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Best online management degrees 2021: Top picks

Look through our ranking of the best online management degrees that can help you kickstart your business and management career.

An online management degree provides a combination of business and managerial science training. Students develop leadership skills, decision-making strategies, and methods for improving organizational effectiveness. In addition to traditional business and finance careers, the specialized training prepares graduates for management professions. 

As new technologies and practices continue to influence the management field, organizations will readily seek out new and specially trained professionals to fill their leadership roles. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of over 900,000 management occupations between 2020 and 2030. Here, we rank the best online management degrees to help prospective students capitalize on this exciting opportunity. 

The best online bachelor's in management degrees

For our rankings to accurately reflect the educational landscape, we pull the latest publicly available information from reputable sources. Check out ZDnet's ranking methodology to get a better understanding of the data points used in this process.

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.

1. Florida International University

Miami, Florida

About the program: FIU's 120-credit online management degree features training in operations management, strategic management, and marketing management. 

Acceptance rate: 58%

Graduation rate: 64%

Annual net price: $7,296

Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated pathways may be available)

SAT range: 570-650

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Three 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Appalachian State University

Boone, North Carolina

About the program: Appalachian's 120-credit online management degree includes core courses in international management and human resources management. The program also features a global issues requirement. 

Acceptance rate: 77%

Graduation rate: 73%

Annual net price: $13,920

Years to completion: Four (part-time schedules are available)

SAT range: 560-640

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Three to four

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous  

Accreditation: Appalachian State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

3. Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida

About the program: FAU's 120-credit online management degree provides training in financial analytics, human resources, and business law. The program also offers concentrations in leadership and entrepreneurship.  

Acceptance rate: 63%

Graduation rate: 61%

Annual net price: $10,186

Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)

SAT range: 550-630

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Florida Atlantic University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

4. Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, Oklahoma

About the program: OSU's online management degree offers courses in managing behavior and organizations, human resource management, and ethical leadership. 

Acceptance rate: 70%

Graduation rate: 62%

Annual net price: $14,648

Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)

SAT range: 540-640

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Enrollment periods per year: Four

Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Oklahoma State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

5. University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monroe, Louisiana

About the program: ULM's online management degree features 120 credits. The training covers topics in leadership, operations management, and organizational behavior. 

Acceptance rate: 80%

Graduation rate: 45%

Annual net price: $10,453

Years to completion: Four (accelerated and part-time schedules are available) 

SAT range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: 2.35

Enrollment periods per year: Two 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous  

Accreditation: The University of Louisiana at Monroe is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

6. University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, Massachusetts

About the program: UMass Amherst's online management degree includes core courses in sustainable enterprises and new ventures. 

Acceptance rate: 64%

Graduation rate: 77%

Annual net price: $22,501

Years to completion: Four (accelerated and part-time schedules may be available)

SAT range: 590-680

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Enrollment periods per year: Four 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: The University of Massachusetts Amherst is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

7. University of Wisconsin Whitewater

Whitewater, Wisconsin

About the program: UWW's 120-credit online management degree includes focuses in healthcare management, nonprofit management, and sports program management. 

Acceptance rate: 79%

Graduation rate: 63%

Annual net price: $15,249

Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)

SAT range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Four

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous  

Accreditation: The University of Wisconsin Whitewater is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

8. East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

About the program: ECU's business administration degree completion program features concentrations in management, human resources management, and management information systems. 

Acceptance rate: 79%

Graduation rate: 66%

Annual net price: $15,844

Years to completion: Two to three

SAT range: 520-600

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Three 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: East Carolina University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

9. University of Minnesota Crookston

Crookston, Minnesota

About the program: UMC's online management degree emphasizes training in managerial practices, domestic and global business exposure, and analytical tools for business.

Acceptance rate: 68%

Graduation rate: 56%

Annual net price: $10,952

Years to completion: Three to four (part-time schedules are available)

SAT range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available 

Enrollment periods per year: Two 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous  

Accreditation: The University of Minnesota Crookston is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

10. West Texas A&M University

Canyon, Texas

About the program: WTAMU's online management degree trains students in business ethics, organizational behavior, and production operations management. 

Acceptance rate: 69%

Graduation rate: 51%

Annual net price: $12,761

Years to completion: Four (accelerated and part-time schedules may be available)

SAT range: 470-580

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Enrollment periods per year: Three

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: West Texas A&M University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

11. Northwest Missouri State University

Maryville, Missouri

About the program: Northwest's 120-credit online management degree emphasizes studies in project management, budgeting and forecasting, and operations management. 

Acceptance rate: 73%

Graduation rate: 51%

Annual net price: $12,354

Years to completion: Four (accelerated and part-time schedules are available)

SAT range: 498-610

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Six

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Northwest Missouri State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

12. McNeese State University

Lake Charles, Louisiana

About the program: McNeese's 120-credit online management degree features courses in analytical tools for business decisions, operations management, and information systems analysis. The program also offers a human resources concentration.

Acceptance rate: 81%

Graduation rate: 44%

Annual net price: $12,267

Years to completion: Four

SAT range: 510-610

Minimum GPA: 2.35

Enrollment periods per year: Three

Course delivery method: Asynchronous 

Accreditation: McNeese State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

13. Texas A&M University-Commerce

Commerce, Texas

About the program: TAMUC's 120-credit online management degree includes courses in global consumer behavior, business strategy, and economic forecasting. Learners can minor in corporate management and entrepreneurship.

Acceptance rate: 43%

Graduation rate: 55%

Annual net price: $13,017

Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)

SAT range: 480-580

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Two 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Texas A&M University-Commerce is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

14. University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, Alabama

About the program: UAB's 120-credit online management degree provides training in human resources management, project management, and leadership. Learners can concentrate in business administration or production and operations.

Acceptance rate: 74%

Graduation rate: 55%

Annual net price: $16,953

Years to completion: Four (accelerated and self-paced schedules are available)

SAT range: 560-680

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Three 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous 

Accreditation: The University of Alabama at Birmingham is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

15. University of Wisconsin Platteville

Platteville, Wisconsin

About the program: UW-Platteville's online management degree features required courses in team dynamics and quality management, along with management, gender, and race.

Acceptance rate: 85%

Graduation rate: 53%

Annual net price: $15,718

Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)

SAT range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Three 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous 

Accreditation: The University of Wisconsin Platteville is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

16. Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Durant, Oklahoma

About the program: Southeastern's 124-credit online management degree provides training in small business management, management science, and supervisory management. 

Acceptance rate: 74%

Graduation rate: 33%

Annual net price: $8,237

Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)

SAT range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Four 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous 

Accreditation: Southeastern Oklahoma State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

17. Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, Arizona

About the program: NAU's 120-credit online management degree provides focus options in three fields, including healthcare management, human resources management, and entrepreneurship and business development. 

Acceptance rate: 85%

Graduation rate: 59%

Annual net price: $12,915

Years to completion: Three to four (self-paced schedules are available)

SAT range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: Northern Arizona University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

18. Mount Mercy University

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

About the program: MMU's faith-based online management degree completion program features tracks in traditional management, international management, operations management, sports management, and sustainability management. 

Acceptance rate: 66%

Graduation rate: 69%

Annual net price: $20,857

Years to completion: 1 ½ to two

SAT range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Enrollment periods per year: Nine 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: Mount Mercy University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

19. Northern State University

Aberdeen, South Dakota

About the program: NSU's online management degree trains students in the most effective management methodologies. The program features emphasis options in leadership, entrepreneurship, general management, and supply chain analytics. 

Acceptance rate: 84%

Graduation rate: 45%

Annual net price: $15,851

Years to completion: Four (accelerated and part-time schedules are available)

SAT range: 470-570

Minimum GPA: 2.6

Enrollment periods per year: Two 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous 

Accreditation: Northern State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

20. George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

About the program: Mason's 120-credit online management degree includes courses in financial management, management information systems, and principles of management. 

Acceptance rate: 87%

Graduation rate: 74%

Annual net price: $21,048

Years to completion: Three to four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)

SAT range: 560-660

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Two 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: George Mason University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

21. Franciscan University of Steubenville

Steubenville, Ohio

About the program: Franciscan's online management degree offers faith-based training in industrial management, strategic management, and quantitative decision-making.

Acceptance rate: 77%

Graduation rate: 72%

Annual net price: $24,918

Years to completion: Three to four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)

SAT range: 570-670

Minimum GPA: 3.2

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: Franciscan University of Steubenville is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

22. University of Nebraska Kearney

Kearney, Nebraska

About the program: UNK's 120-credit online management degree features courses in human diversity, business law, and administrative strategies and policies. 

Acceptance rate: 85%

Graduation rate: 59%

Annual net price: $16,017

Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)

SAT range: 480-583

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Enrollment periods per year: Three 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: The University of Nebraska Kearney is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

23. Bemidji State University

Bemidji, Minnesota

About the program: BSU's 60-credit online management degree completion program features courses in professional development, facilities management, and total quality management. 

Acceptance rate: 65%

Graduation rate: 49%

Annual net price: $15,868

Years to completion: Two (part-time schedules may be available)

SAT range: Not publicly available

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Enrollment periods per year: Two to three 

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: Bemidji State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

24. Trevecca Nazarene University

Nashville, Tennessee

About the program: Trevecca's 120-credit faith-based online management degree emphasizes three core areas, including management development, leadership development, and personal development. 

Acceptance rate: 62%

Graduation rate: 51%

Annual net price: $17,499

Years to completion: 1 ½ to four (part-time schedules are available)

SAT range: 540-640

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Enrollment periods per year: Two 

Course delivery method: Synchronous

Accreditation: Trevecca Nazarene University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

25. Eastern New Mexico University

Portales, New Mexico

About the program: ENMU's online management degree offers core training in training and development, supervision and management, and management and society. 

Acceptance rate: 58%

Graduation rate: 42%

Annual net price: $9,516

Years to completion: Four (accelerated and part-time schedules may be available)

SAT range: 460-570

Minimum GPA: Not publicly available

Enrollment periods per year: Rolling

Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: Eastern New Mexico University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Insights from a management graduate

asha aravindakshan, a woman with medium length black hair, smiles at the camera

Asha Aravindakshan is the author of Skills: The Common Denominator and serves on the Board of Directors for MIT Sloan Club of New York, Alumni Leadership Council for the Forté Foundation, and as a Venture Partner for Verve Ventures. She has presented at conferences in the Americas and is the recipient of awards on digital transformation and future of work. Asha studied business at The George Washington University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

ZDNet: What type of person is successful and thrives in a management career? What type of person may not be the best fit?

Asha Aravindakshan: The type of person who is successful and thrives in a management career can influence with and without authority, coach their direct reports to bring their best selves to work each day, and continuously galvanize a team towards the next goal.

A critical element is enjoying people management. If a person does not embrace all aspects of people management (the good and bad), then they will not be a good fit for a management career. The good can look like overseeing teams, winning deals, and leading projects, while the bad can be removing roadblocks, handling administrative burdens, and navigating a crisis. 

In Skills: The Common Denominator, I interviewed Justin Nassiri, who convinced himself that he was a manager based on his military experience and went so far as completing an MBA to help him better manage people in business.

However, four years into his first entrepreneurial venture, he realized he did not thrive on managing people nor did he enjoy the management aspect of the CEO role. He had a blind spot around people management. Now, he pivoted his staffing model to be entirely consultants, where he can ramp up or down the contractual obligations based on client demand, all while maintaining his focus on the team's overall service delivery. 

ZDNet: What were the greatest takeaways from your management degree that helped you to be successful in your career?

AA: The core curriculum of a management degree proved to be a great basis for my career in business operations roles. In high school in New York, I learned accounting and business law principles, but in my undergraduate business classes at The George Washington University, I learned cases of real-life situations at businesses that applied the learnings.

Teachings and examples from the curriculum stayed with me for years. For example, in my business process re-engineering work in the government, I remembered from my operations class that we needed to examine bottlenecks from multiple angles to ensure that we were completely tackling the problem versus one or two symptoms of it. Another example is, when we would take personality assessments like Myers-Briggs or StrengthsFinder (in multiple jobs), I learned in my group dynamics class that the designations would help align our teams to each other's strengths.  

By the time I completed my MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management, I could reference my own real-life situations across the non-profit, public, and private sectors that I could share in the classroom with my peers and professors. The biggest takeaway from my time completing an MBA was how we could come together as a student group — either assigned or self-organized — and accomplish so much (homework, presentations, and group papers) in six weeks during a course module. We did this five times every six weeks for four quarters in an academic year. 

When I set up my course schedule, Stephen Sacca, my academic advisor, shared that "it is easier to take courses in hard skills than take courses on soft skills." His advice stayed with me as I shaped a curriculum that prioritized courses on innovation, leadership, and DEI across MIT and Harvard.

ZDNet: How did you make the most of your management degree program so that it prepared you for post-grad jobs? 

AA: My goal for my post-grad jobs was to work in technology startups. One of the ways that I could achieve this goal during my management degree program was to work on two technology startups with my classmates. We took advantage of the student entrepreneurship programming to incubate, test,and refine our ideas. Then, every opportunity we had for a class project meant we could further explore our idea in the classroom setting. Professors enjoyed hearing what we were working on! 

What to expect in an online bachelor's in management degree program

In a traditional online business management degree, students develop practical leadership skills that they can apply across different departments and industries. They learn how to manage various facets of an organization, including operations, finance, and sustainability. They also acquire staffing, behavior management, and training and development abilities that can help improve interoffice politics. 

Management courses

The courses in online management degrees vary by school and program, but learners can expect to see similar topics of study. The following list outlines the more popular courses in the discipline at the bachelor's level.

Business principles

Business principles courses teach students the basics of business operations, supply and demand, and decision-making. Learners also look at the phases of the business cycle and the drivers of growth and innovation.

Business law

Business law courses showcase the major components of business and labor laws. Students gain an understanding of the legal framework for businesses and the processes and punishments for violations.

Human resources management 

In this course, students learn how to manage an organization's personnel, including compensation and benefits, conflict resolution, and training and development. They also acquire knowledge in health and safety, labor laws, and organizational behavior. 

Business strategies

Business strategy courses teach students how business managers develop and implement strategies. They look at methods for goal setting, risk assessment, and performance evaluations.

Management degree levels

Each management degree level provides a different scope and depth of training. While every level brings value to degree-holders, the more advanced training typically leads to more desirable and rewarding careers. The following section provides details on each online management degree level and the opportunities they offer graduates.

Associate in management

  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $11,389
  • Post-grad careers: Customer service representatives, financial clerks, and sales person

A business management degree at the associate level focuses on the foundations of management. Students gain an understanding of how businesses operate and the functions of the different departments. Graduates may pursue many different entry-level careers in business or they may continue on to a bachelor's degree.

Bachelor's in management

  • Length: Four years
  • Cost: $28,123
  • Post-grad careers: Facilities managers, human resources manager, marketing managers 

At the bachelor's level, online management degrees cover a great deal of ground. The training delves into specific management roles, such as operations, marketing, and project management. Learners develop applicable and practical managerial and leadership skills, and they may pursue many careers in the business and financial and management sectors.

Master's in management

  • Length: One to three years
  • Cost: $19,792
  • Post-grad careers: Training and development managers, top executives, and postsecondary administrators

In an online master's degree in management, students acquire advanced leadership skills and in-depth knowledge of management practices. Through research, seminars, and practical training, they develop a specialization, such as sustainability or a project management master's degree. Professionally, graduates can access most business management careers, and they can even branch out into other industries.

Doctorate in management

  • Length: Three to six years
  • Cost: $19,792
  • Post-grad careers: Postsecondary teachers, top executives, management analysts

A doctorate in management challenges students to advance the scholarship and discourse surrounding management practices and theory. Learners conduct in-depth research in their chosen specialization, such as international business, organizational behavior, and management strategy. While many graduates pursue teaching roles, they can tackle leadership and analyst positions in most industries as well.

In conclusion

An online management degree provides learners with the knowledge and abilities to improve organizations internally and externally. Graduates enjoy a strong business management career outlook, leveraging a demand for leaders with modern technological and leadership skills. Starting with the ranking on this page, prospective students can expedite their search and find a program that takes them to the next level.