Grand Canyon University Online Reviews

Last Updated on December 13, 2022 by

Grand Canyon University Online Degrees: Reviews from Real Students

TRISH SAMMERUpdated on May 16, 2019

Earning your degree through an online program can be a great way to enter your preferred field,or advance in the one you’re already in.

Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a popular online education option. According to student reviews from various online sites, GCU has some solid educational options, but there are also more than a few recurring complaints that should be taken into consideration before you enroll.

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Quick facts about GCU

GCU is a private, Christian college, offering classes both online and on campus. The school is headquartered in Phoenix. AZ, and is accredited through 2027 by the Higher Learning Commission. 

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, GCU has a graduation rate of 41%. The average graduation for colleges of all types is typically closer to 60%. 

The average salary after graduation for the typical GCU student ten years after graduation is $52,700.

Online bachelors programs include:

  • Business & Management
  • Criminal, Political & Social Sciences
  • Engineering & Technology
  • Language & Communications
  • Nursing & Health Care
  • Performing Arts & Creative Design
  • Psychology & Counseling
  • Teaching & School Administration
  • Theology & Ministry

Online master’s programs include:

  • Business & Management
  • Criminal, Political & Social Sciences
  • Engineering & Technology
  • Language & Communications
  • Medical Studies & Sciences
  • Nursing & Health Care
  • Psychology & Counseling
  • Teaching & School Administration
  • Theology & Ministry

Online doctoral degrees include:

  • Business & Management
  • Nursing & Health Care
  • Psychology & Counseling
  • Teaching & School Administration
  • Theology & Ministry

Does Grand Canyon University Accept Pell Grants and FAFSA?

Yes, Grand Canyon University accepts Pell Grants, as well as forms of financial aid that offered through the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. 

Student reviews: pros and cons


Before we dig deep into online reviews, it’s important to remember two things:

  1. People are more likely to leave a review after a negative experience.
  2. With any educational experience, you will get out of it what you put into it.

In other words, take the reviews with a grain of salt. 

Pro: Not-for-profit status

GCU recently switched from a for-profit school to a non-profit. There has been speculation that this will allow the university to focus more heavily on academics rather than its business model.

Pro: Advisers can be helpful

Several reviewers noted their advisers by name, thanking them for helping students move through the degree process.

In addition to academic advisers, there are also student advisers, who can help with advice beyond course selection.

Tip: If you decide to go to GCU, make early contact with your advisers and ask them for strategies on the best ways to get the most out of the relationships. Be sure to set calendar reminders to check in regularly (at least once per term) to ensure that you’re meeting all the requirements necessary for graduation.

Pro/Con: Instructors can be hit-or-miss

As with just about any university, GCU’s teaching staff gets very mixed reviews. Some people claimed that their professors were very knowledgeable, while others stated that their instructors did not seem to be qualified to teach the coursework.

Tip: Before enrolling, search out online reviews for the program of study you’re considering. If you’re already a student, talk to your student adviser when selecting classes for the next term. They may be able to fill you in on the reputation of the different instructors.

Pro/Con: Heavy focus on Christianity

It’s important to know that GCU is a school that is rooted in the Christian faith. While you don’t need to be Christian to enroll, many reviewers state that the Christian focus is intense. One person noted that most classes started with a prayer. 

Tip: If you’re not a Christian, you may be more comfortable at a different school. 

Con: Scheduling can be challenging

One reviewer noted that most professors stated an expectation that students be online five days per week in order to pass the class. The student stated that this made it extremely difficult to take more than one class at a time, especially for people who are employed.

Other students noted that the class requirements were extremely rigorous, requiring students to complete several papers each week in addition to regular coursework.

Tip: Confirm the class requirements before finalizing your schedule. Reach out directly to professors whenever possible. 

Con: Unclear financial policies

One common thread among unhappy reviewers was the perceived emphasis on money over education. Several students accused the school of charging for unexpected expenses, and losing interest in student progress and questions after they were enrolled and the tuition was paid.

Tip: If you go, make sure to have a clear estimate of all your educational costs in advance, including tuition, books, fees for specific courses of study, etc.

Con: Inflexible during change of life circumstances

More than a few students claimed that they had to alter their schedules due to family emergencies or other unexpected circumstances. Their general complain was that that the professors and administration were not responsive to requests and that they were not accommodating of allowing changes or additional flexibility.

Con: Internships and practicum placement can be difficult

At least two students mentioned that the school does not provide support in finding internships or practicums that are required to complete certain degree programs. This was especially challenging due to the time constraints faced by students who were simultaneously working and going to school.

Con: Varying level of academic ability among students

Multiple reviews expressed frustration at having to collaborate or participate in online discussions with other students who didn’t display competence with grammar or in forming their ideas. In graduate level classes, this was most-often attributed to the lack of entrance exams.   

Our takeaway

GSC does have some very-satisfied students, but this school was not a great fit for everyone.

Our advice: Do some comparison shopping before enrolling at GSC. While a change in organizational structure may be forthcoming, for now, there are enough repeated criticisms that lead us to believe you may find a less frustrating experience elsewhere.

Grand Canyon University

country rank 262
world rank 664

University Overview

Founded in 1949, Grand Canyon University is a for-profit private higher-education institution located in the urban setting of the metropolis of Phoenix (population range of 1,000,000-5,000,000 inhabitants), Arizona. Officially accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a very large (uniRank enrollment range: over-45,000 students) coeducational US higher education institution. Grand Canyon University (GCU) offers courses and programs leading to officially recognized higher education degrees such as pre-bachelor degrees (i.e. certificates, diplomas, associate or foundation), bachelor degrees, master degrees, doctorate degrees in several areas of study. See the uniRank degree levels and areas of study matrix below for further details. This 71 years old US higher-education institution has a selective admission policy based on entrance examinations and students’ past academic record and grades. The admission rate range is 70-80% making this US higher education organization a somewhat selective institution. International students are welcome to apply for enrollment. GCU also provides several academic and non-academic facilities and services to students including a library, housing, sports facilities, financial aids and/or scholarships, study abroad and exchange programs, online courses and distance learning opportunities, as well as administrative services.

University Identity

NameGrand Canyon University
AcronymGCU
Founded1949
MottoFind Your Purpose
ColoursPurple and white
Screenshot

University Location

Address3300 W Camelback Road
Phoenix
85017 Arizona
United States
Tel+1 (800) 800 9776
Fax+1 (602) 589 2861

Study Areas and Degree Levels

UndergraduatePostgraduate

 

 

 

 
Arts & Humanities 
Business & Social Sciences 
Language & Cultural 
Medicine & Health 
Engineering 
Science & Technology 

Tip: search for Grand Canyon University’s courses and programs with the uniRank Search Engine

Important: please contact or visit the official website of Grand Canyon University for detailed information on areas of study and degree levels currently offered; the above uniRank Study Areas/Degree Levels Matrix is indicative only and may not be up-to-date or complete.

Yearly Tuition Range

UndergraduatePostgraduate
Local
students
15,000-17,500 US$
(11,000-12,900 Euro)
10,000-12,500 US$
(7,400-9,200 Euro)
International
students
15,000-17,500 US$
(11,000-12,900 Euro)
10,000-12,500 US$
(7,400-9,200 Euro)

Tip: search for Grand Canyon University’s tuition fees with the uniRank Search Engine

Important: the above uniRank Tuition Range Matrix does not include room, board or other external costs; tuition may vary by areas of study, degree level, student nationality or residence and other criteria. Please contact the appropriate Grand Canyon University‘s office for detailed information on yearly tuitions which apply to your specific situation and study interest; the above uniRank Tuition Range Matrix is indicative only and may not be up-to-date or complete.

University Admissions

Gender Men and Women (coed)
International Students Yes, international applicants are welcome to apply for admission
Selection Type Yes, based on entrance examinations and students’ past academic record and grades
New Admission Requirements– Secondary school GPA is required
– Secondary school rank is neither required nor recommended
– Secondary school record is required
– Completion of college-preparatory program is neither required nor recommended
– Recommendations are neither required nor recommended
– Formal demonstration of competencies is neither required nor recommended
– Admission test scores are required
– Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required
– Other Tests (Wonderlic, WISC-III, etc.) are neither required nor recommended
Admission Rate 70-80%
Admission Office3300 West Camelback Road, Dept M100
Phoenix 85017
800 800 9776
800 800 9776

Tip: search for Grand Canyon University’s admission policy with the uniRank Search Engine

Important: admission policy and acceptance rate may vary by areas of study, degree level, student nationality or residence and other criteria. Please contact the Grand Canyon University‘s Admission Office for detailed information on a specific admission selection policy and acceptance rate; the above University admission information is indicative only and may not be complete or up-to-date.

Size and Profile

Student Enrollment over-45,000
Academic Staff over-5,000
Control Type Private
Entity Type For-Profit
Academic Calendar Semesters
Campus Setting Urban
Religious AffiliationNone

Carnegie Classification New

Basic ClassificationDoctoral/Professional Universities
2000 ClassificationMasters Colleges and Universities I
Size & SettingFour-year, large, primarily nonresidential institution
Enrollment ProfileMajority undergraduate
Undergraduate ProfileFour-year, higher part-time institution
Undergraduate Instructional ProgramProfessions focus, some graduate coexistence
Graduate Instructional ProgramProfessions focus, no graduate coexistence

Facilities and Services

Library Yes 
Grand Canyon University’s library collection is comprised of both physical (i.e. books, medium etc.) and digital/electronic items. In 2018 the library has reported 38,391 physical volumes, 1,633 physical media, 21,717 digital/electronic medium and 148 licensed digital/electronic databases.
Housing Yes
Grand Canyon University provides on-campus housing. The total dormitory capacity, whether on or off campus, was about 12,052 students in the 2018 academic year.
Sport Facilities Yes
Financial Aids Yes
Study Abroad Yes
Distance Learning Yes
Academic CounselingYes
Career ServicesYes
Institutional HospitalNot reported

Tip: search for Grand Canyon University’s facilities and services with the uniRank Search Engine

Important: please contact or visit the official website of Grand Canyon University for detailed information on facilities and services provided, including the type of scholarships and other financial aids offered to local or international students; the information above is indicative only and may not be complete or up-to-date.

Accreditations

Institutional Accreditation 

Higher Learning Commission

Year of first Accreditation

1968

Other Specialized or Programmatic Accreditations

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)

Tip: search for Grand Canyon University’s accreditations with the uniRank Search Engine

Important: the above section is intended to include only those reputable organizations (e.g. Ministries of Higher Education) that have the legal authority to officially accredit, charter, license or, more generally, recognize Grand Canyon University as a whole (Institutional Accreditation or Recognition) or its specific programs/courses (Programmatic Accreditation). Memberships and affiliations to organizations which do not imply any formal, extensive and/or legal process of accreditation or recognition are included in the specific Memberships and Affiliations section below. Please report errors and additions taking into consideration the above criteria.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • National Athletic Association (NAA)
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

Academic Structure

Grand Canyon University
|College of Business College of Education College of Fine Arts and Production College of Humanities and Social Sciences College of Nursing and Health Care Professions College of Science, Engineering and Technology College of Theology College of Doctoral Studies