One of the key factors when deciding whether to pursue an advanced degree is the cost of a master’s degree.
There are many aspects to consider, such as what type of degree do you want to pursue, potential earnings increase, and any additional costs.
However, we break down your costs by subject below to help you find the perfect program for you!
How Much Does a Master’s Degree Cost?
According to Sallie Mae, the average cost of a master’s degree was $24,812 for 2016-2017 full-time students. Of course, this is lower if you are a part-time student. And, students attending private schools usually pay more than students earning a master’s degree from a public institution.
Average Cost of a Master’s Degree by Subject
More and more students are deciding to continue their education and earn a master’s degree. Some are looking to build upon their bachelor’s, others are trying to switch careers, and others are looking to combine their knowledge in one field and expand into another.
For instance, some students choose to pursue a dual MBA program to help those in non-business-related fields study the key concepts of business.
Factors That Impact Cost
In addition, the average cost of a master’s depends on factors such as the degree, the subject, and the type of program. For instance, accelerated master’s programs may cost less than traditional programs because you spend less time in school.
On the other hand, part-time programs may end up costing more because it takes longer to earn your degree. But, those programs offer more flexibility in terms of schedule and may allow you to continue working full-time.
Check out the various costs of popular graduate programs below and some partner programs that offer each type of degree.
Easing the Cost
Keep in mind that in addition to public and private scholarships and student loans, many schools have financial aid opportunities, as well as financial aid departments that may be able to find you opportunities you may have missed. Be sure to check with each school to find out if there are options available to you.
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
With roughly 185,000 business master’s degrees conferred in 2014-15, MBA programs are one of the most popular master’s programs. Typically, MBA programs are some of the more expensive options because of the high demand.i
However, many programs are designed to prepare you for leadership and management positions, which may lead to increased earnings.
The average cost of an MBA can vary greatly, as the 2018 tuitions of some of our partner programs listed below show.
Tuition Per Credit (Online MBA): $980
There are slightly different costs for on-campus programs depending on whether you’re a resident of South Carolina. For instance:
- Full-Time Residents Tuition: $7,583
- Full-Time Non-Residents Tuition: $14,607
- Part-Time Residents Tuition: $635 per credit
- Part-Time Non-Residents Tuition: $1,222 per credit
The core classes of the MBA programs at Winthrop include globalization, analytics, technology, and communication. In addition, the school offers a variety of concentrations, including an MBA with an Accounting Emphasis.
Tuition Per Credit (On-Campus): $965
Tuition Per Credit (Online MBA): $510 - $965 (Depending on program)
Designed to teach the skills and perspectives needed in today’s technology-driven and constantly-changing world and business environment, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Scranton offers a combination of cornerstone, core, advanced, and capstone courses.
Besides the general MBA, there are seven other concentrations, including an MBA with a concentration in Finance for those who want to study financial management and investment analysis.
Tuition Per Credit (2018): $1,230 - $1,318 (both online and on-campus)
The 36 credit Master of Business Administration (MBA) at St. John’s has a unique, revised focus on case studies, real-world projects, and a global perspective that strives to teach a broad understanding of the global business environment.
In addition, the school offers concentrations such as the MBA in Marketing Management and 14 others.
Online MBA Tuition Per Credit (2018): $1,185
Besides the online MBA options, Penn State also offers MBA programs on-campus at a number of their locations throughout Pennsylvania. At University Park, the largest campus, the tuition ranges from:
- Pennsylvania Resident, Full-Time Annual Tuition (2018): $21,540 - $26,422 (depending on the program)
- Pennsylvania Resident, Part-Time Per Credit (2018): $898 - $1,101 (depending on the program)
- Non-Pennsylvania Resident, Full-Time Annual Tuition (2018): $36,974 - $42,468 (depending on the program)
- Non-Pennsylvania Resident, Part-Time Per Credit (2018): $1,541 - $1,770 (depending on the program)
MBA Programs at Penn State
Designed to develop principled leadership, integrated perspectives, and a global mindset through individualized support and program personalization, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) at PSU strives to build fundamental business skills and depth.
Plus, Penn State has a global network of more than 670,000 alumni from around the world to offer guidance.
In addition to the general program, PSU also offers an Executive MBA.
Master of Education (MEd)
Some states require that teachers earn a master’s degree after obtaining a full-time teaching position.
As a result, many MEd or Master of Science in Education (MSEd) students are full-time teachers seeking to examine various concepts more in-depth in order to reach their students more effectively or to learn the key concepts of school administration.
Check out some of the sponsored schools below that offer MEd or MSEd programs.
Tuition Per Credit (2018-2019): $347.85 - $948.30 (Resident to Non-Resident)
Purdue University offers a variety of Master of Science in Education (MSEd) programs, including an MSEd in Curriculum Studies that explores cultural, political, and economic dimensions in education.
The program focuses on the theories and practices of teaching and learning, as well as research that examines curriculum design and evaluation.
In addition, Purdue offers a number of subject-specific MSEd programs, including:
Tuition Per Credit (2018): $489 - $1,546 (Resident to Non-Resident)
The Graduate School of Education (GSE) at George Mason offers a variety of MEd programs that meet the demands of different careers.
These degrees vary and focus on the different topics that may help jumpstart your career through an analysis of current research and trends, as well as different techniques in different roles.
Some of the available degrees include:
Tuition Per Credit (2018): $780 - $1,090 (Depending on program)
The Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) and George Washington offers a variety of programs in counseling and education that are designed to teach through interdisciplinary and research-based curriculum.
Some of the available programs are:
Tuition Per Credit (2018-2019): $765-$1,043
The Master of Science in Education (MSEd) at Saint Joseph’s strive to develop the skills and techniques elementary and secondary education administrators need for effective leadership in the increasingly complex and competitive field.
As a result, the program focuses on the elements of student development and social justice in schools. Plus, SJU offers a variety of concentrations, which includes an MSEd in Special Education that combines elements of effective teaching and creating learning environments for students with special needs..
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
MSN programs are designed to teach an advanced knowledge of health care and patient care principles.
Many schools offer concentrations so that your nursing curriculum focuses on a specific aspect of nursing.
Another in demand degree, MSN programs are usually very competitive and may have a higher average cost than other master’s degrees.
However, there are many options when it comes to MSN programs, which may help you get accepted, such as:
- Online Nurse Practitioner Programs No GRE
- Nursing Schools with Low GPA Requirements
- Nursing Programs with High Acceptance Rates
Check out some of the sponsored listings below that offer MSN programs, the 2018 tuition, and unique aspects of the program.
MSN Tuition (RN Tracks) (2018): $35,390 - $51,320 (Depending on program)
MSN Tuition (BSN Tracks) (2018): $25,320 - $41,480 (Depending on program)
The MSN programs at Walden allows you to collaborate with nurses from around the country via the school’s interactive online environment and to translate knowledge into practice.
Some of the available MSN programs at Walden are:
Graduate Tuition Per Credit (2018): $340-$670
Grand Canyon University offers a variety of MSN programs, including bridge programs and dual degrees with a number of different concentrations so that you tailor your degree. Each program is designed to focus on the increasing complexity of today’s healthcare system.
Some of the MSN programs at GCU include:
Tuition Per Credit (2017-2018): $330-$685 (depending on programs)
The online MSN programs at Benedictine strives to prepare registered nurses to become effective professionals in an evolving healthcare industry.
With a variety of programs, the various MSN courses and assignments emphasize:
- Organizational and systems leadership
- Healthcare technologies
- Patient advocacy
- Evidence-based practice
- Quality improvement
Some of the available concentrations include:
Tuition Per Credit (2018): $420-$485 (depending on program)
Designed to prepare students for today’s healthcare industry and for the challenges of tomorrow, the MSN programs at Purdue University Global focus on helping nurses advance to the next level of their career.
The school offers a variety of concentrations through flexible programs designed to help you balance work and life responsibilities. In addition to the different concentrations, Purdue Global also offers an accelerated MSN option.
Some of the available concentrations include:
Master of Science (MS) in Psychology
There may be many careers with a master’s in psychology, but many students who earn a master’s continue on to a PhD.
In fact, 48% of industrial / organizational psychologists have a PhD.ii In addition, doctoral degrees are required for clinical psychologists.iii
As a result, a master’s in psychology program is usually designed to prepare you for even further advanced study by analyzing current and historical research, understanding the process of key methods, and developing your own take on current techniques.
Review some of our partner schools below that offer master’s programs in psychology and the tuition per credit.
Graduate Tuition Per Credit (2018): $896
The Master of Science in Clinical Psychology at Notre Dame de Namur strives to develop the whole person throughout the lifespan. Grounded in an integrative approach to psychology, the program emphasizes the interdependence and well-rounded curriculum that combines:
- Learning approaches
Graduate Tuition Per Credit (2018): $789-$1,164
The Chicago School of Psychology is rooted in a commitment to innovation, service, and community that integrates all programs and classrooms with relevant, applicable examples.
Their unique model of education is designed to teach engaged practitioners. Courses offer students a rich spectrum of practical experience to assist in developing an inclusive approach.
Some of the master’s in psychology programs available include:
Graduate Tuition Per Credit (2018): $1,033
The Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Social Psychology at Loyola offers rigorous training and includes a commitment to an education that values human diversity.
The program focuses on teaching how to identify significant problems, how to design and implement changes to alleviate those problems, and how to apply social psychology to various issues such as:
- Health care
- Community affairs
- Profit and non-profit organizations
- Criminal justice
Master of Science (MS) in Cybersecurity
Cyber criminals and hackers always try to be one step ahead of cybersecurity professionals. As a result, many master’s programs focus on teaching the tools and techniques of protecting companies, organizations, and their data and information.
In addition, key concepts revolve around understanding past attacks and methods and new techniques and threats that have emerged in order to understand how to protect information from future attacks.
Check out some of the sponsored listings below to see some of your options and some of the available concentrations and the cost of earning a master’s in cybersecurity at the schools.
Base Per Course Tuition Rate: $2,802
Total Estimated Cost of Program (2018): $29,470
The Master of Science (MS) in Cybersecurity at NCU teaches students the latest tools, methods, practices, methods, and procedures, such as monitoring systems, intrusion detection functions, and forensic tools, in order to keep the data that drives our economy safe.
Curriculum includes how to manage and protect critical information infrastructures, as well as how to protect systems, networks, and data from emerging threats.
NCU also offers similar programs that have a slightly different focus, such as:
Graduate Tuition Per Credit (2018): $545-800 (depending on program)
The Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science with a concentration in Cybersecurity offers a curriculum that combines problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creativity.
Courses and research revolve around the advanced principles of identifying risks, emerging problems, and how to combat those threats.
Plus, the program is designed for working adults through online, evening, or accelerated options.
Graduate Tuition Per Credit (2018): $650-$895 (depending on program)
Designed to teach students to proactively address ever-changing attacks and hacking techniques, the Master of Science (MS) in Cybersecurity teaches through a hands-on curriculum in subjects such as:
- Critical infrastructures
- Investigate principles
Plus, in order to allow you the option to tailor your curriculum through concentration such as:
Other Costs and Fees of Earning a Master’s Degree
Besides tuition, unfortunately there are other costs of earning a master’s degree that some students may not consider.
Some of these additional fees are listed below. However, keep in mind that every school has their own tuition and fee policy, so that those listed may not apply to all schools. In addition, some schools may have additional fees.
Regardless of the type of degree you pursue, you will have course materials you need to buy or rent.
This can include books, computer programs, or even notebooks and pens. In some cases, you may need to upgrade your computer or internet connection if you decide to pursue your degree online.
Per Semester Fees
Nearly all graduate schools have some types of fees that are not included in their listed tuition. These fees can cover a variety of subjects and vary by school, but usually include some or all of the following:
- Background check
- Extended payment plan
- Student ID
Potential Lost wages
One thing that may keep many students from pursuing a master’s degree is the potential loss of income.
This can have an impact especially to those who have families and children, but it’s a consideration of all potential students.
If you decide to attend graduate school full-time, it is highly unlikely that you can continue working full-time. However, many schools provide you with a variety of options to work around your busy schedule and your responsibilities.
Some of these options include:
Besides those options, many programs offer online or part-time options to allow you to pursue your degree at your pace.
If you choose to pursue your degree through an on-campus program, a hybrid program, or an online program that requires residency, you will have associated costs. These may include:
- Wear and tear
However, this is another benefit of pursuing your master’s degree online, which can reduce these costs.
Ways of Reducing the Cost of Your Master’s Degree
Luckily, even with all of these costs, there are still ways for you to reduce your costs, at least initial, out-of-pocket costs.
Check out some of the options below to see how you may be able to cut some of your costs.
There are plenty of scholarships available to you, regardless of the type of master’s degree you pursue, from all types of sources.
Some of these options include scholarships from:
- Your school
Plus, there are some scholarships that are available to students pursuing a specific type of degree, from a certain area, or who are a specific ethnicity or fit into a specific demographic. Search scholarship databases, such as Unigo, to find a scholarship for you.
As with many other types of financial aid, grants come in many different shapes and sizes.
For instance, there are federal grants available to graduate students, such as:
- TEACH Grants
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
- Fulbright Grants
In addition, many schools offer grants to students either based on need, merit, or a combination of the two.
Check with your school to see what types of grants they offer or what types of grants you may qualify for.
If you don’t have the money now, and let’s be honest, many people don’t, student loans may be the best option for you.
In order to receive student loans from the federal government, you will need to complete the FAFSA and follow the process.
For private student loans, typically offered from banks and other financial institutions, you usually need to complete an application, which may include financial records. If you don’t have enough of a credit history or a high enough credit score, you may need to find a cosigner to be approved.
Some employers may offer educational reimbursement as part of their compensation package. However, if you’re lucky enough to be at one of these companies there are many things to consider.
For instance, every company has a unique policy. Some companies may cover only a portion of your tuition or only if you are pursuing a degree that applies to your current position.
This may not help you if you’re trying to switch careers, but it’s always worth looking into. The best way to learn about your company’s policy is to talk to your manager and HR department.
Benefits of Earning a Master’s Degree
While the costs of earning a master’s degree may sound steep, there are many benefits of earning an advanced degree.
Check out some of these benefits below and how your potential increase in earnings may make the cost easier to bear.
#1: Lower Unemployment Rates on Average
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2017 those with a master’s degree had a 2.2% unemployment rate compared to:
- 2.5% for those with a bachelor’s
- 3.4% unemployment rate for those with an associate’s
- 4.6% unemployment for those with a high school diplomaiv
#2: Potential for Higher Median Earnings
The BLS reports that those with a master’s degree had a median usual weekly earnings of $1,401 in 2017. This compares to $1,173 for those with a bachelor’s degree as their highest educational and $836 for those with an associate’s.iv
In addition, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that in 2016, the median earnings of young adults with a master’s degree or higher was roughly 28% higher than those with a bachelor’s degree.v
#3: Specialized Knowledge
As the workforce continues to evolve, earning a master’s degree may lead to higher earnings and increase your job opportunities because of your increased knowledge.
Besides the technical knowledge and increased research, earning a master’s degree may also show potential employers your persistence, determination, and the ability to handle different challenges.
Combining technical skills with soft skills, such as those mentioned above, shows you’re dedicated to the field and may make your resume more competitive.
#4: Meet Potential Job Requirements
As mentioned in the specific subject areas, some careers require that you earn an advanced degree, such as advanced nurse practitioners and teachers in some states.
In addition, some fields have unspoken requirements. For example, top executives are not required to have a master’s degree, but many companies, especially larger ones, look for candidates who have one.vi
#5: Increase Professional Network
One of the most overlooked benefits of pursuing a master’s degree, and one of the most overlooked aspects of your career, is your professional network.
While earning your degree, you’ll meet like-minded people who are also looking to learn more about your field and industry. Making friends may help you find a job later on or help you find talented people for your company.
Either way, your classmates and professors offer a great opportunity for you to build your professional network.
Find the Perfect Master’s Program for You!
After analyzing the various costs of earning a master’s, and the potential increase in earnings, it’s time to take the next step.
Click on any of the sponsored programs on this page to contact the school directly.
Or, complete the form on this page and we’ll match you to the perfect program for you!
[i] nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37 [ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3032.00 [iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-4 [iv] bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm [v] nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cba.asp [vi] bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm#tab-4