Established in 1837, Marshall University is a public, research institution located in Huntington. The school has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1928 and currently has an enrollment of more than 14,000 students. For those interested in the flexibility of online college courses, MU Online has more than 150 classes available. Fully online degree programs are also offered in areas such as education, mathematics, leadership, criminal justice, geography, and nursing. Students have the freedom to access course work at any time of the day, from any location they have Internet access, participating in group discussions, completing assignments, and receiving instructor feedback through the school’s state-of-the-art virtual learning platform.
Located in Beckley, Mountain State University currently serves more than 5,500 students. Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the school was originally established as a junior college in 1933, but achieved university status in 1991. In recent years, like many West Virginia colleges, the school has also taken advantage of technological advances and expanded their online education offerings. Distance education programs are available in biology, business, criminal justice, culinary arts, education, engineering, graphic design, health care, occupational health and safety, leadership, legal studies, nursing, psychology, social work, theatre, and wildlife management. The online bachelors degree programs at MSU were ranked among the top 50 schools for faculty credentials and training by U.S. News & World Report in 2011.
Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, West Virginia University is a public, land-grant institution located in Morgantown. Originally established as the Agricultural College of West Virginia in 1867, the school currently serves a student population of more than 29,000. In an effort to serve the diverse needs of a growing student body and combat overcrowding in classrooms, the school has also expanded their offerings through West Virginia University Online. Available areas of study include, but are not limited to, business, counseling, education, legal studies, nursing, public health, social work, and sport management. Individual online courses are also available for undergraduate students. U.S. News & World Report ranked WVU’s graduate-level business programs No. 27 for faculty credentials and training and No. 33 for student engagement and accreditation.
Students researching colleges in West Virginia will find there are number of online colleges and universities, as well as traditional universities offering online programs. This is an ideal opportunity for working adults or students who cannot regularly commute to campus to pursue further education when previously they had few options. Most online degree programs have an asynchronous format. This means students have the flexibility to log in at any time and from any place with Internet access. Typically, there are no scheduled times where students are required to log in to the virtual classroom. Please keep in mind, however, that some programs, depending on the specific area of study, may still have field work and on-campus components. While the majority of course work can be completed remotely, it is best to check with the school about what exactly is expected of online students in terms of offline work.
Mining, agriculture, chemical manufacturing, health care, and business services are major sectors in West Virginia’s economy. Some of the state’s largest employers include West Virginia United Health System, Charleston Area Medical Center, Consolidation Coal Company, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, and American Electric Power. Given the economic opportunities in the state, students who graduate with online degrees in business, engineering, or a health care-related field are likely to be in the best position to pursue careers with the area’s largest and best employers.