A Guide to Online Colleges in Maryland

Get started with your search for top-ranked schools in Maryland. Discover which colleges offer programs that fit your needs.

Updated February 1, 2024

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Maryland is a Mid-Atlantic state known for its connection with the Chesapeake Bay in both region and cuisine. Annapolis, a small naval and boating town is the state’s capital and home to quaint historic buildings and homes. The national anthem was penned on Fort Mc Henry in Baltimore after Francis Scott Key witnessed its bombardment by British ships during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Baltimore, a part of the rust belt, also known as “Charm City” and to the locals’ amusement “The Greatest City in America” is known for its gritty culture and unique “Hon” culture (think John Water’s Hairspray — wingtip glasses and beehives) and funky hip restaurants and watering holes. Sports are a big part of this northern-most state in the South especially Football, Baseball and Lacrosse. It’s true that locals themselves don’t know quite how to classify themselves. Are Marylander’s Yankees? Are they Southerns? This could very well be the smallest state with the biggest clash of cultures. Whether a Senator from D.C., an eastern shore fisherman, or a student at one of the best flagship school’s in the country The University or Maryland, it seems apparent that Marylander’s make Maryland their home for life. Knowing that one of the largest perks of online education is being able to complete your schooling from anywhere, there are a number of reasons why Marylanders prefer (and rightfully so) to obtain online degrees from colleges in their own state.

In-state tuition is often applied to public schools offering online programs. Many online programs require some face-to-face time, or more numerous support services at their brick and mortar locations. Intensive study experiences–often on the weekends or in several week long bouts–enable many online students to accelerate their time until graduation. And students looking at online education can drastically expand their educational options if they also look to hybrid degrees (degrees where degrees can be taken partially, or mostly online). Finally, one of the most common stipulations in scholarships is that students be from a certain state or region, often more funds are available to students seeking degrees in-state.

Top Public Offerings

Many of the top online public schools in Maryland offer online programs of study at the associate’s through doctoral level. The University of Maryland - College Park is ranked 60th in the country according to US News and is a flagship university with an online doctoral program in interdisciplinary studies. The university college program offers an impressive 42 online degrees ranging from bachelor’s to doctoral degree programs. For those looking to save money, or transfer into a four-year university there are 15 associates degrees available at the College of Southern Maryland a community college with multiple locations throughout the state.

Top Private Offerings

A number of online offerings are also available from private universities in Maryland. The largest in our pool of top picks is that of Maryland University of Integrated Health (MUIH) with 51 online degrees ranging from the associate to doctoral level. Programs are available from multiple schools and channelled through MUIH. Stevenson offers 10 quality programs completely online including an M.S. in cyber forensics! Washington Adventist provides an M.B.A. in three areas of concentration.

Featured Online Schools

The national average for tuition is presently just over $9,400 for in-state tuition and rapidly growing. However, in Maryland, public school offerings average $7,300, that’s over $2,000 below the national average. When it comes to private universities, the state of Maryland averages around $20,000 per year which is nearly $15,000 below the national average for private universities. The University of Maryland - College Park one of the top public schools in the country offers in-state tuition for $10,181 slightly more than average public university costs but with the academic caliber of an Ivy League school. Community colleges average around $7,000 per academic year. However, Baltimore City Community College is considerably lower at just $2,578 per academic year.

Known as “charm city,” Baltimore has a number of cultural and historic offerings as well as academic and artistic offerings. Did you know that a "painted lady" is actually a row home in the historic Charles Village district? Or that John Waters’ “Pink Flamingo” is emblematic of the Baltimore “front yard”? Did you know that the national anthem was written there or that Edgar Allen Poe lived there? Baltimore is mysterious. Baltimore is the quirky southern town that isn’t really sure if its northern or southern. Maryland is just south of the Mason Dixon line, making this city a cultural clash of north and south. Part of the rust belt, Baltimore was once a money-making culture built on its harbor and steel industry. Baltimore is back now with a Renaissance purely unique to this area. When it comes to education, you are only ever a stone’s throw away from the next great inner-city university. Relax, hon… there’s no need to leave Baltimore when it comes to finding the best online education.

Residents of Washington D.C. may never want to leave and for good reason — economic stability provided through government jobs and not to mention the sheer number of phenomenal universities available right in the nation’s capital. The District of Columbia is home to Georgetown University- the 20th best university in our nation according to U.S. News and has one of the best business, medical and, law schools in the country. If you’re looking for monuments, politics, and centrality, perhaps consider George Washington University another top school in our nation’s capital — ranked 56th nationally according to U.S. News. Howard University, an historically African American university is a private doctoral research university with high research activity and ranked 124th in the nation. The density of schools available as well as the broad city amenities and job opportunities offered may be the reason to consider heading to campus for an education in D.C.

While there are a number of quality online providers in Maryland and surrounding states (notable UMUC, one of the largest online education providers in the nation), potential students should consider what exactly they're gaining from an online education in a region so dense with traditional opportunity. With so many phenomenal schools densely located in “The City that Reads,” many students might be better served checking out traditional educational options in the region. These options include the highly prestigious Johns Hopkins (home to arguably the best Medical school in the country), many art institutes including the Peabody Insitute and the Maryland Institute College of Art, Goucher — a highly innovative liberal arts school where 100% of students study abroad — and Morgan State, a historically black university with amazing programming and scholarship opportunities. Add to this the ability of students throughout much of Maryland being able to commute to Pennsylvania, Deleware, or D.C., and there are tons of regional options worth considering.


Population: 622,793
Cost of Living: 106.4%
Top Industries: Education, healthcare, retail, public relations
Local Online Degrees: 4


Population: 68,400
Cost of Living: 112.8%
Top Industries: professional scientific and technical, education, healthcare, construction
Local Online Degrees: 0


Population: 65,937
Cost of Living: 123.2%
Top Industries: professional scientific and technical, public administration, education, health care
Local Online Degrees: 3


Population: 38,856
Cost of Living: 110.9%
Top Industries: professional scientific and teachnical services, construction, health care, retail trade
Local Online Degrees: 0


Population: 40,364
Cost of Living: 106.9%
Top Industries: retail, manufacturing, health care, finance and insurance
Local Online Degrees: 0


Population: 32,563
Cost of Living: 93.9%
Top Industries: manufacturing, accommodation and food service, health care, education
Local Online Degrees: 0

The Best Online Colleges in Maryland

1. University of Maryland-College Park

Online Programs: 4
Type: Public

The University of Maryland - College Park is Maryland’s flagship university that holds land, sea, and space grants. This public university is located in College Park, Maryland just outside of Washington D.C. and has its own metro stop for a quick ride into the district. According to U.S. News, The University of Maryland- College Park is a ranked 60th in the nation and 36th best college for veterans and named “Best for Vets” by Military Times. According to The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine, UMD is ranked number 10 or its entrepreneurship programs. Student-to-faculty ratio is low at just 16:1. There are three completely online master’s degree programs to choose from at this Top 50 Online College program.

2. Maryland University of Integrative Health

Online Programs: 51
Type: Private

The Maryland University of Integrated Health (MUIH) is a private a traditional medical university that focuses on acupuncture and Oriental medicine, health philosophy, herbal medicine, integrative health science, nutrition, and yoga therapy. However, online you can find comprehensive degrees from all over the state of Maryland available through MUIH like an A.S. in business administration, an A.ps in Law Enforcement, a B.S. in environmental management or a M.S. in therapeutic herbalism, or computer systems management. As you can see, there’s something for every type of career available through their online programming. In fact, there are an incredible 51 degree programs to choose from!

3. Stevenson University

Online Programs: 10
Type: Private

Stevenson University is a private, independent university located in Greenspring Valley, Maryland with an additional campus in Owings Mills, Maryland. Stevenson University has a regional ranking of 75 according to U.S. News. There are over 4,000 traditional and non-traditional students enrolled at Stevenson University with over ten percent of students studying online. Some of the online areas of study include business communication, criminal justice, and cyber forensics. Career Architecture is interwoven into undergraduate curricula to help students gauge where there strengths lie while making a choice about their course material. This has lead to a job or acceptance into graduate programs within six months of graduation for 97% of its student body.

4. University of Maryland-University College

Online Programs: 42
Type: Public

University of Maryland University College is a distance learning institution that serves over 90,000 student across, Maryland, D.C., Virginia and 20 countries abroad. This program is the outgrowth of the University of Maryland’s night classes for adults that has existed since the 1920s. There are presently 42 academic programs offered completely online in fields like cyber security, biotechnology, english, accounting, data analytics and several others. UMUC is one of the 12 member institutions for the University System of Maryland and all programs have regional accreditation by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education. The Military Times ranked UMUC number 1 for “Best for Vets” as there are several online and abroad options for veterans and active military.

5. College of Southern Maryland

Online Programs: 15
Type: Public

The College of Southern Maryland is a community college that addresses the needs of learners in the Charles, St. Mary’s, and Calvert counties. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accredits many of their programs and its business, physical therapy, and nursing programs all have specialized accredidations. Tuition is inexpensive at approximately $369.00 for three credit hours.There are 15 associate degrees available completely online. You can study business administration, web development, general studies, computer information systems and others. There are several paths and options for students at CSM. You can elect to complete a two-year degree, enhance your skills and advance your professional career, or become certified.

6. Frostburg State University

Online Programs: 4
Type: Public

Frostburg State University is located in Frostburg, Maryland in the Appalachian highlands. The Frostburg campus is unique for Maryland due to its location and proximity to the mountains. There are nearly 50 undergraduate degrees, 17 graduate programs and now a doctoral program in educational leadership and has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Frostburg State has a very diverse student body with a 42% minority undergraduate enrollment and 116 international students representing 20 countries. Classroom size is reasonably small for its undergraduate programs with over 80% of classes containing fewer than 30 students. There are 4 online degrees available three master’s and one bachelor degree. There’s a master of business administration and a bachelor’s and master’s in nursing.

7. University of Baltimore

Online Programs: 6
Type: Public

The University of Baltimore is a public university located in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore and is part of the University System of Maryland. UB serves undergraduates, graduates and professional student through its colleges and education, business, and law schools. There’s a joint degree option connecting Towson University and UB’s business school that is highly competitive. Baltimore is making its name as a college town, with its charm and amenities, students have access to art, museums, monuments, and restaurants, cafes and bookstores throughout the city. The online program at UB offers a bachelor’s degree in business administration and 5 master’s degrees. Students can enjoy the perks of the biggest city in Maryland and the comforts of conveniently studying from their favorite local cafe.

8. McDaniel College

Online Programs: 2
Type: Private

McDaniel College is located in Westminster, Maryland in Carroll County which borders Baltimore County. Westminster is a scenic town known for rolling hills and quaint buildings. McDaniel College is a private four-year liberal arts college with a sister campus located in Budapest, Hungary. The academic programs aim to afford students a core liberal arts education along with several classes that not only focus on the major but also on skills like public speaking, effective collaboration etc… that will help students who are looking to transition smoothly into the workplace. There is a unique student body and leadership that emphasizes a partnership in creating majors that are relevant to the student body. Over the years 60 undergraduate majors, and over 20 graduate programs have emerged.

9. University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Online Programs: 2
Type: Public

The University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) is an innovative school with a lot to offer a myriad of students and has been ranked the #1 Up-and-Coming University according to U.S. News for 6 years in a row, is in their top ten for undergraduate teaching, and is the second highest-ranked public university in the nation. UMBC has a space grant and offers over 50 undergraduate majors, and over 60 graduate degree programs. The new virtual reality space at UMBC known as the PI^2 Immersion Hybrid Reality Lab engages its students’ manipulation of data in new, and more actively visual ways. In addition to a wide variety of degrees on campus students also have the option to study one of the following two online master’s degree programs: instructional systems development and information systems.

10. Washington Adventist University

Online Programs: 3
Type: Private

Washington Adventist University is a private liberal arts university located in Takoma Park, Maryland a suburb of Washington D.C. known partially for its folk music culture. There are a total of 1,044 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits associates, bachelor’s, master’s and certification programs. The master in business administration and master in public administration are both offered completely online.

Monitoring the accreditation of a university you are interested in attending is incredibly important. Accreditation ensures your credits can transfer that you can receive Federal financial aid, and most importantly that certain standards of educational quality are during your schooling. The highest accreditation standard for most programs in the United States is provided by regional accreditation agencies. The regional accrediting agency for Indiana is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, one of six regional accrediting agencies responsible for accrediting schools in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Making sure that a University you're hoping to attend is regionally accredited — or accredited by a real and respected accrediting agency — is one of the most important choices you can make in ensuring the quality of your education.

Three Steps for Securing Financial Aid

  • Submit your FAFSA.
  • Check to see if additional forms are needed at your university of choice.
  • Search and apply for private scholarships.

Through the previous three steps most students find themselves offered some sort of federal grant, work study, private grant, scholarship, or stipend.

Great Maryland Higher Education Resources

  • There are Maryland University System schools located throughout the state, at nearly every price point and level of admissions rigor. Check out the directory of Maryland University System schools here.
  • For a similar directory of Baltimore County, check out the Baltimore County Government's directory here.
  • For entrepreneurial or business-minded students, Open Business Maryland highlights a number of the perks and support networks for business and business incubation in the state. The organization also partners with a number of others in educational initiatives.
  • If you’re looking for financial aid in the District go here.
  • Providing financial assistance to the African American community in Washington DC since the civil rights movement. Check out this historical foundation here.
  • The number one place to look for financial guidance and a secured education for the latin community is here.
  • Looking for more financial opportunity for your budding college-bound kids, take a look at SOAR.
  • Inner city students gain greater opportunity to advance successfully through college with the College Bound Foundation. Find out more information and see if you’re eligible to apply here.
  • For support of local community across Baltimore and the nation look into the Annie E. Casey Foundation here.
  • Visit the historic Chesapeake region and learn all about the natural beauty of the eastern shore of Maryland here.
  • For a glimpse into Baltimore’s unique eclectic culture you will want to be in town for Honfest.
  • If you need a quick ride from Baltimore to D.C. you’ll want to catch the MARC Train. Look up the schedule here.
  • Learn more about Annapolis, a quaint historic state capital on foot with this walking tour.
  • From one of the most esteemed news sources in Baltimore, learn about all of the hidden gems of Maryland here.

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