Best Online Colleges in Wisconsin

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Wisconsin is part of the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP), which allows students from Illinois, Kansas, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and North Dakota to attend participating Wisconsin schools at a reduced rate. Wisconsin students can also attend schools in other participating states at a reduced rate. A total of 100 schools participate in the program; public schools agree to charge MSEP students no more than 150% of in-state tuition, while private schools offer a 10% discount.

One in four Wisconsin adults have earned a college degree. In an attempt to increase this number, the University of Wisconsin launched the UW System eCampus to encourage students to earn an online degree from among 26 two-year and four-year colleges in the state. UW also created a UW Flex option for working adults, who can pass assessments to show skills and move towards a degree more quickly.

Online students enjoy many benefits without studying on campus. They can study on evenings and weekends, learn from home without commuting, and work at their own pace to graduate sooner or focus on a career. While flexible, many online programs still offer great services like online career counseling and library catalog services.

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

University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point

 2/560.2%Stevens Point, WI


Offering more than 120 undergraduate programs in 48 majors, some of the online courses at UW - Stevens Point have synchronous components, meaning students and instructors communicate and work online at the same time; others are asynchronous, meaning that students and instructors can log in at any time throughout the day.

The school offers hybrid and blended courses. Online bachelor’s degrees include health information management and technology and American studies. Graduate degrees include a master’s in data science and a master’s in education. A wide range of credit and noncredit courses and online certificate programs are also available.

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University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

 2/568.35%La Crosse, WI


Recognizing the increased interest in online learning, UW - La Crosse developed several degree and certificate offerings that students can earn from a distance. Courses run from between three to sixteen weeks; students have access to technical support every weekday.

Degree programs include the bachelor of science (BS) in health and wellness management and the 30-credit consortium MBA program with three UW campuses. Certificate programs include professional learning community and educational leadership. Numerous individual courses are available and searchable in the online database.

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Maranatha Baptist University

 3/544.5%Watertown, WI


Teaching from a biblical worldview, MBU offers online courses taught in eight-, 12- and 16-week sessions. Certificates, diplomas, and/or undergraduate degrees can be earned online in Bible/ministry, business management, and interdisciplinary studies, among others; associate degrees include the fields of criminal justice and health sciences.

Three graduate degrees are offered, including a master of education and a master of organizational leadership and seminary. Numerous online courses are available in fields such as math, science, health, and nursing. The school has bridge learning centers, in which students enter virtual classrooms through two-way interactive HD video technology.

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University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

 2/550.6%Green Bay, WI


Completing a degree is easy at UWGB, where over 70 courses are available online every semester. The school offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees along with certificates and individual courses.

Online learners have access to support services such as academic advising, library and research assistance, IT support, internship services, and career counseling. Bachelor’s degrees in integrative leadership studies, business administration, psychology, and human development are offered; as are AA degrees, AS degrees, and various certificates. Classes are either 100% online or web-enhanced hybrids.

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University of Wisconsin-Stout

 2/553.15%Menomonie, WI


The first University of Wisconsin school to be nationally certified for excellence in distance education, UW - Stout offers numerous baccalaureate and master’s degree programs. Among the BS degrees offered are digital marketing technology, management, and manufacturing engineering.

Graduate programs include the MS in education, hospitality strategy, and sustainable management. UW-Stout offers the blended doctor of education in career and technical education, in which students study online and attend weekend and evening classes. Brainfuse eTutoring gives students online tutoring anywhere. The institution has been repeatedly selected as a military-friendly school.

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Wisconsin Lutheran College

 4/561.43%Milwaukee, WI

Annually ranked one of America’s best colleges by several organizations, WLC also offers an extensive online program. WLC prepares students for lives of Christian leadership in many areas. Online degree options include a bachelor’s in business management and leadership and MA curriculum focused on developing servant leaders.

Graduate-level certifications can be earned online in teaching, adult learning, and instructional coaching. Of note is the Transition to Teaching program with licensure, which blends both online and classroom learning, allowing flexibility and convenience. Support services include peer mentoring and academic tutors.

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University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

 2/557.69%Whitewater, WI

Blending personal attention and academic rigor, UW - Whitewater offers online and hybrid undergraduate and graduate programs. Bachelor’s degrees in business administration, marketing, and political science are available. Graduate programs include the MBA and the MS in special education.

Autism specialist and applied behavior analysis certificates are available online. Of note is the BA/BS in liberal studies, which students can apply an associate degree towards. The course can be taken entirely online or in hybrid form.

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Viterbo University

 4/548.46%La Crosse, WI

Founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Viterbo seeks to provide affordable academic learning while maintaining a Catholic identity. An academic counselor helps students plan their online degree path, while the Smart Thinking program provides students with online tutoring on demand.

Among the online offerings are the AA/AS program, and a BBA in health care management or accounting. The school’s RN to BSN program is considered one of the strongest nursing programs in the Midwest. It can be earned entirely online and requires an associate degree or diploma from a nursing program.

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University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh

 2/554.34%Oshkosh, WI

Serving residents of northeastern Wisconsin since 1871, UW - Oshkosh provides high-quality, affordable education with 60 undergraduate majors, 30 master’s programs, and one doctoral degree. Students can take classes online, in hybrid form, and in the evenings or on weekends.

The institution’s baccalaureate offerings include aviation management, criminal justice, and organizational administration. Graduate degrees delivered online include an MBA and an MS in sustainable management. Of note is the doctor of nursing practice, in which the first four semesters are delivered online and the last two in hybrid form.

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University of Wisconsin – Platteville

 2/551.63%Platteville, WI

UW - Platteville is a regionally accredited university with a growing list of online degree programs backed by 150 years of academic excellence.

The institution has established several distance learning offerings, including two bachelor’s degrees in business administration and criminal justice. Master’s degree programs include engineering and project management. Of note are the school’s online certificate programs, single course enrollment and flexible, learner-focused professional training. Financial aid opportunities for online students include the $300 Distance Education Alumni Board Scholarship.

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Marian University – Wisconsin

 4/555.99%Fond Du Lac, WI

A Catholic University founded in 1936, Marian University offers several online courses delivered asynchronously.

The school offers a highly regarded RN to BSN program, which can be completed in as few as 15 months. A BS in radiologic technology is also offered; as is an MA in education and an MS in organizational leadership. The unique MS in thanatology degree allows students to engage in the comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and scientific study of the dying and grieving process.

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University of Wisconsin – Parkside

 2/530.61%Kenosha, WI

Students seeking to take a few classes or work towards a degree can do so at University of Wisconsin - Parkside .

The school’s baccalaureate programs include sustainable management and health information management. Two graduate degrees are offered: an MBA and a master’s in sustainable management. Students can also earn a certificate in sustainable management. Numerous online/hybrid for-credit courses are offered, as are noncredit courses in areas such as accounting, healthcare, and computer applications.

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University of Wisconsin – River Falls

 2/554.28%River Falls, WI

At UWRF , baccalaureate degree programs are delivered entirely online in areas such as health and wellness management and sustainable management. Distance students can also choose from a variety of individual courses such as accounting, animal science, and sustainable management.

UWRF offers online/hybrid master’s degrees in elementary education and health and wellness management. In the Adult Degree Completion Program, business courses and general education courses can be taken in the evenings and online. Students can also transfer credits from other institutions into UWRF. Online professional development certificates, continuing education, and online learning for educators are available.

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Lakeland College

 4/553.11%Plymouth, WI

Offering students the flexibility to earn a degree in hybrid formats is a hallmark of Lakeland . The college offers nine undergrad majors, three master's programs, and several corporate training opportunities, some of which can be studied online.

In addition to evening and weekend classes, programs are delivered online through the school’s BlendEd® platform. Here, 14-week courses can be completed either online or in class, varying from week to week and depending on students’ schedules and location. Accelerated learning via online seven-week courses are available. Online graduate programs are offered in counselling, education, and business administration.

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University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

 2/543.5%Milwaukee, WI

At UWM, distance students can choose from more than 30 online degrees and certificates and 700-plus online courses.

Among its offerings are undergraduate degrees in biomedical sciences, psychology sociology, and information science and technology. Graduate-level programming is offered in areas including administrative leadership and translation services. Numerous undergraduate and graduate-level certificates are available. Of note is the PhD in nursing or a doctor of nursing practice degree from UVM’s highly ranked College of Nursing.

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University of Wisconsin-Superior

 2/543.23%Superior, WI

Working to improve the lives and livelihood of people in northwestern Wisconsin for decades, UW - Superior offers numerous undergraduate and graduate-level courses. UW-Superior offers all coursework for an associate degree online, including the general education program and elective courses.

Online and hybrid baccalaureate programs are available in fields such as communications, sustainable management, and physical education. Master’s degrees are offered in sustainable management and data science. UW-Superior offers two online certificates for sustainable management. The school recently made it easier for on-campus students to enroll in distance learning.

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Ottawa University – Milwaukee

 3/5N/ABrookfield, WI

Known for its innovative educational models, Ottawa University’s accredited online university offers 100% online courses, with no outside study required. The institution notes a 4:1 student-to-faculty ratio in online bachelor’s and online master’s degree programs. Among the baccalaureate programs are online degrees in psychology, accounting, marketing, and human resources.

Graduate degree programming includes an MBA and an MA in counseling. A notable program offered by the school allows students to complete an associate degree in nursing at a partnering community/technical college while simultaneously taking the online bachelor’s in nursing at Ottawa University.

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More About Online Colleges in Wisconsin

As you can see, there are fantastic online opportunities right in Wisconsin. Many of these colleges and universities have developed specialized learning software and programs, specifically for online learning. That said, distance learning is still an adjustment for many. Thankfully, institutions like the University of Wisconsin offer trial courses and tests so you can see if the mode and environment work for you. No matter your goals, be it a 2-year, 4-year or master’s program, there’s an online program that’s right for you.

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


In a 2012 report released by the NCES, the following was identified about online education in Wisconsin:

  • Out of a total of 294,234 degree-seeking students, approximately 17,559, or 6.0%, were enrolled exclusively in online courses.
  • Of that group, 53% were living in-state, with 13% out-of-state but still in the US.