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Most Popular Online Graduate Certificate Schools

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2021 Most Popular Online Graduate Certificate Schools

654 Schools Ranked
$45,165 Avg Student Debt

When it comes to higher education, there are a lot of options for students. With more and more schools offering online options, you could even register for a great program on the other side of the country. Alternatively, you may choose a trade school or bootcamp that prepares you to enter the workforce with knowledge in a specific field.

Along with in-depth profiles of schools and the programs they offer, Course Advisor has created the Most Popular Online Graduate Certificate Schools to help you in your search for the best school for you. This report analyzed 654 schools in the United States to see which ones had the most popular online graduate certificate programs for students. To create this ranking we looked at how many students graduated from schools with online programs.

Learn more about these popular schools with online programs:

#1

Capella University

Minneapolis, Minnesota
1,137 Total Awards
$15,233 Average Tuition & Fees
$55,516 Avg Student Debt

Our 2021 rankings named Capella University the most popular school in the United States for students working on their graduate certificate. Capella University is a private for-profit institution located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The school has a large population, and it awarded 1,137 graduate certificates in 2018-2019.

Graduate Certificate recipients from Capella University accumulate an average of $55,516 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Around 79% of those degree recipients were women.

If you are interested in distance education, Capella University is an excellent choice, since graduate classes are offered online.

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#2

Naval Postgraduate School

Monterey, California
1,202 Total Awards

The excellent graduate certificate programs at Naval Postgraduate School helped the school earn the #2 place on this year’s ranking of the most popular schools in the United States. This small public school is located in Monterey, California, and it awarded 1,202 graduate certificates in 2018-2019.

Of those students who received their degree, 15% were women.

Of all the graduate students enrolled at the school during the 2017-2018 academic year, around 46% took at least some of their classes online.

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#3

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California
1,510 Total Awards
$47,107 Average Tuition & Fees
$104,326 Avg Student Debt

You’ll be in good company if you attend University of Southern California. The school came in at #3 on this year’s Most Popular Online Graduate Certificate Schools list. University of Southern California is a large private not-for-profit school located in Los Angeles, California that handed out 1,510 graduate certificates in 2018-2019.

By the time they get their graduate certificate, students from this school have racked up an average of $104,326 in student loans. Around 58% of those degree recipients were women.

During the 2017-2018 year, about 29% of the graduate students at the school took at least one online course.

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#4

Lamar University

Beaumont, Texas
885 Total Awards
$8,264 Average Tuition & Fees

Out of the 654 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Lamar University landed the # 4 spot on the list. Lamar University is located in Beaumont, Texas and has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 885 graduate certificates to qualified students.

Of those students who received their degree, 76% were women.

Around 92% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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853 Total Awards
$16,752 Average Tuition & Fees
$35,859 Avg Student Debt

The excellent graduate certificate programs at University of Phoenix - Arizona helped the school earn the #5 place on this year’s ranking of the most popular schools in the United States. UOPX - Arizona is a large private for-profit school situated in Tempe, Arizona. It awarded 853 graduate certificates in 2018-2019.

By the time they get their graduate certificate, students from this school have racked up an average of $35,859 in student loans. Around 63% of those degree recipients were women.

To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 98% of graduates took at least one course online in 2017-2018.

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#6

Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia
818 Total Awards
$8,400 Average Tuition & Fees
$42,535 Avg Student Debt

Liberty University ranked #6 on this year’s Most Popular Online Graduate Certificate Schools list. Lynchburg, Virginia is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out graduate certificates to 818 students in 2018-2019.

On average, graduate certificate students take out $42,535 in loans while pursuing their degree. Around 71% of those degree recipients were women.

During the 2017-2018 year, about 96% of the graduate students at the school took at least one online course.

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#7

Pennsylvania State University - World Campus

University Park, Pennsylvania
804 Total Awards
$22,186 Average Tuition & Fees

Pennsylvania State University - World Campus came in at #7 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Online Graduate Certificate Schools ranking. Located in University Park, Pennsylvania, the very small public school awarded 804 diplomas to qualifed graduate certificate students in 2018-2019.

Of those students who received their degree, 43% were women.

Penn State World Campus is one of the schools on our list that is primarily online. Each graduate student at the school took at least one class online.

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#8

The College of Saint Rose

Albany, New York
775 Total Awards
$15,268 Average Tuition & Fees
$37,587 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #8, The College of Saint Rose did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for students working on their graduate certificate. The College of Saint Rose is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Albany, New York. It awarded 775 graduate certificates in 2018-2019.

Graduate Certificate recipients from The College of Saint Rose accumulate an average of $37,587 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Of those students who received their degree, 79% were women.

Of all the graduate students enrolled at the school during the 2017-2018 academic year, around 14% took at least some of their classes online.

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#9

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland
902 Total Awards
$57,556 Average Tuition & Fees
$33,566 Avg Student Debt

Johns Hopkins University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular places for students to get a graduate certificate. It came in at #9 on the list. Johns Hopkins University is a large private not-for-profit school located in Baltimore, Maryland that handed out 902 graduate certificates in 2018-2019.

By the time they get their graduate certificate, students from this school have racked up an average of $33,566 in student loans. Around 67% of those degree recipients were women.

Around 54% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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637 Total Awards
$6,422 Average Tuition & Fees
$37,102 Avg Student Debt

Arkansas State University - Main Campus did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular places for students to get a graduate certificate. It came in at #10 on the list. Arkansas State University - Main Campus is located in Jonesboro, Arkansas and has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 637 graduate certificates to qualified students.

By the time they get their graduate certificate, students from this school have racked up an average of $37,102 in student loans. Around 68% of those degree recipients were women.

Of all the graduate students enrolled at the school during the 2017-2018 academic year, around 78% took at least some of their classes online.

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#11

Walden University

Minneapolis, Minnesota
524 Total Awards
$12,539 Average Tuition & Fees
$89,765 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #11, Walden University did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for students working on their graduate certificate. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the large private for-profit school awarded 524 diplomas to qualifed graduate certificate students in 2018-2019.

By the time they get their graduate certificate, students from this school have racked up an average of $89,765 in student loans. Of those students who received their degree, 83% were women.

Walden University is one of the schools on our list that is primarily online. Each graduate student at the school took at least one class online.

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#12

Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, New Jersey
520 Total Awards
$37,990 Average Tuition & Fees

Stevens Institute of Technology came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Online Graduate Certificate Schools ranking. Stevens is a private not-for-profit institution located in Hoboken, New Jersey. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 520 graduate certificates in 2018-2019.

Around 30% of those degree recipients were women.

To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 45% of graduates took at least one course online in 2017-2018.

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#13

George Washington University

Washington, District of Columbia
718 Total Awards
$31,824 Average Tuition & Fees
$33,080 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #13, George Washington University did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for students working on their graduate certificate. GWU is located in Washington, District of Columbia and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 718 graduate certificates to qualified students.

By the time they get their graduate certificate, students from this school have racked up an average of $33,080 in student loans. Of those students who received their degree, 64% were women.

In 2017-2018 about 36% of the graduate students at the school chose to take one or more online courses.

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481 Total Awards
$8,910 Average Tuition & Fees
$62,905 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #14, University of Maryland - University College did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for students working on their graduate certificate. Located in Adelphi, Maryland, the large public school handed out 481 graduate certificate awards in 2018-2019.

Graduate Certificate recipients from University of Maryland - University College accumulate an average of $62,905 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Of those students who received their degree, 56% were women.

In 2017-2018 about 91% of the graduate students at the school chose to take one or more online courses.

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#15

Ball State University

Muncie, Indiana
440 Total Awards
$9,512 Average Tuition & Fees
$31,928 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #15, Ball State University did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for students working on their graduate certificate. Ball State is a large public school situated in Muncie, Indiana. It awarded 440 graduate certificates in 2018-2019.

On average, graduate certificate students take out $31,928 in loans while pursuing their degree. Around 85% of those degree recipients were women.

During the 2017-2018 year, about 80% of the graduate students at the school took at least one online course.

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#16

DeVry University - Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
410 Total Awards
$17,552 Average Tuition & Fees
$43,899 Avg Student Debt

DeVry University - Illinois landed the #16 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular graduate certificate programs. DeVry University - Illinois is located in Chicago, Illinois and has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 410 graduate certificates to qualified students.

Graduate Certificate recipients from DeVry University - Illinois accumulate an average of $43,899 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Of those students who received their degree, 64% were women.

Around 94% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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#17

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia
691 Total Awards
$15,648 Average Tuition & Fees
$39,632 Avg Student Debt

George Mason University came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Online Graduate Certificate Schools ranking. GMU is located in Fairfax, Virginia and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 691 graduate certificates to qualified students.

Graduate Certificate recipients from GMU accumulate an average of $39,632 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Around 71% of those degree recipients were women.

In 2017-2018 about 26% of the graduate students at the school chose to take one or more online courses.

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#18

Washington State University

Pullman, Washington
472 Total Awards
$13,095 Average Tuition & Fees

Washington State University landed the #18 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular graduate certificate programs. Pullman, Washington is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out graduate certificates to 472 students in 2018-2019.

Of those students who received their degree, 61% were women.

In 2017-2018 about 22% of the graduate students at the school chose to take one or more online courses.

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#19

Webster University

Saint Louis, Missouri
404 Total Awards
$13,500 Average Tuition & Fees
$48,419 Avg Student Debt

Webster University landed the #19 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular graduate certificate programs. Located in Saint Louis, Missouri, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school handed out 404 graduate certificate awards in 2018-2019.

By the time they get their graduate certificate, students from this school have racked up an average of $48,419 in student loans. Around 47% of those degree recipients were women.

Around 44% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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#20

Portland State University

Portland, Oregon
751 Total Awards
$13,218 Average Tuition & Fees
$21,832 Avg Student Debt

Portland State University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular places for students to get a graduate certificate. It came in at #20 on the list. Portland State University is located in Portland, Oregon and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 751 graduate certificates to qualified students.

By the time they get their graduate certificate, students from this school have racked up an average of $21,832 in student loans. Of those students who received their degree, 64% were women.

During the 2017-2018 year, about 18% of the graduate students at the school took at least one online course.

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#21

Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona
351 Total Awards
$11,074 Average Tuition & Fees
$41,626 Avg Student Debt

Grand Canyon University landed the #21 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular graduate certificate programs. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the large private for-profit school awarded 351 diplomas to qualifed graduate certificate students in 2018-2019.

Graduate Certificate recipients from Grand Canyon University accumulate an average of $41,626 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Of those students who received their degree, 79% were women.

To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 94% of graduates took at least one course online in 2017-2018.

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619 Total Awards
$14,468 Average Tuition & Fees
$14,324 Avg Student Debt

University of Cincinnati - Main Campus did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular places for students to get a graduate certificate. It came in at #22 on the list. Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, the large public school handed out 619 graduate certificate awards in 2018-2019.

On average, graduate certificate students take out $14,324 in loans while pursuing their degree. Of those students who received their degree, 68% were women.

Of all the graduate students enrolled at the school during the 2017-2018 academic year, around 47% took at least some of their classes online.

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#23

Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, Georgia
380 Total Awards
$7,334 Average Tuition & Fees

Kennesaw State University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular places for students to get a graduate certificate. It came in at #23 on the list. KSU Georgia is a public institution located in Kennesaw, Georgia. The school has a large population, and it awarded 380 graduate certificates in 2018-2019.

Around 60% of those degree recipients were women.

In 2017-2018 about 63% of the graduate students at the school chose to take one or more online courses.

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#24

American Public University System

Charles Town, West Virginia
271 Total Awards
$7,005 Average Tuition & Fees
$33,107 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #24, American Public University System did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for students working on their graduate certificate. Located in Charles Town, West Virginia, the large private for-profit school awarded 271 diplomas to qualifed graduate certificate students in 2018-2019.

Graduate Certificate recipients from American Military University accumulate an average of $33,107 in student debt by the time they complete their degree. Of those students who received their degree, 43% were women.

Since the graduate programs at American Military University are online, the school is an excellent choice for graduate students who need more flexibility than what is offered at some other schools.

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454 Total Awards
$11,806 Average Tuition & Fees
$18,149 Avg Student Debt

Missouri University of Science and Technology did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular places for students to get a graduate certificate. It came in at #24 on the list. Located in Rolla, Missouri, the medium-sized public school handed out 454 graduate certificate awards in 2018-2019.

By the time they get their graduate certificate, students from this school have racked up an average of $18,149 in student loans. Of those students who received their degree, 19% were women.

Around 36% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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Not only did these schools make the top most popular online list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

#26

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

Lowell, Massachusetts
#27

Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
#28

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire
#29

Missouri State University - Springfield

Springfield, Missouri
#30

University of Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas
#31

Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York
#32

Northcentral University

San Diego, California
#33

Regis University

Denver, Colorado
#33

American College of Financial Services

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
#35

University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa
#36

Champlain College

Burlington, Vermont
#37

Azusa Pacific University

Azusa, California
#38

University of Missouri - Columbia

Columbia, Missouri
#39

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, New York
#39

University of West Georgia

Carrollton, Georgia
#41

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, Utah
#42

Kaplan University-Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana
#43

University of Connecticut

Storrs, Connecticut
#44

Texas A&M University - College Station

College Station, Texas
#45

Maryville University of Saint Louis

Saint Louis, Missouri
#46

Benedictine University

Lisle, Illinois
#47

Valdosta State University

Valdosta, Georgia
#48

Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon
#50

Gardner - Webb University

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

To learn more about the schools below, just click on their names:

Rank School Location
51 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
52 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
52 Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global Marion, IN
54 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
54 Strayer University - Global Region Washington, DC
56 American College of Education Indianapolis, IN
57 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR
58 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA
59 Arizona State University - Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
59 Villanova University Villanova, PA
61 McDaniel College Westminster, MD
62 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
63 University of West Alabama Livingston, AL
63 Clemson University Clemson, SC
65 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY
66 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
67 Concordia University - Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
68 Creighton University Omaha, NE
68 South University’s online programs Savannah, GA
68 Air Force Institute of Technology - Graduate School of Engineering & Management Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
71 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
72 A T Still University of Health Sciences Kirksville, MO
73 SUNY Empire State College Saratoga Springs, NY
74 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
75 Utah State University Logan, UT
76 Bethel University Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
77 Iowa State University Ames, IA
78 Olivet Nazarene University Bourbonnais, IL
78 Hamline University Saint Paul, MN
80 University of Oklahoma Norman Campus Norman, OK
81 University of Maryland - Baltimore Baltimore, MD
82 Towson University Towson, MD
82 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
82 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
85 University of Georgia Athens, GA
86 Wayne State University Detroit, MI
87 University of South Alabama Mobile, AL
88 Brandman University Irvine, CA
89 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
90 Thomas University Thomasville, GA
91 Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
91 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA
91 University of Virginia - Main Campus Charlottesville, VA
94 Tufts University Medford, MA
94 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
96 Marshall University Huntington, WV
96 Frontier Nursing University Hyden, KY
96 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
99 Babson College Wellesley, MA
99 Colorado State University - Global Campus Greenwood Village, CO
99 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN

Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our most popular online schools ranking:

Rank School Location
102 The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
102 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
104 University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC
104 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
106 Columbus State University Columbus, GA
106 Auburn University Auburn, AL
108 Concordia University - Wisconsin Mequon, WI
109 Sans-Technology-Institute Bethesda, MD
110 University of New England Biddeford, ME
111 Georgia College & State University Milledgeville, GA
112 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX
113 City University of Seattle Seattle, WA
114 New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ
114 Alliant International University San Diego, CA
116 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Lubbock, TX
116 Columbia Southern University Orange Beach, AL
116 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA
119 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
119 Salve Regina University Newport, RI
121 Belhaven University Jackson, MS
122 Fielding Graduate University Santa Barbara, CA
122 Bowling Green State University - Main Campus Bowling Green, OH
122 University of Memphis Memphis, TN
125 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
125 Boise State University Boise, ID
127 CUNY Queens College Queens, NY
128 St John’s University - New York Queens, NY
129 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
129 Keck Graduate Institute Claremont, CA
131 Trident University International Cypress, CA
131 Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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