Best Online Colleges in Oklahoma

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In a recent report, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education identified a need to increase the number of postsecondary degrees awarded annually, and one of the major proposed solutions was the strengthening of pathways to certificates and degrees. The state has followed through with this commitment by offering benefits specifically for online learners.

Because Oklahoma is one of 16 member states on the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), resident students have access to the Academic Common Market (ACM). This arrangement among fellow members allows online learners to pay in-state tuition rates for select programs at colleges and universities located outside of their home state. Additionally, students in Oklahoma can access the Online College of Oklahoma (OCO), a useful resource offering more than 3,400 online courses,18 online degrees, and links to colleges and universities for enrollment services.

Distance learning provides several benefits. Asynchronous course schedules allow online learners to complete classwork at the time and pace of their choosing, and online colleges typically offer dramatically lower tuition fees to students studying in their home state. Students wishing to supplement their online instruction with hands-on learning may also choose to enroll in hybrid courses, which integrate on-campus requirements, such as labs or lectures, into the curriculum. Other in-person requirements in these programs can include internships, study abroad opportunities, and work-study programs.

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

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

 2/534.38%Alva, OK


Northwestern Oklahoma State University provides students affordable access to higher education while cultivating a commitment to ethical leadership and service. Students unable to attend classes in person at one of NWOSU's three campuses can pursue a range of online degrees, including a few popular business programs:

  • Accounting B.S.
  • Business Administration B.S.
  • Technical Management B.A.A.S.

NWOSU also offers an RN to BSN degree.

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University of Oklahoma

 2/567.44%Norman, OK


Students at Oklahoma can pursue college level courses through the school's distance learning platform. In these self-paced and online courses, students can pursue a range of degree and non-degree programs. For degree-seeking students, online courses are offered in a variety of disciplines, from astronomy and physics, to history of dance. These term-based courses follow the same academic calendar as on-campus courses.

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Oral Roberts University

 4/553.44%Tulsa, OK


At Oral Roberts, students learn in an institution that provides world-class academics in a Christ-centered community. Online learning is a top priority at ORU. Undergraduates can pursue a range of online bachelor's degrees, particularly in faith-based disciplines. Popular programs available entirely online include:

  • Christian Caregiving and Counseling B.S.
  • Church Ministries B.S.
  • Biblical Literature B.A.

For graduate students, Oral Roberts offers an online Leadership MBA degree entirely online. The program is designed to train future business executives, helping students develop the leadership skills necessary to empower others. Emulating a traditional MBA structure, students progress through this program in a cohort.

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Oklahoma State University

 2/561.03%Stillwater, OK


Oklahoma State is a globally famous research university with an expansive offering of online programs. Distance learners at OSU can complete several programs entirely online. Most of the online offerings are graduate programs -- including a master's of business administration -- though undergraduates can pursue bachelor's degrees in marketing and electrical engineering technology. Courses are taught asynchronously, allowing working professionals to complete assignments and meet with peers and faculty members without disrupting their current obligations.

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Northeastern State University

 1/530.74%Tahlequah, OK


Northeastern State features a variety of quality online programs. The school offers over 400 distance classes, alongside entirely online certificate, bachelor's, and master's degree programs. Students benefit from a rigorous learning structure designed to help distance learners enhance their career prospects. To ensure their success, students have access to online advisors, tutors, and career planning services.

The school offers several degrees entirely online, including the following renowned programs:

  • Nursing B.S.
  • Human and Family Sciences B.S.
  • Nursing M.S.N.
  • Science Education M.Ed.
  • Reading M.Ed.

Additionally, the College of Extended Learning offers a number of degree-completion programs to working professionals who have already earned some college credit.

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Oklahoma Wesleyan University

 4/537.08%Bartlesville, OK

Oklahoma Wesleyan is known for both its stellar academic reputation and its evangelical values. Students report a high level of satisfaction with the school's online program, which offers several degree options and asynchronous courses. Popular programs include:

  • Business Administration B.S.
  • Ministry & Leadership B.S.
  • R.N. to B.S. in Nursing B.S.

OKWU also offers several master's programs as well, including:

  • Business Administration M.B.A.
  • Education M.Ed.
  • Theology & Apologetics M.A.
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Rogers State University

 2/518.77%Claremore, OK

Rogers State was the first college in Oklahoma to offer a fully online bachelor's degree. Since introducing online programs in 1992, Rogers has expanded its online curriculum, and streamlined course delivery methods. Distance learners can pursue an associate or a bachelor's degree from Rogers State. Popular programs include:

  • Liberal Arts B.A.
  • Business Administration B.S.
  • Business Administration A.A.
  • Liberal Arts A.A.
  • Computer Science A.S.
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Southwestern Oklahoma State University

 2/533.59%Weatherford, OK

Distance learners at Southwestern Oklahoma State can take classes and pursue degrees in several subjects remotely. Unlike most distance programs though, most of SWOSU's classes are not held online but over interactive television. Students meet at designated spaces throughout the state and attend classes over two-way television technology, a format that more closely resembles the typical classroom experience. The school also offers some classes over webinars and in a more typical online format. Students can pursue distance degrees in business, education, psychology, and nursing.

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East Central University

 2/533.65%Ada, OK

East Central University ensures that each student receives an optimal educational opportunity. Dedicated support staff work with distance learners to develop a customized education plan. The school offers students a range of online learning opportunities, including traditional online instruction and programs through interactive television. Online courses at East Central are rigorous and engaging, and the school offers degrees in sports administration, educational technology, and library media entirely online.

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Southwestern Christian University

 3/535.9%Bethany, OK

Since its founding in 1946, Southwestern Christian has fostered an academically-rigorous culture, rooted in the values of a Christian liberal arts education. Designed for students of faith, SWCU offers a robust distance learning curriculum. Students can participate in degree completion programs online, or pursue a bachelor's of professional leadership degree.

The program marries SWCU's biblically-informed curriculum with liberal arts principles, and allows students to concentrate in business, management, social services, or Christian leadership. The program is available entirely online, and is taught one class at a time with a low student-faculty ratio.

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Southern Nazarene University

 4/545.96%Bethany, OK

Southern Nazarene University is a private, Christian liberal arts school that offers a variety of online programs. Students can take individual classes or pursue a range of bachelor's and master's programs that are available entirely online. Popular offerings include:

  • Organizational Leadership B.S.
  • Business Administration B.S.
  • Network Management B.S.
  • Business Administration M.B.A.
  • Business Administration in Health Care M.B.A.-H.C.
  • Sport Management and Administration M.A.S.M.A.

The school's MBA program merits particular attention. Students proceed through the program in a cohort, and are introduced to the fundamentals of business administration amidst an engaging and values-driven curriculum.

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Oklahoma Christian University

 3/547.44%Edmond, OK

Oklahoma Christian is committed to transforming lives through Christian faith, scholarship, and service. The university offers a variety of professional, pre-professional, and graduate classes online. Although no degree programs are offered entirely online, students can take distance classes in a variety of subjects.

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Cameron University

 2/523.5%Lawton, OK

For Cameron University's online programs, it's all about choice. Students can select from hundreds of online courses and undergraduates can pursue four degree programs offered completely online; a dozen other programs combine online instruction with periodic campus requirements. Graduate students at Cameron can also study online, and pursue degrees in the following subjects:

  • Educational Leadership M.S.
  • Special Education M.Ed.
  • Reading M.Ed.
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
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Langston University


Langston is Oklahoma's only historically black university. The school offers a degree in management entirely online. Featuring the same professors that residential students have access to, distance learners take classes from experts in their field, professors who bring real world experience into the online classroom. Classes are taught asynchronously.

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More About Online Colleges in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is rapidly developing its technology and communications infrastructure to meet new challenges, and it is not surprising that online and distance education is becoming more sophisticated and widespread throughout the public and private education sectors. Through new initiatives like OneNet, which seeks to expand broadband networks across the state, especially to rural communities, Oklahoma is making great progress towards expanding education opportunities to a wider audience.

Demand is ever increasing for online education, and the Online College of Oklahoma, established by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, reports over 250,000 enrollments since opening its virtual doors in 1998. OCO offers over 3,400 courses and 18 degree-programs online and is a model for career-advancement education.

Programs like Reach Higher are designed to help students complete degrees, and distance-learning programs have sprouted up in more than 20 colleges and universities in Oklahoma. These programs are tailored to those who need the flexibility of asynchronous coursework and the convenience of attending classes and completing coursework from any location.

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

NCES Report

Tuition costs are often a factor in choosing online education, and the cost of tuition has only continued to rise in recent years following state budget cuts, rising 7.1% in Oklahoma (private 4-year sector) from 2006-07 to 2011-12 and 17.3% at public colleges and universities from 2008-14. In 2011-12, average tuition and fees for public two-year in-state was $3,000, four-year in-state was $6,000 and approximately $22,500 for four-year private nonprofit schools.

Online education offers at least some degree of compromise, enabling students to continue working as they pursue their degrees, and in the right circumstances could be a financially advantageous choice to students who face economic challenges. Despite these financial hardships and rising tuition, enrollment is on the rise: in fall 2012, 26,420 students were reported to be enrolled exclusively in distance education programs in Oklahoma.