Here Are the 10 Best Online Colleges in Texas

In this day and age, it’s more important than ever to get an education that prepares you for a competitive career.

Oftentimes, that means going back to school while working and balancing family obligations. You might ask yourself if it’s even possible to juggle so many moving parts without uprooting from your community or burning out.

That’s where online colleges come in, and Texas has some of the best in the nation.

Online colleges enable maximum flexibility. Whether you have credits from other institutions, need to work simultaneously, or just want to take a few classes instead of completing a full certificate or degree, online education is designed for people with busy schedules. 

They’re also perfect for self-motivated, independent learners who can commit to their own study goals and know how to ask questions when necessary.

Depending on the program, students can learn at their own pace through asynchronous courses or attend remote weekend classes — all without interfering with their professional or personal responsibilities.

The following are 10 of the best online colleges in Texas offering a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Some even provide specialized and/or graduate-level degrees.

What most of the programs have in common is high practicality, which means that students graduate with readily applicable skills for their chosen field or occupation. With a degree or certificate from one of these online institutions, they can improve at their current profession or pursue another one at a higher level.

Lamar University (Beaumont, TX)

Lamar University
Public domain photo by ThomasHorn7 via Wikimedia Commons

Lamar University’s online program offerings are comprehensive, spanning bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as certificates. These flexible programs allow students to pursue a degree or certification at a speed they’re comfortable with.

The online baccalaureate program in general studies is nationally recognized. The degree lets students minor or split their academics among three areas of interest. This multidisciplinary focus uniquely prepares students for occupations in a variety of fields, including healthcare, business, and management.

Another online undergraduate degree of note is the Industrial Engineering BS, a 2+2 hybrid program that allows students to complete the first two years on campus and the last two years online.

LU’s online MBA and master’s in special education are highly regarded. Multiple graduate programs in nursing and criminal justice are also available.

University of Houston-Downtown (Houston, TX)

University of Houston Downtown
Claca016, Shea Street Building, CC BY-SA 4.0

At UHD, students can choose from a variety of specialized bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

For example, from the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, graduate students can pursue a Non-Profit Management MA. This program was partly designed by Houston’s foremost non-profit leaders and offers a multidisciplinary education to recent graduates and current professionals alike. In fact, UHD is a regional leader in nonprofit education.

For current professionals in the security profession, UHD also offers an online master’s in security management. It’s offered on alternate Saturdays to allow for maximum flexibility and for students to prioritize their careers.

Undergraduates can pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Insurance & Risk Management. Also taught by industry professionals, this degree will prepare students for the fields of underwriting, risk management, claims adjustment, and more.

Texas A&M University, Commerce (Commerce, TX)

Texas A&M University Commerce
Michael Barera, Texas A&M University–Commerce (James G. Gee Library), CC BY-SA 4.0

The degree offerings at Texas A&M Commerce range from hybrid in-person and online to 100% online.

Some fully online programs include certificates in teaching, agribusiness, environmental science, tax accounting, and social work. In fact, Commerce is an especially good institution for prospective teachers, with several certificates and degree programs to choose from. 

Some of these include health science education, technology education, TESOL, and MS degrees in Physics or English.

There are even more options for those interested in a primarily online learning format, such as the Talent Development Graduate Certificate. This program will enable human resource and talent management professionals to improve employee performance at their organization.

Most of Commerce’s remote degree opportunities have highly practical career and development applications, making them a worthy investment of time and money. The school has been recognized as a quality institution to pursue an online MBA.

Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, TX)

SHSU offers one of the most comprehensive online programs, including undergraduate majors and minors, graduate and professional certificates, and doctoral degrees.

In addition to the conventional bachelor’s degrees in history and psychology, SHSU teaches undergraduate programs in fields like homeland security and victim studies. Students can also minor in forensic science or applied behavior analysis.

At the graduate level, students have even more options available to them. In the field of finance, there’s the Banking and Financial Institutions EMBA. Library science and school leadership are some of the programs in education.

Or, for those interested in a Doctor of Education (EdD), there are programs in Developmental Education Administration and Instructional Systems Design and Technology (ISDT).  

SHSU is top ranked by various college ranking sites for its innovative, highly applicable online programs.

Houston Baptist University (Houston, TX)

HBU advertises affordability and high-quality education at the forefront of its online division.

From the undergraduate to doctoral level, students can choose from a diverse set of academic programs. Since HBU is a leading online Christian college, there are several programs in religious studies, such as the BA in Biblical Studies and MA in Christian Leadership. 

There are no doctoral programs related to theology, but HBU does offer the EdD in Executive Educational Leadership and Executive Leadership in Mental Health & Human Services.

For those still in high school, HBU offers a dual enrollment program where high schoolers earn college credit for a future bachelor’s degree. 

The school’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) means that credits will likely transfer to students’ college of choice, and students save money on education in the long run.

Hardin-Simmons University (Abilene, TX)

HSU is one of the best value schools in the region. It offers specialized online degrees in business and health. These programs include an MBA in Sport Business, EdD in Leadership in Higher Education, MEd in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and both a master’s and bachelor’s in nursing.

These programs offer flexible pathways to professional careers. Of particular note is the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing graduate programs, which prepare students to become nurses with a Christian perspective. 

The MS in nursing is a hybrid online and in-person program that equips students with the curriculum and hands-on experience necessary to deliver quality health care.

Many graduates of the master’s program in nursing choose to continue their education by pursuing a Post-Masters Certification as an Advanced Practice Nurse. This unique program features once-weekly courses and small class sizes in order to enable the fulfillment of career obligations.

Dallas Baptist University (Dallas, TX)

Dallas Baptist University
Turn685, Dallas Baptist University, CC BY-SA 4.0

Students can choose from over 75 fully online degree programs at DBU. This faith-based institution’s online programs rank highly because of their 94% student completion rate and small class sizes.

In addition to undergraduate and master’s degrees, DBU offers accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs and dual master’s degree programs. These accelerated tracks allow students to complete multiple degrees in less time than it would take to earn them separately.

For example, graduate students can work towards an MEd in Higher Education at the same time as an MBA. Each program requires 30 credit hours, making a total of 60. Taking classes for both programs concurrently results in a shorter, more intensive course of study that is flexible to each individual student’s pace.

The joint MEd/MBA program prepares people for leadership positions in business administration, particularly at institutions of higher education. 

Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX)

Abilene Christian University
Michael Barera, Abilene Christian University (Zona Luce Building), CC BY-SA 4.0

Abilene’s online degree programs are especially attractive due to their extensive scholarship opportunities. Military members and veterans can get 10% off tuition, and ACU bachelor’s alumni can save 20% on tuition when they enroll in a graduate program through ACU Online. Furthermore, first-time students in the school’s BSN to DNP or Doctor of Nursing Practice programs can apply for a $5,000 scholarship.

If you don’t fall under any of those categories, there are other ways to save on a quality education at Abilene. Students who enroll and complete their first three courses get their fourth course free.

Abilene offers several programs related to health, business, psychology, and Christian leadership. One of these is the MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, a 60-hour course of study with five different tracks. Students graduate ready to practice in a variety of clinical, medical, or counseling settings.

University of North Texas (Denton, TX)

University of North Texas
Michael Barera, University of North Texas September (Business Leadership Building), CC BY-SA 4.0

UNT enrolls more than double the number of online students than in-person: over 88,000. With nearly 1,428 courses in 86 programs to choose from, UNT online learners have a significant advantage of choice.

Many of the most popular programs are accelerated. The MS in Advanced Data Analytics can take less than two years. The school also offers hybrid options in collaboration with UNT at Frisco.

There are also undergraduate and graduate certificate options in Data Analytics for those who don’t want to commit to a full degree program. Likewise, many subject areas, such as education, are available at different program levels and specializations. 

Indeed, most programs are technical or professional in nature, giving students the peace of mind that their degree or certificate will lead to a defined career after completion of the program.

Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)

Texas A&M is a top 30 public school and one of the largest universities in the country.

In particular, graduate students and certificate-seekers will want to look into Texas A&M’s online offerings, including one undergraduate degree, 54 graduate degrees, and 44 certificate programs.

The public research university enrolls over 70,000 in-person students spread across 16 different schools and colleges. Online students have most of the same advantages that come with such a large research institution, plus a partnership with the Texas A&M Galveston campus. Learners can pursue a Master in Maritime Business Administration and Logistics (MMAL).

In addition to the MMAL, students can pursue up to a doctoral degree. These programs are in the fields of biomedical sciences, engineering, education, and plant breeding.