Online schools in New Jersey

New Jersey, also known as the "Garden State," is an excellent state to attend college, for a number of reasons. For one, there are plenty of great colleges in the state, ranging from the Ivy League Princeton University to Rutgers University. As a bonus, New Jersey is very close to New York City, which not only means fun weekend trips but also potential nearby internship and job opportunities. And, of course, how can you resist the state's beautiful green landscapes? It's called the Garden State for a reason.

Several New Jersey cities have large student populations — including Princeton, New Brunswick, Montclair, Jersey City and Trenton — and this fact can help students feel at home among their peers, whether they're attending a traditional college or an online school.

To find out more about attending college in New Jersey, explore the different sections of this guide, including:

Online education
Major industries & in-demand degrees
New Jersey colleges

Online education in New Jersey

New Jersey is a great state to attend college anyway, but especially if you're an online student. Distance learning gives you the opportunity to do your work from anywhere you like, but also to save on commuting time to campus and often fit flexible courses around your work hours. In addition, for state residents who would prefer to attend an online college in New Jersey — whether that's for access to the campus or for a shot at in-state tuition — there are many options to consider. Here are just five examples.

New Jersey Institute of Technology

This college, also known as NJIT, offers 10 master's degree programs online, ranging from an MBA to an MS in civil engineering. There are also 19 graduate certificates available online, in subjects such as construction management and social media. You can even take four-to-10 week classes online to learn a number of technical programs. And to top it all off, NJIT is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as having one of the best online MBA programs, and it was also ranked No. 29 for its online graduate computer information technology degree.

Berkeley College

Berkeley, which has campuses in various cities in New York and New Jersey, has more online programs than most colleges out there. Perhaps that's one reason why U.S. News & World Report ranked it among the top 100 on the list of the best schools for online bachelor's degree programs. Berkeley College's business school alone offers 25 online associate and bachelor's degree programs, and its School of Professional Studies offers at least 10 online associate and bachelor's degree programs in everything from graphic design to criminal justice.

Thomas Edison State College

Thomas Edison State College, located in Trenton, has an impressive range of online degrees. With eight associate degree programs, nearly 30 bachelor's degree programs and at least 15 graduate programs (including both master's degrees and certificates) offered completely online, Thomas Edison far surpasses the online offerings of most state schools. The college even offers distance learning options for a noncredit certificate program and a master's program in nursing, both of which are rarely offered online.

Caldwell University

Caldwell, ranked among the best regional universities by U.S. News & World Report, is based in the city of Caldwell, about 20 miles from Manhattan. But that doesn't stop New Jersey residents in other cities and people from around the country from enjoying the school's online offerings. Whether you want a bachelor's degree in psychology or an MBA, Caldwell likely has it. This tier-one institution boasts a low cost and a long history. It's said that students join a culture when they attend Caldwell, not just a college, and the same can hold true for online students as well.

What are some of the state's biggest industries?

Although it's never a bad idea to follow your passion when it comes to education, students who want to get the most bang for their buck might want to consider degrees that are especially in demand in New Jersey, given the state's economy. For example, here are seven major industries in the Garden State, according to the private economic development organization Choose New Jersey:

  1. Life sciences
  2. Financial services
  3. Information technology
  4. Logistics
  5. Manufacturing
  6. Aerospace, aviation and defense
  7. Energy

Studying biology or any of the life sciences in New Jersey could pay off: It's home to 14 of the 20 largest biopharmaceutical companies in the country.

There are also lots of great companies headquartered in New Jersey, including more than 20 Fortune 500 companies based there. These are the 10 largest of those business by revenue, according to a 2013 report from CNN Money:

  1. Prudential Financial
  2. Johnson & Johnson
  3. Marck
  4. Honeywell International
  5. PBF Energy
  6. Chubb
  7. Toys "R" Us
  8. Automatic Data Processing
  9. Public Service Enterprise Group
  10. Bed Bath & Beyond

Great degrees to pursue in New Jersey

Based on the lists above, these are some of the degrees that might be among the most in-demand by New Jersey businesses:

  • Finance: Wall Street is close enough for students to seek out internships during school, but that's not the only reason this major might appeal to New Jersey residents. The Garden State is actually a hub for finance in its own right, with companies such as Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase having a major presence in the state. All told, more than 225,000 people in New Jersey work in business and finance, according to 2014 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • Information technology: IT is one of the biggest industries here. New Jersey, like several other states, has its own information technology office, and there are plenty of job offerings locally and in nearby New York City, in both the public and private sectors.
  • Aerospace engineering: Aerospace is one of the largest industries in New Jersey, and there are well over 100 firms that specialize in aerospace in this state alone — that doesn't even include opportunities that might exist in neighboring areas such as New York City and Philadelphia.
  • Logistics management: These folks are in demand in New Jersey. According to state labor department data, employment for logisticians is expected to grow 24 percent between 2012 and 2022, which accounts for about 840 new jobs during that period.
  • Biology: The Garden State is an excellent place to study biology or any of the life sciences: It's home to 14 of the 20 largest biopharmaceutical companies in the country, according to Choose New Jersey. Whether you want to work for these companies or one like them, or do research at a place like the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, there can be plenty of opportunities for fascinating work after graduation.

Students interested in a more complete list of New Jersey-based institutions offering online degrees can start by exploring this map, which shows the location of all colleges in the state based on 2013 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Once you identify schools that are located nearby, it's easy to explore what online degrees might be offered near you. (Mobile users will need to visit the full Schools.com site to use the map.)

New Jersey Colleges

For a small state, New Jersey has an impressive array of quality colleges, even before you count the opportunities for online education. These are just a few examples (in no particular order) of the many great schools prospective students can choose among, but they can be a good place to get started on a search.

Princeton University

Located in the town of Princeton, this Ivy League institution doesn't really need an introduction. The elite university is ranked No. 1 nationally among all schools by U.S. News & World Report. Essentially every program at Princeton is top-notch, and alumni include notable figures such as Woodrow Wilson and Michelle Obama. Acceptance rates have consistently been under 10 percent for years, but if you can get in, it's an excellent school to attend, whether you're an undergrad or a grad student.

Rutgers University

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is located in New Brunswick and is one of the top schools in the state. It ranks in U.S. News & World Report's top 100 national universities — currently at No. 70 — for good reason. Rutgers offers more than 100 degree programs for undergrads and graduates, and tuition is less than $15,000 per year for in-state students.

Thomas Edison State College

As stated above, Thomas Edison State College, located in Trenton, has plenty of online degree options. But that's not the only thing that makes it a great school for working professionals who need flexibility with their education. In addition to offering night and weekend courses, the college has a system whereby students can earn credit for demonstrating college-level knowledge by passing exams, possessing certain licenses or certifications, and developing a portfolio of professional work, among other options.

Montclair State University

Ranked No. 50 on the list of best regional universities by U.S. News & World Report, Montclair State boasts myriad options for students, from certificates to doctoral programs, in more than 100 areas of study. Plus it's located in the charming township of Montclair, located just 14 miles from New York City. In 2004, New Jersey Transit opened a rail station near campus, which makes it even easier for students to get into the Big Apple.

The College of New Jersey

This school, formerly known as Trenton State College, is actually located in Ewing, a suburb of the state capital. It's regarded as one of the best public universities in the area, currently tied for No. 3 on U.S. News & World Report's list of Best Regional Universities, and it has also appeared on lists of Barron's most competitive schools and the Princeton Review's best value colleges. There are more than 50 academic programs, all centering on a strong liberal arts core, and dozens of options for both undergraduate and graduate degrees.


1. Larry L. Luing School of Business Online Programs, Berkeley College, http://berkeleycollege.edu/academics_bc/school_of_business/1764.htm
2. Online Degrees and Certificate Programs, Caldwell University, http://www.caldwell.edu/online
3. Fortune 500 Companies, New Jersey, CNN Money, May 2013, Republished by Choose New Jersey, Accessed April 3, 2015, http://choosenj.com/NewJersey/media/New-Jersey-Media/Business%20Climate/Leading%20Employers/NJ-Fortune-500-Listing-2013.pdf
4. New Jersey's Key Industries, Choose New Jersey, Accessed April 3, 2015, http://choosenj.com/Top-Industries.aspx
5. Academics, The College of New Jersey, https://tcnj.pages.tcnj.edu/academics/
6. Aerospace in New Jersey, Manta.com, Accessed April 6, 2015, http://www.manta.com/mb_43_G0_31/aerospace/new_jersey
7. The Graduate School: Programs of Study, Montclair State University, http://www.montclair.edu/graduate/programs-of-study/
8. Online Master's Degrees, New Jersey Institute of Technology, http://online.njit.edu/programs/degrees/index.php
9. Long-Term Occupational Projections, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, State of New Jersey, Accessed April 6, 2015, http://lwd.state.nj.us/lpaapp/app
10. Office of Information Technology, State of New Jersey, http://www.state.nj.us/it/oit/over/
11. Academic Departments and Programs, Rutgers University, http://newbrunswick.rutgers.edu/academics/academic-departments-programs
12. Online Degrees, Thomas Edison State College, http://www.tesc.edu/academics/online-degrees.cfm
13. What You Can Study, Thomas Edison State College, http://www.tesc.edu/academics/What-You-Can-Study.cfm
14. May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: New Jersey, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Accessed April 6, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nj.htm
15. Berkeley College: All Rankings, U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed April 3, 2015, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/berkeley-college-189228/overall-rankings
16. Caldwell University: All Rankings, U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed April 3, 2015, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/caldwell-university-183910/overall-rankings
17. The College of New Jersey: All Rankings, U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed April 6, 2015, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/the-college-of-new-jersey-187134/overall-rankings
18. Montclair State University: All Rankings, U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed April 6, 2015, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/montclair-state-university-2617
19. New Jersey Institute of Technology: All Rankings, U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed April 3, 2015, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/new-jersey-institute-of-technology-185828/overall-rankings
20. Princeton University: All Rankings, U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed April 6, 2015, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/princeton-university-186131/overall-rankings
21. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick: All Rankings, U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed April 6, 2015, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rutgers-6964

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