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Top 10 Online Degrees California: San Diego

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Great Value Colleges - Top Online Degrees in San Diego

Searching for online degrees in San Diego, California, is harder than one might think. With the continuous improvement of educational technology and the growing demand for more virtual programs from working professionals and employers alike, the number of schools offering these programs has grown to include most colleges and universities. This has made it difficult to sift through all of the knowledge available, leaving students overwhelmed at the prospect of finding an online program that fits all of their needs.

Prospective online students need access to more than just a degree list; they want to know that a degree has been regionally accredited, what kinds of programs are available, tuition rates, and class sizes. They also need to know what online support features are available for the programs so that they get a good picture of what their journey with that online degree will look like. That is why this ranking has been created; students can use this to view a snapshot of the best schools so that can determine what schools they are interested in applying to in the near future.

Methodology

This is a points-based ranking; extensive research was conducted to ensure that students have access to the right information. Research began as a search for “online degrees in San Diego, California,” through the National Center for Education Statistics and its publicly available College Navigator database. The group of schools that met this criterion was then individually reviewed with the school’s website used to confirm 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 can all be found within a 50-mile radius of San Diego, California. They are listed below based on the total amount of points the school accrued during the research process.

10. Point Loma Nazarene University

San Diego, California

Top 10 Online Degrees California: San Diego, California
Point Loma Nazarene University offers online master’s degree programs.

Website

A great place to complete online master’s programs is Point Loma Nazarene University. This school confers master’s degrees as well as bachelor’s completion degrees for adult learners and working professionals. Fields of study include business administration and organizational leadership, with more degrees in the works for the start of the fall term in 2019. Students will find that class sizes at this school are capped at 15 students to ensure that everyone gets individualized attention from their experienced professors. Online features at this school include 24/7 technical support, academic and career advising, financial aid advising, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $845
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Total Points: 5

9. The University of San Diego

San Diego, California

Top 10 Online Degrees California: San Diego, California
The University of San Diego offers online graduate degrees.

Website

The University of San Diego is one of the top places for online degrees in San Diego, California. Students will find that this school offers graduate degree, certificates and endorsements all online. Fields of study include project management, education, and cyber security operations and leadership. Students may also take online courses completely on its own, with asynchronous courses and soft deadlines for assignments. This school is known for its small class sizes and familial atmosphere. Online features include academic and career advising, 24/7 technical support, tutoring services, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $699
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Total Points: 5

8. John Paul the Great Catholic University

Escondido, California

Top 10 Online Degrees California: San Diego, California
John Paul the Great Catholic University offers an online Master’s in Biblical Theology.

Website

Students enrolled at John Paul the Great Catholic University have the chance to complete a Master’s in Biblical Theology, the first online offering from the school. Students will be able to take the degree entirely online with no residency requirements. Class sizes are kept small and courses are held live and on-demand so that students always have a connection to the curriculum and their professors. Students have access to a variety of online features, including 24/7 technical support, academic advising, smartphone and tablet apps for offline viewing of course material, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $573
Student to Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Total Points: 5

7. San Diego State University

San Diego, California

Top 10 Online Degrees California: San Diego, California
San Diego State University offers online undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Website

San Diego State University is an excellent institution for students interested in online bachelor’s programs. This school offers a bachelor’s completion program and master’s programs in a variety of fields, including business administration, hospitality and tourism management, educational leadership, and public health. Degrees are held 100 percent online or in a hybrid format. Students benefit from several financial aid services, including a program set up specifically for veterans. Online features for this school include academic and career advising, financial aid services, 24/7 technical support, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $510
Student to Faculty Ratio: 27:1
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Total Points: 5

6. United States University

Cypress, California

Top 10 Online Degrees California: San Diego, California
United States University offers online master’s degrees.

Website

There are a variety of master’s online degrees available at United States University. This school has been dedicated to online education since it first became a reality. Currently, it is possible to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree from the school; several certificates and endorsements are also available. Fields of study include education, business administration, and nursing. Students will have access to a well-rounded online faculty and staff that is devoted to helping them complete their education. Online services include 24/7 technical support, academic advising, career services, tutoring services, online office hours, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $325
Student to Faculty Ratio: N/A
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Total Points: 5

5. Alliant International University

San Diego, California

Top 10 Online Degrees California: San Diego, California
Alliant International University offers online graduate degrees.

Website

Alliant International University delivers several online degrees in San Diego, California. This school offers students the chance to earn a graduate or doctorate degree that can be started during any time of the year and hold to asynchronous learning. Fields of study include psychology, education, criminology, and business. Students will find that many of the programs also hold professional accreditation, making these programs great candidates for licensure or certification pathways. Students will benefit from small class sizes and a renown faculty trained in the art of online education. Online features for this program include academic and career advising, 24/7 technical support, tutoring services, online professor office hours, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $718
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Total Points: 6

4. San Diego Christian College

Santee, California

Top 10 Online Degrees California: San Diego, California
San Diego Christian College offers associate’s and bachelor’s degrees online.

Website

Students interested in bachelor’s online programs should look to San Diego Christian College. This school offers students the chance to earn degrees at the undergraduate level, many of which have been nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Fields of study include human development, psychology, business management, and Christian ministries. Students will find that live classes are available in the evening or on weekends to accommodate working professionals while on-demand courses can be accessed at any time. Online features for this degree include 24/7 technical support, financial aid services, online office hours, academic and career advising, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s
Cost per credit hour: $452
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Total Points: 6

3. California State University at San Marcos

San Marcos, California

Top 10 Online Degrees California: San Diego, California
California State University at San Marcos offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Website

California State University at San Marcos is an excellent choice for students interested in online programs. This school offers students the chance to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree that comes with a variety of concentrations. Fields of study include kinesiology, education, business administration, and criminology and justice studies. Class sizes are kept small to ensure that all students have the ability to connect with classmates and professors. Online features for this degree include academic and career advising, 24/7 technical support, financial aid support, smartphone and tablet companion apps, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $410
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Total Points: 6

2. Azusa Pacific University

Azusa, California

Top 10 Online Degrees California: San Diego, California
Azusa Pacific University offers online undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Website

Students who enroll at Azusa Pacific University will have the option to earn online degrees taught from a Christian perspective. Students at this school can complete an undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate degree in a flexible format designed to fit their needs. Fields of study include educational technology, nursing, business administration, and music entrepreneurship. Students are supported by a dedicated online faculty and staff, experienced instructors, and small class sizes. Additional services include 24/7 technical support, academic and career services, online tutoring services, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $1,652
Student to Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Total Points: 8

1. National University

San Diego, California

Top 10 Online Degrees California: San Diego, California
National University offers online programs at all degree levels.

Website

National University is the top college for online degrees in San Diego, California. This school has made it its mission to offer as many of their 100 degree programs online as possible; this has resulted in degrees and certificate programs at all levels of education being offered online. Fields of study include nursing, business administration, criminal justice, and human resource management. Students can complete this degree entirely online with no residency requirements or attend campus as part of a hybrid program. This school offers a variety of online features, including 24/7 technical support, online office hours, financial services, academic and career advising, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $430
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Total Points: 8

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Degree?

Online degrees have gotten to the point where earning one can help a professional with whatever their career goal may be. From nursing to engineering, project management to education and everything in between, it is possible to do just about nearly job imaginable with an online degree. In fact, many programs also offer the chance to complete certificates for qualifications along the way, reducing the time a student needs to spend in a program.

There are some exceptions. Medical professions, such as doctor or surgeon, require a specialist degree; becoming a lawyer also requires attendance in an on-campus program. These are professions that require on-campus attendance during the terminal degree because the program provides both on-hands instruction as well as coursework. However, these students can begin their education online and even complete additional degrees online after they have completed their on-campus programs.

Can Previous College Credit be Used for Online Degrees?

Previous college credit can be taken into account for online degrees. Students will note that there are several factors that may impact whether their previous credits will be counted towards their new degree. Considerations such as when the credit was earned if the courses are from an accredited college, if the credit is in line with the elective or core curriculum requirements for the program and whether the school offers transfer credit all need to be researched by the student.

Most online programs take transfer credits; however, there is generally a time limit based on what credits can be used for the new program. Schools often enforce a time limit of five to seven years, meaning that only credits earned within the previous five to seven years will count towards the degree. This means that any credits earned after this time limit are not transferrable and students will need to take the course again.

Accredited college credits are easily transferable, especially when a student attends an online program from an accredited college or university. Credits from an unaccredited college are more difficult and are often untransferable to an accredited online program. This is because the school has a set standard for courses and college credit from an unaccredited school will often not meet those standards; therefore, in this case, the credits will not transfer.

Many working students begin a degree only to have to stop to tend to other responsibilities. When they return to education, the online program tends to be in the same field as when they began their on-campus program. If the credits were earned within five years of applying to the online program, the credits will transfer. If the credits are in a different field of study, those credits may not translate; this is generally not a problem at the undergraduate level, but students are advised to ask about their transfer credits if they are choosing to study a different field.

Lastly, some online schools do not accept transfer credit. This is a rare occurrence, as most schools understand that many students are going back to school to complete a degree they have already started. However, it does happen. Most program websites will state whether a school accepts transfer credits or not, but if a student is unsure, it is recommended that they speak with someone in the admissions office for clarification.

What are the Accelerated Online Options Available to Students?

Accelerated online degrees are the most common option available to students interested in virtual education. However, there are some schools that offer alternative options, such as accelerated term lengths or additional terms throughout the year. Here is a quick overview of what a student may encounter for accelerated degrees.

An accelerated program is designated as such by the school that confers it because the program was designed specifically to be completed in about half the time as it would take an on-campus program. These programs work in short term lengths with minimal field experience and residency requirements to help a student move faster through the curriculum. Students will find that the program will give an estimated time length that is much shorter than traditional online programs.

However, not all programs that are accelerated have the classification. Some online schools utilize short term lengths for all of their online programs, regardless of field of study. This information can be found on the program website; most schools indicate the term length in the quick overview section for the program. If a school utilizes a term length between four to 12 weeks, a student can be reasonably sure that if they complete the program as a full-time student, they will graduate early.

Some school still use the traditional 16-week academic term length but have other accelerated options, such as extra terms during the calendar year. The most common are the summer sessions. Summer sessions by design are shorter than academic terms because there are only three months during that time period. However, some schools offer several sessions during the summer, meaning a student can take a full course load during that term and complete a degree a year ahead of time if they take courses two summers in a row.

J-term is also another academic term that is used by online programs. This term is offered in January before the beginning of the spring semester. Students can complete up to three courses, depending on the school, during those two weeks. While the courses are accelerated, they are also time-intensive, meaning students will have to do more studying in order to complete the course successfully.

How Common is it for Online Students to Earn Financial Aid?

It is currently estimated that nearly 65 percent of all online students, regardless of degree type, earn some type of financial aid. It is so common that most online programs feature financial aid services directed at these students to help them pay for their tuition. However, the amount a student can be awarded will depend on the school and the types of financial aid they choose to pursue.

Financial aid is based on need; the amount awarded, especially for federal student aid, is calculated based on the student’s demonstrated need for aid in paying for their tuition. This means that a student’s salary, living expenses and more are all factors that are taken into consideration and pay a significant role in how much they can be awarded. Many scholarships and grants also take into account a student’s financial need, but some do not, meaning anyone who meets the qualifications for the award may win.

The most common form of financial aid is federal student aid, which is delivered when a student completes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. As a rule, students must be full-time learners in order to receive aid. Many online schools, however, consider all online students full-time, meaning these students can receive federal student aid.

But not all schools accept federal financial aid; some only accept scholarships and grants. This is uncommon but is something to consider for students who are relying on the award in order to help with their tuition fees. The best way to learn if a school takes federal financial aid is to call the financial aid office and inquire about the process for online students.

What is the Difference Between an Online-Only Tuition Rate and Traditional Online Tuition Rates?

Online schools have been debating for years how best to navigate tuition rates for virtual students. Most of these schools have campuses that require maintenance, which is part of the fees that on-campus students pay to attend school there, but online students rarely visit campus. To help students with tuition fees, schools utilize either an online-only tuition rate or traditional in-state tuition rates.

The biggest difference between the two is the price. Online-only tuition rates are, on average, about 20 percent lower than in-state tuition rates. The difference comes from the fact that online-only rates take into account the services that students use, such as the online portal and proctor services for exams; in-state tuition rates are rates that include campus facilities, which online students do not have direct access to, which results in a higher tuition rate.

Online education is the future of higher education. With access to a growing number of degrees and programs, students all over the country can complete their education while still tending to their other responsibilities. This has made it even more intriguing to look for a program that fits the needs of students everywhere. This ranking of the best online degrees in San Diego, California, is a great place for students to begin their search for the program that will help them fulfill their career goals.

GVC Staff
March 2019
This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Online College Degrees California: San Diego, California for 2019