10 Best Online MBA Programs for a Low GPA

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Updated: February 28, 2024, Reading time: 19 minutes

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Getting into the best online MBA programs with a low-Grade Point Average (GPA) on your undergraduate transcripts can be a real challenge! This is because top-tier MBA programs use undergraduate GPA as a key indicator of academic aptitude, potential performance in graduate school, and quantitative and analytical skills.

They use these indicators as a benchmark for comparison between candidates, eligibility for scholarships, and program rankings. Indeed, Ivy League universities like Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania have MBA students with an average of 3.5 undergraduate GPA (on a 4.0 scale). 

Fortunately, working professionals with low undergraduate GPAs who are interested in earning their MBA degrees from regionally accredited colleges and universities will find plenty of online programs offering said coveted graduate degrees! Many, if not most, of these online MBA programs consider applicants with a low GPA – between 2.0 and 2.5 (or the equivalent of a C grade) – for admission evaluation.

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Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Reasons Why MBA Programs Consider Applicants with Low Undergraduate GPA

Make no mistake – the best online MBA programs that consider applicants with less than stellar undergraduate GPAs aren’t your run-of-the-mill online programs offered by diploma mills; far from it! The ten online MBA programs featured here have gained the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International accreditation.

These online programs are also offered by top-tier universities, such as the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Louisiana State University – Shreveport.

However, there are several reasons why these widely respected universities offer online MBA programs with low GPA admission requirements. For one thing, their admissions process emphasizes a holistic approach where admissions officers look beyond GPA in their evaluations of applications. 

Aside from your prior academic performance as evidenced by your GPA, you will also be evaluated based on your: 

For another thing, these online MBA programs strive to create a truly dynamic and diverse student body that will boost the quality of the learning environment and experiences among the graduate students. Indeed, the diversity of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives makes for engaging class interactions! 

Effective Strategies for Overcoming Low Undergraduate GPA

For the abovementioned reasons, applicants to online MBA programs with low GPA admission requirements must strive to overcome their grade deficiency! Again, these online programs are considered among the best MBA programs with selective admissions requirements, meaning being a slacker won’t cut it. 

If you want to increase your chances of being admitted into your dream online MBA program, you should consider these effective strategies for overcoming your low GPA. 

Don’t let your low GPA prevent you from pursuing your MBA dreams! You may encounter challenges due to your less-than-stellar undergraduate academic performance, but these can be overcome if you put your mind to it. 

Finding the Right Fit in a Low GPA MBA Program

Just because your academic credentials and professional work experience meet the admission requirements doesn’t automatically mean that it’s the best online MBA program for you! You must carefully consider the unique features of every online MBA program in your shortlist and determine their alignment with your personal interests and professional goals. 

Here are the key considerations when choosing the best online MBA program with a low GPA requirement for you. 

In conclusion, a low GPA isn’t a big deal when it comes to earning an MBA degree, but it takes hard work to overcome it. 

Best Online MBA Programs with a Low GPA Requirement

University of North Carolina – Pembroke

University of North Carolina - Pembroke

Working professionals who want to start their own business or become competitive in their career advancement should consider the fully online Master of Business Administration program at UNCP! Applicants will be considered either on full or provisional admission depending on their compliance with admission requirements, including: 

Students can earn the MBA degree in as few as 12 months but must complete the 36-credit curriculum at an accelerated pace and transfer credits from master’s degree-level courses. While students with non-business bachelor’s degrees are required to complete foundation courses, the rigorous curriculum ensures that all MBA students gain a comprehensive understanding of business concepts at the graduate level. 

Core courses cover topics in: 

Students also complete a capstone course in strategic planning that demonstrates their mastery of business concepts. On-campus professors also teach every course, although the mode of delivery is exclusively online. Students have abundant opportunities for peer-to-peer interactions and mentoring from their professors, too. 

UNCP’s School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, while the top-tier public university in the University of North Carolina System is regionally accredited by the  Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Recognized as among the best colleges in the South and known for its emphasis on inclusivity, diversity and social mobility, UNCP is among the best choices in online MBA programs.

Louisiana State University – Shreveport

Louisiana State University - Shreveport

Yet another fully online program for ambitious current and aspiring business professionals is LSU-Shreveport’s Master of Business Administration program! Applicants with a low GPA will be considered under certain conditions, namely: 

Students admitted into the online MBA program develop advanced business knowledge and skills during the completion of the 30-credit curriculum. There’s a choice between part-time and full-time matriculation, meaning the MBA degree can be earned in 12-24 months or more. Students benefit from the mentorship provided by their professors, as well as the networking opportunities that boost their career advancement.

Core courses cover a wide range of business topics, including: 

Afterwards, students can choose elective courses based on their choice of concentration, namely: 

LSU Shreveport is a public university with regional accreditation from SACSCOC and a component of the Louisiana State University System. The AACSB-accredited  College of Business offers a wide range of business, accounting and finance programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

University of South Carolina – Aiken

University of South Carolina - Aiken

The accelerated format of the fully online Master of Business Administration General program at USC Aiken leverages prior academic learning and work experiences among students, resulting in their ability to lead diverse organizations. Students learn from each other and professors in a conducive online learning environment, not to mention with little worry about tuition and fees (i.e., among the most affordable online MBA programs). 

The holistic admission criteria also make it possible for applicants with low GPAs to be considered for admission into the respected MBA online program. Conditional admission can be granted to applicants with: 

The 30-credit curriculum can be completed in as few as ten months, but the fast-paced coursework demands time commitment and hard work. Students develop business skills through the completion of five core courses: 

USC Aiken is a public university considered among the best regional universities in the South. As a component of the University of South Carolina System, it’s a regionally accredited institution (SACSCOC) that offers undergraduate and graduate programs, many of which are offered online and through the Extended Graduate Campus program. The AACSB-accredited School of Business Administration emphasizes academic excellence combined with real-world relevance.

Wright State University

Wright State University - Raj Soin College of Business

Emphasis must be made that while the online Master of Business Administration program is offered by the Raj Soin College of Business, the Graduate School makes all admission decisions. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree in any field granted by an accredited institution, and their application will be evaluated based on their GPA. 

A few admission notes to remember: 

Aside from affordable tuition and fees, the online MBA program attracts many of the best and brightest because of its innovative culture, rigorous coursework, and notable graduate outcomes. Students develop an international perspective of business while also being attuned to local business opportunities. 

The MBA program has several concentrations, namely: 

Wright State University, a public research university, is a regionally accredited institution by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The AACSB-accredited Raj Soin College of Business offers a bachelor’s degree in business program and several master’s degree programs.

University of Southern Indiana

University of Southern Indiana

Interactive instruction delivered by credentialed professors and stellar experiential learning opportunities are the points of pride of USI’s online Master of Business Administration program. Admission is relatively easy, too, with a: 

This is also a GMAT/GRE optional program, meaning submission of scores isn’t required for admission, but applicants must have strong professional references to boost their chances. 

Even with affordable tuition and fees, the online MBA program doesn’t compromise on academic rigor in its business courses. Students can earn a graduate degree in 11 months in an accelerated format. The core courses in the 30-credit curriculum develop technical and transferable skills vital in effective business administration, including: 

This online program also allows students to choose from several concentrations in: 

The University of Southern Indiana (USI), a public university with regional accreditation by the HLC, emphasizes community engagement, academic excellence, and student success. The AACSB-accredited Romain College of Business ensures that these values are present in its undergraduate and graduate programs.

Marshall University

Marshall University

Earning a respected graduate business degree without making on-campus visits is possible with Marshall’s online Master of Business Administration program! Applicants with a low GPA can also be granted full admission, provided their credentials include a: 

Other application requirements are: 

Test scores, a personal statement, and other documents may be required for further evaluation. However, since more applications are received than the available slots, the online MBA program has a competitive selection process. 

Applicants with low GPAs but with at least 3.0 grades on their undergraduate prerequisite business courses are also qualified for admission. 

Once admitted, students must complete the 36-credit curriculum with core courses in: 

Students can deepen their understanding of specialized areas of business by taking concentration courses in: 

There’s a strong emphasis on real-world applications of lessons learned in the virtual classroom that, in turn, strengthen the students’ hard and soft skills in the workplace. 

The AACSB-accredited Lewis College of Business offers an exceptional online MBA program. Marshall University is a regionally accredited (HLC) public research university named in honor of former Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court John Marshall.

Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University

Individuals interested in being admitted into NKU’s fully online Master of Business Administration program will find the streamlined admission process to their advantage. Applicants are evaluated using a holistic approach where the totality of their suitability as MBA students is used. 

A low GPA isn’t a significant barrier to admission, with applicants possessing bachelor’s degrees from accredited institutions with at least a cumulative 2.5 GPA welcome to apply. However, applicants with a cumulative GPA under 3.0 must show proof of at least three years of professional work experience to be considered. Other application requirements are: 

The 33-credit curriculum offers flexibility that allows MBA students to create their personalized program of study; terms and conditions apply. Time-to-completion is as few as 12 months with no compromises on academic rigor. The core courses develop the MBA students’ business skill sets in a wide range of areas, including: 

There’s a choice between earning a General MBA or an MBA with dual study, which can be achieved through the completion of elective courses. The dual study options are varied, too, with the most popular being Data Analytics and Finance, Leadership and Global Supply Chain Management, and Health Care Commercialization and Marketing. 

Northern Kentucky University is a regionally accredited (SACSCOC) public university recognized for its large, diverse and inclusive student body. The AACSB-accredited Haile College of Business continues the tradition in addition to its emphasis on real-world education.

Longwood University

Longwood University

Applicants with low GPA will find that, indeed, second chances are possible in their graduate education, thanks to the generous admissions policy of Longwood University’s online Master of Business Administration with a track in General Business program. There are several ways of being considered for admission into the MBA program with a low GPA, as follows: 

Other admission requirements are a completed online application and a current professional resume. Applicants are evaluated based on the totality of their portfolio. 

The 31-credit curriculum can be completed in as few as ten months, but the accelerated pace isn’t for the faint of heart. The affordable in-state tuition is made more affordable with financial aid. Core courses include: 

Longwood University, a public university with SACSCOC regional accreditation, may be a small university, but its students and alumni praise its emphasis on hands-on learning experiences through guided field experiences, directed research and internships. The AACSB-accredited College of Business and Economics ensures that its MBA students benefit from such a notable tradition, too.

Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville

Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

Students in the online Master of Business Administration program at SIUe learn business competencies that contribute to their effective leadership of a wide range of organizations. Admission into the selective MBA program is based on a holistic approach, meaning eligible applicants are evaluated based on their portfolio of undergraduate GPA, GMAT scores, and previous graduate-level coursework. 

While admission is on a selective basis, applicants with low GPA can apply – the minimum required cumulative GPA is 2.50, but there are conditions. GMAT waivers are also available. 

Other admission requirements include: 

While there’s a strong emphasis on the hard skills that effective business leaders must possess, MBA students are also exposed to the principles and practices that strengthen their soft skills. This is achieved through a practice-based 36-credit curriculum with core courses in: 

The embedded capstone course emphasizes real-world applications that MBA students can adopt in their organizations. 

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, a regionally accredited (HLC) public university, offers graduate degree programs through its AACSB-accredited School of Business.

East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University

Students and alumni of the online Master of Business Administration program offered by ETSU attest to the best value for the money that the graduate degree brings to the table! The increased business acumen that comes with learning advanced business principles and practices in the MBA program results in improved competitiveness for leadership positions in the public and private sectors. 

Don’t worry about your low undergraduate GPA because the MBA program considers applicants with at least a 2.5 GPA on their bachelor’s degree, which can be in the business field or non-business disciplines. But at least a 450 GMAT score is required for applicants with a 2.5 GPA to be considered; GMAT waivers are available but only for applicants with a graduate degree or an undergraduate degree with a GPA between 3.0 and 3.5, depending on business school accreditation.  

Other possible factors that will affect admission success are: 

Students can earn the MBA degree in as few as 12 months and benefit from zero on-campus residency requirements. Core courses in the 36-credit curriculum enable students to develop their knowledge and skills in: 

The asynchronous schedule means students can complete assignments and access learning materials at their own pace; weekly deadlines, however, are common. 

There’s a choice between a General MBA or an MBA with a concentration in: 

East Tennessee State University is a SACSCOC-accredited public research university. Undergraduate and graduate programs in business and related fields are offered in its AACSB-accredited College of Business and Technology.

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