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Campus: Phoenix, Arizona / National Locations

Type: Private, Faith Based

Accreditation: ACBSP

Base Program Cost: $30,250

Per Credit Hour: $560

Minimum Credit Hours: 54

GMAT Required: No

Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

Online Concentrations: Generalist/Electives, EMBA, Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Leadership (Dual Degree), Accounting, Finance, Health Systems Management, Leadership, Marketing, Strategic Human Resource Management

On Campus Requirements: No

Learn More: Online MBA Overview


Grand Canyon University has been offering faith-based educational programs since 1949, when it was started by the Baptist General Convention of Arizona as a school for preachers. Its educational offerings have expanded greatly since then with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in various fields, including education, nursing and health sciences, business, liberal arts and and fine arts. GCU began emphasizing online program offerings in 2004 including an online master’s degree in business administration designed for working professionals.


GCU has been accredited since 1968 by the Higher Learning Commission, which began accrediting degree-granting postsecondary educational institutions within the North Central region in 1895. The commission is one of two members of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the country. The association is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a reputable evaluator of postsecondary institutions’ educational quality. Several of GCU’s business programs within the Ken Blanchard College of Business are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, including the Master of Business Administration and Executive Master of Business Administration.


GCU offers the following MBA options:

  • Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Science in Leadership
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): Emphasis in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): Emphasis in Finance
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): Emphasis in Strategic Human Resource Management
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): Emphasis in Health Systems Management
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): Emphasis in Leadership
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): Emphasis in Marketing
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): Emphasis in Government and Policy
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): Emphasis in Health Care Management

Designed with working professionals in mind, these degree programs broaden students’ knowledge of business functions and further develop their technical, human and conceptual skills. Students receive a strong business foundation through courses such as Leadership and Organizations, Accounting Practices, Finance Principles, Applied Business Probability and Statistics, Marketing Management, Quantitative Methods, Operations Management and Strategic Management. In addition to core courses, students will be required to complete courses specific to their chosen emphasis to develop their expertise within that area.

Student Life

An online education from GCU means a flexible schedule that allows students to determine when and where they will work on their degree. Even though there are still deadlines to meet and assignments to turn in, classes conducted on a virtual campus can be accessed at any time that is convenient for the student. Students complete two courses per semester, each lasting eight weeks, resulting in a total of six credit hours. As each course syllabus and all assignments are provided on the first day of class, it is up to students to decide whether they want to maintain a steady pace or work ahead. GCU’s only stipulation is that students log into their classes at least four times each week to ensure they are receiving correspondence from their instructors. With a total graduate enrollment of 15,206 in fall 2009, according to College Navigator, you can rest assured that even though your virtual classroom consists of you and your computer, you are not alone in your graduate studies.


When applying for one of GCU’s MBA programs, students will be required to submit the following:

  • A completed application form from the school
  • An undergraduate transcript from a regionally accredited university
  • Proof of a minimum of two years full-time work experience
  • Proof of a cumulative GPA of at least 2.8

The undergraduate admissions for GCU was 100 percent in the fall 2010 term, according to the College Navigator, as all students who met the minimum requirements were granted admission. Admission for the school’s graduate business program will likely be tougher as the minimum requirements are higher than those of undergraduate programs. Those who wish to apply for the Executive Master of Business Administrative program are required to have at least five to seven years of management experience, a corporate sponsorship and complete an interview with the program director. Applicants are able to find out whether or not they have been admitted within a week, as it generally takes the admissions office about one to three days to process and review an application as well as to notify the candidate.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Depending on program and specialization, an MBA program at GCU can cost $30,250 for the entire program, according to the school’s 2012-2013 tuition and fees schedule. Aside from owning Microsoft Office Suite, there are no other materials or software that will be required to complete assignments, so students need not be concerned about spending additional money. According to GCU’s website, it has one of the lowest tuitions of online schools while offering small class sizes and qualified instructors.

Financial aid is available to all students attending GCU, including federal loans, grants and scholarships. MBA students can submit a FAFSA application for federal aid. Depending on students’ current employer, they may be able to get tuition reimbursement. GCU also offers scholarships for active duty or retired military or spouses, as well as scholarships specifically set aside for those taking online Christian classes. College Navigator reported that in the 2008-2009 academic year, 75 percent of GCU undergraduate students received federal student loans, 72 percent grant or scholarship aid and 42 percent Pell grants. Although these numbers were not reported for those enrolled in graduate school, they are likely to be similar for graduate students.

Why Grand Canyon University?

Not only is GCU an accredited institution that has been educating degree seeking students for more than six decades, but it’s dedicated to helping them reach their academic goals no matter where they are in life. This private, Christian university ensures that students get what they pay for and has been consistently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as being among the 100 Best College Buys.

Although various campus-based schooling opportunities are available at GCU’s main location in Phoenix, it’s the school’s online programs that attract students from all over the country. Advanced and emerging technologies have made it possible to adapt traditional programs to an online format while still keeping the same high educational standards. Classes may be virtual but they are still taught by professionals who have proven their expertise in teaching and research. Students will still find that they are surrounded by a community of fellow learners in which they can interact with to discuss academics, collaborate on assignments and participate in peer reviewed projects. Just like in traditional graduate programs, degrees can be completed in one and a half to two years depending on program, transfer credits and full-time or part-time enrollment.

According to College Navigator, full-time, first-time degree- or certificate-seeking students who began their studies at GCU in fall 2003 had a 42 percent overall graduation rate.

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