2021 Lowest Cost Online MBA Programs [Affordable & Accredited]

If you’re searching for the cheapest online MBA programs, then you’re likely looking for affordable education options that can help you advance your expertise in business or management.

Lowest Cost Online MBA Programs

By looking into the value and affordability of different online MBAs, you may be able to narrow down which program is right for you.

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Whether you’re interested in business as it relates to accounting, project management, marketing, human resources, or another sector, there are a number of low cost MBA programs to consider.

Affordable Online MBA Programs

There are a number of educational areas that MBA programs may focus on, ranging across different disciplines. These often include accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, organizational leadership, management, project management, and supply chain management.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Regardless of the specialty you select, you will still receive a strong foundation in business administration and related courses.

Accounting

MBA in Accounting

Pursuing an MBA with a concentration in accounting may allow you to develop expertise in areas of finance, financial management, accounting, and cost analysis.

An MBA in Accounting can help you prepare for various roles in different areas of finance. Common finance careers include accountant, auditor, financial manager, and chief financial officer.

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Subjects studied as part of this online degree in business program often include tax planning and research, financial statement analysis, accounting for government institutions, accounting in the nonprofit sector, and fraud and forensic accounting.

Other courses can include corporate finance, managerial accounting, foundations of finance, and corporate accounting.

Business (no specialization)

non-specialized MBA program

Completing an MBA without a specialization can also be an option available to you. A standard, non-specialized MBA program can help prepare you for various roles throughout different areas of business.

This degree option typically provides a generalist knowledge base and understanding of business, which can be directly applicable to roles in leadership and management. Common leadership positions in this field include chief operations officer, chief executive officer, financial manager, human resources manager, and business consultant.

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The course curriculum for a general MBA can include subjects like leadership communication, marketing strategies, management in nonprofit, and human resources management. Other course topics can include organizational behavior, data management, financial accounting, and research and statistics.

Finance

MBA in Finance

With an MBA in Finance, you may be qualified for positions in banking, real estate finance, investment management, and corporate finance.

Common finance careers include personal financial advisor, securities and commodities specialist, budget analyst, investment portfolio manager, finance manager, and chief financial officer.

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Subjects that you may study as part of your degree program include portfolio theory, international financial markets, portfolio management, risk management, corporate finance, and capital markets.

Human Resources

MBA in human resources

Completing your MBA with a concentration in human resources might allow you to work in government, nonprofit, or private organizations.

Careers that encompass human resources and business administration include human resources manager, training and development manager, compensation specialist, job analyst, employee relations specialist, and labor relations specialist.

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Some graduates also pursue various leadership roles, including chief human resources officer, chief operations officer, or chief executive officer.

As part of your MBA, you’ll likely complete various courses on topics like organizational behavior, compensation and benefits, training and development, health and safety, leadership strategies, and financial accounting.

Marketing

MBA in marketing

Pursuing an MBA with a marketing concentration can allow you to explore different theories of consumer behavior along with the process and practices involved in meeting their needs.

Roles in the field include market research analyst, marketing specialist, advertising manager, sales manager, director of sales and marketing, and chief marketing officer.

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An MBA in Marketing typically requires you to complete courses in a variety of topics. For example, you may study marketing strategies, theories of consumer behaviors, market analysis practices, and international marketing strategies.

Other courses could include distribution channel management, integrated marketing communication, and outcome-based marketing.

Organizational Leadership

MBA in organizational leadership

Pursuing an MBA with a concentration in organizational leadership can help you develop skills and expertise in the area of management and leadership.

Leadership positions in professional areas can include various c-suite positions, including chief executive officer, chief operations officer, or chief human resources officer. Other positions that graduates tend to pursue include management analyst, employee relations specialist, or compensation manager.

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Subjects that you may study as part of your degree program include operations and quality management, organizational change, and human resources strategies. You might also study leadership in nonprofit and government organizations, managerial accounting, and global leadership practices.

Management

MBA in management

Earning an MBA with a concentration in management can help prepare you for roles that require the effective management of teams or groups of people.

Common management positions include human resources manager, marketing manager, compensation and benefits manager, finance manager, operations manager, and management consultant.

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Your coursework for an MBA in Management may include topics like human resources management, managerial accounting and budgeting, and management principles. It’s also typical to study team dynamics, interpersonal group behavior, and employee motivation.

Project Management

MBA in Project Management

Earning an MBA in Project Management can help provide you with an understanding of the theoretical and practical application of managing complex projects within an organization. Common positions in this field include project manager, project analyst, budget analyst, operations manager, director of operations, and chief operations officer.

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When completing an MBA in Project Management, you’ll likely take courses on organizing project components, evaluating project risks, and project planning and management practices. You may also study approaches, strategies, and budgeting for project management.

Supply Chain Management

MBA in Supply Chain Management

Earning an MBA in Supply Chain Management can help you develop the required expertise to plan, organize, and oversee the supply chain operations and logistics of a business.

With an MBA in Supply Chain Management, you may be qualified to take on leadership roles in various industries. Common careers in this field include purchasing agent, logistician, industrial production manager, quality control manager, management analyst, director of operations, or chief operations officer.

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As part of your studies, you’ll likely take courses on project management, inventory and warehouse management, logistics, business analytics, supply chain design, and managerial economics.

MBA Careers & Salaries

MBA Careers & Salaries

Affordable online MBA programs can set you up to work in a number of different industries and sectors.

Depending on your concentration, you may work in finance and insurance, manufacturing, trade, e-commerce, non-profit, government, education and academia, research and development, or management.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an MBA can help qualify you for a variety of well-paying career opportunities.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $141,490
Human Resources Managers $121,220
Top Executives $107,680
Personal Financial Advisors $89,330
Management Analysts $87,660
Budget Analysts $78,970
Logisticians $76,270
Accountants and Auditors $73,560
Market Research Analysts $65,810
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents $64,770

Across the spectrum of roles that you may qualify for with an MBA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a number of positions to experience positive job growth.

These positions include budget analyst (3% job growth), accountant (4%), top executive (4%), marketing manager (7%), human resources manager (6%), management analyst (11%), and market research analyst (18%).

MBA Curriculum & Courses

MBA Curriculum & Courses

Pursuing an MBA requires the completion of a variety of coursework as part of the program’s curriculum. This could include courses such as:

  • Leadership Foundations: You’ll discover key foundations of leadership, management, and teamwork to become a more effective organizational leader.
  • Marketing Management Principles: You’ll learn about marketing practices and theories, including those related to branding, cost analysis, product pricing, and distribution.
  • Microeconomics: You’ll develop an understanding of fundamental microeconomic principles, including supply and demand, price discrimination, and production.
  • Statistics: You’ll explore various statistical concepts and methodologies, including regression analysis, confidence intervals, and correlation.
  • Talent Management: You’ll discover key concepts in managing employees and fostering valuable human resources through the implementation of modern workforce practices.
  • Data Analysis for Business: You’ll learn about basic practices in data analysis, including collection and storage of data and using data in decision-making.
  • Financial Accounting: You’ll develop an understanding of financial accounting practices, including financial reporting, interpreting financial statements, and financial forecasting.
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management: You’ll explore theories and practices related to logistics, operations, and supply chain management.
  • Organizational Strategy: You’ll discover the principles and practice behind creating organizational strategies, including developing strategic plans, evaluating business performance, and improving an organization’s competitiveness.
  • Human Resources Management: You’ll learn about various human resources practices in relation to employee relations, organizational behavior, compensation, training, labor relations, and employment law.

The specific makeup of courses can vary greatly depending on the specialty or area of concentration you choose to pursue as part of your degree.

How to Choose an Online MBA Program

Online MBA Program

When comparing degree programs offered by different schools, especially best value online MBA programs, there are a number of factors that you may want to consider:

  • Tuition cost. The total tuition cost for programs can differ greatly.
  • Additional fees. It’s strategic to include any additional fees for a school and program when comparing costs.
  • Location. Whether a prospective program and school is located in state or out of state may affect the overall cost, even for online programming options.
  • Accreditation status. The accreditation status of the school and program you’re interested in attending can influence whether your degree is recognized by employers.
  • Graduation rate. To determine the potential quality and success rate of a program, you can search for the graduation rate for students at specific schools who are enrolled in MBA programs.
  • Course curriculum. The makeup of the course curriculum for an MBA program will vary from school to school.
  • Thesis requirement. Whether or not a program requires a thesis can affect how long it takes you to earn your degree.

Which school and MBA program is right for you can also depend on how a program’s various offerings align with your personal and professional goals.

Admissions Requirements

Online MBA Programs Admissions

There are a number of admissions requirements that you may need to meet in order to be eligible for admission into an MBA program, including:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA from previous undergraduate studies
  • Managerial experience
  • GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)
  • Resume or CV

These requirements can vary depending on the specific schools you’re applying to. For instance, some schools may require that you have a minimum number of years of management experience in order to be eligible for their programming.

Accreditation

Online MBA Programs Accreditation

Attending a regionally accredited school and program to earn your MBA is an important consideration when choosing which program to attend.

Your school’s accreditation status can impact your ability to obtain financial aid, the possibility of transferring credits into other programs, and the hiring decisions of potential employers.

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The accreditation status of the program you choose to attend can also impact your eligibility for future study options, including enrollment in PhD and doctoral-level programming.

More information on the accreditation status of various programs can be found on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.  

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Online MBA Programs Financial Aid

Pursuing an MBA can be a costly endeavor, but there are a number of financial aid options available to qualifying students. Common financial aid options include:

  • Federal and state aid. Common government aid options include grant and loan programs.
  • Scholarships offered by private and public organizations. In some cases, scholarships may be directed toward students who are pursuing particular areas of study.
  • Employer training or professional development programs. If you’re currently employed, your employer may offer financial aid options to support you in funding your degree.

For more information about financial aid opportunities that may be available to you if you qualify, you can visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

What Can You Do with an MBA?

Professionals with MBAs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an MBA can help prepare you for a variety of roles in business, nonprofit, and government.

Professionals with MBAs can qualify for a variety of positions, depending on their area of expertise and chosen specialty. Common business administration careers include advertising, promotions, and marketing managers, human resources manager, top executive, personal financial advisor, or management analyst.

Other positions that can benefit from an MBA include budget analyst, logistician, accountant, market research analyst, or securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA Online?

Get an MBA Online

Traditional MBA programs generally take around 2 years to complete. By attending an accelerated program, though, you may be able to graduate in as little as 1 year.

In some cases, an MBA program may require you to complete a thesis. This requirement would likely add some additional time to completion. Other factors that can influence the length of time required to complete your degree include whether you’re enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis.

How Much Does an Online MBA Cost?

There are a number of affordable MBA online program options available. Although tuition varies from school to school, you can expect to pay between $257 to $385 per credit hour when pursuing the least expensive online MBA programs.

Various financial aid options may also help you cover your online MBA cost. You can see if you qualify for government financial aid, employer professional development funding, or private or public scholarships.

Are Online MBA Programs Respected?

Online MBA Programs

Yes, accredited online MBA programs are respected. Many employers place high regard on MBA programs. This is partly due to the breadth of expertise that students can develop in various areas of business.

These various business areas can include accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, leadership, project management, and communication. Attending an MBA program that is regionally accredited can ensure the quality of your learning, whether you attend classes in-person or online.

Is an Online MBA Worth It?

Yes, an online MBA is worth it for many professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5% job growth for both management occupations and business and finance occupations over the next ten years.

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Common careers in these sectors include top executive, human resources manager, personal financial advisor, marketing manager, management analyst, budget analyst, logistician, and market research analyst.

Universities Offering the Most Affordable Online MBA Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

American Public University

American Public University campus

American Public University offers a Master of Business Administration. Those in active military service, members of the National Guard, and Reservists may take courses free of charge. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree. Once accepted, students can apply to transfer in a maximum of 15 qualifying credits.

APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Delta State University

Delta State University campus

Delta State University offers an online Integrated Master of Business Administration program that can typically be completed in 1 year. Students must complete 10 courses to graduate.

Delta State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Eastern New Mexico University

Eastern New Mexico University campus

Eastern New Mexico University offers a Master of Business Administration. Students are required to complete 30 credit hours to graduate.

Eastern New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville State University campus

Fayetteville State University offers a Master of Business Administration online degree program with 10 different concentrations. Students must complete 36 credit hours and a capstone project to graduate. The program can typically be completed in 2 years.

FSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University campus

Georgia Southern University offers an online Master of Business Administration. Students must complete 10 courses to graduate, and the program can typically be finished in 21 months. Applicants must submit GMAT scores and official transcripts with the online application.

Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Commission on Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Georgia Southwestern State University

Georgia Southwestern State University campus

Georgia Southwestern State University offers an online Master of Business Administration. The program can typically be completed in 2 years. Select students may also add an internship. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.7 and need to submit their GRE scores.

Georgia Southwestern State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Louisiana State University – Shreveport

Louisiana State University Shreveport campus

Louisiana State University—Shreveport offers a Master of Business Administration with 10 different areas to choose from, such as Accounting, Marketing, and Project Management. Each program requires students to complete 30 credit hours. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

LSUS is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Midwestern State University

Midwestern State University campus

Midwestern State University offers a Master of Business Administration online degree with 3 different concentrations: Accounting, Business Analytics, and Energy Management. There are scholarships given out by the school each year that students may apply for to help cover the costs to attend.

Midwestern State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges.

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University campus

Mississippi State University offers an online Master of Business Administration. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and need to submit GMAT or GRE scores received within the last 5 years.

Mississippi State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Missouri State University

Missouri State University campus

Missouri State University offers an online Master of Business Administration. Students must complete 34 credit hours to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must submit official transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores, and a resume with the graduate application.

Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University campus

Oklahoma State University offers an online Master of Business Administration. To graduate, students must complete 33 credit hours.

The program can be completed part-time and allows students to add a concentration in Business Sustainability. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree, 3 letters of recommendation, and GMAT or GRE scores.

Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Prairie View A and M University

prairie view a&m university-campus

Prairie View A&M University offers an online Master of Business Administration. Students must complete 36 credit hours to graduate and can add one of four concentrations to their degree: Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, or Management Information Systems. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.75 or higher.

Prairie View A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Southeastern Oklahoma State University campus

Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers a Master of Business Administration online with 14 different concentrations to choose from, such as Safety, Marketing, or Accounting. Each program requires students to complete 36 credit hours. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 from a bachelor’s degree.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern Arkansas University

Southern Arkansas University campus

Southern Arkansas University offers an online Master of Business Administration. The program requires the completion of 30 to 34 credit hours to graduate and can typically be completed in 2 years. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Southern Arkansas University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Tarleton State University

Tarleton State University campus

Tarleton State University offers a Master of Business Administration online program.

Students must complete 30 credit hours to graduate and have the option to take a fast track version of the program where courses are 8 weeks long instead of 16. Those interested in the program must submit a personal essay, official transcripts, and test scores.

Tarleton State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Texas A and M University

Texas A & M University - Commerce campus

Texas A&M University offers a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Management. The program can typically be completed in 15 months. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher from an undergraduate degree and need to submit official transcripts and a resume.

Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Central Arkansas

University of Central Arkansas campus

The University of Central Arkansas offers an online program for a Master of Business Administration.

Students must complete 30 credit hours to graduate. A concentration in Finance, Health Care Administration, Information Management, or International Business may be added. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.7, 2 letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

The University of Central Arkansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Hartford

University of Hartford campus

The University of Hartford offers an online program for a Master of Business Administration. Students must complete 36 credit hours to graduate. The program offers 11 different concentrations to add to the degree. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary schools and GMAT scores.

The University of Hartford is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Houston – Victoria

University of Houston Victoria campus

The University of Houston—Victoria offers an online program for a Master of Business Administration. Students may choose to add one of five concentrations, such as Marketing or Finance, to their degree. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and must have taken a class in statistics.

The University of Houston-Victoria is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Mississippi

University of Mississippi campus

The University of Mississippi offers an online Master of Business Administration. The program requires students to complete 36 credit hours to graduate.

Online students are not eligible for scholarships but may apply for loans. Applicants must submit official transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores, a statement of purpose, and 2 letters of recommendation.

The University of Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of North Carolina – Pembroke

University of North Carolina Pembroke campus

The University of North Carolina—Pembroke offers an online program for a Master of Business Administration. The program can typically be completed in 12 months. Students may choose to add one of six concentrations offered to their degree. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Scranton

University of Scranton campus

The University of Scranton offers a Master of Business Administration. The online program requires students to complete 36 credit hours in 2 years. Those interested in the program must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, 3 years of professional experience, 3 letters of reference, and a statement of intent.

The University of Scranton is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of South Dakota

University of South Dakota campus

The University of South Dakota offers an online Master of Business Administration. Students may choose to add one of five concentrations to their degree. To graduate, 33 to 51 credit hours must be completed. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.7 and need to submit GMAT or GRE scores and 3 letters of recommendation.

The University of South Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Tennessee – Chattanooga

University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus

The University of Tennessee—Chattanooga offers an online Master of Business Administration program. Students may choose to attend the program part-time or full-time. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.7 or higher from a bachelor’s degree program.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of the Cumberlands

University of the Cumberlands campus

The University of the Cumberlands offers an online Master of Business Administration with a number of concentrations to add. Discounts are available for qualifying veterans or those in the military. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and need to submit official transcripts.

The University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your MBA Online

Getting Your MBA Online

If you have a keen interest in business and are looking to develop expertise in different areas—such as finance, human resources, marketing, and leadership—then you might consider earning an MBA online.

An online MBA program may allow you to earn your degree according to your own schedule. Some programs offer accelerated or part-time courses, depending on your availability.

If you’re ready to advance your education and expertise with an online MBA, you can start by exploring accredited universities that offer your desired concentration.

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Brenda Pyzik
WRITTEN BY
Brenda Pyzik
Brenda has a bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Waterloo, with a minor in legal studies. She obtained a graduate certificate in human resource management from Georgian College. Brenda focuses on employment, business, and training and development.