Best Online Colleges in Texas

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Online learning requires a significant amount of engagement, and school administrators in Texas don’t want students to wait until college to take an innovative approach to their own learning. The Texas High Performance Schools Consortium is backed by the state legislature and consists of 23 school districts. Its mission is to empower students to forge their own paths to success without relying too heavily on standardized tests and rote memorization.

Texas is also a member of the Southern Regional Education board (SREB), which works with colleges, schools and state policymakers to improve education and give students what they want most. When community colleges across the state saw a dip in enrollment, many schools responded by expanding their online offerings. For example, online enrollment at Odessa College increased by 18 percent, according to Donald Wood, Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness.

Students are catching on to the benefits of online learning quickly, but many still attend programs at in-state schools even though geography is no longer a factor. Of course, Texas residents who attend online programs in the state receive more than just reduced tuition; they also get legitimate credentials and a quality education that they completed at their own pace at home.

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

LeTourneau University

 4/551.47%Longview, TX


Founded by factory owner R.G. LeTourneau as a means of providing his factory workers with an education, LeTourneau University is dedicated to making the pursuit of a college education viable to students who also work full time.

In addition to traditional courses in topics like psychology, education, business and technology, and arts and sciences, LeTourneau also has a prestigious aviation and aeronautical science online program. Online undergraduate and graduate courses are typically completed in just three to five weeks.

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Dallas Baptist University

 4/554.6%Dallas, TX


Dallas Baptist University offers 58 online programs and boasts an online student course completion rate of 92%. DBU offers both undergraduate and graduate online degrees, with a number of theology-focused degrees available, like a bachelor of arts (BA) in Christian ministries and a master of arts (MA) in Christian education.

Online certificate programs are also available, and are designed to enhance a student’s specialized knowledge, enter a new career, or help a student qualify for a promotion. Certificate programs can be completed in as little as four to eight online courses.

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Texas Tech University

 2/559.08%Lubbock, TX


Texas Tech provides a wide range of online programs through its “Worldwide eLearning” platform, from undergraduate minors to doctorate degrees. The school offers several hybrid online courses which combine virtual coursework with face-to-face meetings at one of the university’s six regional sites throughout Texas, though most programs can be completed solely online.

Many of TTU’s online programs focus on agriculture and engineering, though some traditional arts and sciences degrees as well as business degrees can also be earned online.

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University of North Texas

 2/550.2%Denton, TX


University of North Texas offers online master’s programs in the fields of education leadership, learning technology, and business, including an award-winning online MBA program. Many of UNT’s online accelerated master’s programs can be completed in as little as 12 months, making it a convenient option for those seeking immediate entrance into the workforce.

UNT also boasts flexible online course scheduling, with many courses available for five different course start dates throughout the year. In addition to master’s degrees, UNT offers a range of online certificate programs and a small number of doctorate degrees that can be earned online.

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University of Houston

 2/548.11%Houston, TX


This Tier One research university provides students the opportunity to pursue degrees solely online or to combine online learning with in-class support at one of its regional campuses. The University of Houston offers online programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees -- including a top-ranked online psychology degree completion program -- as well as certificate programs.

Notably, UH was the first university to offer a graduate degree in subsea engineering, which prepares students to work in the offshore petroleum industry; this degree is among UH’s graduate programs offered online.

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Sam Houston State University

 2/553.06%Huntsville, TX

Flexibility is a hallmark of Sam Houston State University. The school offers 25 degree programs designed to meet the needs of students working full time; most of these undergraduate and graduate degrees are completed online in three to five years.

SHSU also offers non-degree programs for students looking to supplement their on-campus learning, further their personal or professional development, or bolster their resumes. SHSU’s correspondence courses can be completed in as few as 60 days, while the courses offered through SHSU’s continuing education programs typically take six weeks to complete.

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University of Texas at Arlington

 2/541.88%Arlington, TX

At the University of Texas Arlington, students can choose from over 700 courses taught online by over 300 members of UTA’s faculty. The school’s flagship online program is “Finish@UT,” a bachelor’s degree completion program that carries the same weight as a traditional degree from UTA.

UTA is devoted to making its online courses as similar to its on-campus courses as possible -- faculty often record their in-class seminars for their online students.

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Northwood University – Texas

 4/539.08%Cedar Hill, TX

Founded on free market principles, Northwood University is dedicated to preparing students to lead and succeed in today’s free-enterprise society. NU’s DeVos Graduate School offers an MBA program that can be completed entirely online, typically in a 24-month period.

In addition to the online MBA, NU also offers business-focused undergraduate degrees that can be completed online, including popular degrees like accounting, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Students can supplement any online business undergraduate degree with a minor in operations and supply chain management.

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Texas Wesleyan University

 4/540.3%Fort Worth, TX

Texas Wesleyan University offers a smaller selection of unique online programs. TWU’s online nurse anesthesia programs earn top marks; students can earn advanced online master’s or doctorate degrees in nurse anesthesia, or they can complete a nurse anesthesia certificate online in as little as nine hours.

TWU also offers online degree programs in unique topics such as comparative religion and online continuing education courses in a variety of subjects.

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Texas Woman’s University

 2/543.94%Denton, TX

The focus of online education at Texas Woman’s University is on health and wellness topics; students can earn online degrees in subjects like dental hygiene, nutrition, nursing, and kinesiology. Other popular online degree programs center around education and business topics.

TWU also offers a number of hybrid courses, where students are taught through both online and in-person courses. Distance students can pursue non-degree graduate certificates in advanced, specialized subjects like librarianship and geriatric physical therapy.

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Texas A&M University – Commerce

 2/551.85%Commerce, TX

At Texas A&M University Commerce, students can earn more than 15 master’s degrees -- including an MBA -- completely online. Online courses typically last either eight or 16 weeks. Some bachelor’s degrees are also offered 100% online, while a handful of undergraduate degrees can be earned by taking more than 50% of coursework online, with the remaining coursework completed on campus.

Texas A&M University Commerce offers an online doctorate degree program as well -- a doctor of education in education administration.

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The University of Texas at Tyler

 2/544.86%Tyler, TX

University of Texas Tyler’s online degree options include undergraduate and graduate degrees focused on education, nursing, and business topics, including a top-ranked master’s degree program in human resources. UT Tyler also offers hybrid online degrees and certificates through its Hyflex program, which provides the flexibility to take courses both online and in-person.

UT Tyler also differentiates itself through its high level of dedication to supporting online students. Students pursuing online degrees can seek tutoring and study support through the Academic Success Center, and online students also have full access to the UT Tyler library.

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Midwestern State University

 2/545.47%Wichita Falls, TX

Midwestern State University prides itself on offering a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificate programs that can be completed solely online. Online courses at MWSU can be taken year-round, including during the winter mini-term, where courses are just four weeks long.

MWSU also offers a unique opportunity for registered nurses and registered respiratory therapists to earn bachelor’s degrees through its online transition programs. These programs are designed for RNs or RRTs who’ve already earned an associate degree or certification and would like to widen their career opportunities with bachelor’s degrees in their fields.

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West Texas A&M University

 2/540.47%Canyon, TX

West Texas A&M University sets itself apart with its affordability and high number of accolades; the school has received top marks from U.S. News & World Report for its online bachelor’s degree programs, online MBA programs, and online business degrees for veterans.

In addition to online bachelor’s degree programs in subjects like business administration and criminal justice, WTAMU also offers hybrid degree programs, where students take some courses online while completing other coursework on campus. Online graduate programs focused on business and education are also available.

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Tarleton State University

 2/544.66%Stephenville, TX

Veteran-friendly Tarleton State University offers online programs for both bachelor’s and master’s degrees through its online global campus. More than 500 students are enrolled in one of TSU’s 15+ online programs, and the school boasts a 19:1 online student-to-teacher ratio, so students can expect to receive individualized attention from faculty.

Online students at TSU get access to their own designated online student financial counselor and academic advisor. Other benefits extended to online students include access to a writing clinic, tutoring for accounting and statistics topics, and an exclusive newsletter for online global campus students.

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The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

 2/533.73%Odessa, TX

Many of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s online bachelor’s degree programs offer courses in an accelerated eight-week format, perfect for students looking to earn a degree quickly and flexibly. UTPB also offers several online master’s degree programs, including master’s degrees in business administration and public administration.

UTPB launched a “Fast Track to Teaching” program for students who already hold bachelor’s degrees and are interested in earning a teacher certification. The affordable program features 15 online credit hours and a one-year paid teaching internship.

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Dallas Christian College

 3/540%Dallas, TX

Dallas Christian College stands out for its FLEXCampus program, designed to maximize flexibility without sacrificing the quality of classroom education. Through FLEXCampus, DCC students can choose to attend classes in person, participate virtually through live online streaming, or consume courses on their own time with on-demand online class recordings.

With the school’s deep roots in Christian theology, several of DCC’s online degree programs equip students with foundational subject knowledge from a biblical perspective. These unique degree programs include bachelor’s degrees in psychology & Bible, business & Bible, and interdisciplinary studies & Bible.

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Our Lady of the Lake University

 4/537.58%San Antonio, TX

Our Lady of the Lake University offers five online master’s programs, as well as one undergraduate program for a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. OLLU’s online master’s programs include degrees in business administration, information systems and security, school counseling, nonprofit management, and social work.

The online master’s of social work program is one of only three programs in the country focused on the specific needs of hispanic families; students without a bachelor’s in social work can complete the program in 3.5 years or fewer. OLLU also offers a variety of benefits and scholarships for active military and veterans.

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Lubbock Christian University

 3/543.49%Lubbock, TX

At Lubbock Christian University, students looking for flexible learning opportunities can choose from two online bachelor’s degrees in business subjects and five online master’s degrees in education and behavioral science topics. LCU also offers several hybrid online/in-person degree programs and an online certificate program for principals.

LCU’s master’s programs can typically be completed in three semesters, though in some cases non-online internships must be completed to earn a degree. LCU integrates Christian ethic into all of its curriculum, and many of its online degree programs in the behavioral sciences are grounded in Christian ethos.

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Wayland Baptist University

 3/531.98%Plainview, TX

Wayland Baptist University offers online degree programs at five different levels: certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorate degrees. Most of the programs, however, can be completed at the bachelor’s and master’s degree level.

WBU provides additional resources and support for military veterans looking to pursue online degrees. The university prides itself on the quality of its instruction, the individual attention given to each online student, and the supportive online community on WBU’s virtual campus.

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Remington College – Dallas Campus

 3/568.93%Garland, TX

Remington College offers a number of online bachelor’s degree programs in popular business topics like marketing, management, and human resources. Remington also offers two online associate degree programs: health information technology and paralegal.

Remington’s associate degree programs can be completed in as few as 18 months, while the school’s bachelor’s degree programs often take at least 36 months to complete. Remington also offers a popular online bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice. Instead of semester-long classes, the courses for this online degree are available in six 13-week long quarters.

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Concordia University – Texas

 4/532.31%Austin, TX

Concordia University Texas offers a range of online programs for students, from non-degree certifications to master’s degrees. Concordia’s online programs use the same curriculum as live classes, so online students do not experience a drop in the quality of their online education.

Year-round classes and online support give students maximum flexibility. Concordia also makes it easy for students to transfer applicable course credits from other institutions, so that students can earn their online degrees even faster. Concordia also offers several RN to MSN programs, designed for registered nurses who want to earn master’s degrees in their field.

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University of the Incarnate Word

 4/542.73%San Antonio, TX

The University of the Incarnate Word caters to students who value flexibility and the chance to earn quality degrees on their own schedules. UIW operates its online programs on an asynchronous schedule, so students can consume course materials, complete homework, and take tests online at their own pace.

UIW offers free textbooks (many of which are accessible electronically) to students who enroll in online classes through UIW’s Extended Academic Programs. UIW is also a military and veteran-friendly school, with special benefits and stipends for active military and veteran students.

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Angelo State University

 2/529.75%San Angelo, TX

Angelo State University offers a number of online graduate degrees and certifications, along with two undergraduate degree programs. To support its online students, ASU provides online tutoring, veterans assistance, and access to all of ASU’s library offerings.

ASU also offers online bachelor’s degree programs in border security and intelligence, security studies and analysis in partnership with the Community College of the Air Force. Students who’ve received associate degrees from CCAF can transfer their credits and complete accelerate coursework to earn their online bachelor’s degrees from ASU.

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Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi

 2/538.01%Corpus Christi, TX

Texas A&M University Corpus Christi focuses on providing quality online education for students through its WebCT system, which allows faculty to interact with students online. A variety of certifications, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees are offered online in the colleges of education, business, nursing & health science, and science & engineering.

Furthermore, TAMUCC offers students the chance to earn a nursing degree completely online through its innovative Electronic Learning in Nursing Education program.

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More About Online Colleges in Texas

As the second largest state in both size and population, Texas has a large number of distance learners attending its 146 institutions of higher education. A total of 1,573,627 students enrolled in programs delivered entirely online in fall 2012; the second highest amount in the country. In 2011, over 528,000 students attended via community colleges, while approximately 240,000 enrolled from public, 4-year institutions. These numbers continue to rise; between 2006 and 2011, distance learning programs at public universities in Texas grew at a rate of 87%, while community college enrollment rose 58%.

State funding for education in Texas increased 4.4% in the 2014-2015 school year to reach $15.7 billion; this money contributes to the growth of online education in the state. The rate students pay for distance learning tuition can fluctuate greatly. In 2012, 72% of the districts that responded to the Legislative Budget Board survey reported unique fee charges to online learners, while 26% reported fee exemptions. Though both funding and fees change each year, distance learning continues its steady rise in popularity. As the prevalence of online college programs grows in Texas, so will the resources dedicated to bettering it.

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

NCES Report

Recent NCES reports show that 8.9% (139,737) of all students enrolled in Title IV institutions in Texas were in exclusively online programs.

  • 8.5% of students at four-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 10.8% of students at two-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 92.1% were living in Texas
  • 5.4% were living elsewhere in the United States