Best Online International Schools and Universities of 2022

Learn more about the best online international universities. Compare the top online universities in the world by cost and program offerings.

portrait of Whitney Sandoval
by Whitney Sandoval

Published on March 2, 2022 · Updated on May 6, 2022

Edited by Colin Weickmann
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College is an investment in your future. Depending on the area of study you're interested in, you may be considering the top online colleges and universities. Although many of the best international schools are known for their overall excellence, each has at least one distinguished program of study.

Countries all over the world offer competitive degree programs. However, our top-ranking international schools consistently come from the United States and England. Many of these schools are among the oldest universities in the English-speaking world, with long-standing reputations for rigorous academics.

Students who excel in academics and are interested in international relations can benefit from attending one of these top-ranking universities. Passionate, driven students who are curious and enjoy learning may be drawn toward top universities.

The cost of tuition can be high, especially since many of these universities are private colleges. However, the name recognition of graduating from a prestigious program could set you apart when applying for jobs.

What Countries Have the Best Universities in the World?

When you think of prestigious universities, you probably go straight to the Ivy League schools in the United States. Universities like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton often place high on lists of the best U.S. colleges.

Although American universities often rank high, there are many great options to study abroad. If you are considering studying abroad, you may already be familiar with historic universities in the United Kingdom. Schools like the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are well-renowned research universities.

While English-speaking countries may be high on your radar, several other countries offer competitive, world-renowned universities. Countries like Sweden and Japan have large research universities that continue to offer cutting-edge education.

Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Why Choose an Online International University?

While choosing a college, you will need to consider not only the university you want to attend but also the mode of learning you prefer. Although it may seem strange to attend an online international university, doing so has many benefits.

Most online degree programs can be accessed anywhere. So attending an international university online can provide you with a flexible degree option regardless of where you reside.

Here are the top four benefits of pursuing an online degree from an international university.

Global Impact

Regardless of where you live while you attend an online degree, you will be exposed to diverse, global perspectives while completing a program through an international university. Through online discussions, course offerings, and class groupings, you will learn to approach concepts through a global perspective.

Flexibility

Online degree programs can offer more flexibility than in-person classes. Instead of set class times, course materials — like lectures or discussions — may be accessed at a time that is most convenient for you. Classes can be attended from virtually anywhere, allowing you to travel while completing your education.

Name Recognition

Regardless of whether you complete your degree in person or online, the quality of education will be the same. Online degree programs are a reflection of the university and are taught by the college's well-renowned faculty. The international university's name and reputation will follow your degree — even if you attend the program online.

Cheaper Costs

Some colleges will offer a cheaper tuition rate for students pursuing a degree 100% online. This can save you money on general tuition and fees and your living expenses. You also lessen the costs associated with being an international student — visa fees, travel, and moving expenses.

2022 Best Accredited Online International Schools and Universities

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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How We Ranked the Best Online International Schools and Universities

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

The 10 best online international schools and universities listed in this ranking are all considered world-renowned institutions of education. These schools are ranked based on their academic reputation, overall academic quality, and online program offerings. To learn more about our different rankings, read our ranking methodology.

true Cambridge, MA Stanford University

Located near California's west coast, Stanford University's large, innovative campus is just minutes from the technology giants in Silicon Valley. With an emphasis on discovery and entrepreneurship, Stanford is known for successfully attracting start-up funding.

Online master's degrees are available in some fields, including electrical engineering, chemical engineering, and computer science.

Stanford's total undergraduate fees are estimated to be about $77,030 — including about $57,690 in tuition — for the 2022-2023 academic year. Stanford strives to remain accessible to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds and continues to offer free tuition, room, and board to students who come from families making less than $75,000 a year.

Admission Requirements:

  • application (either common or coalition)
  • two letters of recommendations from teachers
  • school report and counselor letter of recommendation
  • transcripts
  • mid-year report
  • standardized test scores (ACT or SAT)
true Oxford, United Kingdom University of Oxford

The first university in the English-speaking world, the University of Oxford, is an extremely competitive college with a prominent international presence. Oxford is well regarded for its arts and humanities programs. But it is also a top-ranking university for its engineering, social sciences, and life sciences programs.

Oxford students can choose from over 350 postgraduate programs. Students pursuing online degrees have several options, including certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, and master's degrees.

For those entering the University of Oxford in 2022, tuition and fees for non-U.K. residents is approximately $37,300-$52,340 a year.

Admission Requirements:

  • Universities and Colleges Admissions Service application
  • admissions tests
  • written works
  • one letter of recommendation
true Cambridge, United Kingdom University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is the fourth-oldest university in the world and is located within one of the world's largest technology centers. The University of Cambridge encompasses several faculties, schools, departments, and 31 colleges.

With a focus on research and innovative technologies, Cambridge prepares graduates for the future. In fact, 90% of Cambridge students were employed or continuing their education 15 months after graduating.

The University of Cambridge operates on a three-term system, and undergraduates can earn a degree in three years. Cambridge offers online certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, and master's degrees.

For international students, the 2022-2023 academic year tuition and fees costs about $31,000 or more annually, depending on the course of study.

Admission Requirements:

  • Universities and Colleges Admissions Service application
  • written assessment
  • interview
true New York, NY Columbia University

Columbia University is an extremely competitive, diverse university located in New York. Although known for its engineering and applied sciences program, Columbia University offers 20 schools — four of them being undergraduate schools.

The private research university houses the third-largest private research library in America, the Columbia University Library. Columbia University research has contributed to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and collaborative laboratories with companies like IBM.

Online degrees include master's in social work, master's degree in applied analytics, and master's degree in bioanalytics, among others.

The tuition costs vary depending on degree and program, but undergraduate students paid approximately $63,530 in tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 school year.

Admission Requirements:

  • application (either common, coalition, or QuestBridge)
  • letters of recommendations from teachers
  • school report and counselor letter of recommendation
  • transcripts
  • mid-year report
  • standardized test scores (ACT or SAT)
true Chicago, IL University of Chicago

A selective research university, the University of Chicago is an urban campus committed to freedom of thinking, inquiry, and rigor. The college offers competitive programs in science, medicine, law, and business.

The University of Chicago has one of the highest number of Nobel laureates of any university in the world. Students at the University of Chicago take courses on a quarter system, focusing intensely on three or four courses each quarter.

Students can choose from 53 majors in the undergraduate school. The University of Chicago also offers seven professional schools for graduate students. Online degree programs include master's degrees in analytics and threat and response management.

Tuition for the 2021-2022 school year was $59,260.

Admission Requirements:

  • application (either common or coalition)
  • personal essay
  • two letters of recommendations from teachers
  • school report
  • transcripts
  • mid-year report
  • optional standardized test scores (ACT or SAT)
New Haven, CT Yale University

The second-oldest university in the United States, Yale University is an Ivy League private college located in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale offers online programs and courses, as well as three online degree programs: an online master of public health, a physician assistant online program, and a doctor of nursing practice.

The cost of tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year was $59,950. Yale has a non-loan based system for students with financial needs.

Admission Requirements:

  • application (either common, coalition, or QuestBridge)
  • two letters of recommendations from teachers
  • one letter of recommendation from counselor
  • short answer/essay questions (varies between different applications)
  • transcripts
  • mid-year report
  • standardized test scores (currently waived for 2022 admission)
Philadelphia, PA University of Pennsylvania

Situated in the heart of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League college. The college has a 9% acceptance rate, which contributes to its 6-1 student-to-teacher ratio. The university is diverse with over 54% of its students identifying as students of color.

When applying to the University of Pennsylvania, prospective students must choose one of the four undergraduate schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, Penn Engineering, School of Nursing, or the Wharton School.

The University of Pennsylvania offers several online degree programs, including a master of computer and information technology, master of science in nonprofit leadership, and a bachelor of applied arts and sciences.

Tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year was $54,650 with an additional $7,050 in fees. However, the university offers completely grant-based financial aid packages for students who have financial barriers.

Admission Requirements:

  • application (either common, coalition, or QuestBridge)
  • transcripts
  • three letters of recommendation
  • mid- and final year reports
  • standardized test scores
Berkeley, CA University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley is a prestigious public university that produces more Peace Corps volunteers than any other college. Berkeley consistently ranks high for its chemistry and environment/ecology programs with physics and space sciences also being highly recognized.

Berkeley offers two master's degrees online: a master's in information and cybersecurity and a master's in information and data science.

Tuition for in-state residents is $14,250 a year and is $44,000 for out-of-state students. Thirty-eight percent of Berkeley students get their full tuition paid through grants and scholarships.

Admission Requirements:

  • application
  • minimum 3.0 GPA
Baltimore, MD Johns Hopkins University

The first research university in the United States, Johns Hopkins University is a private university in Baltimore, Maryland. Many students pursue a pre-med degree. However, Johns Hopkins' biomedical engineering program consistently gets recognized for its excellence.

Along with the sciences, Johns Hopkins' international studies program is well-renowned. Johns Hopkins University offers several online graduate degrees, including master's degrees in applied economics, education, and environmental engineering.

Undergraduate tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year was $58,720. However tuition and fees vary between the different colleges and academic programs.

Admission Requirements:

  • application (either common or coalition)
  • transcripts
  • school report and school counselor recommendation
  • two letters of recommendation from teachers
  • mid-year reports
  • standardized test scores (optional through the 2025-2026 school year)
London, United Kingdom Imperial College London

The only university in the United Kingdom that focuses solely on engineering, medicine, science, and business, Imperial College London is a public research university in London, England. Imperial College London is well-renowned for several programs, but stands out in its health and medicine offerings.

Along with its extensive online course offerings, Imperial College London offers two fully online degrees, a master's in public health degree and a master's in machine learning degree.

Tuition costs depend on residency and specific programs of study. Tuition is based on the year you begin your cohort. For the 2021 cohort in the department of aeronautics, tuition and fees were about $45,280 for international students.

Admission Requirements:

  • Universities and Colleges Admissions Service application
  • written personal statement
  • at least 3-4 AP tests with scores of 5

Frequently Asked Questions About Online International Schools and Universities

Can I study online from another country? true

You can enroll in an online degree program in a country other than your country of residence. As long as you can access the internet, you can study online. Because an online degree is different from a study abroad program, you may have less support as an international student.

What is the best university in the world? true

Although there are several measures of what makes the best university in the world, Harvard University consistently ranks as the best university. Many organizations — like THE World University Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, and QS World University Rankings — have ranked Harvard as the best multiple years in a row.

What is best is subjective and can depend on which degree program you are pursuing. Keep in mind that the best university in the world may not be the best university for you.

What is the best online university in Europe? true

Europe has several competitive, respected universities with online programs. Universities that consistently rank high on independent organization rankings include: Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands; Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland; and The University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Many online universities only offer master's degrees. When looking at the best online universities in Europe, you should consider what online degrees are offered and which programs these universities are best known for.

What is the best online university in the United States?

The United States has many online university programs to choose from. Southern New Hampshire University is among the best accredited online universities. You can choose from over 200 certificate and degree programs. Online students also have access to student support services and online clubs.

Other notable online universities in the United States include Liberty University, the University of Central Florida, Florida International University, and Purdue University Global.

Are online degrees worth it?

Depending on your circumstances, earning an online degree can be worth it for several reasons. Online degrees provide the same course information and quality of education as in-person classes. Pursuing an online degree can also be more flexible and could even be less costly.

When determining if an online degree is worth it, you should weigh the time, cost, and potential stress to the possible outcomes. Only you can determine if an online degree will be worth it.

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Many international students need financial assistance to study in the U.S. Learn how to take advantage of financial resources and find scholarships and grants. Learn how to navigate the U.S. college system as an international student, and figure out what to pack for your first year. Many students study abroad to expose themselves to new languages and cultures. Discover the 10 colleges with the best study abroad programs of 2022.

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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