Best Online MBA Programs in North Carolina

Getting an online MBA can be the exciting next step in your career. Keep reading to find out about the best online MBA programs in North Carolina and to learn about the many specializations available.

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most popular master’s degree to earn with employers eagerly hiring new MBA grads as quickly as they become available. If you’ve ever thought about getting your MBA, there may never be a better time than now.

This guide introduces you to numerous quality online MBA programs in North Carolina currently offered by some of the top schools in the state. It tells you how to choose the right online MBA program for you, pay for your program, and tailor your studies to your interests through specialization. You’ll also learn what you can expect in the job market once you’ve earned your MBA.

Top Online MBA Programs in North Carolina in 2022

To help you start your search for an online MBA in North Carolina, five of the very best programs available in the state are spotlighted below. Elements like accreditation, affordability, learning flexibility, curriculum options, and access to useful student support services were used to determine the top programs for 2022.

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About the ranking
1
Type:
Public
Cost:
$9,095

The Professional Online MBA program at North Carolina State University at Raleigh offers study convenience through two study plan options. The Accelerated Plan features an intensive 21-month course of study that is recommended for students with quick completion time as their top priority. The Flexible Plan offers students generous leeway in setting their own study pace, making it a good choice for working professionals. Students in the Flexible Plan have up to six years to complete their degrees. 

All degree requirements in this 40-credit-hour program can be completed entirely online in an asynchronous format except for two, three-day, in-person residencies on NC State’s Raleigh campus. The first residency is completed during the first semester of study and the second sometime before graduation. Students on active military duty may waive the in-person residencies by completing additional elective courses. Students can focus their studies in one or more business subfields through their elective courses. Both fall and spring starts are available.

Program Highlights:

Credits: 40

Length: 21 months to 6 years

Cost: $1,317.79/credit (resident); $2,411.74/credit (non-residents). 

Format: Partially-online.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (school); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (program)

Specialization Options:

Through electives

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
2
Greensboro, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$5,219

Affordability and customized study are major highlights of the online Master of Business Administration program offered by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Students have several options for tailoring their coursework to suit their unique business interests, including seven specializations. They can also add an online graduate certificate in one of over a dozen business-related subjects through one extra course.

All courses in this 45-credit-hour program are online in an asynchronous format. Students with five or more years of work experience can complete all requirements with no on-campus visits. Students with less than five years of work experience must attend a three-day orientation Basecamp on UNC’s Greensboro campus. Early Career students are also required to complete a 180-hour summer internship. 

Admission requirements for UNCG’s online MBA program include a bachelor’s degree in any major from an accredited college or university, a current resume, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a 60-second introductory video. 

Program Highlights:

Credits: 45

Length: 18+ months

Cost: $489.94/credit (residents); $779.88/credit (outside NC); $1,252.06/credit (non-NC residents)

Format: Fully-online; Partially-online 

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (school); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (program)

Specialization Options:

  • Business Analytics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Finance
  • Information Technology
  • International Business
  • Marketing
  • Supply Chain Management

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
3
Greenville, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$4,749

Students in the Master of Business Administration program at East Carolina University can earn their degrees entirely on-campus, fully online through asynchronous courses, or through a hybrid approach. The curriculum consists of 33 to 54 credit hours divided into three categories: seven foundational and eight common body of knowledge courses plus three graduate certificate/elective courses. Foundation courses can be waived with previously-completed undergraduate coursework. 

Students can tailor their studies to include a specialized area of the business field by earning an optional graduate certificate in one of five subjects through their choice of elective courses. Some certificates require on-campus class attendance. Students may also forego a certificate and simply select the electives that interest them most. 

Admission requirements include GMAT or GRE test scores, which may be waived for students with five or more years of work experience or those meeting other waiver criteria. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and students can begin in the fall, spring, or summer.

Program Highlights:

Credits: 33 to 54

Length: 2+ years

Cost: $414.72/credit (resident); $1,145.22/credit (non-residents)

Format: Fully-online; Partially-online

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (school); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (program)

Specialization Options:

  • Development and Environmental Planning
  • Healthcare Management (fully-online)
  • International Management
  • Security Studies (fully-online)
  • Sport Management

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
4
Cullowhee, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$4,435

Western Carolina University offers a hybrid Master of Business Administration program designed to prepare graduates to be “business ready” through engagement with businesses in the Western Carolina region via internships, guest speakers, business tours, networking opportunities, etc. Students taking two courses each semester attend two online classes Monday through Thursday evenings and usually one in-person session every other week. In-person sessions are held at WCU’s Biltmore Park location in Ashville. The 36-credit curriculum consists of 27 credits of core required coursework and nine credits of elective courses. Students can select three elective courses in the same subject to create a specialization. 

Application requirements include a bachelor’s degree, a resume, a goal statement, and three letters of recommendation. GMAT or GRE test scores are also required. However, test score requirements may be waived for applicants who already have graduate degrees or work experience.

Program Highlights:

Credits: 36

Length: 16 to 32 months 

Cost: $408.93/credit (resident); $1,037.10/credit (non-resident) 

Format: Partially-online.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (school); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (program)

Specialization Options:

  • Accounting 
  • Construction Management
  • Engineering Technology
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Health Care Administration
  • Non-Profit Management
  • Professional and Technical Writing
  • Project Management
  • Sport Management

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
5
Boone, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$4,839

The Online Master of Business Administration program at Appalachian State University is a 36-credit program presented in a fully-online format with synchronous classes and asynchronous coursework. Students typically take two courses each semester in each of the fall, spring, and summer sessions, which allows them to complete the program in two years. However, students can move through the curriculum at a faster or slower pace. A specialization in interdisciplinary business is available. All students are required to take at least one course, which can be fulfilled through an optional faculty-led study abroad program, with an international focus. 

Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in any major from a regionally-accredited college or university and either GMAT or GRE test scores. Test waivers are available for applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 3.6 or higher, an undergrad GPA of 3.0 or higher and five years of professional work or military experience, or membership in the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society.

Program Highlights:

Credits: 36

Length: 2+ years

Cost: $504.22/credit (resident); $1,338.11 (non-resident) 

Format: Partially-online.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (school); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (program)

Specialization Options:

  • Interdisciplinary Business

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
6
Wilmington, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$4,719

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
7
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$3,438

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
8
Durham, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$4,740

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
9
Pembroke, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$4,280

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
10
Salisbury, North Carolina
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$3,594

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
11
Greensboro, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$4,745

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
12
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$10,552

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Implied no
Accreditation SACSCOC
13
Boiling Springs, North Carolina
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$9,000

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
14
Montreat, North Carolina
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$9,036

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
15
Hickory, North Carolina
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$11,700

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
16
Buies Creek, North Carolina
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$14,003

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
17
Durham, North Carolina
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$57,900

School Services

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC

A major feature of many MBA programs is a specialization or concentration that allows students to focus their studies on a specific area of business to make themselves more marketable to employers and better prepared for a specific career. Six of the most popular specializations currently offered by North Carolina online MBA programs are detailed below along with links to some of the programs offering them.

Business/Data Analytics

Students opting for the business/data analytics specialization are prepared to provide their companies with a greater competitive advantage through improved product distribution and supply chain management optimization. Students gain advanced knowledge and skills in subjects like business analytics, data analytics, statistics, modeling techniques, big data and web intelligence, and analytics software applications.

Fayetteville State University (Online)

North Carolina Central University (Online)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Online)

Entrepreneurship

A very popular choice among MBA students today, the entrepreneur specialization is designed for MBA students intent on turning their own business concepts into viable and successful ventures. Students gain valuable knowledge and skills in entrepreneurial finance, marketing, intellectual property protection, short-term and long-term organizational decision making, conflict resolution, team building, and much more.

Fayetteville State University(Online)

University of North Carolina at Wilmington (Online)

Western Carolina University(Online; Campus)

Finance

One of the most popular of all MBA specializations, the finance specialization prepares graduates for careers in corporate finance, investment banking, private equity, venture capital, and more. Common course topics include investment management, securities analysis, financial institutions, financial statement analysis, healthcare finance, real estate investment, and global finance.

University of North Carolina at Pembroke (Online)

Wake Forest University(Online)

University of North Carolina at Greensboro(Online)

Healthcare Administration/Management

MBA graduates choosing this specialization are among the most sought after by employers in one of the hottest professional fields, especially in North Carolina, home of several major national healthcare services providers. Healthcare administration and management students gain skills in all facets of healthcare services leadership through courses in healthcare systems, healthcare analytics, human resources, finance, and legal and ethical issues in healthcare services.

East Carolina University (Online)

University of North Carolina at Pembroke (Online)

University of North Carolina at Wilmington (Online)

Leadership/Strategic Management

Students in leadership and strategic management specializations develop a full range of analytical, time management, organizational leadership, and client management skills. Course subjects include corporate strategy, business modeling, managerial decision-making, diversity leadership, innovation management, and more. Leadership specializations are a great choice for anyone seeking top executive and other senior leadership positions with corporations as well as those interested in becoming independent business consultants.

North Carolina Wesleyan University (Online)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Online)

Wake Forest University (Online)

Marketing

A marketing concentration prepares students to manage all aspects of an organization’s marketing of its goods and services. Students gain an advanced understanding of advertising, branding, communications, consumer behavior, new technologies, and more. Course topics include marketing strategy and tools, digital marketing analytics, global marketing, healthcare marketing, brand management, and product packaging.

North Carolina Central University (Online)

University of North Carolina at Wilmington (Online)

University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Online)

Frequently Asked Questions About Earning your MBA Online in North Carolina

What is the average cost of an MBA program in North Carolina?

Tuition rates for online MBA programs in NC run approximately $18,000 to $60,000. That’s just for tuition alone, though. Your total program cost will be higher after adding in program fees, which can be substantial and sometimes double total program price tags. Several other common factors impact program cost. These include:

  • Public vs. private schools: private colleges and universities tend to charge higher tuition rates than public ones.
  • School reputation: tuition rates for UNC schools are significantly higher than those for other NC public schools.
  • Study pace: per semester fees, for example, add up for part-time students.
  • Resident status: some public schools charge a higher tuition rate to out-of-state residents.

In addition, tuition rates can be deceiving since total credit requirements vary by program. It’s also important to factor in all financial aid resources you’ll receive before calculating your program’s actual bottom line.

What does an MBA admissions process in North Carolina look like?

Admission and application requirements, including application deadlines, vary from program to program. However, you’ll find several requirements that are identical or similar to the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree: Most North Carolina online MBA programs accept any major.
  • Undergrad GPA: Commonly a minimum of 3.0, but minimums do vary.
  • Current CV or resume.
  • Letters of recommendation: Two or three are common.
  • Personal essay and/or statement of purpose: Discusses the applicant’s academic and professional goals.
  • Admission exam scores: The GMAT or GRE is typically required, but exceptions are common.

The admissions requirements for UNC Charlotte’s hybrid MBA offer a good example of the requirements for most North Carolina MBA online programs.

How quickly can I earn an online MBA in North Carolina?

It will depend on the specific program and, more importantly, your study pace. Many programs offer both full-time and part-time options, and many of those part-time options are open-ended to a point. Programs with generous completion times all have a stated maximum program length. For example, NC State at Raleigh’s Professional MBA program allows up to six years for students to complete all degree requirements. Full-time students can expect to complete their MBA studies in 18 to 24 months while part-time students typically take 33 to 38 months to earn their MBAs.

Is the GMAT required to get into an MBA program in North Carolina?

Most online MBA programs in NC require GMAT and/or GRE admission test scores as part of the admissions process. There are many exceptions, however. Examples of programs with no admission test score requirements include the NC State at Raleigh and UNC Greensboro programs and the MBA program at North Carolina Wesleyan University.

Programs that do require GMAT/GRE scores typically also provide waivers for applicants that meet stated criteria. For example, the online MBA program at UNC Chapel Hill waives the requirement for students with five years of full-time work experience, and the online MBA programs at UNC Pembroke waive the requirement for applicants with either a 3.0 or better undergrad GPA or a master’s degree.

In North Carolina, what is the ROI on an MBA vs a bachelor’s degree in business?

There are many ways to calculate ROI for an MBA degree. One way is to compare total income figures for an occupation typically held by someone with an MBA with those for an occupation that would typically require only a bachelor’s degree.

According to recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for marketing managers in North Carolina, a job often held by an MBA graduate, is $141,600. In comparison, the annual mean wage for a marketing specialist, a job that might be held by someone with only a business bachelor’s, is $71,510. That’s $70,000 more per year for marketing managers over marketing specialists in the state. After subtracting the cost of their MBA program, which we’ll put at $80,000 for illustration purposes, that means throughout a 40-year career the marketing manager would earn an additional $2.7 million – over 95% more – than the marketing specialist with only a bachelor’s degree.

What accreditations should I look for in an online MBA program in North Carolina?

Programmatic accreditation of MBA programs in the U.S. is provided by three accrediting agencies. The best known is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The other two are the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Most online MBA programs in NC are accredited by one of these three.

Regardless of programmatic accreditation, all the North Carolina colleges and universities offering online MBA programs mentioned in this guide are institutionally accredited by one of several U.S. Department of Education recognized independent regional and national agencies. Information on current institutional and MBA program accreditation status can typically be found on program webpages.

Financial Aid and Scholarships for MBA Students in North Carolina

Cost is a major concern for all college students, and North Carolina MBA students are no exception. Fortunately, there are several financial aid resources available to qualifying North Carolina MBA online students, including the types you’re probably already aware of, such as scholarships, grants, work study opportunities, assistantships, employer tuition reimbursement, and the ever-popular student loan like those available through the Federal Student Aid program. Visit OMD’s financial aid, scholarships, and employer tuition reimbursement guides to learn more about funding your online MBA program in NC.

Here are examples of five scholarships offered by North Carolina schools specifically for their MBA students:

Breazeale-King Professional Development Award

Caring Touch Home Health Scholarship – MBA

Jenkins MBA Scholarship

MBA Alumni Scholarship

MBA Enhancement Scholarships

Salary Potential for MBA Grads in North Carolina

Salaries for MBA graduates in the U.S. and around the world are strong and getting stronger. For example, PayScale puts the current average base salary for MBA holders in the U.S. at $92,000, which only includes the base salary and not other common forms of compensation like bonuses. The chart below gives you a better idea of what North Carolina professionals with MBAs earn. Keep in mind, though, that how much you’ll make depends on several factors, such as where you live in the state, your actual job title, and how many years you’ve worked as a business professional.

Job Growth Rate (2020-2030) Average Annual Openings (2020-2030) Annual Mean Wage (2021)

Computer and Information Systems Managers

24.0%

2,030

$152,040

Financial Managers

24.6%

1,840

$161,720

General and Operations Managers

15.5%

6,390

$117,130

Marketing Managers

15.4%

890

$141,600

Medical and Health Services Managers

34.0%

1,300

$121,430

Sources: Projections Central;Bureau of Labor Statistics

Resources for Online MBA Students and Professionals in North Carolina