Accredited colleges and universities have had their educational programs and faculty evaluated by an outside agency. Those agencies ensure that the school provides a high-quality education to its students, so to have your degree recognized by employers, it’s critical to attend an accredited institution. Below you’ll find information on higher education in the state and helpful resources on online colleges in Alabama.
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- Accreditation Agencies
- Education Links
- Notable Schools
Accredited Online Colleges Database
The following agencies accredit schools in Alabama. Keep in mind that these groups award whole-institution accreditation, not program-specific accreditation. Information on accrediting particular programs can be found on our subject-specific resources.
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
- Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
- Council on Occupational Education (COE)
- Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
- Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)
Higher Education Links
For more information on schools and universities in Alabama, contact the department of education Conference of Educators. The organizations linked below can also answer questions about legislation and accreditation in higher education.
Picking a school can be a daunting task, especially when considering the sheer number of online colleges in Alabama. Our database below can help with narrowing down your options for your specific location. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most notable accredited online and campus-based schools in the state to help you begin your school search.
Alabama has some of the south’s most recognizable universities, as well as some smaller schools that are also worthy of mention. Read about some of the state’s top 4-year public schools below.
University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa
With 33,503 students, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa is the state’s largest public school. Founded in 1831, it is also the state’s first public college. UA prides itself on being a student-centered research university and offers bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. Notable alumni include Marillyn Hewson, the CEO of Lockheed Martin.
Only slightly smaller than UA, Auburn has a student population of 25,134. Known for both its excellent research facilities, as well as it thriving athletics program, Auburn offers students 140 degrees in 13 different schools and colleges. The school also has a storied history as a land-grant university, and it encourages service among its students. Past graduates include basketball player Charles Barkley, singer and entertainer Jimmy Buffett, and singer Lionel Richie.
University of South Alabama
The University of South Alabama, in Mobile, enrolled 14,636 students during the fall of 2013. Compared to the previous two public universities, this school is younger, established just 50 years ago, in 1963, though it has quickly built a name for itself as a research hub. The school is especially known for its medical programs, creating the Mitchell Cancer Institute as a means of furthering cancer research along the gulf coast. In addition, faculty member Jesmyn Ward won a National Book Award for her novel Salvage the Bones.
Alabama also plays host to some excellent private colleges and universities. Find three of the top schools below.
Samford University was established in 1841 and is the state’s largest private school, with 4,758 students enrolled for the fall of 2013. It’s a predominantly female university: 64% of the student population is made up of women. Samford is known for its Christian tradition, small class sizes, and broad selection of majors, with students able to choose from among 130 concentrations. Notable alumni include U.S. District Court Judge Karon O. Bowdre and former national teacher of the year Betsy Rogers.
Birmingham Southern College
Another excellent school in Birmingham, BSC is a small campus: there are only 1,231 students enrolled for the current school year. BSC is primarily a liberal arts school and, as such, gears its offerings toward undergraduates. It’s known for requiring students to take two January “exploration terms” that fall outside of regular classes and may include traveling, volunteering, or conducting creative projects. Previous graduates include John Gordon Melton, the founder of the Institute for the study of American Religion.
Spring Hill College
With 1,308 students, Spring Hill College provides a personalized education to its enrollees. It’s the southeast’s oldest Catholic college and third oldest Jesuit college. The school has held fast to the tradition of service that accompanied its founding, though it accepts students of all faiths. Martin Luther King Jr. recognized the school in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” citing the college’s early desegregation efforts. The college taught important figures such as Miller Reese Hutchinson, Thomas Edison’s chief engineer, as well as Dr. Bryan Bertucci, a New Orleans physician credited with setting up post-Katrina care.