Best Online Colleges in Georgia

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Georgia has taken strides to broaden its online educational resources in recent years. In 2005, the state launched the Georgia Virtual School, which provides virtual and remote courses to post-elementary students. The University System of Georgia, which includes 29 public schools, provides online and distance learning opportunities to college students. Several other initiatives, including GeorgiaONmyLINE, demonstrate the state’s commitment to helping students access a variety of educational opportunities online.

Currently, there are more than 300 online programs available in Georgia. Prospective students should visit GeorgiaONmyLINE to browse the extensive course and degree offerings available throughout the state. The service allows students to quickly and easily enroll in the program that best matches their educational and professional goals.

Despite a commitment to innovation in education and online learning, Georgia is also home to soaring tuition rates that outpace the national average. Between rising tuition costs and the availability of distance education programs, many students are looking into online degrees, where costs are generally lower.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description

Georgia Southern University

 2/551.32%Statesboro, GA


Georgia Southern’s online MBA, business, IT, sports management, and education programs have been rated among the top in the country. GSU is the largest Georgia learning center south of Atlanta, with 124 degree programs from the baccalaureate to the doctoral level.

Online students have access to high-level instruction and acclaimed faculty. Business, education, and health care degrees can be completed entirely across the web or combined with some campus time.

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University of Georgia

 3/584.62%Athens, GA


UGA was the first state-chartered university in the nation, and refers to itself as the birthplace of the American system of higher education. Today, the Athens school offers a slate of web-based degrees, including a bachelor’s in business and special ed, and a master’s in writing, adult ed, educational psychology, education, human resources, food technology, music, economics, and bio-pharmacology.

Online classes here enjoy the same rigorous standards as the brick-and-mortar classes, and some are of the low-residency variety, requiring on-campus visits.

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Toccoa Falls College

 3/552.26%Toccoa Falls, GA


Online students at Toccoa have access to two associates degrees and nine bachelor’s within three schools, including professional studies, arts and sciences, and Christian ministries. The school also offers a variety of certificate programs.

The online classes follow the same schedule as on-campus classes, with regularly scheduled check-ins with faculty. The average course load is two classes every eight weeks.

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University of West Georgia

 2/5N/ANewnan, GA


UWG invites its students to “Go West,” which is now very possible thanks to the university’s online arm -- students anywhere can attend. The nationally ranked university offers an online bachelor’s in criminology and nursing, a master’s in education, nursing, computer science, and business, and doctoral degrees in education.

The school also offers a Smartermeasure Online Readiness Assessment to help students determine whether online schooling is right for them. UWG Online is an affiliate of the University System of Georgia’s eCore program, meaning it provides excellent benefits for veterans.

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Georgia College & State University

 2/561.26%Milledgeville, GA


Georgia’s designated public liberal arts university, Georgia College offers undergraduate- and graduate-level courses online, including doctoral degrees. Part of the University System of Georgia, the Milledgeville school delivers courses asynchronously on a rolling deadline.

The school’s online nursing degree has been ranked among the best in the state. Other noted programs include the master’s in business and public administration, educational specialties, management of information systems, and music therapy.

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Clayton State University

 2/532.98%Morrow, GA

More than two-thirds of the student body are non-traditional at Clayton State. With a median student age of 29 or older, Clayton is the ideal school for online learning, and it often attracts professionals who want to advance their careers.

CSU has 11 bachelor’s and two master’s programs in its web-based curriculum, including traditional degrees like English, history, and nursing, along with offerings more unique among online colleges, like Homeland Security.

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Columbus State University

 2/532.41%Columbus, GA

Columbus State began as a junior college located in a hosiery mill in the city of Columbus before moving to an old dairy farm. Today, it’s a part of the University System of Georgia colleges, and has earned a reputation as one of the top regional universities in the South. Primary fields of study include the arts, education, business, and nursing.

A variety of degree programs are available at CSU at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels. CSU offers many courses entirely online, while others require a visit to campus. Students must take an online assessment to qualify.

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Kennesaw State University

 2/542.63%Kennesaw, GA

KSU is one of the 50 largest public universities in the nation, with more than 33,000 students enrolled. Based in Kennesaw, the school is part of the University System of Georgia colleges, and it has a strong online arm. Several programs at KSU enjoy national reputations, including business, engineering, teaching, nursing, architectures, math, and science.

KSU offers degrees that can be earned entirely online or in hybrid versions, which require time on campus. They carry the same weight as those earned by students attending classes at the A.L. Burruss Building or Kennesaw Hall. Both undergraduate- and graduate-level degrees are available.

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Brenau University

 4/546.59%Gainesville, GA

Based in Gainesville, Brenau is a private university with a national reputation not only for excellence in education but also for its value. The school’s online programs -- nursing, for example -- are highly ranked. An associate degree is offered in liberal studies, and bachelor’s degrees include accounting, business administration, human resources management, and nursing. Master’s degrees are offered in business administration, accounting, health care management, insurance management, project management, interior design, applied gerontology, and a variety of education degrees.

Courses are delivered on a condensed, seven-week schedule. Enrollment is capped at 20 students per class.

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Albany State University

 2/539.62%Albany, GA

One of three historically black schools in the University System of Georgia, ASU is a public university founded in 1903. Based in the city of Albany, in the southwest corner of the state, the university has about 4,000 students.

ASU offers three undergraduate degrees online through its RamNet system: fire services administration, business information systems, and nursing. Its four graduate degrees include criminal justice, nursing, early childhood education, and special education. The school is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Middle Georgia State College

 1/513.79%Macon, GA

Despite being founded in 2013 as a merger of Middle Georgia State College and Macon State University, MGSU has 130 years of experience behind it. The school offers a variety of certifications and degree programs online.

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees can be earned in information technology and nursing. Associate degrees are available in general studies, criminal justice, public safety, information technology, history, political science, psychology, social work, and sociology. MGSU provides the opportunity to earn degrees entirely online, though several classes require visits to one of its five campuses.

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Savannah College of Art and Design

 5/565.04%Savannah, GA

SCAD, has a reputation for offering some of the nation’s best web-based arts degrees. The school is consistently ranked highly and was the first art and design university to win the Instructional Technology Council’s award for Outstanding Distance Education Program.

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees are available in a wide array of arts disciplines from creative writing and animation to fashion and photography. Courses are taught on the same 10-week schedule as those in Savannah, and by the same prestigious faculty.

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Valdosta State University

 2/539.13%Valdosta, GA

VSU is considered one of three regional universities in the University System of Georgia, serving 11,000 students from 157 Georgia counties. Through its Center for eLearning, the university offers dozens of degrees in arts and sciences, business, and healthcare from the baccalaureate to graduate levels.

VSU schedules its courses to follow the traditional academic year. The school has an Office of Adult and Military Programs to assist non-traditional learners.

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Mercer University

 5/562.6%Macon, GA

Mercer may be the oldest private university in Georgia, but it offers a full slate of forward-thinking online programs. Consistently ranked among the South’s best colleges, the school offers both online and hybrid classes.

Bachelor’s degree programs at Mercer include psychology and public safety leadership. Master’s options include public health, health informatics, criminal justice and public safety leadership, early childhood education, business administration, software engineering, software systems, and technical communication management.

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Shorter University

 3/545.15%Rome, GA

Shorter is part of the Georgia Baptist Convention and requires each student to sign a lifestyle pledge. The school was named for early benefactors Alfred and Martha Shorter, and its campus is located in Rome, GA in the foothills of the Appalachians.

Shorter classes meet for eight weeks, and, though students can work at their own pace, require check-ins every few days. The school offers five associate degrees, six bachelor’s degrees, and six master’s degree programs across an array of disciplines including business, sports management, nonprofit management, Christian studies, and criminal justice.

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Augusta University

 1/530.3%Augusta, GA

Formerly known as Georgia Regents University, Augusta U provides its students with a variety of online opportunities. Perhaps best known for its master’s of education in leadership program, the school also offers classes in accounting and finance, business and leadership, hospitality, education, green and renewable energy, healthcare, criminal justice, graphic design, and computer programming and technology.

Other courses are offered through the school’s division of professional and community education and tend to be open enrollment with varying standards.

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Reinhardt University

 3/537.5%Waleska, GA

Affiliated with the Methodist Church, Reinhardt is a small liberal arts school in the city of Waleska. Since 2012, the school has made several of its degree programs available online. Web-based learners can earn three bachelor’s through the school, including business administration, criminal justice, and healthcare administration.

Reinhardt recommends students take two classes per semester, each of which lasts for eight weeks. Courses are taught asynchronously and degrees can be earned in 16 to 18 months.

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Thomas University

 3/519.27%Thomasville, GA

Originally established by the Primitive Baptist Church in the small city of Thomasville, 31% of TU's student body complete their degrees entirely online.

The school offers an associate degree in law enforcement, and bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, medical laboratory science, psychology, and rehabilitation studies. Master’s programs include clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling, business administration, and nursing. Every course is fully accredited.

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Armstrong Atlantic State University

 2/530.32%Savannah, GA

Armstrong State is located in the heart of Savannah, and boasts state-of-the-art programs to choose from. Several of these are in education and healthcare, but they also include radiology and even French.

Many programs are delivered completely online, however, some do require visits to campus. Courses are asynchronous, allowing students to work at their own pace and hold jobs as they complete their degree online.

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University of North Georgia


One of the largest universities in the state, UNG is part of the University System of Georgia. More than 16,000 students pursue degrees here and the school is one of six senior military colleges in the nation.

The school hosts online associate degrees in political science, sociology, and social work; bachelor’s degrees in nursing; and master’s degrees in education, criminal justice, physical education, and international affairs. Teaching certificates are also available. Most courses are delivered asynchronously.

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Beulah Heights University

 2/521.05%Atlanta, GA

A Christian school based in Atlanta, Beulah Heights is dedicated to educating Christian leaders for both the ministry and the workforce. Whether students attend classes in Woods Hall or through the web, they’re required to sign a statement of faith.

Degrees are offered from the associate to the doctoral level and heavily emphasize religion, leadership, and business. Students are expected to log in at least once weekly and are recommended to commit five hours (three “classroom” hours and two homework hours) to each course every week.

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Fort Valley State University

 2/531.75%Fort Valley, GA

Located in Peach County, where Georgia’s famous peach industry originated, Fort Valley State is one of three historically black universities in the state University System. Known for outstanding programs in teaching, biology, and chemistry, FVSU sends more African American grads to medical and dental schools than any other state school in Georgia.

FVSU’s online arm offers four bachelor’s degrees (psychology, criminal justice, political science, and organizational leadership) and one master’s (rehabilitation counseling). Classes are delivered using Brightspace D2L software, and some may require visits to the campus in Fort Valley.

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Point University

 3/536.78%West Point, GA

Until 2011, Point University was known as Atlanta Christian college and located in the state’s biggest city. Today, the private liberal arts school is set in the town of West Point and has incorporated the town’s name. Point hosts eight online degree programs, including general studies, Christian ministries, criminal justice, human relations, organizational leadership, business administration, child development, and psychology. Each of these programs can be pursued at the associate and bachelor’s degree level.

PU has two online learning models; one is completely asynchronous, while the other incorporates real-time video and teleconferencing.

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Truett-McConnell College

 3/522.16%Cleveland, GA

A Baptist liberal arts college, TMC has been “equipping students to make a positive impact for Christ through disciplined scholarship and Christian discipleship” since just after World War II. In 2010, the school expanded its mission into the virtual world, offering degree programs online. Current options include business, Christian studies, psychology, and world missions.

TMC designs its classes for working students and uses Noodle software to deliver coursework. The school awards bachelor’s and master’s degree programs accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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Savannah State University

 2/527.51%Savannah, GA

Founded in 1890, Savannah State is the oldest of Savannah’s institutions of higher learning and is among Georgia’s public historically black universities. The school has 30 baccalaureate majors and six graduate programs, many of which can be pursued completely online.

SSU’s virtual classrooms are open 24/7 but follow the traditional semester structure. Many courses are asynchronous, while others require scheduled meetings with classmates and professors.

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More About Online Colleges in Georgia

The largest state in the Southeast, there are dozens of colleges and universities spread across Georgia. On-the-whole, tuition and fees at Georgia colleges and universities have risen by 74.2% over the last five years, while funds allocated for postsecondary education in the state have dropped by more than 5% during that time. In response, students pursuing higher education degrees in Georgia have increasingly looked online, where tuition and associated costs are much lower.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in Georgia for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.

NCES Report

As of fall 2012, NCES reports indicate that 9.6% (53,428) of students enrolled in Title IV institutions in Georgia studied in exclusively online programs.

  • 2.8% of students at four-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 12.6% of students at two-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 71.1% of online students lived in Georgia
  • 27.4% lived elsewhere in the United States

Georgia’s USG network provides broad access to online learning resources for distance learners at every level of higher education. Through USG’s Georgia on My Line consortium, online students may pursue college-level courses and programs at all colleges and universities in the system. GACollege411 provides comprehensive web-based resources for all aspects of the higher learning process for college-bound students and adult learners, from selecting a school and securing financial aid to researching a career in Georgia. Many two-year and four-year schools in the state now offer fully online delivery options.