The Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

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Updated June 5, 2023

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North Dakota's online colleges offer programs that prepare students for some of the highest-paying careers in medicine, architecture, and criminal justice.

Many of North Dakota's top-paying industries require a college degree. Professionals in business, advanced manufacturing, natural resources management, and healthcare benefit from earning an online degree. Online colleges in North Dakota grant associate, bachelor's, and graduate degrees at affordable tuition rates.

Online colleges offer a flexible route to a college degree. Learners can choose between asynchronous, accelerated, and self-paced programs. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many colleges to move to an online-only system. The necessity of providing online education increased the amount of resources institutions devoted to their distance learning programs.

North Dakota's colleges stand out for their diverse programs and affordability. In the 2018-2019 school year, public universities in the U.S. charged an average tuition rate of $9,200 per year. In contrast, North Dakota's public universities cost around $8,000.

This page ranks the best online colleges in North Dakota. Prospective applicants can use this ranking to find the right fit for their unique needs and career goals.

The Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

#1 The Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

University of North Dakota

  • Grand Forks, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of North Dakota offers a high-quality online college experience. Those who enroll at the public institution remotely have 67 online degree opportunities to choose from at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The school has a track record in academic success through online coursework.

Online learners can benefit from the academic advisors and career services professionals at the Grand Forks campus. Degree-seekers can participate in career-planning events like virtual job fairs by connecting with academic advisors. The school's internship program gives students a chance to gain hands-on field experience. Program graduates are awarded a bachelor's degree with full accreditation upon completion of all requirements.

Prospective students can get more information about online programs and application requirements from the school directly.

University of North Dakota at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 6,163

Online Bachelor's Programs: 16

Online Master's Programs: 28

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 30%

Admission Rate: 81%

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,212
Out-of-state
$14,371
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,534
Out-of-state
$18,434
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
13,581
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 The Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

North Dakota State University

  • Fargo, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

For many online degree-seekers, North Dakota State University is an attractive choice. Remote students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels have nine options through this public institution. Distance learners benefit from the school's track record in online education and its strong academic reputation.

All learners, including those studying online, can take advantage of the academic and career services professionals hosted at the school's Fargo campus. Degree-seekers can participate in career-planning events like virtual job fairs by connecting with academic advisors. The school also helps facilitate internships to help students gain hands-on experience. Graduates receive an accredited degree upon completion of their program.

Additional information about how to apply and what programs are available can be obtained by contacting the school directly.

North Dakota State University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 5,328

Online Master's Programs: 9

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 3%

Admission Rate: 94%

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,275
Out-of-state
$12,413
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,743
Out-of-state
$10,115
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
13,173
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 The Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

Valley City State University

  • Valley City, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Valley City State University is a leader in online education. Students who enroll at the public institution can choose from 22 online offerings at undergraduate and graduate levels. The school's proven track record in online education and reputation for quality academics leads many distance learners to apply.

The school hosts academic and career service specialists at its North Dakota campus, whom online learners can also contact. Degree-seekers can participate in career-planning events like virtual job fairs by connecting with these academic advisors. The internship program that the school offers helps many students prepare for their future careers. Graduates of the school's academic programs obtain a bachelor's degree with full accreditation.

Prospective applicants can contact the school to learn more about online program options and admission requirements.

Valley City State University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 915

Online Bachelor's Programs: 13

Online Master's Programs: 2

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 44%

Admission Rate: 76%

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,884
Out-of-state
$10,297
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,872
Out-of-state
$5,872
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
1,665
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 The Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

Dickinson State University

  • Dickinson, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Dickinson State University's online degree offerings rank highly among similar programs. The public institution's 29 online degree options include offerings at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Distance learners benefit from the school's track record in online education and its strong academic reputation.

Online learners not located near the North Dakota campus can still take advantage of academic and career advising services. Academic advising, virtual job fairs, and other career preparation services set degree-seekers up for long-term success. Internships are available to help students gain hands-on experience. Graduates receive an accredited degree upon completion of their program.

Prospective students can get more information about online programs and application requirements from the school directly.

Dickinson State University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 565

Online Bachelor's Programs: 23

Online Master's Programs: 1

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 56%

Admission Rate: 100%

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,522
Out-of-state
$9,782
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,826
Out-of-state
$5,826
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
100%
Students Enrolled
1,350
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 The Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

Mayville State University

  • Mayville, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Online degree-seekers should consider Mayville State University. The three online programs offered by this public institution consist of both undergraduate and graduate offerings. The school has a track record in academic success through online coursework.

The school hosts academic and career service specialists at its North Dakota campus, whom online learners can also contact. Programs like academic advising and virtual job fairs help degree-seekers plan for their academic and professional futures. Hands-on learning through internship programs help many students prepare for work in the field. The school grants graduates an accredited degree upon completion of their program.

Further information about the application process and specifics of online programs are available by contacting the school.

Mayville State University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 765

Online Bachelor's Programs: 1

Online Master's Programs: 1

Percent of Programs Offered Online: 9%

Admission Rate: 70%

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,793
Out-of-state
$8,690
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,580
Out-of-state
$5,580
Retention Rate
60%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
1,212
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
Best Online Colleges

Online Colleges in North Dakota Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%

Affordability - 15%

Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Online Programs

Employment in North Dakota

The employment outlook in North Dakota remains strong. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state's unemployment rate remained at a below-average 4% in June 2021, compared to the national unemployment rate of 5.9%. In May 2020, the mean annual wage in North Dakota was $52,450. North Dakotans also benefit from a low cost of living. Compared to the national cost of living index of 100, North Dakota reports an 89.9.

North Dakota's major industries include energy, advanced manufacturing, and information technology. Careers in these fields typically require a college degree. According to July 2019 census data, 30% of North Dakotans hold a bachelor's degree or higher, slightly below the national average of 32.1%.

North Dakotans with a college degree stand out in the job market. The state's colleges charge below-average tuition rates, making earning a degree in North Dakota a smart investment.

The following information compares the highest-paying roles that employ more than 1,000 individuals in North Dakota. Salary information applies specifically to North Dakota, while job growth data pertains to the United States as a whole.

Highest-Paying Careers in North Dakota
Career Annual Median Salary (2020) Projected Job Growth (2019-2029) Education Required
Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric $212,990 4% Medical degree
Financial Managers $140,740 15% Bachelor's degree
Lawyers $113,480 4% Law degree
Construction Managers $110,190 8% Bachelor's degree
Pharmacists $103,440 -3% Doctorate degree (Pharm.D)
Source: BLS
Most Common Careers in North Dakota
Career Annual Median Salary (2020) Projected Job Growth (2019-2029) Education Required
Office Clerks $43,540 -5% High school diploma
Retail Salespersons $34,080 0% No formal education
Fast Food and Counter Workers $26,400 10% No formal education
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers $54,550 2% High school diploma
Registered Nurses $69,630 7% Associate degree
Source: BLS

Online Associate Degrees

An associate degree provides basic training for the workforce. The degree also helps students who are seeking an affordable route to a bachelor's degree.

Many North Dakota community colleges offer online associate degrees in academic and vocational subjects. At Bismarck State College, students can pursue business administration, cybersecurity, criminal justice, and management programs.

The college's vocational programs include options for administrative assistants, electronics technicians, and information processing specialists. North Dakota State College of Science offers associate degrees for restaurant managers, web developers, and pharmacy technicians.

Online Graduate Degrees

Online colleges in North Dakota offer graduate degrees with flexible enrollment options. A master's degree in business, education, or computer science helps professionals increase their earning potential and move into leadership roles. The pandemic increased North Dakota's online degree options, allowing more students to earn their degrees remotely.

At the University of North Dakota, graduate students can pursue degrees in accounting, counseling, data science, and nursing. UND also offers an online MBA program. The University of Mary offers online programs in high-demand areas like business, education, and nursing. When considering an online degree, a prospective applicant should consider class enrollment options and transfer credit policies.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges in North Dakota

Is Online College Cheaper in North Dakota?

Yes. North Dakota colleges charge below-average tuition rates. For example, while four-year public colleges charge over $9,200 per year on average in tuition and fees, North Dakota public colleges cost around $8,000, according to 2018-2019 data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Degree in North Dakota?

Earning an online bachelor's degree in North Dakota typically takes four years. Most associate programs take two years, as do most master's programs.

What Is the Most Popular Degree in North Dakota?

Students in North Dakota pursue degrees in business, healthcare, education, and technology. These degrees prepare graduates for in-demand career paths.


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