Best Online Colleges in the Northeast

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Bethanny Parker has been a freelance writer for 14 years. She writes about career advancement, higher education, and real estate. She is a homeschooling mom who writes stories for children in her spare time. She is currently working on her marketing ...
Updated on June 6, 2023
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Because the region contained many of the original U.S. colonies, the Northeast is home to some of the nation's oldest and most respected higher education institutions. Subregions of the northeastern U.S. include the mid-Atlantic region and New England.

Many of the best online colleges in the Northeast offer benefits like online advising and tutoring, as well as in-state tuition rates for all distance learners. Students who attend college online can also avoid commuting and the high cost of living found in many Northeast cities. Online programs may appeal to resident Northeasterners, as well as other students across the U.S.

Read on to learn more about the top online colleges in the Northeast.

What Are the Best Online Colleges in the Northeast? Here Are Our Top 10:

Ranking compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

How We Rank Schools

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

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.

Best Accredited Online Colleges in the Northeast

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  1. New York University

    New York, NY

    New York University tops the list of the best online colleges in the Northeast. Founded in 1831, NYU houses 19 schools and colleges, eight of which offer online degrees. For example, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service offers an online master of health administration program and the Stern School of Business offers an online MS in quantitative management. NYU offers more than 20 online degrees, most of which are master's degrees.

    NYU is a respected research university that accepts under 20% of undergraduate applicants. Based in Manhattan, the university also operates campuses in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi and 11 additional study sites around the world. NYU serves more international and study abroad students than any other university in the United States.

  2. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

    University Park, PA



    Penn State World Campus is among the best accredited online colleges in the Northeast. The World Campus serves over 20,000 students and offers over 150 online certificates and degrees.

    Penn State World Campus has provided online education since 1998. The campus currently offers seven associate programs, 37 bachelor's programs, 56 master's programs, and one doctoral program. The school also offers more than 60 graduate certificates. Most programs deliver all coursework asynchronously and do not include on-campus requirements.

    The university charges affordable, per-credit tuition rates to all online learners no matter where they live.

  3. Boston University

    Boston, MA

    Boston University offers nearly 50 online programs, including bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, doctoral degrees, and certificates. Standout programs include a bachelor's degree completion program, a master's in health communication, and a doctorate in music education.

    BU serves more than 34,000 students from over 130 countries around the world. The university consists of 17 colleges and schools and employs more than 10,000 faculty and staff members.

    BU is a leading research institution that received over $574 million in contract awards and grants in 2020. Recent grants have included $1.5 million to support antiracist research and $3 million to investigate whether simulations improve education for students with disabilities.

  4. Villanova University

    Villanova, PA

    The only Augustinian Catholic university in the country, Villanova University serves about 6,700 full-time undergraduate students and 3,500 graduate and law students.

    Villanova offers more than 60 online degrees and certificates, including an associate degree, four bachelor's degrees, 17 master's degrees, and two doctorates. The school offers more than 25 online graduate certificates and 15 online professional education certificates.

    With an undergraduate job placement rate of almost 92%, most Villanova alumni can expect to land a job in their field after graduation. Approximately 130,000 Villanova alumni live around the world.

  5. Stony Brook University

    Stony Brook, NY



    Stony Brook University sits on 1,039 acres on the north shore of Long Island, 60 miles east of New York City. The university serves more than 26,000 students, including 18,000 undergraduates. Approximately 78% of first-year students attending full time receive financial aid.

    Stony Brook offers over 20 online degrees and certificates and participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. Standout programs include bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering and nursing and master's degrees in business administration, human resource management, and nurse midwifery. Most of Stony Brook's online programs deliver coursework asynchronously.

  6. Rutgers University-New Brunswick

    New Brunswick, NJ



    Based in New Brunswick, Rutgers offers three online bachelor's degrees and 13 online master's degrees. Standout online programs include a BA in business administration, an MBA, an MS in digital marketing, and an MS in supply chain management. Most of the university's online programs deliver coursework asynchronously and eliminate on-campus requirements.

    Rutgers belongs to the Big Ten Conference and the Big Ten Academic Alliance, which consists of 14 top research universities that conduct a total of $10.5 billion in research annually. Rutgers operates over 175 research centers and institutes and received over $750 million in research grants and sponsorships in 2019.

  7. Syracuse University

    Syracuse, NY

    Syracuse University houses 13 colleges and schools and offers over 50 online degrees and certificates, including an associate degree in liberal arts, six bachelor's degrees, 24 master's degrees, and one doctoral degree.

    Syracuse serves almost 22,000 students and supports more than 300 student organizations. The university operates five study abroad centers and offers international programs in 60 countries.

    Syracuse is a private research university with an endowment fund valued around $1.4 billion. Located in central New York, Syracuse is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  8. Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

    Lancaster, PA

    If you're interested in health and looking for colleges in the Northeast, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences may be a good fit. The college offers eight online programs: three online bachelor's degrees, three master's degrees, and two professional certificates.

    PA College is the only school in the area that focuses on health science. The college partners with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health to offer students access to clinical experiences in one of South Central Pennsylvania's largest healthcare systems.

    PA College charges both per-credit tuition and program-specific tuition. All students pay the same tuition rate no matter where they live.

  9. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

    Pittsburgh, PA



    The University of Pittsburgh serves over 33,000 students. Pitt offers a variety of online programs, including a bachelor's degree, six master's degrees, three doctoral degrees, and eight certificates.

    The university also maintains an agreement with Coursera that allows students to enroll in almost 4,000 courses on Coursera free of charge. These non-credit courses can help students enhance their current skills and add new skills to their resumes.

    Pitt faculty members have won prestigious honors like the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, the MacArthur Foundation's "Genius Grant," and the National Medal of Science.

  10. Temple University

    Philadelphia, PA



    Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Temple University serves around 40,000 students. The university offers multiple online programs, including seven bachelor's degrees, 18 graduate degrees, and 24 certificates.

    Temple is the largest university in Philadelphia and is recognized as one of the best universities in the nation for podiatry, pharmacy, medicine, law, and dentistry. In 2015, Temple earned the R1 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education for its significant research activity.

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