Arizona has a number of quality higher education options throughout the state. In fact, the largest U.S. public university by enrollment calls Arizona home – Arizona State University (ASU). Two other public universities, various private institutions, such as Embry Riddle Aeronautical College, and a plethora of community colleges round out the options. Combined, these colleges and universities, as well as distance learning opportunities, offer a variety of options to students interested in pursuing a degree in the state of Arizona.
Public colleges in Arizona fall into two main categories: two-year and four-year. There are also two tribal colleges in Arizona. The colleges are a mix of public and private and many offer both traditional and online classes.
Community colleges typically offer two-year degrees. These colleges offer degrees or certifications in a variety of subject areas such as nursing, communication, web design and music business. After graduation, students may decide to head to the working world to start a career, while others may transfer to four-year universities to continue their education.
There are 21 community colleges in Arizona. They include:
Ten of the community colleges are connected to Maricopa Community Colleges, which is one of the largest community college districts in the United States. Tuition for these colleges is $81 per credit hour for residents and $317 per credit hour for non-residents. Admission is offered to anyone who is at least 18 years old and/or has a high school diploma or the equivalent. Proof of in-state residency is required to qualify for in-state tuition.
The ten colleges that make up Maricopa Community College are:
|School||Number of Students|
|Rio Salado College||57,746|
|Pima Community College||56,916|
|Mesa Community College||41,836|
|Glendale Community College||32,962|
The next tier within Arizona’s higher education system is state universities. These universities offer four-year or graduate degrees in various programs.
According to U.S. News & World Report, Arizona State University (ASU) has the largest undergraduate population in the state as well as the nation. The university houses 493 classrooms on four campuses and offers more than 300 majors. Two locations are in Phoenix; the other two are Tempe and Mesa.
The University of Arizona was the state’s first university, established in 1885. The campus sits on 391 acres in Tucson and offers five academic programs: bachelor’s, master’s, research scholarship, specialist and professional practice.
Northern Arizona University has the lowest enrollment of the three state universities. Its main campus is in Flagstaff, but there are 34 other campuses throughout the state, including Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma. This university has 87 undergraduate degree programs and 58 graduate degree programs.
|School||Number of Students|
|Arizona State University||79,274|
|University of Arizona||42,779|
|Northern Arizona University||28,561|
The private education sector adds to Arizona’s higher education offerings. There are a number of private colleges in Arizona including A.T. Still University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical Institute, Grand Canyon University, Midwestern University, and Prescott College.
Private colleges have their own governing boards, which allows for independent decisions and a unique school environment. For example, some private colleges have a strong focus on religion. Like state schools, they offer a variety of programs and degrees in areas of study such as elementary education, family studies, space physics and software engineering.
Some schools in Arizona only offer a few online classes, paired with on-campus coursework. Others, however, have programs can be completed exclusively online. Public and private universities as well as community colleges all offer online courses, including Arizona State University, Rio Salado College and Grand Canyon University.
Arizona State’s online offerings are called ASU Online. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered through ASU Online. Students taking online courses can earn degrees in criminal justice, English, film or any of the dozens of options the university offers. They offer six start dates per year. For 2014, those start dates fall in January, March, May, August and October.
Rio Salado College has offered online classes for more than 15 years. The college offers two-year online degrees and certificates in subjects such as adolescent development, programming, language studies, and retail management. Online courses through Rio Salado College cost the same as on-campus classes for in-state students.
According to their website, Grand Canyon University offers degree programs geared toward working professionals. They offer about 100 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree majors. Online degree programs include sociology, health care administration, addiction counseling, and sports management.
Online students at any of these universities can earn the same high quality education as their peers who attended classes on campus.
Arizona also has a number of for-profit colleges that offer online courses, certificates and degrees.
Through its Outreach College division, the University of Arizona provides a large and growing number of distance education resources including degree and certificate programs, continuing education and professional development courses, and a number of non-credit classes. There are currently 14 master’s degrees that can be earned fully online in subject areas such as nursing, library and information science, electrical and computer engineering, international security and agriculture. Two doctorate degrees in nursing are available as well as undergraduate programs in nutritional science and science teacher preparation. A few graduate programs offered in a hybrid format are also available.
Most fully online and hybrid courses offered by UA follow the university’s semester-based academic calendar, although the starting and ending dates for some classes may vary. UAccess is the portal through which students view online classes, library resources, academic schedules, personal information and more.
For details regarding UA Outreach College’s distance learning programs and courses, visit: http://outreachcollege.arizona.edu.
Northern Arizona University’s extensive distance education program allows for students to choose from dozens of degrees, certificates and endorsements. There are 43 fully online bachelor’s and 28 fully online master’s degrees that can be earned in subject areas including the arts and humanities, business and administration, computing and technology, education and counseling, math and science, the health professions, social science and criminal justice. NAU additionally offers a fully online Doctor of Nursing degree. Blended degree programs are also available. NAU’s Extended Campuses online courses are presented in either asynchronous or synchronous format and use the Blackboard Learn platform.
NAU also employs a Personalized Learning system for some degree programs in which students pay a fixed six-month subscription fee. Students can begin their studies at any time and complete coursework at their own pace. Students simply continue to renew their subscription until completing their degree requirements.
For more information on NAU online degrees and courses, visit:
Arizona’s top employers are in a few different industries. According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, the three main industries are manufacturing, mining, and tourism. Arizona manufactures items such as food and microchips. Gold, silver and copper are mined in Arizona—more than 60 percent of copper mined in the U.S. in 2007 came from Arizona. Tourism is also a big industry, with some 37 million visitors to the state in 2008. Those in the travel and lodging industries benefit most from the tourism industry.
The financial services industry has many employees in Arizona. Other employers include health care and retail stores. The five largest employers in 2014 are Wal-Mart, Banner Health, Kroger, Albertsons, and Wells Fargo, according to The Arizona Republic. Other top employers include Intel, Bank of America, Honeywell International, American Airlines, Home Depot, and Marriott International.
With nearly 5 million residents, Alabama is the heart of the Southeast region of the United States, which is the fastest-growing region in the nation. Alabama’s economy is diverse and scattered, with no one industry dominating the state. The following make up some of the top industry sectors:
This state website offers official information on all types of education in Arizona. It includes links to all community colleges as well as public and private universities. It also features career and technical education resources.
Comprehensive information on paying for college in Arizona, including student and financial aid, can be found here. It also includes information on requirements and how to apply.
This site offers even more information on financial aid, scholarships, and education tax credits.
This is a statewide collaboration to help students learn more about higher education in the state. Find information about transferring schools here. Transfer options, information specifically for high school students and course equivalencies are all provided. In addition, in-depth transfer guides to all three state universities are featured.
News and information regarding the state’s largest university by enrollment.
Get information about programs, news and links to all 10 community colleges connected here. They also offer a section on transferring to four-year schools in Arizona.
This site features complete information about the programs and activities at the University of Arizona.
The official site for Northern Arizona University.
This foundation’s mission is to increase the number of degree holders in Arizona. To do so, they offer several scholarships specifically for Arizona students.
University of Phoenix-Online CampusPhoenix, Arizona
Arizona State UniversityTempe, Arizona
Grand Canyon UniversityPhoenix, Arizona
Rio Salado CollegeTempe, Arizona
Pima Community CollegeTucson, Arizona
University of ArizonaTucson, Arizona
Mesa Community CollegeMesa, Arizona
Glendale Community CollegeGlendale, Arizona
Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaff, Arizona
Chandler/Gilbert Community CollegeChandler, Arizona