Grand Canyon University

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Updated August 6, 2020

Established by the Arizona Southern Baptists in 1949, Grand Canyon University is a major private for-profit Christian liberal arts institution owned by Grand Canyon Education Inc. From its main 100-acre urban campus in Arizona's capital hub of Phoenix, GCU operates five satellite locations and a fully developed online education division. In total, Grand Canyon University enrolls more than 15,000 campus-based and 68,100 online students across its eight academic colleges. GCU was founded on four pillars: Academic Advancement, Christian Camaraderie, Extracurricular Excellence, and Wellness & Well-Being.

GCU students are pushed to find their purpose in Christ while applying Christian values into a diverse workforce. Thanks to their long-standing commitment to excellence, GCU was ranked the second-best small company in America by Forbes magazine. Grand Canyon University was named 10th among the Top 20 Online Christian Universities nationwide by It was also included in the Top 30 Most Popular Online Colleges. GCU is also consistently ranked among top schools delivering online courses by Fortune Small Business. In the past few years, enrollment has grown by 32 percent and the freshman retention rate has risen to 42 percent.

Grand Canyon University Accreditation Details

Since 1968, Grand Canyon University has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (NCA), one of the accepted regional accrediting agencies of the U.S. Department of Education. Several academic departments at GCU have gone the extra mile to receive specialized, discipline-specific accreditations too. For instance, business degrees are approved by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Education programs are in candidacy for approval by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The addictions counseling program is also honored with accreditation from the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC).

Grand Canyon University Application Requirements

Admissions to Grand Canyon University is selective with an acceptance rate of 41 percent, so you'll need to fulfill some strict requirements first. For graduate students pursuing an online master's program, it's required that you have a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited, GCU-approved institution. Maintaining a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 2.8 will be mandated. Students not meeting these grades standards, could still be eligible with a satisfactory exam scores. Graduate students must achieve a GMAT score of at least 500 or a minimum GRE combined verbal/quantitative score of 300. Select programs will have even higher criteria to meet. International students who've never studied in America will need to submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores too.

During Grand Canyon University's rolling admissions period, interested students are encouraged to submit a completed application with these attachments:

  • Official college transcripts
  • Graduate entrance exam scores
  • FAFSA financial aid forms
  • Payment for the $50 application fee

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for graduate students at Grand Canyon University is based on a per credit rate depending on the program of study attended. Education degrees could $510 per credit and business programs are $550 per credit. All other online master's degrees will follow the standard tuition rate of $495 per credit. Active duty and reserve military members are given a slight discount on their online professional studies at $400 per credit. Online learners at GCU should also budget for the $95 Canyon Connect fee, $400 learning management fee, $225 Bible software fee, and $100 course material fee. According to the NCES, average graduate student tuition and fees is $10,191 per academic year.

To help cover these costs, Grand Canyon University provides plenty of financing options to degree-seeking students after filing the FAFSA form. Federal Direct, Graduate PLUS, Federal Perkins, and private/alternative loans are available for almost everyone, but the borrowed money must be repaid with interest. Financially needy students seeking free money could qualify for the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, or the Arizona LEAP Grant. Scholarship opportunities are abundant at GCU with the Direct Start Scholarships, Indirect Start Scholarships, Campus Transfer Scholarships, and Antelope Scholarship Awards. Graduate assistantships are available for nearby Arizona residents also.

Online Degrees Available

Through the Online Education division of Grand Canyon University, there are over 100 different accredited programs available for 100 percent completion online. From a distinctive Christian worldview, the online degrees allow students to maintain a healthy work-life balance while achieving in-depth career preparation. GCU's full-time faculty members deliver the same high-quality curriculum as traditional students attending the Phoenix campus. Online learners can learn 24/7 in their schedule from anywhere with an Internet connection. A few of the noteworthy online master's programs are the:

Master of Science in Addiction Counseling

Available in a convenient online and evening campus formats, the Master of Science in Addiction Counseling program at GCU is designed for graduate students seeking to develop the intervention strategies needed to treat individuals with substance abuse disorders. Courses will explore topics like group counseling, counseling ethics, cultural diversity, psychopharmacology, co-occurring disorders, chemical dependency, and family issues. The 36-credit program also includes 100 hours of pre-practicum experience and a 150-hour culminating internship. Graduates are qualified to become Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselors (LISAC) in Arizona.

Master of Science in Health Care Administration

Delivered fully online, the Master of Science in Health Care Administration is offered to Grand Canyon graduate students who wish to build a career addressing unique challenges facing today's contemporary health care delivery systems. Students are trained to work in middle to upper-level management roles in hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, community health agencies, nursing homes, and more. In the 48-credit curriculum, students will gain mastery of health care policy, health economics, health law, health care research, organizational dynamics, human resources, and leadership styles. A capstone evidence-based research project will be required.

Master of Arts in Gifted Education

For currently certified teachers, the Master of Arts in Gifted Education is available to further develop the innovative pedagogical skills necessary to teach the most talented students in P-12 school systems and help realize their full potential. The online 32-credit curriculum has been aligned with standards from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). Through the lens of Christianity, the degree fosters the most effective strategies for nurturing gifted children academically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. Several of the courses at Grand Canyon University require 75 hours of teaching practice for hands-on classroom experience.

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