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Last updated on August 29th, 2023.

The University of Alabama is the state’s oldest public university, established in 1820, with the first students enrolling in 1831. The main campus is in Tuscaloosa, and there are satellite campuses around the state. But did you know that UA also has a virtual presence and offers a variety of online degree programs?

The top University of Alabama online degree programs are the Master’s of Science in Nursing, the Master’s of Art in Education, and the Master’s of Science in Engineering. Students receive the same degree as main campus students and have the same access to financial aid and other resources.

For those who prefer distance learning or whose life situation doesn’t fit with a brick-and-mortar college experience, earning a degree from the University of Alabama Online is just the answer. Read on to learn more about UA Online and the top online degree programs they have to offer.

Article Topics

Does the University of Alabama Have an Online Program?

The University of Alabama offers an extensive list of online degree programs. With over 70 bachelor’s, master’s, specialists, and doctoral degrees to choose from, there is something for everyone. There are 15 different areas of study and multiple degrees within each subject area.

  • Business
  • Child Development
  • Community Health Sciences
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Financial Planning
  • General/Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Healthcare and Nutrition
  • Hospitality Management
  • Library and Information Studies
  • Nursing
  • Social Work

Is the University of Alabama Online Legit?

The University of Alabama Online is legit. It has been recognized as a leader in online education. In 2021 alone, UA Online earned 11 commendations from the US News and World Report college ranking survey.

The University of Alabama itself is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This accreditation allows the university to award credits towards a UA degree through its online department.

The UA Online Bachelor’s degree program ranks a respectable 152 out of 337 schools (US News and World Report), and 86th for bachelor programs for veterans.

About the University of Alabama Online

The University of Alabama Online started as a correspondence course many years ago and has evolved into what it is today: a sophisticated, technology-driven pathway to earning the same UA diploma that a traditional, on-campus student receives. Same coursework, same professors, same degree—the only difference is how instruction takes place.

Class Formats

Online students will find that there are three primary formats for coursework. They may use one or more of these formats, at different times and depending on their specific degree program.

  • Online Course: Communication with professors or other classmates, as well as completion of coursework, goes through Blackboard, an online platform that facilitates all this interaction.
  • Video Streaming: Class lectures are recorded then streamed over the internet at a later time. Virtual students do assignments just like in-person students.
  • Hybrid: The hybrid model combines the use of Blackboard and video streaming to deliver course content.

Degrees and Diplomas

Even though course content is delivered differently from in-person students, students in the UA Online degree programs receive the same degree and diploma. There is no “online” designation, and online participants are invited to participate in graduation exercises alongside their in-person counterparts.


Online students pay a flat tuition rate per credit hour, no matter if they are in-state or out-of-state. Additional fees may include specific course fees or exam proctoring fees.


Online students have the same access to academic resources as main campus students. Most of these are offered in-person and online. Commonly used resources include:

  • Library Services
  • Tutoring
  • Writing Center
  • Career Center

Where to Get More Info about the University of Alabama Online

For the best information about the University of Alabama’s online programs, the perfect place to start is the University of Alabama website. On the main page of the site, scroll down to find a link to UA Online.

Here you’ll find links to degree and non-degree programs, as well as information on tuition and how to apply. For veterans and veteran spouses, there is a separate military link on the UA Online page that addresses the specifics for those coming in with a military background.

The Top 3 University of Alabama Online Degree Programs

US News and World Report is well-known for its annual university rankings, which give potential students an idea of the quality of the degree program they’re interested in.

The following factors are weighted differently depending on the program of study:

  • Engagement
  • Faculty Credentials and Training
  • Expert Opinion
  • Services and Technologies
  • Student Excellence

Master’s in Nursing

Overall, UA Online’s Master’s in Nursing (MSN) program ties for #17 out 173 in the US News rankings. It is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. About 200 students were in the program in 2020.

The MSN program is geared to those who are already licensed; 94% of graduate-level nursing students are currently working in the field. In fact, RN licensure is required for admission to the MSN program.

Within the MSN program, there are three primary avenues to the MSN degree:


The RN to BSN or MSN path is available to those with experience and hold an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. Even though a practicum is a required component, this online-only program is still a quick way to an advanced nursing degree.

For those who want a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and plan to pursue a Master’s too, this degree program allows the student to apply to the graduate program while finishing up the BSN requirements. One flows right into the other, with the BSN awarded in the final semester after all requirements are completed, and the MSN awarded once the graduate-level coursework is finished.

Family Nurse Practitioner

The nurse practitioner degree provides graduates the opportunity to take their nursing skills to a higher level—to diagnose and treat common diseases and ailments. In 2020, Alabama’s MSN was ranked as 9th best for online MSN Nurse Practitioner programs.

This is primarily a virtual program but offers a mix of online classes and in-person clinical experiences.

Nursing Administration

Nursing administrators provide leadership and deal with policy and big-picture ideas within the healthcare setting. The MSN of Nursing Administration was ranked 12th in 2020 against comparable programs. Its faculty boasts members who have made an impact on the profession around the nation, making them excellent mentors for MSN students.

Master’s in Education

The University of Alabama is well-known for its Master’s of Arts (MA) in Education online degree program, ranking 21 out of 196 schools. The UA Master’s in Special Education comes in at # 12 overall, while the M.Ed for veterans ranks # 8 of all similar programs.

With 245 students, the Master’s of Arts in Education program received especially high marks for student/faculty engagement and faculty credentials and training. Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE), these master’s level coursework requires a bachelor’s level teaching certificate. Some even require two or more years of teaching experience.

One of the best things about this M.Ed program is that it can usually be finished in 18 to 24 months. Because the classes are primarily online, students can continue teaching or working while completing the graduate degree. A practicum is typically a required component of these programs but can still be managed and coordinated with a student’s full-time job.

Graduate degrees are offered in several focused areas of education for online students:

According to the UA website, the Elementary Education degree program ranked 3rd for the Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education by in 2019.

For those interested in teaching at the secondary level, UA Online also offers certification in these specialty areas:

  • English for Speakers of Other Languages
  • English Language Arts 6-12
  • General Social Science 6-12
  • Reading Specialist P-12
  • Science 6-12
  • Gifted and Talented P-12

Master’s in Engineering

The Master’s in Engineering online degree program at the University of Alabama may be relatively small in the number of students (91), but that doesn’t affect the program’s quality. According to US News and World Report, compared to similar online degree programs, the UA Master in Engineering ties for #18.

Within this ranking, the program scores particularly high on a couple of indicators. The Services and Technologies score, which measures the availability of financial, technical, and vocational support for students, is 100. The Faculty and Credentials score, which measures how well faculty are trained to teach remotely, is a very high 96.

Two engineering programs are available to online students: Aerospace and Mechanical.

Aerospace Engineering

Known by its initials of MSAEM (Master’s of Science in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics), this online degree program is over 20 years old and has turned out many leaders in the field.

The courses are offered entirely online to make them attractive and feasible for working adults. However, live, in-person proctoring is required for all course exams. The total credits required for graduation are 30.

Mechanical Engineering

As a vital part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering (Link here) students work closely with ME faculty to research and study the latest, cutting-edge knowledge in these areas:

  • Acoustics and Vibration
  • Biomechanics
  • Computational Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer
  • Computer-aided Automation
  • CAD
  • Combustion
  • Design
  • Energy Conservation and Management
  • HVAC
  • Internal Combustion Engines
  • Manufacturing
  • Precision Engineering
  • Turbomachinery

To meet graduation requirements, students must take and pass a comprehensive exam. All the course exams must be taken with live, in-person proctoring. However, no thesis is required because this degree program is designed primarily for adults already out working in an industry or government job.

Master’s in business (Honorable Mention)

The online Master’s in Business degree program gets a nod as an honorable mention with its #31 ranking (excluding the MBA degree). Three courses of study are offered:

  • Management with a concentration in Global Business
  • Operations Management
  • Marketing (although not a dedicated marketing degree)


Online learning offers a convenient and affordable path to a college degree. This is true whether you’re pursuing your online bachelors degree, an online masters degree or even just an online certification to enhance your profession.  There are even opportunities in Ivy League schools such as through Harvard Online Courses. Attending the University of Alabama Online gives you the same options as a main campus student at Alabama, but without the added cost of on-campus living.

Now that you know about the University of Alabama’s online degree programs, isn’t it time you take that next step to get started in a career or advance it to the next level? Enrolling in one of the top 3 UA online degree programs—or one of several others—could change your life.

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