You can boost your career by earning a fast and focused online master's degree. An online degree can offer greater accessibility and affordability than an in-person program. Perks may include accelerated courses, set or in-state tuition rates for all learners (regardless of residency status), and generous transfer credit policies.
Students should consider a multi-faceted approach when it comes to finding and applying to schools. Choosing the right program requires research and organization. Our guide will help you understand what to expect from distance learning. We also review some of the top online master's programs in U.S.
Students considering a master's degree should weigh the costs and benefits to determine if this is a worthwhile endeavor for their career. An online master's option may offer an affordable, convenient path toward career advancement and higher-paying jobs. Each student must decide whether they can incorporate the workload of a master's program into their work and family life.
The table below highlights some pros and cons of earning an online master's. The increased earning potential and ROI of a master's are among its benefits. However, higher earnings and career advancement are not guaranteed.
To qualify for our ranking list, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution offering an online master's degree program. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (50%), affordability (25%), and the availability and popularity of online programs (25%). Read more about our rankings methodology.
UA Little Rock offers more than 450 total online courses. The university oversees 11 online master's programs in fields like mass communication, criminal justice, health education and promotion, and professional and technical writing.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin offers more than 20 online master's programs in fields like business, public administration, computer science, cybersecurity, and nursing. Distance learners can take courses that last for six, 12, or 15 weeks, and most programs eliminate on-campus requirements. Programs use a variety of methods to keep students engaged, including discussion boards, projects, labs, and simulations.
Located in Gainesville, Georgia, Brenau offers more than 40 online master's programs in fields like education, business, nonprofit leadership, healthcare management, and conflict resolution. Most of these programs deliver coursework asynchronously through the Canvas learning management system. Courses in these programs typically last for seven weeks, and most classes are capped at around 20 students.
Located in Steubenville, Ohio, Franciscan maintains a Roman Catholic affiliation. The university offers six online master's programs in the following fields: catechetics and evangelization, Catholic studies, theology and Christian ministry, Catholic leadership, business administration, and education.
Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, IUPUI offers online master's programs in more than 15 different fields, including social work, public affairs and administration, public health, parks and recreation, and computing and technology. Online offerings take advantage of the Indiana University System to provide a variety of program options for distance learners.
Located in Campbellsville, Kentucky, CU offers more than 30 online master's programs, including degrees in criminal justice, education, English, business, computer science, nursing, sociology, and ministry and theology. The university primarily serves working professionals and delivers the majority of online coursework asynchronously. Classes are available fully online, eschewing on-campus requirements.
Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Marquette offers eight online master's programs in fields like business administration, Christian doctrine, clinical mental health counseling, and computing. Distance learners can also pursue graduate degrees in corporate communication, healthcare data analytics, management, and supply chain management.
Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty serves more than 100,000 students, many of whom enroll in online programs. The university offers a variety of online master's programs in fields like the arts and sciences, aviation, business, criminal justice, and education. Most of these programs serve working professionals by eliminating on-campus requirements and delivering coursework asynchronously. Many courses last for seven or eight weeks.
Based in Biddeford, Maine, UNE offers nine online master's programs through its College of Professional Studies. Distance learners can pursue online graduate degrees in applied nutrition, education, health informatics, public health, and social work.
Each program delivers all coursework online and asynchronously through the Blackboard and Brightspace learning management systems. Students never need to visit campus to graduate. Prospective students must complete an online application and submit official undergraduate transcripts.
Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, UNW offers seven online master's degrees in business administration, divinity, education, human services, ministry leadership, organizational leadership, and theological studies. Students can complete each of these degrees entirely online, although some programs offer blended learning options for learners who want to take some courses on campus.
Students should consider a variety of factors when choosing a master's program, including accreditation. Schools commonly offer accredited online master's degrees in diverse majors and concentrations, which may be ideal for students looking to level up their skills in a particular career field.
Applicants can often choose from several delivery methods, depending on which learning style suits them best. Students should consider whether they prefer a live online learning environment or self-paced, pre-recorded courses. Hybrid programs may suit students looking to blend online and in-person learning.
Students looking at online master's programs should make sure their target schools have the appropriate accreditation. Awarded by third-party organizations that hold approval from the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, accreditation signifies that a school is legitimate and provides a quality education. Students should only apply to accredited schools.
Beyond institutional accreditation, some online master's programs receive programmatic accreditation for their specialized curriculum. Examples include MBAs, which may be accredited by agencies such as the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Additionally, master's in education programs often hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
For-profit and nonprofit colleges may appeal to different types of students seeking a master's degree. Nonprofits, which include state-run public institutions, often cost less than for-profit schools. Students who attend nonprofit schools can also qualify for federal financial aid. Additionally, public schools typically offer a wider variety of master's degrees in traditional subjects.
For-profit universities tend to maintain higher acceptance rates. These schools are more likely to emphasize technical or vocational training through specialized online master's degrees in subjects like culinary arts or medical coding.
Students may enjoy lower overall costs by enrolling on a full-time basis. However, part-time learners may have lower costs per term. Select master's programs may allow students to transfer in some credits, which can help decrease costs and expedite graduation.
Fully online programs can save students the cost of commuting to or living on campus, and even hybrid programs may be less expensive than a traditional option. Earning a diploma online can also help students avoid hidden costs and fees related to physical textbooks, campus facilities, and in-person technology support.
Online degrees come with various pros and cons for potential applicants. Ultimately, the decision to pursue an in-person or online master's degree should be based on personal preferences and requirements. As online degree options are now commonplace at colleges, employers do not typically differentiate between traditional and online-educated job candidates.
Schools typically offer several types of traditional and online master's degrees. The most common degree programs include the master of arts (MA), master of science (MS), and master of business administration (MBA). Each degree offers unique majors and concentrations.
Students pursuing an online master's degree may qualify for many types of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, and fellowships. Applicants must complete the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal aid. They may also apply for private loans to help cover the cost of their degree.
The MBA remains one of the most popular master's degrees among career-focused college students. Other in-demand master's degrees are related to topics like computer science, accounting, and nursing. Earning a master's degree can qualify graduates for management-level roles in lucrative technology, business, and healthcare sectors.
Yes. Employers do not typically differentiate between candidates educated on campus or online. Since many schools have spent decades developing their remote learning platforms, employers increasingly view master's programs online as equivalent to traditional ones.
In some cases, an online degree might even be considered superior to an in-person degree. For example, employers might appreciate candidates who have experience with online learning management systems.
Some accelerated programs allow students to graduate with an online master's degree in just one year. Schools may offer MBAs and other master's degrees that condense an entire graduate education into one year of study. Most one-year master's degrees require full-time enrollment and may require a minimum number of transfer credits. 59ce067264