Best Accelerated Online Degree Programs of 2022

Our higher education experts have researched the most popular online accelerated bachelor's degrees. Read on to find information on typical program lengths, and answers to frequently asked questions.

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by Marisa Upson

Updated August 10, 2022

Edited by Taylor Gadsden
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Accelerated online programs enable students to earn their degree faster than a standard four-year bachelor's program. These programs, found at many top online schools, can reduce the time to completion by at least one year. In some cases, students may earn their degree in as little as two years.

Students cover the same curriculum as their four-year counterparts in a concentrated format. Many of these programs also allow students to set their own study schedules, working around other commitments.

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Degree completion programs may also offer accelerated options. These programs are for students who started their college education but did not earn their degree. Many require students to possess at least 30-60 college credits.

Typically designed for nontraditional students and working adults, these programs may also award credits for professional and life experience.

Average tuition costs for accelerated online bachelor's programs often range from about $300-$600 per credit. Students may encounter higher tuition rates at private universities or if they're out-of-state learners attending public colleges.

Accelerated Online Bachelor's Program Overview

Standard college courses typically last 16 weeks, with two semesters offered each year. A typical bachelor's degree takes about 4-5 years to complete at this pace.

Accelerated online bachelor's degree programs usually consist of shorter courses offered online. Schools may compress accelerated coursework into 5-10-week sessions in which students take 1-2 classes at a time. Many schools also offer accelerated programs year-round.

Online course formats typically offer self-paced options and greater flexibility than in-person classes. This approach may better suit working adults or those with family or personal obligations.

Accelerated programs typically require students to have completed about 1-2 years of college, or 30-60 semester credits. Some accelerated programs allow students to transfer in up to 90 credits. Schools may also let students earn college credits through prior-learning assessments.

Prior learning may be evaluated through portfolio-based assessments or taking exams, such as those offered by the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). Students may also receive credits for work and life experience obtained in the military, during their career, or through volunteer activities.

Benefits of an Accelerated Degree

Pros of an Online Accelerated Bachelor's Degree

  • Speed: An accelerated online degree can mean spending less time in school and entering the workforce or graduate school quicker.
  • Cost: Earning your degree faster may reduce tuition and other fees associated with higher education.
  • Flexibility: Most accelerated online programs allow students to set their own study schedules.

Cons of an Online Accelerated Bachelor's Degree

  • Heavy Workload: Students learn the same amount of material in a shorter period.
  • Limited Interaction: Some online learning formats may include limited interaction with peers and instructors.
  • Self-Motivation Required: This fast-paced structure requires students to keep up with an intensive schedule or get left behind.

Popular Online Accelerated Bachelor's Degree Programs

Schools offer numerous accelerated online bachelor's degree programs in healthcare, business, liberal arts, communication, computer science, and other fields. Typical majors include management, data analytics, cybersecurity, nursing, and criminal justice. Students may also major in interdisciplinary studies and choose their areas of interest.

Read on to learn more about some of the most popular accelerated online programs.

Bachelor's in Accounting

A bachelor's in accounting prepares graduates for roles in accounting, bookkeeping, auditing, financial analysis, and financial management. Core requirements include courses in federal taxation, business accounting, accounting information systems, and law. Those who continue their education may pursue certified public accountant licensure.

Bachelor's in Business Administration

This program teaches students how organizations operate. Many business administration programs offer concentrations. These may include finance, business information technology, healthcare management, human resource management, and international business. General core requirements usually include business finance, leadership, and marketing principles.

Bachelor's in Communications

A bachelor's in communications program explores communication systems, technologies, and theories. It covers communication across various formats, such as writing, verbal communication, and nonverbal communication. Learners can apply their communication expertise in numerous careers, such as politics, marketing, human resources, business, and sales. Typical coursework covers intercultural communication, public speaking, and organizational communication.

Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration

A bachelor's in healthcare administration equips students to lead and manage employees and systems in healthcare settings. Learners study team management and healthcare delivery systems. Common courses include electronic health record systems, healthcare finance, and legal aspects of healthcare. Some programs also require field experience, which students may complete locally.

Bachelor's in Marketing

A bachelor's in marketing helps students develop the skills to create compelling messages, understand target markets, and analyze consumer data. Common classes include sales management, consumer behavior, promotion management, and marketing research. Graduates may pursue roles as market research analysts and marketing managers. They may also qualify for public relations, advertising, and sales positions.

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Admission Requirements

Most accelerated bachelor's programs possess the same admission requirements as traditional programs. Degree completion programs that cater to learners with professional experience may also include minimum age requirements. Some schools also request online or in-person interviews. The following list includes typical admission requirements for many accelerated online bachelor's programs.

Application

Prospective students may submit applications through a school's website. The application form typically asks for general contact information, the applicant's college GPA, extracurricular activities, and awards received. In addition, some schools request a current professional resume and a personal statement or college application essay. Accelerated programs vary in their admission requirements, so make sure to research the specific requirements in place at your prospective programs before applying.

Transferable Credits

Some programs require students to possess a certain number of transferable credits. For example, degree completion programs may require students to have 60 credits. Many schools offer online courses to help students fulfill the necessary credit requirements for enrolling in an accelerated bachelor's program.

Associate Degree

Some programs require applicants to hold an associate degree or complete the school's general education requirements. Programs that require an associate degree typically consist of upper-level coursework and may be completed in 1-2 years.

Letters of Recommendation

Most schools request 2-3 letters of recommendation. Ideally, these references should come from people who can attest to an applicant's ability to succeed and persevere in a demanding accelerated learning environment. Consider asking for letters of recommendation from past professors or high school teachers, academic advisors, and employers.

Work Experience

Some programs require a minimum amount of work experience in a particular field. For example, an accelerated online bachelor's in business administration may require two years of experience in a business-related profession. Applicants may gain this experience through their professional employment or by working with volunteer organizations.

Official Transcripts

Applicants must submit official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended. High school transcripts might also be required if students earned a limited number of credits from community colleges or other institutions. Minimum GPA requirements differ dramatically between programs, ranging from about 2.0-3.0.

How Do I Choose an Accelerated Online Program?

Cost

Tuition costs for accelerated online bachelor's programs can range from about $300-$600 per credit. Generally, students find higher tuition at private universities and lower costs for in-state students attending public colleges. Additional costs for online students to consider include technology and assessment fees. Make sure to compare the costs of on-campus vs. online college programs before applying.

Program Format

Many accelerated bachelor's degree online programs offer an asynchronous learning format. This enables students to set their own study schedule while completing assignments and taking tests within given time periods. Typically, accelerated programs compress classes into 5-10 week sessions. Students could also decide to follow a full-time or part-time schedule to earn their degree in 2-3 years.

Location

Some online programs require on-campus participation, such as a one-time orientation or an ongoing field experience. Additionally, students pursuing internships or looking to relocate may want to consider a school in their area, particularly if they provide networking opportunities. Also, some online programs charge out-of-state student fees.

Accreditation

Accreditation ensures colleges meet high educational standards. Make sure the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education recognizes your school's accrediting agency. Proper accreditation can also make it easier to transfer credits between schools. Learners who attend an improperly accredited institution cannot qualify for federal financial aid, and employers may not acknowledge their degree. In addition to school accreditation, some specific programs may also earn programmatic accreditation.

Student Support

Many accelerated online bachelor's degree programs offer student support services. This support is crucial to a student's success and program completion. Some online student services to look for include student and professional mentorships, tutoring, academic advising, and career guidance. Additionally, some programs offer support finding local internship placement.

2022 Best Accredited Two-Year Online Bachelor's Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1

Campbellsville University

School Information
Location Campbellsville, Kentucky
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 36%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 77% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $399
Out of State | $399

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | International Accreditation Council for Business Education (BBA)

CU — a Christian university in Kentucky — offers an online bachelor's in business administration. BBA students may choose from six concentrations: accounting, business information technology, healthcare management, human resource management, management, and marketing.

Learners can transfer up to 72 credits and earn their degree in as little as two years. Core requirements include courses in accounting, marketing, management, and microeconomics. This online BBA program prepares graduates for roles like logistician, customer success manager, and finance manager.

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#2

City University of Seattle

School Information
Location Seattle, Washington
Graduation Rate 33%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $420
Out of State | $420

Credits to Graduate
180 quarter credits

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

CityU is a private nonprofit institution that offers several online programs, including bachelor's options in management, cybersecurity, and data science. As part of the National University System, the school offers accelerated options for adult learners. Depending on their previous experience, learners can graduate in as little as two years. 

Students can take flexible four-week classes to fulfill their general education requirements quickly. Additionally, a prior learning assessment program enables students to earn up to 45 credits by demonstrating knowledge gained through professional and life experiences.

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#3

Utica College

School Information
Location Utica, New York
Admission Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 54%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $400-$475
Out of State | $400-$475

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Utica's numerous online programs include bachelor's in accounting, business administration, business data analytics, cybersecurity operations management, cybersecurity, fraud and financial crime investigation, healthcare management, health sciences, and nursing.

Online students receive access to Microsoft Office, a success coach, and online therapy with a licensed mental health counselor. Admission requirements include a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.0. Experienced students may be able to complete some programs in about two years.

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#4

San Diego State University

School Information
Location San Diego, California
Admission Rate 34%
Graduation Rate 73%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $431-$491
Out of State | $431-$491

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

SDSU's Global Campus offers several online bachelor's programs, including American Indian studies, business administration, criminal justice, economics, and public health. These degree completion programs require 60 transferable credits and can be completed in about two years. Minimum GPA requirements range from 2.0-2.9, depending on the program. 

SDSU provides several virtual opportunities for online students, such as esports leagues, student success and career services, and leadership workshops. Additionally, online learners may attend virtual wellness sessions in yoga, fitness, meditation, and other activities.

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#5

University of Colorado Boulder

School Information
Location Boulder, Colorado
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 69%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $740
Out of State | $847

Credits to Graduate
45

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

CU-Boulder's online BS in applied computer science post-baccalaureate program is designed for students who already hold a bachelor's degree. CU-Boulder recommends that working adults allow 2-3 years to complete this degree, although an accelerated pathway can expedite graduation.

Core courses focus on computer science, software development, programming languages, and algorithms. Elective coursework includes options like data science, artificial intelligence, data mining, and cybersecurity. According to CU-Boulder, more than 90% of its computer science undergraduates find employment within six months of earning their degree.

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#6

Brescia University

School Information
Location Owensboro, Kentucky
Admission Rate 42%
Graduation Rate 34%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $425
Out of State | $425

Credits to Graduate
128

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

This Catholic university offers online bachelor's programs in accounting, psychology, integrated studies, theology, social work, and business. The eight-week course format helps experienced learners earn a degree in as little as two years. Social work and theology majors must complete a field placement in addition to online classes. 

Students may transfer in up to 86 credits from a four-year college or 67 credits from a community college. Students with less than 45 transferable credits may complete an online associate degree before entering their degree completion program.

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#7

Aurora University

School Information
Location Aurora, Illinois
Admission Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 54%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $425
Out of State | $425

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

AU's online programs are designed for students with two or more years of relevant life or work experience. Accelerated bachelor's programs are available in nine areas, including business administration, cybersecurity, healthcare administration, social work, and psychology. 

Programs may accept up to 90 credits from a four-year college or university and up to 68 credits from a junior college. Students can save money in classes that use free digital education resources instead of traditional textbooks. The school offers local placement support for programs that require internships.

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#8

University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

School Information
Location Fort Smith, Arkansas
Graduation Rate 35%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $256-$302
Out of State | $256-$302

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (LPN- and RN-to-BSN)

U of A offers a dozen online bachelor's programs, some of which can be completed in about two years. Nursing programs include degree completion pathways for LPNs and RNs. Students can earn a BS in nursing by completing online coursework and clinical experiences. 

Students can also pursue a bachelor's in human resource and workforce development education. To qualify for this program, applicants must take certain prerequisites and hold at least three years of full-time work experience and a minimum 2.5 GPA.

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#9

Cleveland State University

School Information
Location Cleveland, Ohio
Admission Rate 94%
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $240-$509
Out of State | $240-$716

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (RN-to-BSN), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (BBA)

Students at CSU can choose from three online degree completion pathways. Requirements for the online RN-to-BSN program include holding an active Ohio RN license and a minimum grade of "C" in prerequisite coursework. Students may complete this accelerated program in one year.

Applicants to the BA in organizational leadership or BBA program must possess 60 credits and a minimum GPA of 2.0. Students may also apply for prior learning experience credit.

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#10

Biola University

School Information
Location La Mirada, California
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 74%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $604
Out of State | $604

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Biola offers 10 online bachelor's programs, including options like applied psychology; Bible, theology, and apologetics; biblical ministries; business management; and public relations and digital media management. 

Accelerated programs include 7-week courses that enable experienced students to complete their degree in as little as two years. Students may transfer in up to 70 credits and earn credits based on prior work or volunteer experience. Applicants must adhere to the Christian faith.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Accelerated Online Bachelor's Programs

Is an accelerated bachelor's degree worth it?

An accelerated bachelor's degree can be worth it for students looking to get out into the workforce quickly or advance in their current position. An accelerated program may require strong time management skills and an intensive pace. However, it can also lead to increased potential earnings by entering your chosen field sooner than you would if completing a traditional bachelor's program.

Students should expect the same coursework as a conventional program, covering identical material in a concentrated time frame. Because students spend less time in school, they may also save money on associated costs.

Can I finish my bachelor's degree online?

Yes. Many online degree completion programs are designed for students who started their undergraduate degree but did not finish. Other programs target students who earned their associate degree or veterans who want to leverage their experience and learned skills.

Students may experience difficulty completing a program for several reasons, including financial hardship, work schedules, and family responsibilities. Online programs offer the flexibility to help working adults and those caring for family members pursue their academic goals. Asynchronous learning formats can provide increased flexibility in terms of scheduling.

What is the fastest way to finish a bachelor's degree?

The quickest way to complete a bachelor's degree is to take advantage of all the options a school offers to reduce completion times. These include accelerated courses, transferring credits, and taking tests to earn credits for prior knowledge of a subject.

Students can take tests through CLEP and DANTES Subject Standardized Tests. Additionally, taking AP courses and passing the AP exams in high school may result in college credits or allow students to skip general education courses. Learners with several years of work or military experience can also receive credits for life experience.

Can you complete a bachelor's degree in one year?

You can complete a bachelor's degree in one year if you have a sufficient number of transferable credits and enroll in an accelerated bachelor's degree program. Any opportunity to earn additional college credits can speed up the time to completion.

Finishing your degree in one year may require full-time and year-round enrollment. Students should prepare themselves for intense workloads and keep their end goals in sight if they find themselves overwhelmed. Because online programs offer greater flexibility, students can usually schedule their studies around work and other commitments.

BestColleges.com 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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