Business is by definition an expansive field that encompasses a broad range of enterprises, organizations, companies, and institutions throughout the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Managing businesses involves the coordinated activities of professionals who serve a number of discrete organizational functions and who have clearly differentiated, complementary skills in critical areas of finance and accounting; resource and personnel management; sales and marketing; operations and facilities oversight; corporate governance; law and ethics; analytics and IT systems; and more.
In order to cover the knowledge and training associated with the array of business management specializations, there are dozens of different degree programs in the field, offering instruction in areas like accounting, finance, communications, marketing, human resources, and organizational leadership. These programs are inherently multi-disciplinary. They may include coursework in mathematics and statistics; behavioral and organizational psychology; theories of economics and management; modes of communication; and media technologies. These programs may also target particular areas of business and management – for example, sports management, hospitality administration, and/or international business.
Weighing the options among various types of online business degree programs can be a complex and confusing process. Programs with similar curricula may have different names, and programs with similar names may have different curricula. In addition, there are masters in business administration (MBA) programs, which are offered through business schools, as well as non-MBA master’s programs that may be offered by business schools, schools of professional studies, or by other schools within a university. Understanding the distinctions between these different types of programs is an important part of finding an appropriate program.
OnlineEducation.com conducts independent research into online business degree programs and classifies them based on clear criteria. Programs are sorted and categorized by degree level (bachelor’s and master’s programs), and by subject matter or area of focus, which is based on a program’s curriculum rather than its name. In addition, programs are evaluated and categorized as online, hybrid, or campus-based, depending on the number of campus-visits they require. Programs that require more than two campus visits per year are considered hybrid or campus programs and are not currently included on the site.
Currently, OnlineEducation.com groups online business degree programs in the following categories:
Accreditation is the process by which colleges, universities, and individual schools within those institutions receive independent approval for the programs they offer, and it is an important benchmark for online degree programs. OnlineEducation.com only includes programs offered by accredited institutions. However, there are different accrediting bodies and different types of accreditation that can be important considerations when researching online business programs.
Regional accreditation is provided by seven organizations that form the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions:
In addition, many schools of business and business administration may voluntarily seek accreditation from one of three organizations: the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). Non-MBA business programs may be offered through schools of professional studies, schools of education, or other schools within a college or university that would not typically seek or receive ACBSP, AACSB International, or IACBE accreditation. Prospective students should be aware of these accrediting bodies when researching online programs, and may want to take accreditation into account when weighing various programs.
In addition to researching online business programs and maintaining a clearly delineated, up-to-date database of these programs, OnlineEducation.com provides a number of other resources for students and others who may be interested in online business degree programs. We provide detailed information on different types of programs, online instructional methods, accreditation, and other important educational factors and variables. We also interview experts in the field, and we address relevant questions related to online business degree programs in our FAQ section.
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