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Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CA

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Great Value Colleges - Top Online Degrees in San Francisco

Finding an online degree in San Francisco, CA, is easier now than it has ever been; most schools within a 50-mile radius of the city offer some type of online program. At the very least, these schools provide online certificates and courses that will be useful to most professionals and young students. In fact, the number of programs available has grown rapidly as demand for them rises from residents and out-of-state students who want to attend these schools.

But with so many online options available, it may be difficult for students to choose a program that fits their needs. After all, online programs come with a variety of options, but not all schools offer the same features. A ranking of the top colleges online is required so that students can look at only the schools that meet their requirements.

Methodology

This ranking was made possible by the research that was completed through the National Center for Education Statistics website and its publicly available College Navigator database. The initial group of schools was compiled by searching for “online degrees in San Francisco, CA,” through the database. Each school was then individually reviewed by using the school’s website. There were several factors that were considered in order to help prepare this points-based ranking, including the following:

Types of online degree options available(associate, bachelor, master’s, doctorate): 1 point per degree level.

Cost per credit hour:
Under $250 – 4 points
$251 – $350 – 3 points
$351 – $450 – 2 points
Over $451 per credit hour – 1 point

Regional Accreditation:
Present – 1 point

Student to faculty ratio:
10:1 or less – 3 points
11:1 to 15:1 – 2 points
Greater than 15:1 – 1 point

The 10 schools that made this ranking can all be found within a 50-mile radius of San Francisco, CA. They are listed below in descending order.

10. The University of San Francisco

San Francisco, California

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CATop 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CA
The University of San Francisco features asynchronous courses.

Website

Some of the best online master’s programs in San Francisco, CA, come from the University of San Francisco. This school is known for its world-class education, something that it is now delivering online at the graduate level. Students at this school have the option to attend a wholly online program or choose to attend campus through the school’s low-residency or hybrid programs. Students can choose to study a wide range of professions, such as nursing, public administration, and public health. Online features include asynchronous courses, summer and J-session courses, online admissions and academic advising, a bookstore, and access to the school’s online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $1,170
Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Total Points: 5

9. St. Mary’s College of California

Moraga, California

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CA
St. Mary’s College of California offers a variety of graduate programs.

Website

St. Mary’s College of California is a great school for students interested in earning an online degree in San Francisco, CA. This school has a variety of graduate programs available, including unique options such as Intercultural Communication and a Professional Master of Business Administration. Bachelor’s completion programs will be available to online students at the beginning of the 2019 fall term. Students may also have the option to complete a bridge program, although this is upon approval of the school. This school is in the middle of building up their online portal, but current features include an online bookstore, an online library, academic and career advising, 24/7 technical support, and more.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $1,035
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Total Points: 5

8. California State University at East Bay

Hayward, California

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CA
California State University at East Bay offers 12 online degree programs.

Website

Students interested in bachelor’s online programs will want to check out California State University at East Bay. The school, which already has a great reputation for undergraduate degrees, is also offering graduate degrees. The 12 degree programs available include programs in health care administration, recreation and tourism, and human development with several concentrations available. Courses are delivered either 100 percent online or through a hybrid program; students will want to confirm the delivery format for their program of choice. Non-degree seeking students will also have the chance to complete online courses. Some features of the program include small class sizes, professors who teach online as well as on-campus, academic advising, 24/7 technical support, a bookstore, and access to the school’s online library and electronic resources.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $987
Student to Faculty Ratio: 24:1
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Total Points: 5

7. Mills College

Oakland, California

Mills College offers a unique online master’s degree in educational leadership with a focus on social justice.

Website

Mills College is a great place to earn an online degree in San Francisco, CA. The nationally renowned School of Education at Mills College offers a 100% online master’s degree in educational leadership for students seeking a flexible learning schedule coupled with a rigorous, innovative curriculum. The program is designed for educators as well as those in policy and nonprofit organizations who seek to advance the field of education. Mills is recognized for its strong emphasis on social justice and for promoting equity, collaboration, and leadership in public schools. Features for this Mills online degree program include online admissions and registration, academic advising, asynchronous and synchronous courses, small class sizes, 24/7 technical support, and access to an online library and bookstore.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $1,144
Student to Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Total Points: 6

6. Holy Names University

Oakland, California

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CA
Holy Names University feature small class sizes.

Website

Some of the best online programs in the greater San Francisco metro area are conferred by Holy Names University. This school knows how important it is for a student to have access to an undergraduate degree as well as completion degrees. Students at this school will be able to complete an online bachelor’s completion degree in business or education. Courses in this program feature small class sizes as well as seven and 15-week terms, meaning that a student may potentially complete their requirements in less time than a traditional program. Hybrid courses are also available for this program, meaning students that live in the area will be more than welcome on campus if they choose to use the option. Online features include on-campus professors trained in online education, academic and career advising, 24/7 technical support, an online bookstore, and access to the school’s online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s
Cost per credit hour: $1,003
Student to Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Total Points: 6

5. Notre Dame de Namur University

Belmont, California

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CA
Notre Dame de Namur University has been offering online degrees since 2001.

 

Notre Dame de Namur University is a great option for students interested in earning an online degree in San Francisco, CA. This school has been in operation since 1851 and since 2001 has been offering online degrees, courses, and certificates. Students at this school will find that the wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs available will fit nicely into their busy schedules. All graduate degrees were created to be completed in two years with part-time study. Fields of study at this school include business administration, public administration, and criminal justice. Students will find that they will have access to the school’s online library and bookstore, academic advising, technical support, small class sizes, and more.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $959
Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Total Points: 6

4. Samuel Merritt University

Oakland, California

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CA
Samuel Merritt University offers graduate and doctorate programs online.

Website

Professional online degrees are available at Samuel Merritt University, making it a great choice for busy working professionals who require access to programs that can lead to licensure. The graduate and doctorate programs available focus on nursing at the moment, with more health services programs expected online in the next few years. Students can choose to complete a Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice, both of which are useful to registered nurses who are seeking advanced licensure in their community; please note that these programs may be closed to students in some states. With small class sizes and a dedicated faculty, students will find all of the support that they need at this university. Features include technical support, an online bookstore, an online library, academic advising, and more.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $1,353
Student to Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Total Points: 7

3. California Institute of Integral Studies

San Francisco, California

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CA
The California Institute of Integral Studies has seven online programs.

Website

California Institute of Integral Studies is a school that is dedicated to online learning. This institution offers students the chance to complete one of seven programs, ranging from bachelor’s to doctorate degrees. This school utilizes a low-residency structure, meaning that residency intensives are required and last between three to seven days. Fields include transformative leadership, integral and transpersonal psychology, and integrative health studies. Students will find that class sizes are small and taught by the same faculty that teach the courses online. Other features available at this school include academic and career advising, technical support, an online bookstore, an online library, and tutoring services.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $855
Student to Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Total Points: 8

2. The University of California at San Francisco

San Francisco, California

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CA
The University of California at San Francisco offers master’s and doctorate programs online.

Website

Students who attend the University of California at San Francisco will find a variety of health services degrees and certificates available to them. This includes graduate and doctoral programs in everything from implementation science to diabetes management to nursing and everything in between. This is an excellent school for working professionals in the health services fields who wish to expand on their knowledge or are looking for a change in their career. Students at this school will find that courses are incredibly small, owing to the limited number of spaces

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $423
Student to Faculty Ratio: 4:1
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Total Points: 9

1. Golden Gate University

San Francisco, California

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CA
Golden Gate University offers associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s,  and doctorate programs online.

 

Golden Gate University is an incredible place to earn an online degree in San Francisco, CA. This school confers programs at all levels of education, with most being offered 100 percent online or as part of a low-residency program; hybrid options are also available. Fields of study include business, management, psychology, taxation, and project management. Students can get a feel for this fully functional online portal even before applying; the school offers guided tours of the online portal for prospective students. Additionally, online orientation is required for new students, giving them a chance to understand how their program works prior to registering for their classes. Features for this school include online academic and career advising, 24/7 technical support, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $660
Student to Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Total Points: 9

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Degree?

Online degrees have only a few professions in which they are not helpful. These include medical professions such as doctors and psychiatrists, pharmacists, dentists, and surgeons. Another exception is the law profession. All of these professionals must attend specialty schools in order to earn the right to sit for licensure and practice in the United States. There are no exceptions to this as United States laws remove the ability for students to earn an online degree in the professions listed above and practice in the country.

However, aside from the exceptions listed above, students who earn an online degree will find a variety of careers available to them. From nursing to education, engineering to criminal justice, just about every student will find that an online degree will not be a deterrent in the pursuit of their chosen field.

Are There Scholarship and Financial Aid Options Available for Online Students?

Yes, scholarships, grants, loans, and financial aid are all available for online students. There are a variety of resources available specifically for these students, so it’s worth taking a look at everything that exists in the financial aid space.

While scholarships and grants may take time to look through, it’s important to note that online students who study full-time will be eligible to receive financial aid through the federal government. This is done by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is known as FAFSA. Students will find that nearly all schools will accept this form of financial aid.

Students will want to research further into scholarships, as most do not restrict applicants to just on-campus programs. In fact, many scholarships are being built specifically for online students, meaning that there are so many ways to earn financial rewards for a degree. All a student has to do is be committed to applying for as many options as they qualify for to ensure they can get the money necessary to complete their degree.

Is Tuition Really More Affordable for Online Students?

Online tuition, in general, is often more affordable than on-campus tuition. However, how much more affordable depends on the school and how it treats tuition when it comes to online students. With online tuition rates taking over for on-campus tuition rates, it can be far more affordable to attend college online than on-campus.

The easiest way to understand this is by taking a look at on-campus tuition rates. Most schools still use these pay schedules for online students, so it’s worth taking a look at now. On-campus tuition rates come in two categories: in-state tuition and out-of-state tuition. In-state tuition can be as much as one-third less than out-of-state tuition, making it more affordable for in-state students to attend that school. Out-of-state tuition rates generally take into consideration that the student will physically move to campus and may live in dorms, making the tuition rates higher for those students.

Online students often pay in-state tuition rates, even if they live out-of-state. This is not a fast-and-hard rule, however, so students will need to confirm with the school of their choice to make sure they understand the pay structure. But in most cases, schools understand that online students will not pay out-of-state, on-campus fees if they are never going to attend campus.

Some schools have implemented online tuition rates. These rates are substantially lower, as much as 20 percent lower, than in-state tuition rates, making it a great option for students who do not want to have to take out massive loans in order to attend college. These tuition rates are lower because students only pay for the facilities, which in this case would be the online portal, instead of paying for facilities on-campus that they will never use.

On average, online degrees cost about half to 30 percent less than a traditional on-campus program. Students may find that they have more options to reduce their tuition rate if they are veterans or work for the United States government. It is highly suggested that a student contact the school’s admissions office to learn more about what they can do to reduce the cost of their education.

Can Work Experience Help an Online Student earn College Credit?

Yes, work experience can be used by an online student to earn college credit. However, how much the work experience will be useful depends on the school itself as well as how pertinent the experience is to the student’s chosen field of study.

Students must keep in mind that not all schools will accept work experience as college credit. Those that do tend to have accelerated programs that students can take on that eliminate the need for general core requirements; these can be eliminated with work experience that is approved by the school. This is done because the school assumes the student has had enough experience in the field in order to eliminate the general requirements and move into advanced concepts without falling behind.

Schools will generally require that work experience is related to the student’s stated field of study in order for it to be accepted as college credit. This is to ensure that all students have the same level of experience or knowledge in a course, which is especially important in an online program where students do not have the same structure that is provided for by on-campus programs.

However, work experience is not the only way to earn college credit. Students who feel as though they have a good grasp of a concept or course may also choose to opt out of courses by taking an exam at the school that shows they are competent in that course’s area of study. Students may also use volunteer experience for college credit. Again, students must accept that not all schools will accept work experience for college credit. The best way to confirm this is to discuss the option with an admissions advisor at the school of their choice.

Why Do Some Online Programs Require Campus Residency?

Online degrees were designed for busy students, but that does not mean that all programs are available 100 percent online. Some schools do require campus residencies as a condition of graduation. However, it is usually for good reason.

One of the main reasons that school require campus residency comes from the type of online program a student is undertaking. Hybrid programs require that about half of all coursework is completed in-person, while low-residency programs require students to attend campus every term or every year for a set amount of days. These programs were designed to provide students with in-person instruction that may be crucial to their profession.

Professions such as teaching and nursing may require campus residencies. These professions are hands-on, meaning that professionals work with patients and students on a daily basis, so on-campus instruction can be integral to their education. Usually, these residencies last no more than a week per term and include laboratories or field experiences that will enable a student to grasp the concepts that they are taught online.

The third reason is simple: some schools simply do not have the bandwidth or the faculty to offer required courses for a degree online. This means that a student must complete the course on campus. In this case, students will take an intensive course that lasts between two to four weeks. While this is not a common reason, it does happen, especially with smaller colleges and universities who do not have a dedicated online teaching staff.

Are Online Programs a Good Choice for Working Professionals?

Absolutely, online programs are a great choice for working professionals. This is because these programs were designed with them in mind; online options provide these working adults with the ability to continue their education without causing disruption to their obligations. However, there are certain features available on an online degree that will be intriguing for most professionals.

One is the removal of most or all on-campus residency requirements. Degree options can range from wholly online to hybrid programs, but most give students the requirements for residency upfront. This not only makes it easier for the professional to decide whether the program is for them or not, but it also ensures that they can make the right travel arrangements months in advance.

Second is the choice of on-demand or live courses, which are also known as asynchronous and synchronous courses. Working professionals will most likely prefer on-demand courses as it provides them with the option to choose when and where they study. Additionally, most live courses are taught on the weekends or in the evenings to accommodate all professionals.

The third is the term structure. Online schools are not held to the same standard as on-campus schools, meaning that courses can take as little as four weeks or as much as 16 weeks to complete. Alternatively, most schools work on an accelerated term schedule, meaning courses are taught in four or eight-week terms during the traditional school year as well as summer and J-term sessions. This enables students to study part-time and year-round, keeping them on track to complete their degree on their schedule.

Finding an online program is not nearly as difficult as it used to be, although some students may find it overwhelming to search through all the programs available. For those on the West Coast, a ranking like this may be helpful, considering that most schools now have at least one online program. These students will find their perfect online degree in San Francisco, CA, just by researching the schools on this list.

GVC Staff
March 2019

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in San Francisco, CA for 2019.