Illinois houses a number of distinguished colleges and universities, many of which have made inroads into online education in recent years. Although some limit their offerings to associates degrees and certifications, opportunities for earning bachelor’s degrees online can be found. The following three schools are a small sample of colleges offering the ability to earn bachelor’s degrees online:

University of Illinois Springfield

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 7
  • Fields Offered: Business, Computer Science, English, History, Liberal Studies, Mathematics, Philosophy
  • Accreditor: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)

The online education program at the University of Illinois Springfield awards bachelor’s degrees in business administration, computer science, English, history, liberal studies, mathematics, and philosophy. Each course has a Blackboard site but instructors determine the extent to which they use the system. Course material may be provided through video lectures, PowerPoint presentations, audio lectures, or a mixture of all three. Online students must meet the same admission requirements as on-campus students. Some online programs require students to complete prerequisite work or have a certain amount of college credit before beginning their major studies. To provide the best education in the most efficient manner, the University of Illinois Springfield online program partners with a number of other institutions, including Illinois Central College and Southwestern Illinois College. Online students may take online courses at these partner schools, if they are not offered at the University of Illinois Springfield.

University of St. Francis

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 5
  • Fields Offered: Business, Leadership, Management, Nursing
  • Accreditor: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)

The University of St. Francis’ offers five online bachelor’s degree options through its Adult Degree Completion Program in healthcare leadership, organizational leadership, management, and nursing. It also awards bachelor’s degrees in business administration, with emphases in entrepreneurship, management and leadership, managing human resources, marketing, and transportation and logistics management. The program was designed for working adults who have already earned a minimum of 64 semester hours. Students who are pursuing the online bachelor of science in nursing must already hold an associate’s degree and be licensed as a registered nurse (RN). A variety of course schedules are available for each degree for maximum scheduling flexibility.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 4
  • Fields Offered: Business, IT, General Studies
  • Accreditor: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)

Southern Illinois University offers courses, diplomas, and degrees in a variety subjects through its online division. Bachelor’s degree programs include accounting, business administration, information systems technologies, and university studies, and a bachelor of industrial technology is coming soon. The university studies major allows students to build their own bachelor of arts or bachelor of science program, customized to their unique needs and interests. Each online program has its own admission requirements, including prerequisite courses. Students will use the SalukiNet system to register and access course lectures and assignments. Students may also use this system to interact with peers and instructors, or they may use their university email account.

Higher Education in Illinois

Illinois is home to more than 40 private higher education institutions and 13 public colleges and universities. The Illinois Board of Higher Education counts among its goals for education in the state until 2018 ensuring college affordability, increasing access to education by minority groups, and developing more nursing programs initiatives, all of which can be met by increasing support for online education programs.

In addition to online degree programs in Illinois, several online education initiatives are taking place in the state. For example, a few universities are experimenting with the concept of the massive open online course (MOOC). Currently, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers four courses on the MOOC platform Coursera, with six more announced. It has also created its own website to serve as its home for MOOC updates and resources. The state board of education has also set up a virtual high school that allows students to complete AP courses for college credit online.


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