The need for more Maryland residents to hold degrees is growing. By 2020, 69 percent of the jobs in the state are expected to require postsecondary education. What's driving this need? Growth in industries like IT and cybersecurity, life sciences, energy, and financial services, to name a few.

If you want to grow within your current career or if you're looking to start a new one, you can earn your degree online — around your current work or family responsibilities. Here's a brief look at what's available in online colleges in Maryland.

  • Of the 37 colleges in Maryland that online degree programs at different levels, 24 are public institutions and 13 are private.
  • 3 of Maryland's historically black colleges or universities offer online programs.
  • 18 online schools in Maryland offer associate degree programs, 21 award bachelor's degrees, and 22 confer master's degrees.
  • Kaplan University-Hagerstown Campus, University of Maryland-University College, and Johns Hopkins University offer the greatest number of online degree programs in the state — each has more than 90 online programs.

One way state leaders in Maryland are supporting increased educational attainment for residents is through the Near Completers Grant program. This initiative is specifically designed to help re-enroll those students who have earned some college credits, but who haven't yet earned a degree.

Read on to see our ranking of the best online colleges in Maryland as well as the most affordable ones. You can also find additional information about Maryland-specific scholarships and grants.

What Makes a Good Online College in Maryland?

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the number of higher education options that are available. That's where we come in. We have created these rankings of the best online colleges in Maryland to help students narrow down their options and find the school that's best for them. All schools displayed on our site are accredited; the schools in these rankings have earned either regional accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS) or another form of official accreditation, such as national or programmatic. For details on why attending an accredited school is so important, check our "What is College Accreditation?" page. To learn more about accreditation in the state of Maryland, visit the Maryland State Board of Education.

Why should students care about rankings? Rankings are a convenient way to take information and distill it down into an easily comparable format. Our rankings include data such as credit offerings at each school, the percentage of students awarded financial aid and the ratio of students participating in distance education, to name a few. To learn more about the factors that we use to create our rankings and why, check out the "What Makes a Good Online College?" section of our "About Us" page.


Best Online Colleges in Maryland for 2019-20

There are so many colleges in Maryland that it can be hard to know where to start looking for the right one for you. If this is your situation, then this ranking may be able to shed some light on the subject. We analyzed data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) with our proprietary methodology, taking into account net price, accessibility, number of programs and more to bring you this: a ranking of the 10 best online colleges in Maryland. Click on methodology, to see more details about it.


Capitol Technology University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is CTU like

Rising from No.5 on last year's list to No.1 on this year's, CTU is a private technical university founded in 1927. The school proudly offers niche programs that integrate scientific theory with hands-on practical experience. In fact, more than 80 percent of CTU students had a job offer (or chose to go on to grad school) within 90 days of graduating.

What online programs are at CTU

Master's degree programs at CTU are offered entirely online in accelerated eight-week and 16-week formats. Both synchronous and asynchronous courses are offered, on two different platforms.

Most CTU undergraduates can't complete their entire program online, but they can take many of the classes online. For example, students pursuing a B.S. in cybersecurity or a B.S. in technology and business management are able to complete the last two years of the program entirely online.

What online resources does CTU offer

Resources at CTU include academic advising, a career center, full library services and the Student Success Center. In addition, more than three-quarters of CTU students receive some form of financial aid.


Stevenson University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is SU like

Founded in 1947 as Villa Julie College, the school's name was later changed to Stevenson University. It launched its online program in 2006, which is known as Stevenson University Online. This is the second year Stevenson has graced our list of best online colleges in Maryland, moving up from No.6 to No.2.

What online programs are at SU

SU Online offers many online undergraduate programs, including criminal justice, business administration and legal studies. There are also online master's programs in subjects such as forensic accounting, healthcare management and teaching. Certificates and bachelor's completion programs are also available, as well as the Bachelor's to Master's Option, which helps students to reduce the time it takes to earn their master's degree.

Online courses at SU are delivered through Blackboard, and accelerated course options are taught in 8-week intervals.

What online resources does SU offer

One-on-one advising and an experienced career services staff are helpful benefits for SU Online students, along with the Stevenson Career Connections online service, the bookstore and the SU library services.


Johns Hopkins University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is JHU like

JHU is known as a titan in the world of medicine and nursing, but there is much more to this university than its renowned hospital system. Founded in 1876, it's home to nine world-class academic divisions working together as one university. America's first research university has long been a trailblazer, and that still holds true in regards to the school's growing portfolio of online learning options.

What online programs are at JHU

Students at JHU can take advantage of dozens of online bachelor's and master's programs, as well as doctorates and numerous certificates. Online bachelor's programs focus on engineering disciplines and computer science, while the online master's programs branch out into economics, biotech, healthcare and more. Coursework is generally asynchronous.

In addition to fully online programs, JHU also partners with Coursera and OpenCourseWare to deliver individual online course options to its student body.

What online resources does JHU offer

Students can expect robust online support through JHU, including personalized assistance with Blackboard, a 24/7 help desk, disability services, online orientation, career services and library services.


University of Maryland-College Park

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is UMD like

UMD is one of the nation's preeminent public research universities, billing itself as a global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation. Through the Enterprise Learning Management System, the online environment that supports most online teaching and learning at UMD, students can complete their degree from anywhere in the world.

What online programs are at UMD

Most of the schools and colleges at UMD offer a handful of fully online programs. Some of these include the MPH in behavioral and community health, the graduate certificate in fundamentals of survey methodology and the MBA. Most courses are completely asynchronous, although some programs — like the MBA — require short on-campus visits near the end of the program.

What online resources does UMD offer

Students in the online program enjoy many of the same benefits as on-campus students, such as robust library services and 24/7 tech support, in addition to academic advising, career advice and student success initiatives such as tutoring.


Towson University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is TU like

Founded in 1866 as a training school for teachers, TU has grown into the largest university in the Baltimore area. More than 22,000 students are engaged in degree programs such as computer science and nursing.

What online programs are at TU

Online programs at TU are available through the Office of Extended and Professional Education. There are two tracks in the allied health program that are offered 100 percent online, as well as online graduate programs in autism studies, occupational therapy, software engineering and more. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning system.

What online resources does TU offer

Though online students may live far from campus, there are still numerous resources available to them at TU, such as the Career Center, various clubs and organizations, the Counseling Center, online support groups for nontraditional students and library resources.


University of Baltimore

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is UB like

In the business of education since 1925, UB debuts this year on our list of the best online universities in Maryland.

What online programs are at UB

Fully online options at UB include the B.S. in business administration, the MBA, the Master of Public Administration, the master's in interaction design and information architecture and a certificate in user experience (UX) design.

Online courses at UB are delivered through the Sakai course management system. Hybrid learning and web-assisted traditional courses are also available. Online students can choose from six start dates and accelerated or semester-length classes.

What online resources does UB offer

Robust academic support is available for UB students to help them with everything from testing procedures to career guidance. Online students can also access the Mathematics Learning Center, library services, a Career and Internship Center, tutoring, tech help and more.


Frostburg State University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is FSU like

FSU began offering online courses in 2003 as part of its focus on regional and statewide economic and workforce development. Although more than 75 percent of FSU students are Maryland residents, its online programs have made it possible for students around the world to take courses.

What online programs are at FSU

Undergraduate students can enter the online nursing program, which is designed to help working nurses earn their BSN. Online master's programs include recreation and parks management, an MBA, an M.S. in applied computer science and an M.Ed. in special education. All online courses are taught through Canvas, with online meetings held through the BigBlueButton software.

What online resources does FSU offer

Enrolled freshmen can take advantage of the Summer Online Freshman Initiative, which allows them to complete some prerequisite classes entirely online during the summer before their first term. Student resources include 24/7 tech support, advising and library services and course orientations.


University of Maryland-University College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is UMUC like

This military-friendly university has been educating nontraditional students since 1947, which has helped it to become one of the largest distance-learning institutions in the world. UMUC is open to all applicants, with an open enrollment policy for its undergraduate programs. Multiple start dates, credit for life and work experience, and no SAT or GRE requirements make this school one of the most accessible on our list.

What online programs are at UMUC

Online bachelor's degree programs are available in finance, human resource management, criminal justice and more. Master's and doctoral programs abound in fields like biotechnology and healthcare, among others. UMUC students can also choose from a variety of online certificate programs, as well as online associate degree programs specifically designed for those in military service.

What online resources does UMUC offer

At UMUC, online resources include advising, career planning, library services, clubs and honor societies, tech support, help for veterans and military members and writing assistance. Tutoring and mentoring programs are available as well, and UMUC is proud to offer no-cost digital course materials in nearly every course.


Morgan State University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is MSU like

An urban public research university, MSU is the largest historically black institution in the state, open to students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

What online programs are at MSU

The Division of Academic Outreach and Engagement is home to Morgan Online, where students can enroll in several online master's programs in areas like project management and public health, as well as the community college leadership Ed.D. A post-baccalaureate certificate in sustainable urban communities is also available, among others.

What online resources does MSU offer

MSU maintains a wealth of resources for its online students, including library and technology resources, tutoring, advising, career counseling and technical and help desk support. Students can also access the counseling center, as well as academic and disability services.


McDaniel College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is MC like

MC is a private liberal arts college dedicated to helping students learn how to live in a global society. The college touts its flexible undergrad and graduate programs of study: the McDaniel Plan makes it easy for students to choose more than one major and minor, or to self-design their own. The school also creates unique opportunities for its students such as a three-week intensive study term and study abroad opportunities.

What online programs are at MC

Graduate students can enjoy both off-campus and online options for many of the programs. This includes certificate programs for disciplines in education and healthcare, as well as master's programs in areas such as data analytics, gerontology and school librarianship, or the unique M.S. in Deaf Education. To accommodate online students who are also working professionals, most classes are conducted in an asynchronous learning format.

What online resources does MC offer

Students taking an online program at MC can find needed assistance from robust technical support, a writing center, career development resources, academic support and library services.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,

Affordable Online Colleges in Maryland for 2019-20

There are numerous online colleges in Maryland that offer low tuition rates. The following lists present several of the most affordable two- and four-year online colleges in Maryland based on the lowest in-state tuition. The data used was reported by the schools to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, part of the National Center for Education Statistics.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,

Financial Aid in Maryland

There are a number of state financial aid opportunities available for students planning on attending a Maryland college or university. To help you get started with your financial aid research, below is information on various grants, scholarships and loans that may be available for Maryland students.

What Grants and Scholarships are Available in Maryland?

Maryland offers a number of grants and scholarships. Some are for a broad group of applicants, while others are specific to industry interest.

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

To get the lowdown on different types of grants and scholarships, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Grants and our Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Student Loans in Maryland

Although Maryland has several industry-specific Loan Assistance Repayment Programs, there are no state-specific loan programs. Maryland students who need loans to cover the cost of tuition should look into federal student loan programs.

Learn more about student loans in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Maryland

  • The Maryland Higher Education Commission website is a comprehensive resource for all state-issued aid. The organization is responsible for administering all of the state financial aid programs.

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Maryland

You'll need to live in Maryland for 12 consecutive months prior to registering for classes if you want to avoid out-of-state tuition rates. These non-resident rates can be significantly higher those charged to residents.

Not everyone can relocate a year before starting classes, though, and perhaps you don't want to relinquish your residency in another state. In that case, you might be eligible to waive or reduce out-of-state tuition in one of the following ways:

  • Apply for a military tuition rate if you are a military member
  • Enroll in hybrid or online courses which may charge less than the regular out-of-state tuition rate
  • Look for non-resident tuition programs

When it comes to tuition programs, the largest that encompasses Maryland is the Academic Common Market. Offered as part of the state's membership in the Southern Regional Educational Board, the market lets out-of-state students waive non-resident tuition rates if their home state doesn't offer their chosen major.

You can also check with Maryland colleges and universities for the availability of scholarships and other incentives for your specific degree program. For instance, out-of-state tuition is waived for those enrolled in Maryland nursing programs.

The links below provide more information for out-of-state students in Maryland.


Best Careers in Maryland

Sometimes the best way to figure out what you should major in during college is to figure out what job you want to have after college. And if you're not sure of the answer to that either, then it may be good to start by thinking about what jobs are in demand in Maryland.

To help students decide which degree program and education level they might want to pursue, we have ranked the best industries in Maryland both on a state level and on a metro level. Compare the data on the best jobs in Maryland below, where we display average salaries, employment numbers, projected job growth and more.

EmploymentEmployment GrowthMedian High School SalaryMedian Bachelor's Salary

Top Maryland Industries

*Industry rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data is sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Top IndustriesEmploymentProjected GrowthAverage Salary
Ambulatory healthcare services2,015,3109%$69,063
Hospitals; state, local, and private2,211,4109%$67,113
Insurance carriers and related activities1,654,8708%$69,188
Educational services; state, local, and private2,425,8508%$65,688
Other information services1,197,4207%$71,730
Data processing, hosting, and related services1,132,0306%$75,695
Credit intermediation and related activities1,349,4907%$69,920
Air transportation1,073,9207%$72,194
Nursing and residential care facilities1,894,8809%$60,937

Two powerhouses of medicine — Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Medical Center — have helped to turn healthcare into one of Maryland's top industries. The medical centers and the universities that are associated with them employ over 10,000 people each. High paying jobs in Baltimore and the surrounding area are also driven by educational services, with many colleges and universities in the state centered in the Baltimore metropolitan region.

Other industries also have a strong foothold in the state, such as insurance giants Geico and United Healthcare. Hughes Network Systems and First Data are among the top employers in the data processing field, while major financial players include Capital One Bank, M&T Bank and OneMain Financial.

Over the years, Maryland has implemented a variety of programs designed to bring new workers and industries to the area. For example:

  • EARN Maryland is a program devoted to helping build a skilled workforce. Driven by both state government and industry leaders, the initiative aims to reduce barriers to employment, creating formal career paths to good jobs and encouraging upward mobility for hard-to-place workers.
  • Operation Hire Maryland focuses on the unique gifts veterans can bring to top jobs in Maryland through better recruitment, hiring practices, onboarding and retention.
  • Salisbury's Business Development Office offers a unique Buy a House, Build a Business program for entrepreneurial-minded recent grads.
  • The 2017 More Jobs for Marylanders Act pulled in the interest of more than 70 manufacturers during the first six months, a first step in creating thousands of new jobs in the state. In 2018, the act was expanded to bring in more work in STEM-related fields, as well as healthcare and biotech.

Here's a more in-depth look at the high demand jobs in Maryland that are most prominent in the state's three largest metropolitan areas.

Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metro Area

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

IT companies shine in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area. Top employers include Verizon, Tessco Technologies and KCI Technologies, all of whom have created demand for software developers, network administrators, electronics engineers and more. Furthermore, though Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman Corp. and GE Middle River Aircraft Systems are best known for their aerospace and defense contracting, they are also hotbeds for software developers and engineers.

Nurse practitioners also make our list of high demand jobs in Baltimore thanks to the wealth of healthcare facilities in the area, such as Greater Baltimore Medical Center and MedStar Franklin Square Hospital.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and TestersBachelor's degree$117,89017,230
Network and Computer Systems AdministratorsBachelor's degree$112,9107,670
Nurse PractitionersMaster's degree$115,1402,450
Computer Hardware EngineersBachelor's degree$128,6701,910
Electronics Engineers, Except ComputerBachelor's degree$120,6002,030

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metro Area

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

Healthcare jobs are among the most high demand careers in Hagerstown and the surrounding area, thanks to employers like Meritus Health, Brook Lane Health Services, Arc of Washington County and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The numerous colleges in the area offer nursing, medical and healthcare-related degrees, and students often stay close to home when completing their hands-on training and residencies.

Other high demand jobs in Hagerstown and Martinsburg include general and operations managers for companies such as First Data, Volvo Group, FedEx Ground and Staples.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Family Medicine PhysiciansDoctoral or professional degree$162,94060
Medical and Health Services ManagersBachelor's degree$116,960310
Registered NursesBachelor's degree$73,4402,490
General and Operations ManagersBachelor's degree$104,2801,540
Pediatricians, GeneralDoctoral or professional degree$151,56040

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Salisbury, MD-DE Metro Area

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

Opportunities to work in healthcare abound in Salisbury. Graduates of accredited healthcare programs are especially suited for high demand jobs in Salisbury, where so much employment is driven by Peninsula Regional Medical Center. Smaller clinics and facilities in the area, such as Ability Rehab Association and Anchorage Nursing and Rehab Center, are often in need of medical professionals as well.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Medical and Health Services ManagersBachelor's degree$118,730470
Dental HygienistsAssociate's degree$79,720210
Registered NursesBachelor's degree$72,9603,810
PharmacistsDoctoral or professional degree$129,870290
Education Administrators, Kindergarten through SecondaryMaster's degree$104,730330

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Methodology & Sources