Online colleges in Maryland

Maryland has considerably diverse geography for a small state, with forests and rivers just a short drive from coastlines and mountains, and its opportunities for higher education are similarly varied and abundant. Postsecondary institutions like universities, colleges, career schools and vocational institutes can be found all over the Old Line State, and the programs available to Maryland students are at least as diverse as the land itself.

Consider this guide your starting point for researching on-campus and online programs in Maryland. To find out more about the state, its school options and potential careers, explore the different sections. They include:

Snapshot: Education in Maryland

There are 98 campus-based or online colleges and schools in Maryland, according to 2016 data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Here's a quick table to illustrate the number and type of educational options available at Maryland schools:

Campus-based schools in Maryland
Institution type No. offering bachelor's degrees No. offering associate's degrees No. offering certificates and other non-degree awards No. offering advanced degrees (master's, Ph.D., etc.)
Public 14 17 23 13
Private nonprofit 18 3 8 17
Private for-profit 3 9 41 3

Whether you're looking at traditional or online colleges in Maryland, it can be helpful to live in a city with enough of a student population to support a local infrastructure of academic services. Here's a table of NCES data on student presence in a few Maryland cities and towns, including some general population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau:

City Total estimated population
(U.S. Census, 2015)
No. of enrolled students
(NCES, 2016)
Student presence as a percentage of permanent resident population % of residents with bachelor's degrees
(U.S. Census, 2015)
Baltimore 621,849 99,155 15.95 percent 27.7 percent
College Park 32,301 38,140 118.07 percent 50.0 percent
Largo 10,709 13,228 123.52 percent 39.5 percent
Rockville 66,980 25,320 37.80 percent 62.3 percent
Salisbury 32,899 11,799 35.86 percent 27.8 percent
Columbia 99,615 11,343 11.39 percent 62.9 percent

Four-year public colleges in Maryland charged students an average tuition of $9,163 per year, according to a report by The College Board. Certain institutions fell quite a ways on either side of that number, however — University of Maryland University College in Adelphi and Coppin State University in Baltimore posted the lowest yearly tuition of all schools in the state in 2016, with annual tuition and fees totals of $7,056 and $7,346 (respectively) for in-state students, while private schools St. Johns College and Johns Hopkins University were the most expensive, at $50,353 and $50,410 (respectively) the same year.

Online education in Maryland

If you're a working parent with a full daytime schedule, a rural student who doesn't want to face a big commute or an aspiring career-changer hoping to work on a new degree in your downtime, the flexibility and typically reduced cost of online education might be for you. Here's a table of NCES data that shows the type and number of online programs in Maryland schools as of 2016:

Online programs at Maryland schools
Institution type No. offering 4-year degrees No. offering 2-year degrees No. offering certificates and other non-degree awards No. offering advanced degrees (master's, Ph.D., etc.)
Public 10 13 14 10
Private nonprofit 4 0 1 9
Private for-profit 3 2 3 3

Ranking information for traditional and online schools in Maryland

National and international academic rankings agencies analyze a broad spectrum of data for schools around the country and rank them in multiple categories. Here's a table of campus-based and online colleges in Maryland that made impressive showings in one or more category, according to U.S. News and World Report:

Rankings for campus-based and online schools in Maryland
School name
Ranking agency
Johns Hopkins University No. 10 (tie) National Universities U.S. News & World Report
Johns Hopkins University No. 16 Global Universites Center for World University Rankings
University of Maryland, College Park No. 20 (tie) Top Public Schools U.S. News and World Report
Stevenson University No. 43 Best Colleges for Veterans U.S. News and World Report
United States Naval Academy No. 12 (tie) National Liberal Arts Colleges U.S. News and World Report
University of Maryland, Baltimore No. 174 Global Universities Center for World University Rankings
Loyola University Maryland No. 3 (tie) Regional Universities (North) U.S. News and World Report

Top degree programs at online colleges in Maryland

Individual campus based and online programs in Maryland are also surveyed and ranked by U.S. News. Here are a few of the top programs offered online at Maryland schools:

Top-ranked online programs in Maryland
School name
Degree program
Johns Hopkins University Computer information technology No. 5 Johns Hopkins is one of the most highly regarded Maryland schools, and its online programs are winning praise as well — the Baltimore institution also shows up among the top 11 online nursing and online engineering programs.
University of Maryland, College Park Engineering No. 16 (tie)

Online engineering programs at the University of Maryland's main campus include important niche subjects like cybersecurity, fire protection engineering, sustainable energy engineering and more.

Graceland University Nursing No. 20 (tie) Along with its accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Graceland University online nursing program limits its class sizes to promote individual faculty attention for students.
University of Maryland, Baltimore County Computer information technology No. 16 (tie) According to the school, students in the online graduate IT program based at the Baltimore campus of the University of Maryland are taught by essentially the same faculty as students in the on-campus program.

Industries and degrees to get in Maryland

According to analysts at the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Maryland Office of Workforce Information and Performance (OWIP), the job market for graduates of traditional or online schools in Maryland may be more favorable in some fields than others. Here's a table of briefs on some of the fastest growing jobs in Maryland and the degrees that can give you the knowledge and skills you need:

Hot degrees and top jobs for Maryland graduates
Why it's hot
Degrees that can help
Information Security Analyst Companies understand the need for tight data security in today's business world, and those with the right skills for the job are in high demand. Maryland OWIP projections show a whopping 52 percent increase in employment of IT security experts statewide between 2014 and 2024, more than double the already impressive national average of 18 percent, and the BLS reports a 2015 mean annual wage of $102,950 for cybersecurity experts in the state. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement typically sought by employers of IT security analysts, although certain advanced positions or openings in particularly competitive regional markets may be more receptive to candidates with a master's or other advanced degree. Campus-based and online colleges in Maryland offer dedicated cybersecurity degree plans as well as more general degrees in computer science, information technology or business administration with an IT focus that can prepare you for the security field.
Meeting, Convention and Event Planner It takes a lot of knowledge and skill to juggle the many important aspects of planning a big event, and it seems that more and more organizations in Maryland are beginning to realize the value of assistance from professional planners. The occupation is projected to grow by 47.4 percent statewide by 2024, which is nearly five times faster than the national average. On top of that, Maryland's mean annual salary of $57,780 came in at No. 7 among the highest-paying states for event planners in 2015. Dedicated degree programs in meeting, convention and event planning do exist, but it would be stretching the truth to say that you can expect to find one at most traditional or online schools and colleges in Maryland. Studying hospitality and tourism management at the undergraduate level may help you stand out with employers and clients in the event planning industry, although a bachelor's degree in business administration, management, marketing or another peripherally related field may also give you valuable insight into the requirements of the profession.
Market Research Analyst Deep data analysis and reporting has become an integral part of the way most organizations operate, and trained market research analysts are the go-to professionals for these essential services. BLS figures show that Maryland market research analysts and marketing specialists earned mean annual wages of $65,670 in 2015, with the top 10 percent of earners taking home $110,630 for the year, and OWIP numbers show expected employment gains of 41.2 percent on the state career market.

Degrees that focus on market research itself may be offered by business departments at campus-based or online schools and colleges in Maryland, but graduates trained in related fields are frequently competitive candidates as well. Certain types of analyst are expected to have quantitative training, holding degrees in subjects like math, computer science and statistics, while others tend to flourish with degrees in more qualitative subjects like communications, social science, business administration or the humanities.

Physical Therapist Health care professions are often rewarding in more ways than one, and physical therapy is no different. The Maryland job market for physical therapists is projected to grow by 34.6 percent between 2014 and 2024, according to the OWIP, and the statewide annual salary average was $89,460 in 2015. As an added bonus, jobs for physical therapy assistants (43.2 percent growth) and physical therapy aides (39 percent growth) are also on the rise throughout the state, so you may be able to find work in the field while you work toward your DPT. Full-fledged physical therapists need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and a state license before they can begin officially working in the field. A bachelor's degree is often required before you can apply to a DPT program — related subjects such as biology, physics, kinesiology, nursing and more can be helpful — although certain institutions offer six- or seven-year programs that admit students as college freshmen and take them through their undergraduate work and all the way to their DPT and clinical practice courses in one continuous program.

Featured schools in Maryland

Some of the traditional and online schools in Maryland offer a greater variety of study plans than others, while some focus their resources and attention on just a few key areas. Here are some lists of standout programs at a few prominent traditional and online Maryland schools:

Campus-based and online programs in Maryland
Institution name
Online degrees?
Top programs
Johns Hopkins University Yes Medical research, primary care medicine, teacher education, public health, nursing (on campus and online), health care management, biological sciences, immunology, psychology, computer science (on campus and online), engineering (on campus and online), English, history, statistics, political science, math, public affairs, sociology
University of Maryland, College Park Yes Engineering (on campus and online), computer science, teacher education, veterinary medicine, sociology, psychology, criminology, library and information systems, physics, math, public affairs, public health, undergraduate business, part-time MBA (on campus and online), economics, Earth sciences
University of Maryland, Baltimore County Yes Computer science (on campus and online), clinical psychology, public affairs, fine arts, math, physics, chemistry, engineering, biological sciences
Loyola University Maryland No

Business, accounting, finance, information systems, psychology, speech-language pathology, part-time MBA

Salisbury University No (individual online and hybrid courses available)

Business, nursing, social work, MBA, cybersecurity (certificate), new media studies

Notre Dame of Maryland University No Nursing, teacher education, management, pharmacy, nonprofit management

How do I enroll in on-campus or online colleges in Maryland?

Colleges worked to simplify admissions procedures in recent years. Today, students can learn about, see requirements for and apply to Maryland colleges online. Perhaps the most difficult part of the process is finding the right school and program for you. You can begin researching your options by reviewing the featured colleges below.

1. College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed September 21, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, accessed September 21, 2016, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/00
3. U.S. News and World Report, accessed September 21, 2016: Colleges in Maryland, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/search?location=MD&_sort=enrollment&_sort-direction=desc&_mode=list; Johns Hopkins University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/jhu-2077; University of Maryland -- College Park, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-maryland-2103/overall-rankings; University of Maryland -- Baltimore County, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/umbc-2105; Online Programs, Graceland University, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/graceland-university-15336601/overall-rankings; Salisbury University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/salisbury-university-2091; Loyola University Maryland, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/loyola-university-maryland-2078/overall-rankings; Notre Dame of Maryland University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/notre-dame-maryland-2065;
4. Office of Workforce Information and Performance (OWIP), Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, accessed September 21, 2016, http://www.dllr.state.md.us/lmi/
5. School pages, accessed September 21, 2016: Master's Programs, Notre Dame of Maryland University, http://www.ndm.edu/academics/graduate-studies/masters-programs/; Online Learning @ SU, Salisbury University, http://www.salisbury.edu/onlinelearning/default.html; Academics, Loyola University Maryland, http://www.loyola.edu/academics; Sellinger School of Business, Loyola University Maryland, https://www.loyola.edu/sellinger-business;
6. Top Universities, Center for World University Rankings, accessed September 21, 2016, http://cwur.org/2016.php
7. Tuition and Fees by Sector and State over Time, The College Board, accessed September 21, 2016, https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-fees-sector-state-over-time
8. Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed September 21, 2016: Information Security Analysts, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm; Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Business-and-Financial/Meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm; Market Research Analysts, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm; Physical Therapists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Physical-therapists.htm;
9. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed September 21, 2016: Information Security Analysts, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151122.htm; Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131121.htm; Market Research Analysts, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131161.htm; Physical Therapists, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291123.htm

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