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Continuing our series of best online college by state rankings, we have examined all online colleges in Texas, the Lone Star state, and chosen to showcase the top 20 schools, based on the methodology stated below.
We have ranked the best 20 universities and colleges within the state of Texas that offer online academic programs for distance learning students to enroll. Students who live in Texas and want to obtain a degree from a online college within their home state with the flexibility that online degree programs offer will find this ranking most helpful.
We have ranked the top 20 best Texas colleges and universities with online degree programs based on the following ranking criteria:
- 50%: Freshmen Retention Rates and;
- 50%: Graduation Rates
These ranking criteria offer a full insight into which Texas colleges offering online academic programs provide students with high-quality degree programs. This is because freshmen retention rates and graduation rates are two of the most important aspects when determining how capable an institution is in providing students with a degree that will give them an edge in their desired careers. In the case of ties, we ranked the tied schools alphabetically. To obtain the freshmen retention rates and the graduation rates of each school we used the school’s website whenever possible. If the school’s site did not contain the ranking criteria information, we turned to U.S. News and World Report‘s database to obtain the information.
We also consulted our own ranking of the top 100 best online colleges when researching this ranking.
Top 20 Best Texas Colleges with Online Degree Programs
20: Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi
Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi is a public research university which is located in Corpus Christi, Texas and which was originally established in 1947. Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, which is commonly referred to as A&M-Corpus Christi or simply as TAMUCC, is a postsecondary educational institute which is under the parent institution the Texas A&M University System. TAMUCC offers numerous online undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certification programs to attending distance learning students. This list includes their nationally-recognized online MBA degree program, which has given numerous students upon program completion the skillset and knowledge needed to have a positive impact on–and to be the driving force behind significant changes in–the business world.
School’s Website https://www.tamucc.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 58.0%
Graduation Rate: 39.2%
Final Rating: 97.2/200
19: Texas A&M University at Kingsville
Commonly referred to as A&M-Kingsville or simply as TAMUK, Texas A&M University at Kingsville is a public research university that operates under its parent institution, the Texas A&M University System. The university, which is located in Kingsville, Texas and which was originally established in 1917 as the South Texas Normal School, has been continuously accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) since the year of 1928. TAMUK offers a selection of graduate degree-granting programs and a graduate certification program to enrolled students, including: a Master’s in Adult Education, a Doctorate in Bilingual Education, a Master’s in Kinesiology, a Master’s in Industrial Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and the offered certification program is for a Doctoral Level Transcripted Certificate in Higher Education Administration and Leadership (HEAL). TAMUK is highly regarded for its Engineering programs, and the school has received many accolades due to the quality of the Engineering programs that they offer, both on-campus and their online program.
School’s Website https://www.tamuk.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 65.0%
Graduation Rate: 35.0%
Final Rating: 100.0/200
18: West Texas A&M University
West Texas A&M University, formerly West Texas State, is a public research university which is located in Canyon, Texas–a part of the Amarillo metropolitan area. West Texas A&M University, which is commonly referred to just as WTAMU, was originally established in 1910 and started out as one of the seven state-funded teacher colleges located within the state of Texas. WTAMU provides and education to approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate student through the instruction of the school’s 282 academic staff members; giving WTAMU roughly a 35:1 student-teacher ratio. This is a big jump from the school’s original 16 academic faculty members and 152 enrolled students when the school first opened. Today, WTAMU is well-known for its quality business-oriented degree programs, including their online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, which was recognized in U.S. News and World Report‘s 2017 ranking of online MBA programs nationwide. WTAMU was also acknowledged in the same publications 2017 rankings for Graduate Business schools and their 2017 rankings for the schools that offer best degrees to Veterans (MBA).
School’s Website https://www.wtamu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 65.0%
Graduation Rate: 40.4%
Final Rating: 105.4/200
17: University of Texas at Tyler
The University of Texas at Tyler–which is commonly referred to simply as UT Tyler–is a public coeducational university which is located in Tyler, Texas. The school, which was originally established in 1971, offers distance learning students a wide-variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certification programs, including: RN to BSN, Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, Master of Arts in English, Ph.D in Nursing and a Superintendant Certification. In addition to the numerous programs offered, on-campus students can participate in one or more of the school’s available 80+ student organizations, which includes Greek fraternities and sororities.
School’s Website https://www.uttyler.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 63.0%
Graduation Rate: 43.0%
Final Rating: 106.0/200
16: University of Texas at El Paso
Located in El Paso, Texas, the University of Texas at El Paso is a public research university which was originally established in 1914 as the State School of Mines and Metallurgy. The school, which is commonly referred to simply as UTEP, is the second-largest university located within the United States to have a majority Mexican-American student population; approximately 80% of the school’s student population identify as being a Mexican-American student. UTEP is located near the United States-Mexico border, sitting on hillsides which overlook the Rio Grande. UTEP is classified by the United States Department of Education as being a Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI). The school offers a selection of online academic programs from which enrolled distance-learning students can choose. These programs are fully online and asynchronous, allowing for a great deal of academic flexibility. In addition to this added flexibility, the school’s online programs are taught by the same dedicated faculty members that teach the school’s on-campus classes, which is always a plus.
School’s Website https://www.utep.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 70.0%
Graduation Rate: 38.8%
Final Rating: 108.8/200
15: Tarleton State University
Located in Stephenville, Texas, Tarleton State University is a public university which operates as a member of the Texas A&M University System. Tarleton was originally established in 1899 as the John Tarleton Agricultural College, and was–and still is–named after John Tarleton, a rancher, and settler that provided the school with an endowment of $85,000 upon his death in 1895 due to having contracted typhoid fever. In 1917, Tarleton became a member of the A&M (Agricultural and Mechanical) system. Today, the school offers a myriad of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certification programs, both on-campus and online. The school’s fully online and asynchronous academic programs for Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Business and Master of Business Administration (MBA) are both highly popular choices with enrolled distance learning students who are looking to get an edge in the business field.
School’s Website https://www.tarleton.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 68.0%
Graduation Rate: 44.0%
Final Rating: 112.0/200
14: Stephen F. Austin State University
Stephen F. Austin State University (which is usually just referred to as SFA) is a public university which is located in Nacogdoches, Texas and which was originally established in 1923 as a teacher’s college. Stephen F. Austin State University is one of four independent institutions of higher education in operation in Texas; meaning the university is not affiliated with one of Texas’s six university systems. Stephen F. Austin offers academic programs which cover more than 120 areas of study; this includes over 80 undergraduate majors, almost 60 graduate degrees, three doctoral programs and a variety of professional certification programs. SFA offers these academic programs through its six colleges, and the university operates one of only two schools of forestry located within the state and which is the only school of forestry which is located in the in the timber-producing East Texas region. SFA also offers a wide-selection of its available academic programs in an online and asynchronous format to cater to their many enrolled distance learning students.
School’s Website https://www.sfasu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 70.0%
Graduation Rate: 43.5%
Final Rating: 113.5/200
13: University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington, which is located in Arlington, Texas, and which was originally established in 1895 as the Arlington College. The University of Texas at Arlington (which is commonly referred to simply as UTA) was a member of the Texas A&M University System for several decades of its history until the university joined The University of Texas System in 1965. UTA is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as being a Doctoral University with a Highest Research Activity rating. UTA is the largest campus in North Texas–and the fourth-largest campus overall–in the state of Texas based on its student population size; with a student population of 39,714 students that were enrolled in the school during the fall semester of 2016. UTA is the third largest producer of college graduates within the state of Texas and offers 85 Bachelor’s programs, 74 Master’s programs, and 26 Doctoral degree programs to their on-campus students, and many of these programs are also available in an online and asynchronous format for the school’s distance learning students to choose from.
School’s Website https://www.uta.edu/uta/
Freshman Retention Rate: 73.0%
Graduation Rate: 41.2%
Final Rating: 114.2/200
12: Texas Woman’s University
Texas Woman’s University–which was historically known as the College of Industrial Arts and as the Texas State College for Women, is commonly referred to simply as TWU. It is a co-educational university which is located in Denton, Texas, and operates two health science center branches; one located in Dallas and one in Houston. While male students are accepted into all of the university’s available programs, the school is better known as the largest state-supported university for women located within the United States. TWU’s Doctoral degree program in the area of Nursing is the largest of its kind in the United States, and TWU is one of only four public universities in Texas which operates as an independent institution; meaning it is not affiliated with any of Texas’ public university systems. The second floor of the school’s library–the Blagg-Huey Library–houses “The Woman’s Collection,” which was started in 1932 by the Library at the suggestion of the president at the time–L.H. Hubbard–to inspire the university’s women students. The collection today includes approximately 42,000 books, 3,000 manuscripts, 19,000 photographs and 2,000 periodicals.
School’s Website https://www.twu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 74.0%
Graduation Rate: 42.7%
Final Rating: 116.7/200
11: Texas A&M University at Commerce
Texas A&M University at Commerce is a public research university which is located in Commerce, Texas and which is commonly referred to simply as TAMUC. TAMUC was originally established in 1889 by Kentucky-native William L. Mayo, and it is the fourth-oldest institution of higher learning in the state of Texas. The university was first known as the East Texas Normal College (ETNC) and was located in Cooper, Texas at the time. In the university’s early years, it operated as a private teacher’s college until 1957 when the university started offering a more varied selection of academic courses. The original campus in Commerce was destroyed by a fire in 1894 and move to its current location in Commerce afterward. In addition to its main campus, TAMUC also operates satellite campuses in Midlothian, Downtown Dallas, Rockwall and Mesquite. Many of the university’s offered academic courses are also available at Collin College (which is located in McKinney, Texas) as well as Navarro College (which is located in Corsicana, Texas). Additionally, many of the university’s academic programs are available online in an asynchronous format, such as their Master’s degree programs in Business Administration, Accounting and Finance, all of which are very popular and nationally recognized for their quality and for how comprehensive they are. Financial aid is available.
School’s Website https://www.tamuc.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 70.0%
Graduation Rate: 48.3%
Final Rating: 118.3/200
10: Texas A&M International University
TAMIU, as the university is commonly referred to as, is a public research university which is located in Laredo, Texas. Texas A&M International University was originally established in 1969 and is a member of the Texas A&M University System, which is one of the largest systems of higher education which is located in the United States. The most popular undergraduate areas-of-study that are offered by TAMIU are business administration, criminal justice, nursing, biology and communication disorders, among others. Two of TAMIU’s most popular online degree programs are their Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in International Business (MBA) and their Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs, both of which have brought the school a lot of national recognition as being a provider of quality and highly comprehensive degree programs.
School’s Website https://www.tamiu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 79.0%
Graduation Rate: 44.2%
Final Rating: 123.2/200
9: University of North Texas
The University of North Texas, a public land-grant university which is located in Denton, Texas, is commonly referred to simply as UNT by its attending students, faculty and the members of the surrounding communities. UNT was originally established in 1890 as the Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute and has undergone numerous name changes over the years. The university’s previous names are: North Texas Normal College (changed to in 1894), North Texas State Normal College (1901), North Texas State Teachers College (1923), North Texas State College (1941) and North Texas State University (1961) before being renamed a final time to its current name in 1988. These various name changes help to showcase how UNT has evolved as an institution of higher education over its long history. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of North Texas as being a Class 1 Doctorate-Granting Institution with a Highest Research Activity rating, and The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) gave the university a land-grant designation in 1992. Since the university’s establishment, UNT has garnered a lot of national recognition and numerous accolades.
School’s Website https://www.unt.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 78.0%
Graduation Rate: 50.1%
Final Rating: 128.1/200
8: Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University (which is commonly referred to simply as SHSU) is a public research university. Sam Houston State University was originally established because of a piece of legislation which was signed by Governor Oran M. Roberts in 1879, and–because of when it was created–SHSU is the third-oldest public institution of higher learning located within the state of Texas. SHSU was originally founded to provide teachers of the area with instruction and training, which makes SHSU the first school for teaching-training teachers in the southwestern region of the United States. SHSU has undergone a couple of name changes over the years: Sam Houston Normal Institute (its original name), Sam Houston State Teachers College (changed to this in 1923), Sam Houston State College (1965) and to its current name in 1969. Sam Houston State University’s campus–which is located in Huntsville, Texas–was originally home to Austin, College, but the college moved to Sherman, Texas in 1876. Today, the university’s campus features two large agricultural complexes, a planetarium, an observatory, a body farm and an 18-hole golf course. The two agricultural complexes feature a 1,600-acre (647.4-hectares) instructional and research farm and a rodeo arena, where activities such as calf-roping, bull riding, horse riding (bareback and saddled) and barrel racing take place.
School’s Website https://www.shsu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 79.0%
Graduation Rate: 51.8%
Final Rating: 130.8/200
7: Texas State University
Texas State University is a public research university which is located in San Marcos, Texas and which was originally established in 1899 as the Southwest Texas State Normal School. Today, Texas State University is the largest member institution of the Texas State University System and is the fifth-largest public institution of higher education which is located within the state of Texas based on student enrollment, with an enrollment of more than 40,000 students. The university is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as being a Research University with a Higher Research Activity rating and is classified as an emerging research university by the State of Texas. Additionally, Texas State University has been recognized as being one of the top producing universities of Fulbright Scholars recipients, as the academic faculty from both of the campuses that are operated by Texas State University have consistently been awarded Fulbright Scholar grants. In addition to Texas State University’s main campus in San Marcos, the university also operates a satellite campus in Round Rock, Texas. Texas State University also operates the Alkek Library, which is home to a myriad of collections, including more than 1.5 million printed volumes, more than 2 million microform and Audio & Visual (A/V) materials, over 110,000 electronic journals and a collection of e-books which exceeds 546,000 in total among other items, examples and collections.
School’s Website https://www.txstate.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 76.0%
Graduation Rate: 56.2%
Final Rating: 132.2/200
6: University of Houston
The University of Houston is a public research university and is the flagship institution of the University of Houston System. UH–as the university is commonly known as–was originally established in 1927 with an initial enrollment of 232 enrolled students. Today, UH is the third-largest institution of higher education located within the state of Texas based on student enrollment size, with a total enrollment size which exceeds 43,000 students. The university’s campus is located in Houston, Texas and it spans 667-acres in size. The Carnegie Foundation classifies UH as having a Highest Research Activity rating. UH is organized into 14 academic colleges, including the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. The Hines College of Architecture is nationally recognized and is one of only 36 institutions that has obtained accreditation from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Through the Hines College of Architecture and the university’s 13 other academic colleges, students are offered 282 degree-granting programs from which to choose. The breakdown of the types of degree programs offered is as follows 111 Bachelor’s programs, 121 Master’s degree programs, and 50 Doctoral degree programs, in addition to numerous professional certification programs. Of these 282 offered programs, more than 50 degree programs are available online.
School’s Website https://www.uh.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 85.0%
Graduation Rate: 47.8%
Final Rating: 132.8/200
5: University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin, which is commonly referred to as UT Austin or simply as UT, is a public space-grant research university and which is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. UT was originally established in 1881 as The University of Texas and is located in Austin, Texas. UT Austin was inducted into the American Association of Universities in 1929, making it the third university in the southern region of the United States to be elected. Additionally, UT Austin has the nation’s seventh-largest single-campus enrollment of students, with more than 50,000 students in total being enrolled. The university is home to seven museums, and seventeen libraries and, additionally, the school operates various satellite research institutions. The university’s library collections, museum collections, and the research which UT Austin conducts has garnered the school critical acclaim from numerous national and international sources. Additionally, UT Austin is also well known for being a provider of high-quality academic degree programs, including various online programs such as their BA in Psychology, RN to BSN and MA in English programs. UT Austin students can enroll in any courses offered through any of the schools in the University of Texas System, allowing for a lot of academic flexibility.
School’s Website https://www.utexas.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 57.7%
Graduation Rate: 80.0%
Final Rating: 137.7/200
4: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which is commonly referred to simply as UTRGV, is a public research university which operates a number of campuses in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas (Brownsville, Edinburg, Harlingen, McAllen, Rio Grande City and South Padre Island) and which officially opened in 2015. The school was created from a merger between the University of Texas at Brownsville, the University of TexasñPan American and the UT Regional Academic Health Center at Harlingen. UTRGV is the largest university in the United States to be a Mexican-American majority school; with more than 90% of the school’s enrolled students identifying as being a Mexican-American student. UTRG is classified by the United States Department of Education as being a Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI), and the school is separated into 12 different schools and colleges. Some of these schools and colleges are the School of Medicine, the College of Medicine and Health Affairs, the College of Liberal Arts, the Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship and the College of Education and P-16 Integration. Through these, and the other seven schools and colleges, UTRG provides its approximately 29,000 enrolled on-campus students with various undergraduate degree programs, graduate degree programs and professional certification programs, many of which are also available to the school’s distance learning students.
School’s Website https://www.utrgv.edu/en-us/
Freshman Retention Rate: 90.0%
Graduation Rate: 51.0%
Final Rating: 141.0/200
3: Texas Tech University
Originally established in 1923 and commonly referred to simply as TTU, Texas Tech University is a public research university which serves the greater Lubbock, Texas area, where its main campus is located. TTU is the flagship institution of the four member-institution Texas Tech University System and is the sixth-largest university located within the state of Texas based on student enrollment size; boasting an impressive student enrollment size which exceeds 37,000 students in total. The university is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as having a Highest Research Activity rating, with university research being conducted in areas such as epidemiology, pulsed power, grid computing, nanophotonics, atmospheric sciences and into various aspects of the usage of the wind as a renewable energy source. Additionally, TTU is the only university in the state of Texas that houses an undergraduate university, a medical school (the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center) and a law school in the same location. The university offers degrees and certifications that span across more than 150 areas-of-study through its 13 colleges, many of which are available online, such as their highly respected Master of Engineering program and their Wind Energy Certification program.
School’s Website https://www.ttu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 82.0%
Graduation Rate: 59.1%
Final Rating: 141.1/200
2: University of Texas at Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas (which is commonly referred to as UT Dallas or simply as UTD) is a public research university which is located in Richardson, Texas and which operates more than 50 research institutions. The university was originally established in 1961 and was a research arm of Texas Instruments (TI). The University of Texas at Dallas started operating as a school in 1969 when the founders gave the institute to the state of Texas as a gift. The Carnegie Foundation classifies UT Dallas as being a Doctoral Research University with a Highest Research Activity rating. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report named the university’s Audiology program as the 3rd best in the nation in their 2012 ranking and the university’s Speech-Pathology program was ranked as the 11th best nationally in the same publication. In 2011,Princeton Review ranked UT Dallas’ game design program in a featured Top 10 ranking. UT Dallas is the fourth university in the entire nation to receive accreditation from the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), which was awarded to the university’s Geospatial Intelligence Certificate program.
School’s Website https://www.utdallas.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 86.0%
Graduation Rate: 66.9%
Final Rating: 152.9/200
1: Texas A&M University at College Station
TAMU, as Texas A&M University at College Station, is commonly called, is a public land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant research university which is located in College Station, Texas, and which is the flagship institute of the Texas A&M University System. TAMU was originally established in 1871 as The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas and was the first public institution of higher education to be established in the state of Texas. Today, TAMU’s student enrollment size–at more than 60,000 total students–makes it one the largest universities in the nation based on enrollment. Additionally, TAMU is the only university in the state that holds all three grant designations. Some of the more nationally recognized research institutes that TAMU operates includes the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine, the Texas Transportation Institute, the Cyclotron Institute, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology. Through these research institutions–and many others–TAMU conducts cutting-edge research spanning across numerous areas-of-study, and the university has made many groundbreaking advances, such as being the first to clone six species (Boer goat, a cat, cattle, a deer, a horse and a pig). Overall, TAMU is a nationally and internationally respected university which provides its students with a myriad of career-defining undergraduate and graduate degree programs to choose from and, due to this, the university can boast impressive freshman retention rates and graduation rates. For these reasons, TAMU has been ranked as the best school which offers online programs and which is located in the state of Texas.
School’s Website https://www.tamu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 91.0%
Graduation Rate: 79.2%
Final Rating: 170.2/200