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Campus: Columbia, Missouri

Type: Private, Non-profit

Accreditation: HLC/NCACS

Base Program Cost: $12,240

Per Credit Hour: $340

Minimum Credit Hours: 36

GMAT Required: No

Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

Concentrations Available Online: Generalist / Electives

On Campus Requirements: No

School Site: Columbia College


Columbia College, which was founded in 1851, is a private, nonprofit, liberal arts and sciences institution with experienced faculty and challenging programs. The college was originally founded as Christian Female College and was the first women’s college west of the Mississippi River to be chartered. Columbia College became a four-year coeducational college in 1970. The college offers a wide variety of associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, including a master of business administration.


Columbia College has been accredited since 1918. It’s accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.  The Higher Learning Commission is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as being a reputable and reliable source of higher learning evaluation. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) works with schools to evaluate them on all aspects of the provided educational experience, such as class size, professor qualifications and degree programs. The North Central Association, a part of the HLC, is one of the six recognized regional accrediting bodies in the United States and approves universities in the north-central region of the country.


The MBA program at Columbia College has been developed to provide students with a balanced education derived from both theory and practice. The central focus of the program is to prepare working adults who are in the beginning stages of their careers to advance to positions of upper management using the knowledge and skills that they have learned through their graduate work. Much of the curriculum is focused on management development. Management styles and techniques are honed, and students are encouraged to explore new ways of approaching problems in a modern business.

There are no specific specializations within the MBA program, but all students must adhere to a rigorous and challenging curriculum that takes them through all aspects of business administration. In order to meet their degree requirements, students must include common core courses and integrate foundation courses, completing a total of 36 semester credit hours. Most students are urged to complete foundation courses within the first 18 hours of their course work. Required foundation courses include Decision Science for Business, Managerial Accounting and Managerial Finance. Required core courses include Information of Systems for Management, Business Communication Theory and Practice, Legal and Ethical Environment for Business, Organizational Theory and Practice, and International Business.

Student Life

One of the most unique things about an online education with Columbia College is that students may start and stop their course work at any time. Classes are provided in an ongoing manner and are asynchronous. This means that the classes are not held in real time, on set dates. Instead, all lectures are saved online and students can access them at any time. For each class, there is an ongoing online discussion among the students participating in each class at that time. So, students can access the discussion and receive feedback immediately, but they do not need to participate at any certain time. For example, if students begin a class and then, three weeks in, have a work obligation that takes them out of town, they could stop their course work and then pick up when things have settled down. Students can take a break from their courses for as long as needed and then start again at any time. All their information and credits earned are saved online. Methods of testing vary from instructor to instructor, and most online classes are developed by the same professors who teach at the college main campus, so online students are provided with just as high a quality of education as on-campus students.


To apply to the master of business administration program at Columbia College, students must submit the following:

  • A completed application form for graduate admission
  • $55 application fee
  • An undergraduate transcript from each accredited university attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement identifying how their goals correlate to the Columbia College MBA program

According to the College Navigator, Columbia College has an open admissions policy, meaning that, as long as students provide all the necessary materials for acceptance, they will most likely be able to participate in the program. Remote students who do not live near a Columbia College campus may apply online for admission, but students who live in the general vicinity of a college are encouraged to apply in person. Students should seek out letters of recommendation from professional or academic contacts, specifically people with whom they have worked closely and who can accurately outline the ways they have been prepared for graduate level work in a business context. To write the personal statement, students should consider their academic and career goals. It is always a good idea to include where you see your career in 20 years and how you think an education at Columbia College will help you reach those goals.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The tuition for the MBA degree program at Columbia College is $340 per credit hour. With students required to complete at least 36 hours in order to graduate, that works out to a total of $12,240 for the entire program. All materials are provided online, so students do not need to factor textbooks or other supplies into their education costs. There are some small fees that students may have to pay during the course of their education, such as a graduation fee of $120, a returned check fee of $25 and a transcript fee of $7.50. All students can apply for federal financial aid with the FAFSA. Students may also take out private loans to fund all or part of their schooling. The staff at Columbia College will help students identify the best payment plans and secure grants and loans. According to College Navigator, 94 percent of incoming freshmen receive some form of financial aid, although this includes only undergraduate, on-campus students.

Why Columbia College?

Columbia has been ranked in the top tier of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report for six years. Additionally, Columbia College is ranked 44th in U.S. News’ category of “Best Universities-Master’s” in the Midwest region.

The college operates under the following values: student centrism, lifelong learning, ethics and citizenship, flexibility and innovation, quality and improvement, civility and respect, and environmental and fiscal stewardship. These values all come together to create a well-rounded and future-oriented MBA program.

The MBA program at Columbia College is flexible because classes are not given at scheduled times. So all graduate students have the ability to start and stop their course work at any time. This gives working professionals the opportunity to balance their career and daily obligations without worrying about falling behind on their work.

Columbia College was named by the publication Military Advanced Education as setting the gold standard for aiding men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. The school provides a wide range of benefits and financial support to active and veteran members of the U.S. military.

According to the College Navigator, Columbia college has a 42 percent graduation rate for undergraduate students and a retention rate of 59 percent for full-time students and 46 percent for part-time students. This data reflect only undergraduate students attending on-campus classes.

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