The 2021 Guide to Online Bachelor's Programs

On this page, we’ll explore the benefits of obtaining an online undergraduate degree—highlighting different areas of study, potential career paths, and the steps you can take to achieve your career goals.

Can You Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree Online?

What is an online bachelor’s degree? Simply put, it’s a way of getting a higher education—without moving across the country or making an arduous daily commute. After choosing from a wide array of programs, online learners can study from the comfort of their own homes. 

Accredited Online Bachelor’s Programs

When exploring programs, be sure to identify ones that offer accredited bachelor’s degrees. Accreditation means that a university has been recognized by an authoritative organization for meeting—or exceeding—accepted educational standards. By sifting through options with an eye for bachelor degree accreditation, you can pinpoint programs that may help to prepare graduates for work in their chosen field.

Online Bachelor’s Degree Admissions Requirements

Online bachelor’s degree applicants may be required to submit the following items as part of their Common Application, which is an undergraduate college admission application used by nearly 900 higher education institutions

  • Standardized test scores. Many programs will request to see your ACT or SAT scores, as these exams are designed to help measure college readiness and predict future academic success.
  • High school transcripts. By reviewing the grades you received in high school, admissions committees may be better able to gauge how you might perform at their institution and in your chosen program.
  • Letters of recommendation. Most letters of recommendation are written by teachers or guidance counselors who can speak to an applicant’s ambitions, performance, and potential.
  • College essay. The college admissions essay is prime real estate for letting your personality shine. By sharing a unique story, you can show online undergraduate schools who you really are—and where your passions lie. 

Online Bachelor’s Degree Curriculum

Your online bachelor’s degree curriculum will be shaped by your specific area of study. For example, a business administration major might take courses in the following areas:

  • Organizational behavior: By taking courses about this topic, students can develop an understanding of human behavior in the corporate world and gain critical insights into strategies that cultivate and strengthen group performance.
  • Leadership: Leadership is about inspiring, coaching, and mentoring people to achieve their fullest potential. For some, this skill comes naturally—but for many, it’s learned through both education and practice.
  • Data analytics: Numbers speak—but many people don’t know what they’re saying. Data analytics courses help change that: teaching students how to transform raw figures into actionable insights.
  • Public speaking: According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the fear of public speaking is the most common phobia—ahead of spiders, heights, and even death. Courses in public speaking can shape students into powerful communicators who convey thoughts with clarity and confidence.
  • Business writing: Business writing courses teach the art of strategic messaging, showing students how to articulate ideas with impact.

Which Online Bachelor’s Degree Major is Right for You?

Which major should you choose? It’s a very personal question—and one that calls for dedicated self-reflection. Some students begin their undergraduate studies with sights set on a particular career path. Others aren’t sure what they want to pursue and decide later on, after discovering their passion through classroom experiences or conversations with peers and mentors.

Do you need to choose a major? Yes—but you may not have to right away. Many Some programs don’t require students to declare their major until late sophomore year, providing ample time to explore different subject areas and uncover your true passion.  Keep in mind that waiting longer to pick a major, may require you to spend more time in school. 

Or, as an alternative to selecting a specific major like biochemistry or journalism, some students can pursue a degree in general studies (more on that later).

Online Bachelor’s Degree with a Business Administration Major

An education in business administration teaches students how to work ethically and effectively in diverse workforces. By taking an array of courses in areas such as microeconomics, marketing, strategy, finance, and negotiations, you can hone valuable business skills that position you for success in a globally competitive world. 

A Bachelor's in Business Administration can also help prepare you for a Master of Business Administration should you decide to further your education with a graduate degree.

Online Bachelor’s Degree with a Nursing Major

Nursing is all about helping people, and students who choose to earn a Bachelor of Nursing learn how to do just that. By studying the methods behind patient-centered care, you can prepare yourself for a career as a registered nurse working in hospitals, physicians’ offices, home health care services, nursing care facilities, outpatient clinics, schools, and more.  Note, you can become an RN with either a BSN or an ADN. Explore average nursing salaries with different degrees.

Online Bachelor’s Degree with a Kinesiology Major

The word kinesiology is derived from the Greek word kinesis, which means "motion or movement." True to its etymology, kinesiology is the study of human movement from a scientific perspective. Students who earn a Bachelor of Kinesiology will take foundational courses in areas like exercise science, motor behavior, biomechanics, sport and society, and exercise psychology—learning the relationship between physical activity, health, and well-being. Learn more about kinesiology careers.

Other Online Bachelor’s Degree Options

We’ve only scratched the surface of available majors. There are countless options to choose from. From data science, project management, and human resources to real estate, international business, and economics, the list is exhaustive, giving students the freedom to determine their own unique path.

General Studies

As mentioned earlier, some bachelor’s degree programs allow students to graduate with a major in general studies—an option that can help you develop a well-rounded knowledge base and comprehensive skills that may transfer to a variety of careers.

How Long Do Online Bachelor’s Degrees Take?

It depends on which program you choose. Most online bachelor’s degrees take four years to complete—but there are accelerated undergraduate degree programs that can be obtained in less time. For instance, some programs can be completed within 12 to 18 months if you’ve already fulfilled many of the general education requirements. These accelerated bachelor’s degrees may be well-suited for students who are eager to fast-track their education and enter the workforce.

How Much Do Online Bachelor’s Programs Cost?

Online bachelor’s degree tuition costs vary widely by program. To determine a specific online bachelor’s degree program cost, it’s best to visit that university’s website, read the financial information provided there, and be aware that overtime, tuition costs are subject to change.

What Kind of Jobs Can You Get With an Online Undergraduate Degree?

An online bachelor’s degree may qualify you for a diverse array of jobs—depending, of course, upon your chosen area of study. While a kinesiology major might later become an athletic trainer or physical therapist, a business administration major may choose to pursue a career as a financial analyst or marketing manager. 

Why Pursue a Bachelor’s Degree Online?

Today, online learning is more than just a perk—it’s often a necessity for some. Virtual classrooms allow students from many walks of life to pursue higher education without making large sacrifices. From the comfort of their own home, they can earn online bachelor’s degrees that prepare them for work in their desired field, across industries, and around the world. If you think online education might be right for you, carefully research available program options.

 

Last Updated August 2020