The Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget projects employment in the state to increase 7% from 2016 to 2026, the equivalent of nearly 321,000 new positions. The field of education and health services will account for nearly half of this expansion, adding more than 140,000 new jobs during this period. Computer, mathematical, and engineering occupations should also experience above-average growth, while the state's manufacturing industry is projected to see an overall decline in employment opportunities.
The most lucrative jobs in Michigan typically require some kind of postsecondary education. For example, medical and health services managers in the state earned an annual mean wage of $111,780 in 2018, or roughly $62,000 more per year than the average salary for all other occupations. That same year, the average computer and information systems manager in Michigan commanded a salary of $131,100. These careers require at least a bachelor's degree, though some specific roles may even call for a master's degree.
Top 10 Online Colleges in Michigan
- University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI
- Michigan State University - East Lansing, MI
- Madonna University - Livonia, MI
- Andrews University - Berrien Springs, MI
- Wayne State University - Detroit, MI
- Central Michigan University - Mount Pleasant, MI
- University of Michigan - Flint, MI
- Eastern Michigan University - Ypsilanti, MI
- Michigan Technological University - Houghton, MI
- University of Detroit Mercy - Detroit, MI
Continuing your education is often critical to professional advancement, but it can be difficult for working professionals and full-time caregivers to find the time to earn a degree. Online programs, however, give you the freedom to learn on your own schedule and from the comfort of your own home. In some cases, online education can even prove less expensive than studying on campus, as distance learners can avoid paying for room and board, commuting costs, and certain student fees.
Our ranking of the best online colleges in Michigan can help you determine which program is right for you. For each school, we provide helpful information on common admission requirements, the types of degrees and programs of study available, online delivery formats, and financial aid opportunities. Additionally, all of the colleges and universities profiled below hold regional accreditation.
2020 Best Online Colleges in Michigan
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
|Ann Arbor, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 92%||
The oldest institution of higher education in the state, the University of Michigan provides innovative and exceptional learning experiences through an array of online courses, credentials, and degrees. Online learners at U-M explore a variety of subjects, including applied data analytics, dental hygiene, energy systems engineering, and population and health sciences.
Nine bachelor's and master's degrees are available entirely online in an asynchronous format, though some programs may require students to complete field experiences in their own communities. The same faculty who instruct on-campus students lead all online classes.
The university's bachelor's in dental hygiene is a degree completion program, meaning prospective students must generally already hold an associate degree to apply. Admission requirements for graduate programs vary, but most require applicants to have a bachelor's degree and some professional experience in their field. Graduate applicants may also need to submit two letters of recommendation and GRE or GMAT scores.
Michigan State University
|East Lansing, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 79%||
In addition to more than 100 individual online courses, Michigan State University offers fully online bachelor's and master's degrees in biomedical laboratory operations, electrical and computer engineering, adult and lifelong education, and youth development. The university also hosts hybrid doctoral programs in education and nursing.
Students in most programs can watch lectures, collaborate with their classmates, and complete assignments entirely on their own schedule. However, some classes may require live participation in lab work or exams. Online students can access all of the same resources available to on-campus learners, including the university's Spartan Success internship and mentorship program.
First-year applicants must have a high school or GED diploma and submit either ACT or SAT scores. While MSU does not set strict academic requirements for admission, the average incoming student has a high school GPA between 3.5 and 4.0 and an ACT score between 23 and 29 or an SAT score between 1130 and 1310.
|Livonia, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
Online students at Madonna University can choose from 30 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in fields such as accountancy, criminal justice leadership and intelligence, higher education administration, and nursing home management. The university also offers a fully online associate degree in general studies for students who want to quickly prepare for entry-level jobs or begin working toward the requirements of a four-year undergraduate program.
Founded in 1937 by the Felician Sisters, Madonna provides a liberal arts education informed by the values of faith and service. Each year, students at the university spend roughly 27,000 hours volunteering in Michigan and around the world.
To apply to Madonna as an undergraduate, you must have a high school diploma with a GPA of at least 2.8. In addition, prospective first-year students must receive a composite score of at least 18 on the ACT or at least 960 on the SAT. All admitted students receive automatic consideration for a variety of merit-based scholarships, and Madonna provides aid specifically to graduates of Catholic high schools.
|Berrien Springs, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Affiliated with the Adventist Church, Andrews University serves students looking for a flexible and Christ-centered education option. Along with a host of professional certificates, the university offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration, curriculum and instruction, physical therapy, and public health.
Online students at Andrews can enroll in either self-paced or interactive courses. Learners in self-paced classes have up to 180 days to complete all of their assignments and enjoy the freedom to schedule their learning around work or vacations. Interactive online courses run for 15 weeks, with students meeting weekly assignment deadlines and engaging with their classmates and instructors through email and web-based discussion boards.
Freshman applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. They must also receive a score of at least 20 on the ACT or at least 1020 on the SAT. Transfer applicants must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA in their prior college-level coursework to receive credit at Andrews.
Wayne State University
|Detroit, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Online undergraduate programs at Wayne State University prepare students for careers in social work and mortuary science. The university also awards fully online master's degrees in sports administration, theater and dance, library and information science, and criminal justice. All online coursework at Wayne State can be completed at a distance and asynchronously, though students may need to take proctored exams at a testing site in their area.
Through the university's Discover Detroit Scholarship, out-of-state students can qualify for the equivalent of in-state tuition if they have a high school GPA of at least 3.5 and an ACT score of at least 24 or an SAT score of at least 1160. Wayne State also provides aid to community college students with at least 24 transferable credits and a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Undergraduate applicants must submit high school transcripts and entrance exam scores. Prospective graduate students need a bachelor's degree, along with results from either the GRE or GMAT.
Central Michigan University
|Mount Pleasant, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Central Michigan University offers more than 30 fully online degrees in fields such as fashion merchandising and design, public and nonprofit administration, entrepreneurial ventures, and nutrition and dietetics. Online classes run for eight, 12, and 16 weeks, giving students the option to quickly advance through a program or deeply explore a particular subject.
Online learners enjoy a wealth of support services at CMU. For instance, the university's Online Ally program pairs students with peer mentors who help them develop time management skills, try out new study tactics, and connect with other academic resources. Online students can also remotely access writing assistance, math tutoring, and career counseling services.
The university takes a holistic approach to admissions, looking at transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, recommendations, and community service activities. The average admitted undergraduate student has a high school GPA of 3.41, an ACT score of 23, and an SAT score of 1103. Personal essays are encouraged but not required.
University of Michigan-Flint
|Flint, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
University of Michigan-Flint was founded in 1956 to bring high-quality educational opportunities to the residents of Flint and the surrounding area. Today, students around the world can learn at the university through 20 fully online bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs in healthcare administration, substance use treatment and intervention, inclusive education, and computer science and information systems. Nine additional degrees at UM-Flint are available in a hybrid format, requiring visits to campus every four to six weeks.
Online students at the university receive 24/7 technical support, as well as tutoring, academic advising, financial aid counseling, and research assistance through the university library. All online instructors at UM-Flint also receive specialized training in leading distance education courses.
Applying to the university as an undergraduate requires a high school diploma with a GPA of at least 2.7 or a GED with a minimum score of 170. Applicants must also receive a score of at least 17 on the ACT or 920 on the SAT.
Eastern Michigan University
|Ypsilanti, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Founded in 1849 as a teachers college, Eastern Michigan University now hosts over 350 undergraduate and graduate programs in diverse fields of study. More than 20 degrees and certificates at the university can be completed entirely online, giving students a flexible education to prepare for careers in information assurance and cyber defense, technology management, early childhood education, and quality management.
Regardless of their location, online students at EMU pay the same tuition and fees as Michigan residents. Online learners can also apply for a host of institutional scholarships, including multiple awards for transfer students who have excelled academically in their prior college-level courses.
First-year applicants must share their high school transcripts and results from either the ACT or SAT. EMU does not set minimum requirements for admission, though the average incoming freshman has a high school GPA of 3.28, an ACT score of 22, and an SAT score of 1100.
Michigan Technological University
|Houghton, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Online and fully accredited programs at Michigan Technological University prepare graduates for careers in electric power engineering, health informatics, applied science education, and integrated geospatial technology. The university also boasts a faculty-to-student ratio of just 12-to-1, ensuring that all learners receive personalized attention and support to succeed.
Michigan Tech offers both online undergraduate and graduate degrees, along with a variety of professional certificates. Additionally, 4+1 programs give students the option to earn both a bachelor's and master's degree in just five years. Students on these accelerated tracks must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, and they do not need to take the GRE.
To apply to a standard undergraduate program at the university, you will need a high school or GED diploma. While all applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores, Michigan Tech does not set minimum requirements for these entrance exams. Nearly 90% of students admitted to the university receive some form of financial aid.
University of Detroit Mercy
|Detroit, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
The University of Detroit Mercy hosts nine fully online master's programs in disciplines such as product development, nurse leadership, applied data analytics, and computer and information systems. Students can also pursue online post-baccalaureate and graduate certificates to develop additional skills in business turnaround and nursing education.
Detroit Mercy has a faculty-to-student ratio of 15-to-1, and the university intentionally keeps online classes small in order to help students build relationships with their classmates and instructors. In addition, all online courses integrate both experiential learning opportunities and the values of faith, compassion, and justice that lie at the heart of a Jesuit education.
Admission requirements vary across programs, but graduate applicants must have, at minimum, a bachelor's degree. Some programs may also require up to five years of professional experience in a relevant field. Prospective master's students must additionally submit at least one letter of recommendation and a personal statement.
Spring Arbor University
|Spring Arbor, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Spring Arbor University currently offers 14 degrees fully online. Along with undergraduate programs in nursing and social work, the university awards online master's degrees in fields such as business administration, special education, and strategic communication and leadership. Additional programs in healthcare and business are also available in a hybrid format.
Spring Arbor is a Christian university that aims to connect the world of knowledge to the world of faith. Undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma and take either the ACT or SAT. Aspiring graduate students generally need a bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA. They must also submit two letters of recommendation and a writing sample.
Although the university does not currently provide institutional funding to graduate students, incoming undergraduates can apply for scholarships on the basis of academic achievement, transfer status, racial or cultural background, and financial need.
Northern Michigan University
|Marquette, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
Learners at Northern Michigan University can select from more than two dozen fully online degrees in areas such as hospitality and tourism management, applied workplace leadership, higher education and student affairs, and ski area business management. In addition to the flexibility and convenience of distance education, NMU offers one of the lowest tuition rates in Michigan.
Online minors and certificates allow students to further customize their learning experience at the university. For instance, undergraduates can prepare for specialized careers through supplemental coursework in loss prevention management or psychology, while students seeking of the university's master's degrees in education can concurrently pursue an endorsement in either learning disabilities or reading instruction.
Applying to NMU as a first-year student requires a high school diploma with a GPA of 2.25 or higher. In addition, undergraduate applicants must receive a score of at least 19 on the ACT or at least 990 on the SAT. Graduate applicants must submit college transcripts, GRE or GMAT results, and letters of recommendation.
Ferris State University
|Big Rapids, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Through Ferris Online, Ferris State University provides a convenient and customizable path to careers in allied health sciences, automotive management, respiratory therapy, and information security and intelligence. Non-degree students can also earn one of 19 online certificates, honing professional skills in cancer information management, ethical hacking, or project management.
Ferris State offers students comprehensive support. Prospective learners can schedule a one-on-one consultation with an admissions advisor, then work with a dedicated academic coach to choose a major or design a course of study once admitted. Online learners also benefit from extensive career, disability, financial aid, and veterans services.
Most online undergraduate offerings at the university are degree completion programs. As a result, applicants typically need at least 48 transferable credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0 from another accredited institution. Ferris State does not, however, require prospective undergraduates to take either the ACT or SAT. Graduate applicants need a bachelor's and, for some programs, several years of applicable professional experience.
|Troy, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Walsh College launched its first virtual course in 1998. Today, the college offers nine fully online business-focused degrees, including a bachelor of business administration that students can personalize through add-on majors in finance and marketing. Graduate students can also customize their MBA experience, either through concentrations or by seeking a dual degree in human resources management or information technology leadership.
Walsh makes business education as accessible as possible. For instance, the college does not require prospective graduate students to take the GMAT. Once admitted, students can enroll in classes throughout the year and advance through their coursework entirely at their own pace.
The college's bachelor's degree completion programs require at least 60 transferable credits from another accredited institution. Undergraduate applicants must also maintain at least a 2.0 GPA in their prior coursework. Graduate programs require a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75, though the college may provisionally admit applicants who do not meet this requirement.
Grand Valley State University
|Allendale, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 65%||
Each year, more than 24,000 students learn at Grand Valley State University, many in fully online degree and certificate programs. While the majority of the university's distance education offerings serve graduate students, GVSU offers one online bachelor's degree completion program in integrative studies with an emphasis in leadership. Online students who already hold an associate degree can earn a bachelor's through this program in as few as 19 months.
Online classes at GVSU are not self-paced. Rather, students learn alongside a cohort of classmates and occasionally must participate in synchronous activities such as group projects or exam study sessions. Students can complete most coursework whenever is most convenient for them.
To enter the bachelor's degree completion program, prospective students must have earned at least 60 credits at another accredited college or university. Graduate applicants need a bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 3.0, along with three letters of recommendation. Prospective master's students who do not meet this GPA requirement may instead submit results from the GRE or GMAT.
|Grand Rapids, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Founded in 1866, Davenport University now serves more than 7,000 students every year through both in-person and online programs. Distance learners at the university pursue associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in fields such as accounting, industrial production management, health informatics, and technology project management.
The university's Employment Guarantee program promises that students who earn a bachelor's in accounting or nursing will find work in their field within six months of graduation. Graduates who do not land a job can receive up to 48 additional credits for free, a $32,000 value. While students majoring in other areas do not receive the same guarantee, more than 90% of all DU graduates find a job less than six months after earning their degree.
Undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma and take either the ACT or SAT. Though exact requirements vary, most graduate programs require prospective students to first earn a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Siena Heights University
|Adrian, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
Siena Heights University currently enrolls roughly 800 online students from 36 states across the country. SHU's distance education programs are specifically designed for adult learners and allow students to either quickly complete a bachelor's degree or seek a master's in business administration, healthcare leadership, or higher education leadership.
Enrolling in an online degree completion program at SHU typically requires an associate degree or at least 60 transferable credits from another accredited college or university. While online undergraduates may qualify for state and federal financial aid, the university only awards scholarships to on-campus students.
Graduate admission requirements can vary considerably across programs. For example, students who hope to earn a master of science in nursing must have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA and at least one year of professional experience as a licensed nurse. To enter the MBA program, however, applicants can have a bachelor's degree in any field, and the university does not require the GMAT.
|Midland, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
With a mission to develop the future leaders of a free-enterprise society, Northwood University offers online master's degrees in business administration, finance, and organizational leadership. Adult learners can also earn a bachelor's in business administration at the university, with optional concentrations available in accounting, franchising management, and marketing.
Both online and on-campus MBA students at Northwood may qualify for up to three scholarships worth $1,200 each. The Early Decision Scholarship provides aid to incoming students who submit their application at least three months prior to enrolling, while the GPA Scholarship offers support to students with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.25. Finally, the Leadership Scholarship is awarded based on volunteer and community service.
To complete your bachelor's at Northwood, you must already hold an associate degree. All graduate applicants must participate in an admissions interview, and those with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or lower must also submit a writing sample. The school does not require GRE or GMAT scores.
Western Michigan University
|Kalamazoo, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 51%||
More than 90% of Western Michigan University graduates find work or enroll in graduate school within just three months of earning their degree. Equipped with the training they receive in fully online programs, WMU students go on to work in fields such as aviation management and operations, interdisciplinary health services, information security, and workforce education and development.
The university provides online bachelor's and master's degrees, along with nine graduate certificates in applied hydrogeology, gerontology, and kinship care. Regardless of their program, all online learners can remotely work with career development advisors, book Skype appointments with the university's writing center, and review a library of academic success resources.
Applicants to a bachelor's program at WMU must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Graduate applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and typically must also take either the GRE or GMAT. All admitted students receive automatic consideration for merit- and need-based financial aid.
|Flint, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 13%||
Baker College makes dozens of its associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees available online to serve the needs of working professionals. Programs of study open to online learners include business intelligence, cloud security risk management, game software development, and industrial and organizational psychology.
While online students can complete all of their coursework at a distance on their own schedule, online classes at the college are not self-paced. Students regularly engage with their classmates and instructors in order to explore new perspectives, hone interpersonal and group facilitation skills, and grow their professional network. Online students may also complete some of their coursework at one of the college's 11 locations across Michigan.
Undergraduate applicants must have a high school or GED diploma. Although the school does not explicitly require ACT and SAT scores for admission, prospective students must demonstrate their readiness for postsecondary study through exam scores, prior college experience, or academic success in high school.
|Rochester Hills, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
For most online programs at Oakland University, students pay the equivalent of in-state tuition no matter where they live. To help further reduce the cost of continuing your education, the university also awards scholarships to incoming students who excelled academically, graduated from a public high school in Michigan, or served in the armed forces.
Oakland hosts an online bachelor's degree completion program for registered nurses and a full online undergraduate program in environmental health and safety. Distance learners may also pursue master's and doctoral degrees in reading and language arts instruction, engineering management, and nursing practice.
While the university's degree completion program requires at least 60 transferable college credits and a nursing license, applicants to the environmental health bachelor's program need only a high school diploma with a GPA of 3.2 or higher and satisfactory scores on either the ACT or SAT. Graduate applicants must have a bachelor's degree, and some programs also require relevant professional experience.
|Grand Rapids, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
Cornerstone University, a Christian institution located in Grand Rapids, provides online degrees in business, education, human services, and ministry. Students can begin their postsecondary studies by choosing from two online associate degrees or develop additional expertise in their field through online master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs.
The university also offers individual online courses for students who want to examine a specific topic without formally applying to a program. Online courses at Cornerstone cover subjects such as Old and New Testament studies, coping with grief and loss, and natural resources management. Current educators can also take single courses in instructional strategies and education leadership to meet their professional development requirements.
Applying to the university as an undergraduate requires a high school diploma with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Applicants must also receive a score of at least 19 on the ACT, at least 1000 on the SAT, or at least 64 on the Classic Learning Test.
|Livonia, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 17%||
Schoolcraft College works exclusively with students seeking an associate degree. Some programs are designed to lead directly to employment, while others cater to learners who hope to transfer their credits to a four-year college or university. Fully online programs of study at the college include small business administration, computer and information systems, and fire and emergency services. Additional degrees in business information technology, cosmetology management, and homeland security feature minimal on-campus requirements.
Most online courses at Schoolcraft are self-paced and allow students to complete assignments and take exams whenever they feel ready. Students can also enter and exit many online classes on their own schedule, without needing to wait for a designated enrollment period.
Schoolcraft operates under an open admission policy, meaning it admits all students regardless of their prior academic achievement. Applicants must submit high school or GED transcripts, and those who have not taken either the ACT or SAT may need to sit for a placement exam.
Henry Ford College
|Dearborn, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 7%||
A public community college in Dearborn, Henry Ford College primarily administers associate and workforce development programs, though online students may also pursue a bachelor of science in the culinary arts. Additional online programs prepare learners to enter or advance in professional fields such as automotive service management, fitness leadership, graphic design, and supply chain management.
The nature of the online experience at HFC depends on the course you choose to take. Some instructors require students to synchronously participate in class discussions, while others post recordings of their lectures online and ask students to reply on their own schedule. Online classes follow the same schedule as those offered on campus, and all students must meet the same assignment deadlines.
Incoming students must have a high school or GED diploma. They must also take a course placement exam before registering for classes, though the college waives this requirement for students who have taken either the ACT or SAT.
Concordia University-Ann Arbor
|Ann Arbor, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
Founded in 1962 and affiliated with the Lutheran Church, Concordia University Ann Arbor offers online and accredited degrees in accounting, communications and public relations, nonprofit management and leadership, and sustainability management and analytics. Online students at the university may also earn a graduate certificate to demonstrate expertise in fields such as risk management or sports and entertainment businesses.
The university's Uncommon Scholarship program provides financial support specifically to adult and online learners. These scholarships -- ranging in value from $150 to $500 per three-credit course -- are open to employees of certain corporate, school, and church partners, as well as Concordia alumni.
Admission to a bachelor's program at the university requires a high school GPA of at least 2.5 and either an ACT score of at least 19 or an SAT score of at least 940. Graduate applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Concordia does not require prospective master's students to take the GRE or GMAT.