Our 2016 list of the Top 10 Online MBA Programs in the South. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Top 2% of schools considered)
The Kenan-Flagler Business School at University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill offers an MBA Program featuring coursework that may be completed entirely online. The Online Program allows students to interact with faculty weekly using a face-to-face online platform. Two important components of the 66 credit hour program are the MBA@UNC Global Immersions and quarterly three-day immersions. Students are required to attend at least two Global Immersions, which may take them to major business centers around the world such as Singapore, Johannesburg, Istanbul, London, and others.
Besides the option to complete the program in 18 to 36 months, Online MBA students may select from eight concentrations including Corporate Finance, Entrepreneurship, Global Supply Chain Management, Investment Management, Marketing, Sustainable Enterprise, Management Consulting, and Data Analytics and Decision Making. In addition, students may participate in several other programs to gain additional hands-on business and international experience. Optional programs include Student Teams Achieving Results (STAR), where "students learn by doing as they take on the role of consultants to real companies," the Exchange Program which "allows MBA@UNC students to study at another top-ranked business school in countries across the globe," and Doing Business In (DBI) which "gives students an opportunity to study abroad at an MBA exchange partner school." The online MBA at UNC is AACSB accredited.
2. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (Top 3% of schools considered)
The Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida (UF) is one of the first schools to offer a fully accredited Online MBA Program. In existence since 1999, the program has two flexible options including an Accelerated Online MBA that allows students to complete the program in just 16 months and a two-year option, which takes 27 months to complete. A concurrent Outreach Engineering Management (OEM) Master’s (OEM/MBA) is also on the menu. This "innovative" degree option "reduces the amount of time and coursework required for students to obtain both the MBA and the OEM degree from UF."
While the accelerated and two-year options may be completed online, students must visit the Gainesville campus once per term (once every four months) to take final exams and to deliver final presentations. These visits typically take place on weekends. In addition, all Online MBA students are encouraged to enroll in UF's MBA Global Immersion Experiences (GIE). Students register for the two-credit course that meets in person and online over the course of the semester and includes a seven to 10-day experience abroad in China, Chile, Dubai and others. The Online MBA programs at UF’s Warrington College of Business are AACSB accredited.
3. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (Top 4% of schools considered)
Auburn University is home to the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, which offers a video-based Distance MBA that may be completed in 2.5 years, part-time. The 36 credit hour program highlights an optional three-day orientation at the beginning of the program and a three-day visit to campus towards the end of the program to complete the Capstone Course. Otherwise, all coursework for the program may be completed online.
In addition to optional concentrations in Finance, Marketing, Management, Information Systems, Supply Chain, Business Analytics and Human Resource Management, the AACSB accredited program offers dual degrees in MSBA-Finance, Management Information Systems, and Industrial and Systems Engineering. Graduate research assistantships, which are awarded annually, are also available.
4. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina (Top 6% of schools considered)
The Jenkins Graduate School of Management at North Carolina State University (NC State) offers a 39 credit hour Professional Online MBA with six areas of emphasis including Biosciences Management, Entrepreneurship & Technology, Financial Management, Innovation Management, Marketing Management, and Supply Chain Management. This AACSB accredited program also offers the opportunity to earn Decision Analytics or SAP Certification. SAP is the world's largest enterprise applications software company, with a wide range of software used by more than 38,000 firms in over 120 countries.
Students in the Jenkins Online MBA program may choose the Accelerated Professional Track, which takes as little as 21 months to complete or the Flexible Professional Track, which allows students to complete their degree in as little as 21 months. Students in both online programs will interact with one another and instructors via distance education technology (including Blackboard Collaborate and Moodle), e-mail, online discussion forums (message boards, instant messaging, etc.), and telephone conferencing. However, the program requires two three-day residencies on NC State’s campus in Raleigh. An optional International Residency is also on the menu.
5. Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas (Top 7% of schools considered)
The College of Business at Arkansas State University offers a 33 credit hour Online MBA Program that offers an optional Concentration in Supply Chain Management. The concentration requires 36 to 39 credit hours to complete. Students in both programs have the option to complete an internship worth three credit hours or one directed independent study.
According to program literature, a serious trademark of the Online MBA is the same faculty members that teach and mentor the College of Business’ on-campus courses are the instructors for the online program. The AACSB accredited Online MBA Program takes around two years to complete and it is only available to U.S. Citizens.
6. University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi (Top 8% of schools considered)
The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), School of Business Administration, offers a 36 credit hour Online Professional MBA that can be completed in as little as two years. Known as the “Ole Miss PMBA,” the program “employs a fully supported online learning system integrated with features such as video conferencing, interactive discussions and similar collaborative technologies necessary for effective online instruction.” Course titles range from Managerial Accounting and Organizational Behavior to Contemporary Business Analysis and Mobilizing Technology. The Ole Miss PMBA is AACSB accredited.
7. Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi (Top 9% of schools considered)
The College of Business at Mississippi State University offers a 30 credit hour Online MBA Program and a 36 credit hour Online MBA with a Concentration in Project Management. Both programs are fully online. Online MBA courses emphasize Management, Marketing, Finance, Economics, Business Information Systems, and Quantitative Analysis. Both AACSB accredited programs offer enrollment in fall, spring, or summer and they typically take two years to complete. However, students that have completed all undergraduate prerequisites can finish either program in as little as 18 months. Prerequisite courses are also available online.
8. Georgia WebMBA, Georgia (Top 11% of schools considered)
The Georgia WebMBA is a top-ranked Online MBA Program offered by six University System of Georgia schools including Columbus State University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University. This accelerated, AACSB accredited program takes just 18 months to complete and consists of 10 courses that students complete over five consecutive terms. Besides a single mandatory two-day orientation in Atlanta, students may complete these courses and all other program requirements entirely online.
Other Georgia WebMBA highlights include two convenient start times (January and August), no required electives, and key courses such as Entrepreneurship, Global and International Business, Management Information Systems, and Business Strategic Management. In addition, no matter which school a student has been admitted to, he or she will have the opportunity to take courses and interact with students from all of six schools, as the Georgia WebMBA is a single program.
9. University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, Florida (Top 12% of schools considered)
University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) is home to Kate Tiedemann College of Business, which offers an MBA Program that may be completed entirely online. Per the school, “from application to graduation, fully online students never have to some to campus if they so choose.” Online courses in the AACSB accredited program are taught in “compact” eight-week sessions, which allow part-time students to enroll in just one course at a time.
Online MBA students have the option to pursue the Global MBA Track, which requires a Study Abroad Course. Students may opt for one of seven other Focus Tracks including Corporate Social Responsibility, Finance, Forensic Accounting, International Business, Management, Information Systems Management (formerly Managing Knowledge Resources), and Marketing Strategy.
10. University of Tennessee, Martin, Tennessee (Top 14% of schools considered)
University of Tennessee-Martin’s (UT Martin or UTM) College of Business and Global Affairs offers a 33 credit hour Online MBA Program that may be completed in just 20 months. The cohort-based program, which is “geared toward the financial services industry,” allows students to take one class at a time. The AACSB accredited program emphasizes that it has just 20 students per cohort. Students typically begin the program in January, but UTM will also be offering another cohort starting in May.
Because the UT Martin online MBA is open to “anyone holding a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university, regardless of undergraduate major,” students come from all walks of life. Trips to campus are not required, so all interaction between the programs diverse group of students and faculty takes place via discussion boards, email, virtual classrooms, and virtual group meeting rooms. Other assignments and exams are completed and submitted online.