A degree in Master's in Business Administration, known simply as an MBA, is a familiar concept to most people. Leaders in a wide variety of industries – from Wall Street to Hollywood – have pursued MBA programs to give them skills in both the management of people and money. MBA programs generally build on undergraduate work in accounting, business, economics, or management, which further develops a student's quantitative and qualitative skills. This ranking takes a specific look at MBA programs offered online. Online delivery provides students with the flexibility to continue advancing their full-time career or even to raise a family. Go on and peruse through the 10 Best Online MBAs in Colorado!
FINDING AN MBA DEGREE
MBA programs vary in who they're intended for and what special training or expertise they offer to students. Some programs are intended for professionals who have recently begun their business careers, entering with between zero to five years of work experience. Core classes will cover topics including accounting, economics, finance, and organizational management. Many of these programs will also offer students the opportunity to specialize in a given field, which can be as general as finance or as specific as sports management. These choices give students the ability to gain specified knowledge in a particular business niche so that they can pursue career opportunities that best fit their long-term goals. Other programs, such as a Professional MBA or Executive MBA program, are designed more for professionals with five years or more of business and managerial experience. These programs still have meaningful classwork, but also tend to emphasize practical experiences such as international trips, networking events, and peer interactions.
The wide range of program structures and specialties means that graduates have a diverse spread of career options that they can choose to pursue. MBA specialties in Management can lead to supervisory positions in human resources, while Finance or Accounting focuses can lead to upper-level executive positions like Chief Financial Officer. There are also specialties that are more industry-specific, such as an emphasis in Health Services Management. Individuals employed as Health Services Managers earn a median salary of just under $100,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry is also expected to experience "much faster than average growth" in the coming decade, with more than 72,000 jobs opening up over the next ten years. This is a great example of one of the many stable, well-paying, and highly-demanded careers that MBA students may pursue after graduation, regardless of which area of business they choose to pursue. Every specialty matters, so MBA students truly cannot go wrong.
RANKING THE 10 BEST ONLINE MBA DEGREES IN COLORADO
Online MBA Today uses eight metrics to grade each school: Quality of Online Programs from U.S. News, Mid Career Pay from Payscale, Student Review Score from Rate My Professor, aggregate reputation score from other ranking sites, and Percentage of Online Programs, SAT Scores, Average Net Price, and Retention Rate from the National Center for Education Statistics. For a comprehensive breakdown of how we categorize and source data, please visit our methodology page.
#1. COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY
Colorado State University is a public university located in Fort Collins, CO. CSU has an online Master of Business Administration program, which can be completed in as few as 21 months. The program curriculum covers 42 credit hours of work which is divided between 16 core classes, five electives, and a capstone course. Core courses include Accounting Concepts, Leadership and Teams, and Managing Human Capital. Elective courses may take the form of international travel or on-campus symposiums, as well as traditional online classes. Many students use their electives to pursue a particular focus area in their studies such as Marketing, Finance, or Computer Information Systems. The average age of a student entering the program is 35 years, and students bring an average of ten years of professional work experience to the program.
Students have up to five years to meet the degree requirements to finish the program. Students in the online program are not obligated to develop a thesis, final project, or a comprehensive final examination. In addition to focus area electives, the CSU program offers professional enrichment courses, such as Career Management, Sustainable Venturing and the New Energy Economy, as well as an Ethical Leadership Symposium. Most elective courses are simply one-credit, although this can vary based on the area of focus. Students who wish to complete the program in two years will take two classes simultaneously, while students on a part-time schedule may take courses individually. The GMAT/GRE is not required as a part of the admissions process for the program.
#2. UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO DENVER
The University of Colorado Denver is a public university located in Denver, CO. UC Denver has an online Master of Business Administration program, which requires 48 total credit hours of study. This program can be completed in as little as 16 months, and there are start terms available in the fall, spring, and summer. Core courses make up 30 hours of the program, covering topics such as data analysis, law and ethics, and operations. Students then have 15 hours of elective coursework to fill, which is generally used to pursue a degree specialization. UC Denver offers 19 different specialization options for the MBA program, including Predictive Analysis, Negotiation Skills, Digital Marketing, and Cybersecurity. The final credits are dedicated to an international business requirement.
The international business requirement requires students to either complete an international class in Denver or to participate in a course abroad. Past international trips by the program have taken students to Cuba, China, and Ireland, where students performed live case studies and completed international consulting projects. Not all MBA specializations can be completed online. Online students are able to complete the following specializations: Business Intelligence, Enterprise Technology Management, Finance, Information Systems, and Managing for Sustainability. U.S. World News & Report ranked UC Denver's Online MBA program the 2nd best part-time MBA program in Colorado and 74th in the United States. No work experience is required for admission, but students do have to submit either GRE or GMAT scores as a part of the application.
#3. UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO COLORADO SPRINGS
The University of Colorado Colorado Springs is a public university. The campus is located in the heart of Colorado Springs, CO, as the name suggests. UC Colorado Springs offers an online Master of Business Administration program, which can be completed fully online in as few as 18 months. The curriculum consists of 36 credit hours of core and elective coursework. Twenty-four hours of the program are dedicated to core courses such as Accounting for Decision Making, Leading & Managing in Changing Times, and Operations: Competing Through Capabilities. Students then choose 12 hours of elective courses, which may either be used to pursue a General MBA or a specialization in a given area. UC Colorado Springs offers 12 concentration areas, including International Business, Project Management, and Finance. There are also Accounting and Service Management concentrations that are only available through the on-campus MBA program.
Students have the option to begin the program in the Fall, Spring, or Summer. Students who have substantial management experience or a previous graduate degree may be eligible to waive the GRE/GMAT requirement. While the degree can be completed in 18 months, students have up to five years to complete the program. Students who are unable to demonstrate fundamental proficiencies in business concepts such as economics, finance, and accounting may be required to take up to three foundation courses prior to beginning graduate coursework. Students working full-time during the program tend to enroll in six credits per semester, which leads to an average graduation time of two and a half years.
#4. REGIS UNIVERSITY
Regis University is a private university located in Denver, CO. Regis has an online Professional Master of Business Administration program, which is a 33 credit hour program. Students have the option of adding specializations to their degree programs from any of the following subject areas: Accounting, Finance, Health Industry Leadership, Marketing, or Strategic Management. The area of specialization adds on an additional 12 credit hours of coursework, for a total of 45 credit hours. The base program includes 24 hours of core courses and six hours of electives. Core courses include Entrepreneurial Innovation and Finance for Managers. Example specialization courses from the Accounting track include Accounting for Non-Profit and Government Organizations, Controllership, as well as Forensic and Fraud Audit.
Regis University is a Catholic University, specifically associated with the Jesuit tradition. Regis' mission is for men and women of all ages to make a positive impact in a changing society. In addition to the MBA program, Regis also offers a Master of Organizational Leadership degree. Graduates from the program have gone on to careers such as a marketing director, Chief Financial Officer, financial controller, and marketing manager. Regis is home to the Center for Career and Professional Development, which provides students with resources, training, and advice aimed at helping them develop their professional skills and meet career goals. Applicants are not required to have a specific amount of work experience to apply. Applications are considered by the MBA admissions committee on a rolling basis.
#5. UNIVERSITY OF DENVER
The University of Denver is a private university located in Denver, CO. DU offers an online Master of Business Administration program. UD's MBA program requires 60 credit hours of coursework and can be completed in as few as 21 months. There are also two specialization options for students to pursue in either Marketing or Finance. Concentrations consist of four different four-credit courses, and these courses can replace elective courses from the base program, meaning that students do not have to extend their program or incur extra costs. The core sequence includes eight semesters with two classes per semester, beginning with Managerial Economics, Leading with Integrity, and Strategic Cost Management. Students generally take an MBA@Denver Capstone during their second-to-last semester.
The program includes two required in-person immersions, which are non-credit bearing. These immersions require students to pay immersion fees, which vary based on the location and itinerary. Some immersions are held on-campus in Denver, while other recent immersions have been scheduled for Austin, Texas; Trieste, Italy; and Cape Town, South Africa. Immersions are an opportunity to participate in group workshops and network with both classmates and industry leaders. The MBA@Denver Capstone course includes a team-based project, where students develop a strategic process plan for a chosen client organization. Previous projects have centered around new product development, downsizing, acquisitions, joint ventures, or relocation. The project is required to have an implementation timeline for the proposed solutions/recommendations.
#6. COLORADO TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY
Colorado Technical University is a for-profit university located in Colorado Springs, CO. CTU has a 48 credit hour online Master of Business Administration program. Classes in the program are mobile-friendly, begin every eight weeks, and run five and half weeks long. The program was designed to be completed in 18 months, but students who take 1-2 classes per session can finish the requirements in as few as 12 months. The core courses in the program account for 32 hours of coursework, with courses such as Strategic Human Capital Management, Applied Managerial Marketing, and Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making. Students finish the final 16 credit hours with concentration courses and a management capstone course. Concentration options from the program include healthcare management, entrepreneurship, technology management, and global leadership.
In addition to the online format of the program, it is also available as an on-campus program at the Colorado Springs and Aurora campuses of CTU. The next available start dates for the program are July 2nd and August 13th. The MBA coursework is delivered through Intellipath which is a learning application that allows students to customize coursework to suit their knowledge level. Some of the elective and concentration courses offered in the program include Marketing in the Digital Age, Perspectives on International Business, and Operations Strategy. Students entering the program without an undergraduate background in business will be required to complete three MBA Foundation courses before beginning the graduate coursework.
#7. COLORADO CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
Colorado Christian University is a private university located in Lakewood, CO. CCU has an online Master of Business Administration program, which gives students a broad business administration and technology background taught from a Christian worldview. Students choose from one of four emphases in the 39 credit hour program. The available emphases are Advanced Accounting, Health Care Administration, Leadership, or Project Management. Students who wish to pursue the Advanced Accounting emphasis must have a bachelor's degree in accounting. As an example of emphasis electives, students pursuing the Leadership emphasis would take courses such as Leadership and Management, Problem Solving & Decision-Making for Leaders, and Values Aligned Leadership. The Project Management emphasis can be used to earn students Professional Development Units towards a Project Management Professional certification.
The program allows students to explore the idea of "servant leadership", which involves incorporating the "eternal wisdom and love of Jesus Christ in the way you lead others in the business environment." Students may transfer in up to nine credit hours from a regionally accredited institution. The majority of courses in the program are completed in five-week blocks, but a small number of courses require a seven-week term. In addition to the MBA program, CCU also offers a Master of Organizational Leadership program, as well as MBA certificate programs in the specialization areas listed above. For its online learning programs, Colorado Christian uses the Blackboard learning technology, where students access class materials, submit assignments, and interact with faculty and peers.
#8. ADAMS STATE UNIVERSITY
Adams State University is a public university located in Alamosa, CO. ASU offers a fully online Master of Business Administration program. This is a 36-credit program that can be completed in as few as two years. Coursework is divided between six core courses and four elective courses. The core coursework includes courses such as Managerial Economics, Technology and Innovation, and Multinational Financial Management. Students then choose a concentration area to pursue on top of the core coursework. Available concentrations include Sports Leadership, Public Administration, Leadership, Health Administration, and Finance. Sample elective courses from the Public Administration emphasis include Public/Nonprofit Management and Public Budgeting and Finance. Each concentration finishes with a topic-specific capstone course.
Adams State emphasizes that it strives to give students small class sizes and to provide them a diverse classroom that allows them to learn from peers who bring a wide range of experiences to the program. Applicants to this particular program are required to have a Bachelor's degree that was earned at a regionally accredited institution. They must also have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their most recent 30 credit hours of undergraduate or graduate coursework. GRE or GMAT quantitative scores determine whether or not students are required to take a business quantitative techniques course. If a student has a 3.5 or higher GPA as an undergraduate then the GRE/GMAT requirement will be waived.
#9. COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY-PUEBLO
Colorado State University-Pueblo is a public university located in Pueblo, CO. CSU Pueblo has an online Master of Business Administration program, which can be completed in as little as one year. The program is designed to meet the needs of professionals from all fields and requires students to complete 36 credit hours of study. Courses are eight weeks long, with students generally completing two sessions of classes per semester, for a total of four classes per semester. The curriculum core begins with Managing Human Resources and Advertising and Promotional Research. Some of the final courses in the program would be Management of Organizational Behavior and Management Policy and Strategy. Students are eligible for financial aid if they are enrolled in at least six credits at a time.
Students may transfer in up to nine credit hours of graduate coursework into the program. To graduate, students may receive a maximum of two C's; students who receive more than this may be dismissed outright from the MBA program. Admission to the program is based off a standard formula evaluating the student's GPA and GMAT scores (GPA x 200 + GMAT = Index). Students should have an indexed scored of at least 1050 and a minimum GMAT score of 400. Students who lack an undergraduate background in business or related subjects may be required to take prerequisite courses in quantitative methods. There is also a technical writing seminar offered for students who score below a 4.5 on the writing portion of the GMAT.