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Business has been the most common undergraduate field of study for over 40 years, and the employment statistics for graduates show at least one reason why. If you're looking into campus-based or online business administration degree programs, it can be helpful to know what to expect from the career market and which schools give you the best value for your college dollar.
A bachelor's degree in business administration can prepare you for most entry-level positions in the business world. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) or other graduate degrees, along with several years of workforce experience, may be necessary to advance to positions of greater pay and responsibility.
If your family and work responsibilities make it difficult to attend a traditional college program, online degree programs for business administration students can be found at numerous institutions across the country. Read on for more information about the best schools and colleges for business administration, organizations for business professionals, available financial aid programs and more.
Best Colleges for Business Administration Degree Programs
We put together an eight-point methodology to score more than two thousand schools offering business administration degree programs, using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Click the button to learn more about how we calculated the rankings, and take a look below for our list of the best schools and colleges for business administration.
Business administration degree programs tend to represent a large portion of the graduating class at our No. 1 school. More than 60 percent of graduates in 2015 were awarded a business degree, ranking the Washington, D.C., Campus of the University of the Potomac in the nationwide top 25 for the prominence of business administration in its academic catalog.
That wasn't the only category where Potomac stood out. The for-profit D.C. institution posted a student-faculty ratio of 10:1 in 2015, which suggests that students who need one-on-one time with professors or advisors shouldn't have a hard time getting it. The average student-faculty ratio for national universities was 16:1 in 2016.
Our No. 2 school is also the second-largest in our top ten, awarding more than 11,000 total degrees in 2015. University of Maryland University College was also one of the best schools for online finance degree programs, with the NCES reporting that nearly 97 percent of its student body takes at least some of their courses via distance education.
Campus-based measures for schedule flexibility were also in place at the Adelphi school. Students have access to weekend and evening courses, and alternative tuition payment plans are available for those who need them. UMUC also posted solid numbers in the affordability category -- just four other schools in our top ten charged less on average for tuition and fees.
The Colorado Springs campuses of this national for-profit school posted one of the better graduation rates among our best colleges for business administration, tying for the No. 3 spot on our list in that category. The student-faculty ratio here was 10:1 in 2015, giving it a share of the No. 3 spot among our top ten schools on that metric as well.
Bachelor's degree students in business administration can choose among 11 degree specializations to tailor their education to a specific area in the world of business. The list of emphasis programs includes international business, accounting, marketing, retail management, entrepreneurship and more, with associate programs in business administration and business logistics also available for two-year students.
This for-profit school based in Alabama ranked No. 2 among schools on our list for the affordability of its average cost of tuition and fees, which came in under $5,200 for the 2015-16 academic year. Columbia Southern University also cycled more than 42 percent of its annual budget back into course development and other instructional expenses in 2015, proportionately outspending all other schools on our list in that category.
Business programs occupy a prominent place in the academic catalog at CSU. Just three other schools in our top ten graduated a higher percentage of business students in 2015. As a fully online university, CSU offers enough flexibility to count it as one of the best colleges for online business administration degrees.
While our No. 5 school is an online institution, there are hybrid options for those interested in Business. Their Clinton, IA campus allows students to fulfill both online and on-campus requirements. More than 13,000 undergraduates are enrolled in its business and professional studies programs at this fully accredited university
Subjects that are typically framed as concentrations within business administration bachelor's degree programs, such as real estate studies, entrepreneurship and human resources management, are also assigned their own degree tracks at Ashford. Students may choose to add a 12-credit specialization to their general business administration degree or focus even tighter by majoring directly in their chosen specialty.
Tuition and fees costs at Selma University, a small, private institution rooted in the Christian faith, ranked No. 3 among schools on our list for affordability. It also posted a rare achievement in the graduation rate category -- according to NCES numbers, 100 percent of the students eligible to graduate in 2015 successfully completed their studies and earned the degrees they were seeking.
Spending on instructional and academic support expenses each occupied more than a third of the school's total budget in 2015, which suggests a firm commitment to student success. Although Selma University offered no online courses at the time of this writing, weekend and evening classes are available for students who need some schedule flexibility.
The No. 1 ratio of student-to-faculty among our best schools for business administration degree programs is shared by this Miami branch campus of the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. The NCES reports just six students to each faculty member in 2015, which not only far exceeds the national university average of 16:1 but also beats the average of 11:1 calculated for small liberal arts colleges.
PUPR, or La Poly, as it's referred to in Spanish, also had the distinguished honor of reporting a 100 percent graduation rate to the NCES in 2015. What's more, it had the largest percentage of business students in its 2015 graduating class -- more than 71 percent of students who finished their degrees that year were awarded in business.
Students seeking business administration degree programs conducted from a Christian religious perspective have another option in this Laurel, Mississippi, school. Southeastern Baptist College is the smallest institution on our list, which may have contributed to a 6:1 student faculty ratio that tied it for the top spot in that category.
SBC also ranked No. 1 in the affordability category, charging students average 2015-16 tuition and fees that came in under $4,800. Weekend and evening classes are available for students with busy weekday schedules, and alternative plans for tuition payment can help offset some of the economic burden of continuing your education.
This private Christian-Catholic Benedictine school in Bismarck, North Dakota, ranked No. 5 among schools on our list in the graduation rate category and featured a comfortable student-faculty ratio of 13:1 in 2015. Business programs hold a place of prominence in its academic catalog, making up more than 31 percent of the 2015 graduating class.
Flexibility was a significant part of the University of Mary's overall score. Approximately one in three students at the Bismarck, North Dakota, institution took at least some of their coursework online, and weekend/evening courses were available for students in the region who prefer the brick-and-mortar environment but may have trouble fitting a traditional, full-time school schedule into their daily lives.
Rounding out the list is Grantham University, a for-profit school based in Kansas. Grantham took the No. 4 spot among schools on our list for the affordability of its average tuition and fees cost and ranked No. 6 among our top ten business administration schools for its graduation rate.
As an exclusively online university, Grantham takes a spot among the best online colleges for business administration degree programs. If you're new to distance education, being part of a fully online student body can give you an extensive group of peers with whom to share the unfamiliar experience of your first semester or two in the virtual classroom.
Business Administration Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
A bachelor's degree in business administration opens the door to a range of different professions. Here's a rundown of some of the most common career paths for graduates of business administration programs.
Career outlook for business administration
Certain career paths have brighter employment outlooks than others for graduates of business administration programs. Check out this brief exploration of employment projections for various occupations in the business world and see how they match up to your educational and career ambitions.
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
|Business Teachers, Postsecondary||$96,770||83,030||8.8%|
|Business and Financial Operations Occupations||$75,070||7,281,190||8.4%|
|Administrative Services Managers||$98,930||266,280||8.2%|
|Business Operations Specialists||$71,840||4,629,810||7.3%|
Financial aid and scholarships
Most scholarships for business administration students have specific eligibility criteria, like the Hawaii residency required for programs under the umbrella of the Fukunaga Scholarship Fund and the economically disadvantaged minority status required for the GE/LNESC National Scholarship, while others are more widely available. Here's a short list of financial aid opportunities for business administration students.
Q&A with an expert
What are some especially helpful subjects of minor study for students interested in business administration as a career?
Communication. Breakdown in communications and the inability to communicate can be the very thing that limits the growth of many businesses, so having this skill set would make you a more valuable asset to a company.
What's some advice you would have for a student just beginning to consider business administration as an educational and career path?
My best advice would be to evaluate the reason you would like to get into business administration and then go find someone who is doing it and ask them about their experience to see if it matches up with what you perceived it to be.