North Carolina is home to 151 degree-granting institutions of higher education, including prestigious universities like Duke University and the University of North Carolina. Several of these schools offer online MBA programs.

Like many other states across the nation, the number of online learners in North Carolina continues to grow. In 2015, 35.9% of students in the state were enrolled in at least one distance education course, which was higher than the national average. The expansion of online programs and courses gives distance learners access to the same professors and courses as their on-campus counterparts. The following guide outlines some popular concentrations and careers to help you choose the best online MBA in North Carolina.

Online MBA Programs in North Carolina

As North Carolina's economy grows, so too will the need for enterprising, business-savvy thinkers who can effectively lead an organization. The following list represents popular North Carolina online MBA programs.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
Appalachian State University
Location Boone , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 47 Student Population 18,295 Tuition $15,912 School Type Public

Appalachian State offers an online MBA degree through its full-time program in Boone and part-time programs in two locations. Students may concentrate in business analytics, economics, human resources, interdisciplinary business, international business, supply chain management, or sustainable business. Full-time learners can complete the program in as few as 12 months, and part-time learners finish in two years. Not all courses are available online; students should check with an admissions adviser when creating their degree plan.

To apply, prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and submit their GRE or GMAT scores. Candidates also must present evidence of knowledge in accounting, corporate finance, economics, marketing, organizational behavior, and statistics. All students have access to academic advising and help securing internships through the Walker College of Business.

This 36-credit North Carolina online MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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Campbell University
Location Buies Creek , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 75 Student Population 6,484 Tuition $27,380 School Type Private

Campbell University's online MBA program features courses that last eight weeks, with accelerated options available for those who want to finish within one year. Students who wish to attend part-time must complete coursework within 60 months. Core courses in the MBA program include advanced negotiation, project management, human resource management, and marketing research. The school offers concentrations in financial services and healthcare management. All students complete a 200-hour work experience through an internship or professional employment.

Eligible applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum 2.8 undergraduate GPA. They also must score at least 450 on the GMAT or 298 on the GRE General Test. Additionally, the program requires incoming students to possess at least two years of professional experience.

Campbell's Lundy-Fetterman School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

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East Carolina University
Location Greenville , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 57 Student Population 28,289 Tuition $12,342 School Type Public

Located in Greenville, East Carolina University delivers an online MBA program that features a hands-on format, with students taking part in projects in order to develop a firm understanding of how concepts learned in class apply to the business world. Of the program's 33-54 credits, seven foundational courses and eight "common body of knowledge courses" prepare the next generation of business leaders. Students also take three elective classes customized to their interests and career goals.

This North Carolina online MBA requires all incoming students to have a minimum 2.7 undergraduate GPA and a score of at least 450 on the GMAT. Those who fall short of these requirements may still secure admission, but they will need to meet strict GPA requirements as they progress through the program.

ECU's online MBA is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

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Fayetteville State University
Location Fayetteville , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 67 Student Population 6,104 Tuition $7,813 School Type Public

Fayetteville State University students interested in pursuing an MBA may take classes through UNC Online, a statewide network of online courses. For this degree, students may concentrate in entrepreneurship, finance, healthcare management, international business, management, marketing, or project management.

Once enrolled in this North Carolina online MBA, students take nine core courses and three to four electives focused on their interests and career goals. Learners also also complete a capstone project, where they implement concepts learned throughout the program. Most students graduate in one to two years.

Eligible applicants to FSU's online MBA program must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution with a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA. They also must score at least 400 on the GMAT. Those who don't meet these requirements may take up to four classes to demonstrate their ability to succeed in an MBA program. Applicants also must provide two letters of recommendation.

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Gardner-Webb University
Location Boiling Springs , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 40 Student Population 4,329 Tuition $19,800 School Type Private

Located in Boiling Springs, Gardner-Webb offers an online MBA program that emphasizes leadership, preparing students for a variety of careers in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. The program includes 30 credits of core courses in accounting, finance, logistics, marketing, and administration, along with six credits of electives. Students also must complete a capstone course focused on strategic management.

Once enrolled, students may select from concentrations in 12 areas, including forensic accounting, healthcare management, human resource management, international business, information systems management, and sports management. While students may take classes online, the program offers some in-person and hybrid courses.

The North Carolina online MBA program requires all incoming students to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution with a minimum 2.25 undergraduate GPA. Applicants also provide their GRE or GMAT scores, a professional resume, and two recommendation letters.

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Montreat College
Location Montreat , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 78 Student Population 1,008 Tuition $21,930 School Type Private

Through its School of Adult & Graduate Studies, Montreat College offers an online MBA that prepares students with the skills and knowledge they need to serve as effective business leaders. The 30-credit program enables students to concentrate their studies in innovation and entrepreneurship or cybersecurity management. The curriculum also builds communication and critical thinking skills.

Montreat's admission process requires two letters of recommendation; official GMAT scores; a current resume; and the completion of a graduate course in accounting, economics, finance, or statistics. Applicants also must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75.

Enrolled students engage in a variety of academic experiences, including courses in quality operations, leadership and communication, financial management, marketing strategy, and applied economics. In addition to distance learning, the MBA program offers in-person courses at the school’s Asheville and Charlotte campuses.

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North Carolina State University
Location Raleigh , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 42 Student Population 34,015 Tuition $44,920 School Type Public

North Carolina State's Jenkins professional online MBA program allows students to access all learning content through its WolfWare platform. The platform gives learners opportunities to interact with instructors and their peers in ways similar to a traditional classroom. The program offers both accelerated and flexible options, enabling students to complete their requirements in as few as 21 months or as many as six years.

While most classes take place online, the 40-credit North Carolina online MBA requires students to attend two, three-day residencies at the school's main campus in Raleigh. Distance learners have access to various resources, including a career management center, technical support, and a digital library.

Prerequisites for admission to NC State's online MBA include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, two years of professional experience, and a C grade or higher in a qualifying statistics course. Applicants also must provide their GRE or GMAT scores, a resume, and evidence of leadership and teamwork skills.

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Pfeiffer University
Location Misenheimer , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 75 Student Population 1,624 Tuition $23,580 School Type Private

Pfeiffer University's 36-credit online MBA allows full-time students to complete their degree in less than two years. The program's core courses focus on economics, organizational communication, managerial accounting, and strategic management. Students may concentrate in human resources management, international studies, leadership, or financial fraud investigations. In addition to the distance learning format, the program offers study abroad opportunities in Canada and Europe.

Eligible applicants to Pfeiffer's online MBA must possess a bachelor's degree from a four-year postsecondary institution and satisfactory GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores. Candidates also must submit three letters of recommendation. Prerequisites include coursework or demonstrated knowledge in accounting, microeconomics, macroeconomics, math, and statistics. Pfeiffer's MBA students may also seek a joint master's degree in strategic leadership or health administration.

This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

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Queens University of Charlotte
Location Charlotte , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 65 Student Population 2,286 Tuition $39,780 School Type Private

Queens University of Charlotte's 45-credit, 100% online MBA program allows students to concentrate in executive coaching, finance, healthcare management, or leadership and change. Most learners can graduate within two years, although students learn at their own pace based on their needs and schedule.

Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, this online MBA features core courses in leadership development, managerial accounting, marketing management, and strategic planning. Students may opt for an independent study experience during which they tackle a real-world challenge and develop a solution through a self-guided project.

To apply to this program at Queens University of Charlotte, prospective students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Those who do not meet this GPA requirement may still qualify for admission, but must submit their GRE or GMAT scores. Applicants also provide two reference letters, two personal essays, and a resume.

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University of Mount Olive
Location Mount Olive , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 74 Student Population 3,371 Tuition $20,520 School Type Private

The University of Mount Olive offers a 100% online MBA that features three start dates each year. The accelerated format uses seven-week course terms. An asynchronous schedule means students do not need to log into the online platform at specific times, an ideal format for working professionals. Once enrolled, students take courses in logistics, business planning, business law, managerial decision-making, and leadership and organizational behavior.

Admission requirements for this MBA program include a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Those who fall below this level may still apply by submitting a 500-word personal essay and a resume reflecting at least five years of relevant experience.

The UMO online MBA program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

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University of North Carolina
Location Chapel Hill , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 32 Student Population 29,084 Tuition $114,078 School Type Public

The University of North Carolina's online MBA program features concentrations in data analytics and decision-making, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, and strategy and consulting. Students may start the program at four points during the year. Through Global Immersions, MBA students may travel to cities worldwide to engage in weekend-long educational experiences, learning directly from diverse business managers and leaders while experiencing new cultures. Many students can complete the program in 18 months or less.

To apply to this MBA program, prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. They also must provide two letters of recommendation, three personal essays, and their official GRE or GMAT scores. After an initial round of reviewing applications, program staff conduct webcam interviews with those under consideration.

Kenan-Flagler Business School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Location Pembroke , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 67 Student Population 6,441 Tuition $8,306 School Type Public

University of North Carolina at Pembroke offers an accelerated online MBA program that allows students to graduate in as little as a year. The school offers a general MBA and concentrations in supply chain management, financial services, and business analytics. One of the program's most valuable electives gives students an in-depth look at tax laws and regulations, as well as how they affect business leaders and entrepreneurs when they plan and implement strategies. MBA students at UNC Pembroke may attend part- or full-time.

UNC Pembroke's prospective students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college with a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA. Those with undergraduate GPAs above 3.0 do not need to submit GRE scores.

All UNC Pembroke business programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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Why Consider an Online MBA in North Carolina?

The University of North Carolina System has 17 campuses across the state and houses the Kenan-Flagler Business School. North Carolina is also home to business schools at private universities, including Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

Prospective students should consider several factors when deciding where to pursue an online MBA program, such as curriculum, tuition costs, admissions requirements, and location. Additionally, students enrolled in an online MBA program can live in areas with lower costs of living while they pursue their degrees, rather than being confined to expensive neighborhoods near campus.

Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education (2015)

Undergraduate Graduate
Any Distance 180,340 21,428
Exclusively Distance 66,960 14,115
On-Campus 423,390 57,977
Source: Distance Education State Almanac

Distance Enrollment by Institution Type (2015)

All Students Graduate Students Enrolled in Any Distance
Private for-profit 16,703 1,546
Private not-for-profit 97,684 6,220
Public 448,055 13,662
Source: Distance Education State Almanac

MBA Concentrations for North Carolina Students

North Carolina is home to several key industries, including biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, healthcare, business and financial services, energy, information technology, furniture, plastics and chemicals, and textiles. Students pursuing an online MBA in North Carolina can make themselves more competitive within the state's economic landscape by completing a concentration aligned with one of these industries.

Many MBA programs in the state offer concentrations and specializations that mirror the hiring needs of employers, preparing graduates to enter the state's managerial workforce. The list below describes three MBA concentrations that can help students obtain a job in one of North Carolina's key industries after graduation.

  • Healthcare Administration: An MBA with a concentration in healthcare administration prepares learners to work in managerial positions in hospitals, physicians' offices, medical centers, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare facilities.
  • Corporate Finance: An MBA with a concentration in corporate finance explores topics like financial modeling, risk management, debt and equity issues, mergers and acquisitions, valuation, financial reporting and analysis, and other skills.
  • Operations Management: An MBA with a concentration in operations management prepares graduates for leadership positions associated with facilitating an organization's coordination of resources and delivery of goods and services.

Accreditation in North Carolina

The best online MBA programs in North Carolina are offered by accredited institutions. These schools have met strict academic and ethical standards set by quality control organizations known as accrediting bodies. Depending on the accrediting body that assesses a school, it can earn regional or national accreditation.

Most nationally accredited schools are for-profit vocational or technical institutions, while nonprofit schools typically earn regional accreditation. Of the two types, regional accreditation is generally considered more prestigious. Credits earned at a nationally accredited school are less likely to transfer than those from regionally accredited institutions. If you want to improve your career prospects with an online MBA, North Carolina is home to many regionally accredited institutions.

North Carolina Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

North Carolina has a diverse economic landscape in which MBA grads can establish and build their careers. The state is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Bank of America, Lowe's, Duke Energy, Nucor, and VF. In the energy sector, North Carolina has experienced growth in turbine manufacturing, fossil fuel power generation, and semiconductor manufacturing. In their information and technology sector, the state has attracted tech companies such as Google, Lenovo, Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM. The state also boasts a number of top hospitals, medical centers, and specialized healthcare facilities, many of which are among the largest employers in North Carolina.

All of the above industries require management personnel to coordinate staff and operational activities. Almost 200,000 individuals in North Carolina held management occupations in 2018, and this number is likely to grow in the coming years. For instance, the Bureaus of Labor Statistics projects that the number of healthcare executives and administrators in the U.S. will increase by 20% between 2016 and 2020, which is much faster than the average job in the country. This bodes well for North Carolina -- eight of its 10 largest employers are hospitals or medical facilities.

Company Location Main Industry Number of Employees
Wake Forest Baptist Health Winston Salem Healthcare 15,000
Carolinas Medical Center Charlotte Healthcare 12,184
Duke University Hospital Durham Healthcare 10,239
Source: Career One Stop

An online MBA can prepare graduates for dynamic and lucrative positions at healthcare facilities. General MBA coursework provides in-demand business management skills, while a concentration in healthcare administration explores regulations and issues specific to the health and health services industry. Some MBA programs also feature practicum experiences, which allow students to earn course credit for working under supervision in a management capacity.

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of North Carolina

Earning an online MBA in North Carolina can advance an individual's career and increase their earning potential. MBAs qualify candidates for higher-level positions within a company, which are often accompanied by a salary increase. An MBA can also expand an individual's job prospects -- many employers require and value employees with managerial skills. As the table below illustrates, graduates of business programs in North Carolina typically earn median annual salaries of $70,000-$80,000. MBA programs can also be a great opportunity for networking, and many employers recruit at well-known business schools.

Salary for Graduate Business Majors (2015)

Major Median Annual Salary
Business Management and Administration $73,000
General Business $79,000
Source: Center on Education and the Workforce

Careers for MBA Grads in North Carolina

Operations Manager

Operations managers coordinate and supervise an organization's production and delivery of goods or services, which may include purchasing, warehousing, and manufacturing. They manage budgets and balance operational costs, recruit and oversee staff, keep up with government regulations, and coordinate other operational details. These workers make a median annual salary of about $64,000.

Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare administrators and healthcare executives may be responsible for managing a specific clinical area or department, a small medical practice, or an entire facility. They work to improve the quality of health services delivery, train and supervise staff, manage finances and budgeting issues, organize patient records, and communicate with other administrators and staff. In 2018, the median annual wage for healthcare administrators was $99,730.

Finance Manager

Finance managers oversee the financial matters of a company or organization. They prepare business activity reports and financial forecasts, oversee other finance employees, review financial reports to reduce costs and maximize profits, and analyze market trends. In 2018, finance managers earned a median annual salary of $127,990.

Information Technology Manager

Information technology managers plan and direct activities related to computer systems and other technology within an organization. They may analyze a company's computer needs and design solutions, facilitate the installation of hardware and software, coordinate and supervise the work of other IT professionals, and determine long-term and short-term IT needs for a company. In 2018, IT managers made a median annual salary of $142,530.

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers devise and direct programs to generate interest in a company's goods or services. They work with other staff on budgeting issues, marketing plans, and coordinating advertising strategies. They also conduct market research and build promotional campaigns. In 2018, marketing managers earned a median annual salary of $134,290.

How to Choose an Online MBA in North Carolina

There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in North Carolina. These include factors discussed above like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school's strengths and weaknesses.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school's business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school's website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.

Online MBA Programs in Surrounding States

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