Moodle in order to offer students an online course selection. Courses may vary and grow from one semester to the next and there currently are courses in Mathematics, English, Biology, Chemistry, Spanish and more to choose from.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

DePauw’s Websitehttp://www.depauw.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/DePauwUniversity

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/DePauwU

9. Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana

Purdue University

Purdue University which was established in 1869 lies about 125 miles from Chicago, Illinois in West Lafayette, Indiana. The university is now the flagship of the Purdue University system and proudly serves more than 40,000 students. The university has been particularly influential when it comes to aviation. Purdue was first to offer college credit in flight training, the first four-year bachelor’s degree in aviation, and is home to the first university airport, Purdue University Airport. In fact, the aviation and aeronautical engineering programs at Purdue continue to be competitive in order to be one of the best offered in the nation. In fact, 23 graduates have gone on to become astronauts, including Neil Armstrong.

Purdue offers students, both graduate and undergraduate, more than 200 areas of study to choose from. Currently, there are several master’s level programs available online through Purdue University, and it’s not terribly surprising that included is a MS in aviation & aerospace management. There are also certificate programs available online and associate’s degree.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

Purdue University’s Websitehttp://www.purdue.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/PurdueUniversity/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/lifeatpurdue

8. Indiana University Bloomington in Bloomington, Indiana

IUB

About 235 miles away from Chicago lies the flagship university of the Indiana University system, IU Bloomington. Originally established in 1820 as the State Seminary, it was only 9 years before the school’s name changed to Indiana College. Ten years later in 1839 it became Indiana University. Today, IU Bloomington resides on a campus of 1,933 acres and serves more than 48,000 students.

Naturally a school the size of IU Bloomington has a lot to offer to its students by way of variety and quality of academic programs. When it comes to online education, Indiana certainly delivers with more than 100 online degrees and certificate programs available. With hundreds of classes available online it is a very convenient and flexible way for students to complete their education. For a more in depth look, you can check out our school profile for IU Bloomington.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

IU Bloomington’s Websitehttps://www.indiana.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/IndianaUniversity

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/IUBloomington

7. Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan

Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan is around 222 miles from Chicago and is home to Michigan State University. MSU was founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan in 1855 and served as a model for other land-grant universities constructed later. It did not take long before the school expanded their curriculum to more than agricultural studies. Today the university is one of the largest colleges in the nation by enrollment with more than 50,000 students attending.

More than 200 different academic programs are available for both graduate and undergraduate students to take advantage of at Michigan State University. Not only does the school excel in offering on-campus courses, but there are also a number of hybrid and online courses available to students who may require more flexibility in their school schedule. In addition, there are a large number and variety of certificate programs which are available in hybrid or online form.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

Michigan State’s Websitehttps://msu.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/spartans.msu

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/michiganstateu

6. Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Northwestern University

The main campus of Northwestern University is located in Evanston less than 20 miles from Chicago, and a smaller campus, including hospitals and a rehabilitation center, are located in Chicago. Northwestern also has campuses in San Francisco, California and Doha, Qatar. The university was founded in 1851 and was intended to serve all of the Northwest Territory, which is now the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and parts of Minnesota. Admissions at Northwestern University are considered to be extremely selective, 2016 saw more than 35,000 applicants with only space for 3,751 students, giving the school an acceptance rate of 10.7%.
Northwestern University has a reputation for excellence in academics. With around 125 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees, there is plenty to keep students busy. There are also select programs for both graduate degrees and certificates offered online at Northwestern.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

Northwestern’s Websitehttp://www.northwestern.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NorthwesternU

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/northwesternu

5. Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois

Wheaton College

Wheaton College, located in Wheaton, Illinois, is only about 30 miles from Chicago, was founded in 1860. During the time of the Underground Railroad, the school served as a stop along the route. The school is also home to Illinois’ first African-American college graduate. It is a Christian liberal arts college that strives for academic excellence as well as a close relationship with God.

While Wheaton may be of a smaller size, it has a reputation for having superior academics and has been recognized by Time Magazine as #20 in the nation for having its alumni go on to earn PhDs. Wheaton College also offers select hybrid and online courses for students. The Center for Career and Vocation offers students a large selection with thousands of Thundercloud Training (powered by Lynda) online courses and videos.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

Wheaton’s Websitehttp://www.wheaton.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/wheatoncollege.il

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wheatoncollege

4. University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

University of Chicago

Located in the Windy City itself, you’ll find the University of Chicago. The private research university was established in 1890 and is recognized as one of the top universities in the world. Beneath the stands of Stagg Field, UChicago physicists helped to create the world’s first man-made and self-sustaining nuclear reaction. The school is also home to the nation’s largest university press.

Academics at UChicago are stellar, and a wide variety of courses and programs are available for both graduates and undergraduates. The school offers open online courses for students of all ages which are available through Coursera. There are also several private courses and programs, many of which are offered through the Graham School and there are some online courses for UChicago alumni as well.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

UChicago’s Websitehttp://www.uchicago.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/uchicago/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/UChicago

3. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan

While just over 240 miles from Chicago, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is approximately four hours away by car. The University of Michigan was first established in Detroit in 1817. However in 1837 the school moved to Ann Arbor, which had donated the land they had once set aside in hopes of becoming the state capital. Today the campus has more than 500 major buildings and covers about 781 acres.

The academic programs at Michigan are considered to be among the finest in the nation and students can expect them to be challenging and rewarding. MichiganX is one way the school offers students of all ages a way to join in on the learning experience via edX. Of course the school has other online courses and programs to offer students. Currently the School of Dentistry, College of Engineering, School of Nursing, and the School of Public Health offer online programs for students.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

School’s Websitehttps://www.umich.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/UniversityOfMichigan/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/umich

2. University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana

University of Notre Dame

The home of the Fighting Irish in Notre Dame, Indiana is only about 95 miles from Chicago, Illinois, easily a day trip by car. The university is officially named the University of Notre Dame du Lac, but is most commonly referred to as either the University of Notre Dame or simply Notre Dame. The school was founded in 1842 as an all-male institution of higher learning, but by 1971, Notre Dame had its first female undergraduate student. The university has been recognized for excellence by numerous publications including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and USA Today, all ranking the school within their top 15.

Students at the University of Notre Dame should be prepared for a rigorous and enriching learning experience, whether on-campus or online. The university offers several different ways for students of all ages to complete courses online. There are open courses available through edX for all to enjoy. Also, there are summer sessions which offer online courses for students to continue learning online while not physically at the school. There are more programs available online, such as ones available through Mendoza College of Business which offers an array of certificates in Executive Education.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

Notre Dame’s Websitehttps://www.nd.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ndadmissions

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/NDadmissions

1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Champaign, Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Located around 138 miles from Chicago, you will find the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the flagship university of the University of Illinois system. This land-grant institution was established in 1867 and has been recognized by Times Higher Education, the U.S. News & World Report, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities as one of the top 50 universities in the world as well as ranking in the top 5 engineering schools worldwide.

It is not surprising to find that academics at Illinois are considered to be both challenging and rewarding whether taken on-campus or online. Online courses offered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are taught by the same instructors as their on-campus equivalent. The online programs offered at UIUC vary from undergraduate and a wide variety of graduate degrees to certificates for both graduates and undergraduates. Many of the online programs have won national awards for excellence.

For more information or to connect, please check out these links:

UIUC’s Websitehttp://illinois.edu/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/illinois.edu

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Illinois_Alma

Top 20 Online Colleges Near Chicago