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Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, DC

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Great Value Colleges - Top Online Degrees in Washington, D.C.

The incredible menagerie of online degrees in Washington, D.C., makes it one of the most competitive places for adult learners and working professionals. These schools, located within a 50-mile radius of the nation’s capital, not to mention the home bases for most of the intelligence agencies and other departments, are perfectly situated to provide students with an incredible education supported by experienced professionals and an eye to improving the lives of Americans. But with so many schools to choose from, how will an online student know what is the best choice for them?

Online schools have several features, all of which are helpful to online students, but they need more information than that. They need to know what degrees are available, the fields of study that are online, tuition rates, and student-to-faculty ratios. With this information all provided in one ranking, students are in a strong position to find the school that meets their needs.

Methodology

This points-based ranking began with a visit to the National Center for Education Statistics and its publicly available College Navigator database. A simple search for “online degrees in Washington, D.C.,” provided a long list of schools that met the criteria. After the schools were identified, each one went through an individual review of the school’s website to gather more information. Points were awarded for the following factors:

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 final 10 schools, which are all located within a 50-mile radius of Washington, D.C., were chosen based on the total amount of points accrued during the research process. These schools are listed below in descending order.

10. Georgetown University

Washington, D.C.

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, DC
Georgetown University offers online master’s degrees.

Website

Georgetown University has an exception list of online master’s degrees for prospective students. This school confers graduate degrees and certificates in a variety of professions. Fields of study include global hospitality leadership, human resources management, journalism, and global strategic communications. As a leading purveyor of online degrees, Georgetown is a great home for online students who are interested in participating in a tight-knit community supported by a dedicated online staff and experienced instructors. Online features for this school include 24/7 technical support, academic and career advising, online office hours, financial aid services, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $1,392
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 5

9. College of William and Mary Washington Center

Washington, D.C.

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, DC
College of William and Mary Washington Center offers two online master’s degrees.

Website

The College of William and Mary Washington Center is home to two excellent online degrees near Arlington, Virginia. Students can complete the Master of Business Administration to help them with their business goals or the Master of Business Analytics to help the field understand its own processes and operations better. Both programs are fully supported by an online faculty and staff that are prepared to help students get to graduation. Online features include 24/7 technical support, online office hours, financial aid services, academic and career advising, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $1,220
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 5

8. George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, DC
George Mason University offers online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.

 

For a large range of online bachelor’s programs, students need to look no further than George Mason University. This school, which is located very close to Washington, D.C., is home to students from 130 countries and all across the country. There are over 50 fully online and hybrid degrees, certificates and endorsements available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students at this school will benefit from maximum flexibility in their delivery methods as well as a dedicated online staff. Online features for this school include academic and career advising, 24/7 technical support, an online bookstore, an online library, and financial aid services.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $377
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 6

7. George Washington University

Washington, D.C.

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, DC
George Washington University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees online.

Website

George Washington University delivers exceptional online degrees in Arlington, Virginia. This school has programs in over 25 fields at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels. Certificates and endorsements are also available. Fields of study include educational leadership and administration, systems engineering, healthcare corporate compliance, and professional studies in law firm management. Students will find that most programs can be completed wholly or mostly online with minimal residency requirements. Online features for this school include a dedicated online staff, academic and career services, 24/7 technical support, online office hours, an online library, and an online bookstore.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $2,368
Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 7

6. Catholic University of America

Washington, D.C.

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, DC
Catholic University of America offers online master’s and doctorate degree programs.

 

Some of the best online programs come from the Catholic University of America. This school has brought its practical and applications-oriented perspective online, providing students with graduate and doctorate programs and certificates. Fields of study include canon law, Catholic clinical ethics, Christian-Muslim relations, and evangelization. Students at this school have the opportunity to complete this degree with small class sizes and a dedicated online staff and faculty. Online features include 24/7 technical support, financial aid services, academic and career advising, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $1,387
Student to Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 7

5. Howard University

Washington, D.C.

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, DC
Howard University offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Website

Howard University is one of the top colleges from which to take on online degrees in Arlington, Virginia. Located just seven miles east in Washington, D.C., this school confers a small but growing amount of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Fields of study include education, paralegal studies, business administration, and clinical laboratory science. Students will find that stand-alone courses are also available for non-degree seeking learners. These programs are all taught by trained online instructors who have experience in their respective fields. Online features include academic and career advising, 24/7 technical support, online office hours, financial aid services, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $1,304
Student to Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 7

4. Marymount University

Arlington, Virginia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, DC
Marymount University offers online degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate level.

Website

There are a variety of online degrees available at Marymount University. This school confers most of its degrees and certificates at the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate level mostly online with minimal residency requirements. Students can study everything from Catholic school leadership to cybersecurity. This school does have state residency restrictions, so students are encouraged to find out if they’re eligible to enroll. With small class sizes, dedicated instructors, and a fully-functioning online portal, students are set up for success at Marymount. Online features include 24/7 technical support, online office hours, academic and career services, online tutoring, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $1,010
Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 7

3. Gallaudet University

Washington, D.C.

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, DC
Gallaudet University offers bachelor’s and master’s online programs.

Website

Gallaudet University is the perfect place for working professionals and adult learners interested in learning more about online degrees near Arlington, Virginia. This school offers undergraduate completion programs as well as a selection of online graduate degrees; students who are both degree-seeking and non-degree seeking will be able to take courses here as well. Fields of study include advanced studies in education, counseling, and sign language education. This school has one of the small class sizes in this ranking, providing students with the assurance that they will receive individualized attention.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $1,010
Student to Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 7

2. The University of Maryland University College

Largo, Maryland

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, DC
University of Maryland University College offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs.

Website

Students who are interested in the University of Maryland University College will have no trouble finding a program that fits their needs. This school offers 100 degrees, certificates and endorsements at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels. Fields of study include education and training, data analytics, business and management, and public safety; non-degree courses and programs are also available. Students will benefit from affordable tuition and a variety of online flexibility options. Features for this online portal include academic and career advising, online office hours, 24/7 technical support, an online library, and an online bookstore.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $294
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 8

1. The University of the Potomac

Washington, D.C.

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, DC
The University of the Potomac offers online bachelor’s and master’s programs.

Website

The University of the Potomac offers students the chance to participate in any one of the 30 online degrees they have available. Students can take on undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates in a variety of fields; these include education, criminal justice, cybersecurity, nursing, and business. Many of the programs are available 100 percent online or with minimal residency requirements, making them a great choice for working professionals. Students will also benefit from affordable tuition prices, trained online instructors, and a dedicated online staff. Online features include an online bookstore, an online library, financial aid services, academic and career advising, and 24/7 technical support.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $277
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 8

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Degree?

An online degree will open the door for every career imaginable. Students will find that degrees are available at every level of education and will provide them with unique and exciting career paths; they may even find a way to forge their own career path that hasn’t been discovered yet. With so many employers, including the United States government, encouraging students to either begin or end their education, online degrees are offering students that opportunity without requiring them to abandon their other obligations.

Some specialist professions, such as medical doctors, lawyers, surgeons and more, will require education at a school campus. This cannot be avoided; these professions require intensive and supervised hands-on training that is not available at the online level. However, these professionals can begin their undergraduate degrees online or, after they have completed their on-campus requirements, go back to school for another degree online.

Are Licensure Programs Available for Online Students?

Yes, licensure programs are available to online students. Many schools understand that one of the biggest draws of attending school is the chance to find a pathway towards licensure, a requirement for professions such as nursing, psychology, social work, and education. However, students will need to keep a few things in mind when looking for a licensure program.

The first is that schools that offer online licensure programs will offer this information up-front, usually on the home page for that online degree. These schools know that this is a huge factor in a student’s decision to complete a degree or not, so they make the information readily available. It also provides students with the understanding that the program is both regionally and professionally accredited, meaning that it is a rigorous course of study that will lead to licensure. If this is the end goal for the student, then the program is right for them.

Many schools offer non-licensure programs, which is the opposite of a licensure program. These programs may not have yet met the requirements for professional accreditation or government approval, which is an important step to the school providing licensure. The programs are generally designated as non-licensure programs and the program website will provide more information for the student on whether the program can be used for licensure.

Online programs have a unique problem as well: some schools have online licensure programs but cannot provide it to students from certain states. This is because states regulate licensure requirements, meaning that what is acceptable in one state may not be acceptable in another. For this reason, many online programs close their programs to students in its home state or in neighboring states. Most programs will list which states they cannot confer degrees in on its website, making it easier for students to get the information they need.

Some online licensure programs are part of SARA, which is also known as the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. This is an agreement between states that institutions in one state can offer licensure, as well as other programs, to students of member states in the agreement. Participation in the agreement is voluntary and is not always advertised, so students will want to do research to ensure that they are eligible for the program in question.

How Flexible are Online Courses?

Online courses are extremely flexible, but options vary by school. Students in one school may have access to more options than students in another, so it’s important to understand all of the options available. Students will want to keep this information in mind when considering a school.

The first flexibility option is part-time, half-time, and full-time study schedules. Most online schools do not require students to have just one study status, but some do. Many accelerated and bridge programs will relegate students to part-time status, while some graduate programs will require full-time status. When it comes to online courses, having the option to take as many or as little courses as a student needs is a flexibility option; most full-time working professionals will need a part-time program while others may want to complete the degree faster, which will require full-time study.

The second option is the term length. On-campus schools generally follow the traditional 16-week term but online schools may have terms that last anywhere between four to 15 weeks. This means that online courses may be more relaxed or intense depending on the term length; four-week courses are considered intensive as the student must learn the same amount of knowledge in a quarter of the time as an on-campus student. The advantage is that online students can finish their degree much faster than a traditional student.

The third option is the residency requirement for the course. Online programs can be offered 100 percent online or with hybrid and low-residency options. 100 percent online degrees require no campus residency and is completed wholly online. Low-residency students may need to attend campus once during the entire program or attend as much as two long weekends every term. Hybrid students will need to complete half of their coursework on campus and in a classroom. Residency requirements will play a role in how a student either schedules their time for the commute or if they choose to pursue the degree at all at that school.

The fourth and most important option is the course delivery method. There are two options: asynchronous and synchronous. Asynchronous courses are on-demand courses; there are no participation requirements and students will not have to attend live lectures. Everything is recorded and put online so that students can complete their work when they have the time. Synchronous courses are live courses; live participation is required. Most online students that take live courses will find that their schedule will include weekend and evening sessions to help accommodate their schedules.

All of these options are critical to working professionals and busy students. It is important that students research the online program and find out what options are available to them. Studying the current course schedule and reviewing the requirements for the program will be of great benefit to any student who may have obligations that will need to be taken into consideration.

How Do Online Students Benefit From Small Class Sizes?

Small class sizes are something that every educator, regardless of what level of education they teach, strives for. Students in small classes will see a variety of benefits, including better communication with their professors and the school, individualized attention, and a familial atmosphere with their classmates.

Small class sizes typically mean that the student body is smaller for an online school. With fewer students, their concerns can be directly addressed without much wait time. Technical support, academic and career services and even financial aid services that are delivered to online students will be more individualized to the student. As students progress through their curriculum, their relationship with the school will grow, enabling them to feel a sense of community with the school and the program.

Individualized attention is crucial at higher levels of education. Students who take on courses with small class sizes will find that their professors will have an easier time answering their questions and guiding them through the course. With small class sizes, students will have the ability to really get to know their professors, empowering them to come forward with concerns, which can make or break their time in the program.

Lastly, small class sizes are great for students in cohort programs or programs that require team projects. This is common in online programs, but large class sizes can make it difficult for students to truly get to know their classmates. With small class sizes in a program with a small student body, classmates will run into each other again and again, offering them the chance to develop relationships that will benefit any team project they need to complete.

Why Should a Student Consider Earning an Online Degree in Washington, D.C.?

Washington, D.C., is a haven for students who are interested in working for the United States government, its various agencies and departments, and the United States Military. Most students who want to join the government often find that taking on degrees within a 50-mile radius of the city helps them make connections and get their work seen by potential employers in the field. Some of the benefits of earning an online degree in the country’s capital include access to current professionals in various fields, better field experience opportunities, and campus intensives that include workshops and seminars attended by politicians and high-profile government and military leaders.

One of the biggest draws to earning a degree in Washington, D.C., is the fact that many online professors are also practicing their field in the city. This is incredibly important for political science, homeland security, cybersecurity and related fields as this is where the professionals congregate. The city offers access to several high-profile professors that offer online courses, ensuring that students get in-depth and up-to-date information on their field from those with a reputation that precedes them.

Students all over the country benefit from unique field experience possibilities, regardless of how close they are to the school. For students already living in the area, field experiences range from working with the government as interns or shadowing professionals in top political and military companies. Those who live in a different state will have the opportunity to utilize their chosen school’s reputation to gain better experiences with state and local government offices or working for tech companies that do business with the government.

Some schools in the D.C. area also offer optional campus intensives. These are workshops and seminars are that are headlined by high-profile politicians and government leaders as well as nonprofit organization directors, law enforcement officials, and more. While most of the time, these intensives are optional, some may be required; that’s not a bad thing as it provides students with the chance to interact with those already in their field of choice.

Students interested in working in high-profile fields will benefit from completing an online degree in the nation’s capital. From politics and law to cybersecurity and homeland security, there are degrees available in just about every field. Students who choose to start their pursuit for a better education will benefit from this ranking of the top online degrees in Washington, D.C., and are well on their way to reaching their goal.

GVC Staff
April 2019
This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Washington, D.C.