Online Degree Programs in Iowa

The Iowa Board of Regents provides policymaking, coordination, and oversight of the state’s public universities. Its mission is to provide high-quality, accessible education to students and engage in high-quality research, scholarship, and creative activities to enhance life for Iowans. It also aims to provide needed public services and create and support economic development in partnership with public and private sectors. There are three major public institutions in the state — the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa State University in Ames, and the University of Iowa in Iowa City — in addition to multiple private colleges and universities.

Iowa State and the University of Iowa are major research institutions in the state. Nearly 30,000 students attend Iowa State, which is ranked among the top universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Students can choose from more than 100 majors, including one of the nation’s only degree programs in human computer interaction. The University of Iowa is also ranked among the top national universities by U.S. News and is home to the only teaching hospital in Iowa. Founded in 1847, it is the state’s first public institution of higher education and today enrolls more than 21,000 students.

Notable private schools in Iowa include Morningside College, which is ranked by U.S. News as one of the best schools in the Midwest. The liberal arts institution is based in Sioux City and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Famous alum include Pauline Phillips and Eppie Lederer — the sisters behind the advice columnists "Dear Abby" and "Ask Ann Landers." Cornell College is also a nationally ranked liberal arts college that’s located in Mount Vernon, Iowa. It graduated the state’s first female bachelor’s degree recipient — Mary Fellows — in 1858. Notable alumni also include Edgar Helms, founder of the nonprofit Goodwill Industries, philosopher Richard Kirkham, and Rob Ash, head football coach at Montana State University.

Iowa Distance Learning Initiatives

All three of Iowa’s public state institutions offer the opportunity to take online degree programs. Both Iowa State and the University of Iowa are ranked among the top schools with online degree programs by U.S. News. In particular, Iowa State is noted for its online graduate degree programs in computer information technology, education, and engineering, while the University of Iowa is noted for its online bachelors degree programs and online graduate education program. At both schools, students can study a range of subjects through online bachelor degree programs and online masters degree programs, as well as certificates, while the University of Northern Iowa offers online college degree programs at the graduate level, with master’s, doctorates, and graduate certificates available in subjects ranging from civil engineering to education.

The Iowa Board of Regents is working to extend online degree programs in Iowa and the state university online degree programs even more to meet the needs of the state, region, and beyond through its Distance Education Strategic Plan. The plan’s main priorities are "access, affordability, and student success; educational excellence and impact; and economic development and vitality." Initiatives have the public universities collaborating with each other and other institutions to enhance distance education opportunities. For instance, the three public institutions are partnering with the University of Missouri by sharing specialized content in the field of transportation through streaming video. They’re collaborating with the Iowa Department of Education to deliver online courses to individuals who wish to pursue a graduate program in speech pathology, as there’s a shortage of school-based, speech-language pathologists in the rural areas of the state. And they’re collaborating with each other to share less commonly taught language courses, such as Greek, Arabic, and Chinese.