Higher education is thriving in colleges and universities in Kentucky, thanks in no small part to educators’ efforts spent making college degrees more convenient and affordable through online programs. For an idea of what opportunities there are to earn a bachelor’s degree online in Kentucky, here’s a look at what three schools in the state have to offer:

Northern Kentucky University

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 8
  • Fields Offered: Communication, Criminal Justice, Integrative Studies, Organizational Leadership, Business Informatics, Health Science, Library Informatics, Nursing
  • Accreditor: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Northern Kentucky University uses the Blackboard online course management system for its eight online bachelor’s degree programs, which are all 100% online, although the business informatics degree may require some prerequisite courses for admission that cannot be taken online. Each requires a minimum of 120 credits for graduation and while completion times vary, some degrees can be obtained in as little as 18 months. The school recommends students complete the online learning readiness quiz to assess whether the format is a fit for their lifestyles and preferred learning styles.

University of Louisville

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 5
  • Fields Offered: Justice Administration, Communication, Nursing, Organizational Leadership
  • Accreditor: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

The University of Louisville offers degree completion programs through online learning. These are designed so that students can complete the first two years of course work through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System with the Kentucky Virtual Campus and then transfer to UofL with a completed associate degree. Applicants from all backgrounds are still encouraged to apply though, as students can transfer credits from any regionally accredited university and have some or all of the credit applied to their degree program following review.

Online students are taught by the same faculty as UofL’s on-campus students. The school uses Blackboard for its online learning environment. Students can access their course materials and interact directly with their instructors and classmates using the virtual course delivery system. Students can also access distance learning library services for research assistance, remote access to electronic databases, and to receive library resources not available immediately online.

Western Kentucky University

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 9
  • Fields Offered: Healthcare, Family and Consumer Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies, Organizational Leadership, Sociology, IT, Business
  • Accreditor: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Western Kentucky University offers more than 50 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs 100% online. At the bachelor’s level, students can earn degrees in family and consumer sciences, sociology, computer information technology, interdisciplinary studies, and organizational leadership. Bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene, business administration, and technology management are also offered as degree completion programs, wherein students graduating from a technical school with a certificate or associate degree can enter Western on a 2+2 basis. Similarly, Western offers an RN to BSN, in which registered nurses can complete the requirements for the baccalaureate of science in nursing degree online.

Western uses Blackboard as its online learning environment. New students can attend an orientation for online learners to better understand distance education as a whole and become familiar with Blackboard. Through this system, students have access to course materials, including quizzes and assignments, and can connect with their classmates and instructors. Online students also have access to library, career, tutoring, and disability services.

Higher Education in Kentucky

The most comprehensive guide to online bachelor degree programs in Kentucky is provided by the Kentucky Virtual Campus. This distance learning initiative provides a catalog of hundreds of online degree programs, from the associate to the doctoral levels, offered by nearly 40 colleges and universities in the state. Members include two major research institutions ó the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, both of which are ranked among the top universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report, as well as the state’s network of community and technical colleges, which provide opportunities to earn associate degrees online and then seamlessly transfer into an online baccalaureate program.

The state has been working to improve its distance learning offerings through its “Stronger by Degrees” strategic agenda. So far, through this initiative, the state has implemented Learn on Demand, a learning model for adult students that allows them to enroll at any time at their own pace, as well as earn credit for prior knowledge. The state further aims to support course redesign and other online program innovations and provide virtual advising services for students in its Learn on Demand programs.


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