The Best Online MBA Programs of 2012

At SuperScholar we are about connecting people to ideas and opportunities that will help them lead smarter and more successful lives. That’s why we’ve put together our first annual Smart Choice ranking of the best online MBA programs. This is one of the few online MBA program rankings based on real data about online MBA schools and will help you find the best online MBA for your unique interests and needs. If you still need to complete an undergraduate program before starting an MBA, be sure to check out our Smart Choice ranking of the best online bachelor’s in business degree programs.

Featured Programs

The Value of an Accredited Online MBA Degree

A high-quality MBA has become increasingly important for career advancement and success in today’s ultra-competitive global business environment. For many companies it is a requirement when hiring or promoting for management and leadership positions. Although it may require a considerable sacrifice of time and money in the short term, earning a top MBA from an accredited, highly ranked MBA program is generally a good investment value for the long term. Online MBA rankings can help you find which business schools offer the best MBA programs available over the internet. We researched all of the AACSB and regionally accredited distance MBA programs in the United States in order to come up with the most objective and comprehensive ranking of online MBA programs based on quality, marketability and affordability.

The Popularity and Credibility of Online MBA Programs

The popularity of online MBA programs continue to grow. With an increasing numbers of students unable or unwilling to sacrifice their jobs or family responsibilities to earn a top MBA, many are turning to online and distance learning MBA programs that allow them to earn an MBA from home and on their own time. It is estimated that there are currently over 11,000 students enrolled in AACSB accredited online MBA schools. To keep up with the growing demand for online MBA programs opened up by advances in internet technology, several top ranked MBA programs have made it possible for students to earn a great MBA completely online. This has led to significant growth in the prestige and credibility of online MBA programs which is only expected to continue in the future.

How We Determined the Smart Choice Online MBA Rankings

In developing our Smart Choice online MBA ranking only AACSB and regionally accredited programs in the United States were considered, ensuring each program had already met the highest institutional standards of quality and accountability even before being submitted to the scrutiny and evaluation of our editors. From there we evaluated each program based on market reputation, recognition & awards, selectivity, accreditation and cost. If a program is on this list, you can be confident that it offers the quality, reputation and value to make it a truly Smart Choice for your online MBA.

#1. University of Florida (Hough Graduate School of Business)

The Hough Graduate School of Business at the University of Florida was one of the first to put its AACSB accredited MBA online and has received international acclaim for its quality from other distance MBA rankings. Excellent quality, an outstanding reputation, and and affordable price tag help make the University of Florida Internet MBA our pick for this year’s top Smart Choice online MBA program.

Program details: The University of Florida Internet MBA comes in a one-year (16 month) and two-year (27 month) option. Both options require students to travel to the Gainesville, FL campus once a term for a weekend intensive. Only 65 students are admitted each year, making it the most competitive MBA program at the University of Florida.

Bottom line: $46,000 (One-year Option)/$52,500 (Two-year Option) covers tuition.

Click here to learn more about UF’s Hough Graduate School of Business

#2. University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler School of Business)

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s highly ranked Kenan-Flagler School of Business took its AACSB accredited MBA program online last year, offering students the chance to earn a top online MBA from one of the most prestigious business schools in the country. Definitely belongs near the top of any list of the best online MBA programs.

Program Details: The MBA@UNC is a 2-3 year distance MBA program that mixes asynchronous and synchronous platforms. In addition to weekly online face-to-face interactions with faculty and classmates, students must attend at least two immersion weekends in different locations around the world.

Bottom Line: $89,000 covers tuition, books and some housing and meals for mandatory immersion weekends. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.

Click here for more information from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business

#3. Northeastern University College of Business Administration

One of the most respected names in business education and a high achiever in most MBA school rankings, Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration offers students multiple specialization options and no required travel with its AACSB accredited online MBA program.

Program Details: Northeastern University College of Business Administration’s Online MBA Program can be completed in as little as two years of asynchronous coursework, with no required residencies. The program offers specializations in Finance, Healthcare Management, High Technology Management, Innovation Entrepreneurship, International Management, Marketing, Operations and Supply Chain, and General Management.

Bottom Line: $65,000 (not including fees or textbooks). Financial aid available for qualifying students.

Click here to request more information from the Northeastern University College of Business Administration

#4. Washington State University College of Business

Washington State University’s top ranked College of Business has been offering online business education for over twenty years, bringing an entrepreneurial spirit and unrivaled experience to its no-travel AACSB accredited distance MBA program. One of the top online MBA programs you will find at a public university.

Program Details: The WSU Online MBA Program can be completed in as little as 24 months. Program places a special emphasis on entrepreneurship, with the completion a full business plan as part of the graduation requirement. An Online Executive MBA Program is also available. No campus visits or other travel required, though students are invited to graduation ceremonies in Pullman, WA.

Bottom Line: $29,250 covers tuition and fees. Military discount available. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

Click here for more information from the Washington State University College of Business

#5. Florida International University (Chapman Graduate School of Business)

Florida International University (FIU) is one of the highest ranked public universities in the country and offers an AACSB accredited online MBA through its Chapman Graduate School of Business, widely regarded as one of the top international business schools in the world. Anyone looking for a degree in international business will want Chapman on their shortlist of online MBA schools.

Program Details: The FIU Online Corporate MBA is an accelerated distance MBA program that can be completed in as few as 18 months. Entering students are assigned to a peer cohort with which they stay for the duration of the program. Two classes are taken per term. No GMAT required for admission. No travel required.

Bottom Line: $37,500 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.


Click here to request more information from FIU’s Chapman Graduate School of Business

#6. Indiana University (Kelley School of Business)

Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business brings a world-class reputation and over ten years of online education experience to its AACSB accredited online MBA program, which offers students exceptional flexibility and value. If you’re in the market for a top distance learning MBA, you may need to look no further.

Program Details: IU’s Kelley Direct Online MBA can be completed in as little as two years or as many as five. Classes are administered asynchronously, meaning coursework can be accessed and completed at student’s convenience. Completion of program requires travel to the IU campus in Bloomington, IN for two week-long immersion experiences.

Bottom Line: $58,395 covers tuition and fees. Books and travel costs not included. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about IU’s Kelley School of Business

#7. Thunderbird School of Global Management

Regarded as the top business school for international business by several MBA school rankings, Thunderbird School of Global Management gives students around the globe access to one of the best MBA programs through its distance learning MBA program. Definitely a top online MBA to be considered by those interested in global and international business.

Program Details: The Online Global MBA is available in either 19 or 28 month formats. Online coursework is completed asynchronously. In addition to online classes and interaction with students and professors through chat and bulletin boards, about a quarter of the degree involves student travel to “on-site regional business environment seminars” in locations around the globe.

Bottom Line: $68,000 covers tuition, course materials, room & board and graduation attire. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about the Thunderbird School of Global Management

#8. Penn State World Campus

Drawing on the faculty and resources of Penn State’s renowned Smeal College of Business and other Penn State graduate departments, Penn State World Campus’s distance MBA program offers one of the few AACSB accredited MBA’s that don’t require prior professional experience. A top MBA program for those new to the business world or just finishing up an undergraduate degree.

Program Details: The Penn State World Campus iMBA is a two-year online MBA program. Incoming students are assigned to a cohort of other students with whom they journey through the program together. Coursework is administered asynchronously and completely online, with the exception of two week-long intensive residencies at the Penn State main campus and a participating corporate location.

Bottom Line: $58,352 covers tuition, texts, fees and room & board during residencies. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about Penn State World Campus

#9. Oklahoma State University (Spears School of Business)

Oklahoma State University’s nationally ranked Spears School of Business has a long history of innovative distance learning opportunities and offers an AACSB accredited online MBA degree program at a great value. For a top distance MBA at a public school price, OSU demands consideration.

Program Details: Oklahoma State University’s Distance Learning MBA is a 36-48 credit hour part-time program designed for working professionals. Teamwork and team building is emphasized throughout the program, just as in the full-time MBA. Prior professional experience is not required but preferred. No campus visits or other travel required, though graduates are invited to campus for commencement ceremonies.

Bottom Line: $341 (resident)/$840 (non-resident) per credit hour. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about OSU’s Spears School of Business

#10. University of Massachusetts (Isenberg School of Management)

The University of Massachusetts’ Isenberg School of Management is frequently ranked among the top MBA schools in the world and when partnered with UMassOnline’s long history of award-winning and affordable distance education offers students one of the best AACSB accredited online MBA programs available.

Program Details: UMassOnline’s Isenberg Online MBA can be completed in as little as two and a half years, though students can take courses at their own pace. Courses are administered asynchronous so students can access classes at their convenience. No travel or campus visits are required for the degree, but students are given the option of taking courses at a UMass satellite campus. Interested students can also take two classes prior to enrolling in order to determine if the program is a good fit for them.

Bottom Line: $27,750 covers tuition. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

Click here to request more information from UMass-Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management

#11. Arizona State University (W.P. Carey School of Business)

Arizona State University’s AASCB accredited online MBA program is designed and taught by the faculty of ASU’s highly ranked W.P. Carey School of Business and offers multiple specializations for students to choose from. One of the best online MBA programs for those looking to focus on a specific area of business.

Program Details: The ASU Online MBA is a two year, 48 credit hour program. Courses are taken one at a time and each student is assigned to a peer cohort. Areas of emphasis are available in Finance, International Business, Marketing and Supply Chain Management. Dual online degrees also available in Electrical and Industrial Engineering. One on-campus visit is required.

Bottom Line: $53,200 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business

#12. Drexel University (Lebow College of Business)

Drexel University’s reputation for cutting edge technology and academic rigor carries through into its AACSB accredited distance MBA program from the highly ranked Lebow College of Business. This is one of the best distance learning MBA courses anywhere.

Program Details: Drexel University’s online MBA Anywhere is a two-year, part-time program. Concentrations are available in Finance, Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Business Analytics. Incoming students are assigned to a cohort of 25-30 students each. Three on-campus residencies are offered, with two required and one optional.

Bottom Line: $58,000 covers tuition. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about Drexel’s Lebow College of Business

#13. University of Texas at Dallas (Jindal School of Management)

The highly ranked Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas offers one of the most affordable AACSB accredited online MBA programs in the country with several specialization options. Anyone looking for a top MBA they can complete from home should consider the UT Dallas Professional MBA Online.

Program Details: UT Dallas’s Professional MBA Online is a part-time, 53 credit hour program with 24 hours of electives that allow students to craft their own specialization. Students are not assigned to cohorts, allowing them to take courses at their own pace. No residencies or campus visits are required.

Bottom Line: $45,000 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about the Jindal School of Management at UT-Dallas

#14. The George Washington University

The nationally ranked George Washington School of Business is located within the unique educational, political and economic matrix of Washington, D.C. and offers students interested in the business aspects of healthcare a unique AACSB accredited online healthcare MBA program. If you want to learn about the business of healthcare, this is one of the best distance MBA programs around.

Program Details: The George Washington University’s Online Healthcare MBA is a two-year, 52.5 credit hour program. Students will be instructed in the same core business curriculum as other GWU MBA programs, with additional healthcare focused courses. No travel required.

Bottom Line: $68,568 covers tuition. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

[Click here to request more information from The George Washington University Business School]

#15. Rochester Institute of Technology (Saunders College of Business)

One of the premier business schools in the world, Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business offers experienced professionals an AACSB accredited online executive MBA program with an international business emphasis. RIT’s international travel component makes this one the best online MBA programs for students looking to broaden their global business horizons.

Program Details: RIT’s Online Executive MBA Program is a 72 credit hour program that is designed to completed in 15 months. The program is designed for working professionals with significant business experience. A required on-campus team building residency occurs at the beginning of the program. Students are also required to participate in a week-long trip abroad to study a business in a foreign country.

Bottom Line: $63,600 covers all tuition and fees; including team building residency and international trip. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

[Click here to request more information from RIT’s Saunders College of Business]

#16. George Mason University

The nationally ranked George Mason University School of Management has been recognized as a business school on the rise and offers experienced professionals two top AACSB accredited online MBA programs. The school’s National Defense MBA is one of the best MBA programs for those interested in the business side of national defense.

Program Details: George Mason University’s Online Global EMBA and Online National Defense EMBA are 18 month, 54 credit hour programs for experienced business professionals. The Global EMBA program emphasizes the new business environment created by globalization and requires students to participate in an eight day Global Residency in an international location. National Defense EMBA are prepared for leadership positions in the defense industry and must complete a week-long residency in Washington, DC.

Bottom Line: $56,700 covers tuition, fees and room and board for Global Residency (Global EMBA) or Washington, DC Residency (National Defense EMBA). Financial aid is available for qualifying students.

[Click here to request more information from the George Mason University School of Management]

#17. University of Scranton (Kania School of Management)

The University of Scranton’s Kania School of Management is a nationally ranked business school in the Jesuit tradition offering a highly respected AACSB accredited online MBA degree program with small class sizes and multiple specialization options.

Program Details: The University of Scranton’s Online MBA Degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours. The program offers a General track as well as concentration tracks in Enterprise Resource Planning, Healthcare Management and Operations Management. The entire program can be completed in about two years. Coursework is entirely online. No travel required.

Bottom Line: $30,312 covers tuition for 36 credit hours. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about the University of Scranton’s Kania School of Management

#18. Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University’s School of Business is widely considered one of the top business schools in the United States and offers students looking for an AACSB accredited online MBA program an affordable, travel-free option.

Program Details: Quinnipiac University’s online MBA program is a 46 credit hour program designed for working adults. Electives are available in Health Care Management, Computer Information Systems, Finance, Management and Marketing. A Health Care Managment Track is also available for students seeking management positions in the health care industry. No campus visits required.

Bottom Line: $39,330 covers tuition. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

[Click here to request more information from the Quinnipiac University School of Business]

#19. Howard University

The historically black Howard University is home to one of the top business schools in the country, which recently launched a rigorous AACSB accredited online executive MBA program for full-time working professionals.

Program Details: The Howard University Online Executive MBA is a 42 credit hour program that can be completed in as little as 18 months. The program was designed for full-time working professionals with significant business experience who are seeking to move into senior management positions. No campus visits or travel required.

Bottom Line: $53,550 covers tuition. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

[Click here to request more information from the Howard University School of Business

#20. Michigan Technological University

The School of Business and Economics at Michigan Technological University is known for its emphasis on innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, which are all prominent features of the school’s AACSB accredited online MBA program. Often overlooked by other online MBA rankings, this is possibly the best MBA you’ve never heard of.

Program Details: Michigan Tech’s Tech MBA Online is a two-year online MBA program focused on the integration of technology and business. All incoming students are assigned to a peer cohort with whom they journey through the program together. Students are required to attend three summer residency intensives, two at the Michigan Tech campus and one at an international location.

Bottom Line: $41,000 covers tuition and room and board for residencies. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about the Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics

#21. Saint Joseph’s University

Saint Joseph’s University is a private Catholic university with a top ranked graduate business school offering an AACSB accredited online MBA degree program that gives special attention to the ethical and moral dimensions of global business. This is one of the best online MBA programs for those interested in rooting their business more deeply within a moral perspective.

Program Details: Saint Joseph’s University’s Online Professional MBA is a 53 credit hour program (including prerequisites) designed for working business professionals. A variety of concentrations are currently available with more slated for the future. Student may receive up to 20 credits towards the degree based on prior coursework, making it possible to complete the program in as little as one year. No campus visits or travel required.

Bottom Line: $45,898 covers tuition for the entire 53 credit program. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University

#22. Saint Leo University (Donald R. Tapia School of Business)

Saint Leo University is a top-ranked regionally accredited Catholic university which recently built a brand new $12 million dollar facility for its School of Business named in honor of one of the project’s donors who is a graduate of its IACBE accredited online MBA program. How’s that for proof of concept?

Program Details: Saint Leo University’s Online MBA is a 36 credit hour program that can be completed in as little as a year or as many as five years. Concentrations are available in Accounting, Health Care Management, Human Resource Management, Information Security Management, Marketing and Sport Business. No campus visits or travel required, though graduates are invited to campus for a graduation ceremony.

Bottom Line: $22,760 covers tuition. Financial aid and military discount available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about the Tapia School of Business at Saint Leo University

#23. Regis University (College for Professional Studies)

Regis University’s College for Professional Studies is an award-winning pioneer in online education and offers a regionally accredited online MBA program for working adults rooted in the school’s Jesuit commitment to social justice.

Program Details: Regis University’s online MBA degree is a 36 credit hour program offered in online and blended formats. Specializations are available in Finance & Accounting, Health Industry Leadership, Health Systems Management, Management, Marketing, Operations Management and Strategic Management. Class sizes are limited to 15. No campus visits or travel required.

Bottom Line: $29,160 covers tuition. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

[Click here to learn more about the Regis University College for Professional Studies]

#24. Liberty University

Liberty University is the largest Evangelical Christian university in the world and offers students one of the best values for a regionally accredited online MBA program with a focus on the integration of faith and business.

Program Details: Liberty University’s online MBA degree is a 45 credit hour program designed for full-time students. Up to 6 credits can be transferred into the program on the basis of life experience or prior academic work. In addition to the General MBA track, specializations are available in Accounting, Criminal Justice, Healthcare Management, Human Resources, International Business, Leadership, Marketing, Project Management, Public Administration and Public Relations. No campus visits or other travel required.

Bottom Line: $19,710 covers tuition for the entire program. Financial aid and military discount available for qualifying students.

Click here to learn more about Liberty University Online

#25. Walden University

One of the largest online business schools in the world (by enrollment), Walden University’s School of Management offers an ACBSP accredited online MBA program dedicated to preparing business students to become agents of positive social change.

Program Details: Walden University’s online MBA degree is a 36 credit hour program designed for working adults. In addition to the option to design your own, established specializations are available in Accounting, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare Management, Human Resource Management, International Business, Leadership, Marketing, Project Management, Risk Management, Technology Management and Sustainability. No campus visits or other travel required. Students have opportunity to learn from guest lecturers from major global corporations and are given the option to study global business abroad or arrange for field study opportunities nearby or at their own company.

Bottom Line: $29,930 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid available for qualifying students.

[Click here to learn more about the Walden University School of Management]

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