Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

The higher education experts at BestColleges have reviewed top online colleges in North Dakota. Start planning your future at BestColleges.
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Updated on June 28, 2023
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With an unemployment figure of only 2.5% (as of November 2019), North Dakota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Combined with a relatively low cost of living -- driven primarily by affordable education, rent, and housing prices -- North Dakota is an attractive place to live and work.

Top 5 Online Colleges in North Dakota

  1. University of Mary - Bismarck, ND
  2. University of North Dakota - Grand Forks, ND
  3. Minot State University - Minot, ND
  4. Valley City State University - Valley City, ND
  5. Bismarck State College - Bismarck, ND

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

Some of North Dakota's major industries include natural resources and energy, information technology, advanced manufacturing, and tourism. However, agriculture remains the largest force in the state's economic activity. North Dakota leads the nation in production of several commodities, including dry beans, canola, flaxseed, honey, and durum.

Low unemployment is beneficial for workers, meaning many employers offer competitive salaries and benefits packages to attract qualified employees. Individuals looking to advance their knowledge, skills, and overall hireability should consider enrolling at an online college and pursuing a postsecondary education.

While online programs require the same rigorous coursework and result in the same credentials as a traditional, campus-based program, there are key differences between the two. Instead of interacting with peers and professors in a classroom, online students use chat rooms, message boards, emails, and/or webcams to connect.

Asynchronous online programs are particularly popular for their flexibility. In this format, students can access lectures and course material at any time while working toward assignment deadlines. There are no set login times or face-to-face requirements, which may be ideal for working adults, parents, and other busy individuals.

To help you make an informed decision about your higher education options, we have compiled the following ranking of the five best online colleges in North Dakota. Read on to discover relevant information regarding school history and culture, notable program offerings, and admission requirements.

Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

  1. University of Mary

    Bismarck, ND



    Situated on a 340-acre campus, the University of Mary is the largest university in the state capital of Bismarck. This Catholic institution also boasts study abroad campuses in Rome and Peru, as well as satellite locations in four other states. One of the best online colleges in North Dakota, the institution enrolls about 3,800 students each year.

    Mary offers more than two dozen online programs, including certificates, minors, and bachelor's and master's degrees. Available areas of study include accounting, business management, education, and psychology. Extensive options are also available in the healthcare and nursing fields, with notable options such as a dual MSN/MBA in healthcare administration, which prepares professionals for careers as nursing leaders or healthcare executives; students can graduate in less than 2.5 years.

    Admission requirements vary by student status and program. Transcripts and applicable test scores are required. All online learners pay the same tuition rates, regardless of state residency.

  2. University of North Dakota

    Grand Forks, ND



    Established in 1883 -- six years before North Dakota's statehood -- the University of North Dakota is the oldest public research university in the state. The school's 550-acre campus in Grand Forks is home to North Dakota's only law school and school of medicine. UND serves more than 13,000 students each year.

    One of the best online colleges in North Dakota, UND offers more than 120 online degrees, certificates, and professional development courses to more than 6,000 learners around the world. UND offers a variety of flexible scheduling options, including self-paced classes; enroll-anytime courses; and standard, semester-based classes. One notable degree option is the school's online Ph.D. in aerospace sciences.

    Self-paced courses do not require formal admission. Application requirements for online programs vary by student status and field of study. State residency does not impact per-credit tuition rates for online learners.

  3. Minot State University

    Minot, ND



    Originally founded in 1913 as a small teachers college, Minot State University has since grown to become the third-largest university in the state. Annual enrollment exceeds 3,000 students. This public institution's commitment to meeting the needs of all learners earns it a spot on this list of the best online colleges in North Dakota.

    MSU's online offerings include eight certificates, one associate degree, 10 bachelor's degrees, and five master's degrees. Distance students can also pursue several minors, concentrations, and non-degree programs. Several fields are represented among MSU's online offerings, including marketing, human services, and nursing. In keeping with its history as a normal school, MSU also offers a variety of options for educators, including graduate degrees in special education and curriculum and instruction.

    Undergraduate admission requirements include ACT scores and official transcripts. Graduate admission requirements vary by program. All online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of state residency.

  4. Valley City State University

    Valley City, ND



    Valley City State University is a public land-grant institution with an annual enrollment of approximately 1,400 students and a low student-to-faculty ratio of 13-to-1. Originally founded as a normal school in 1890, VCSU continues to uphold a reputation for producing excellent K-12 educators.

    A catalog of minors, certificates, and bachelor's and master's degrees makes VCSU one of the best online colleges in North Dakota. While options are available in fields like music, communication, and history, programs in education and teaching make up the bulk of VCSU's online offerings. Aspiring educators can choose from six subject-specific bachelor's degrees, while working educators can advance their skills by earning a master of education or a master of arts in teaching.

    First-year admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA and qualifying test scores (a minimum 18 on the ACT or 960 on the SAT). Graduate admission requirements vary by program. Out-of-state online students may qualify for reduced Western Undergraduate Exchange tuition rates.

  5. Bismarck State College

    Bismarck, ND



    The final school on this list of the best online colleges in North Dakota is Bismarck State College. The third-largest college in the North Dakota University System, BSC enrolls approximately 3,700 students each year, 44% of whom are enrolled exclusively in online courses.

    BSC's online offerings may appeal to first-time college students looking to enhance workplace opportunities or prepare for transfer to a four-year university. Online students can pursue an associate degree in more than a dozen fields, including cybersecurity and computer networks, web development and design, business administration, and criminal justice. Non-degree certificates are also available in water and wastewater technology and electronics technology.

    Prospective students must submit a completed application and high school transcripts. Placement testing is required of every incoming BSC student -- this can be satisfied by supplying SAT/ACT scores or by completing the ACCUPLACER exam.

Click here to see the best campus colleges in North Dakota. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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