Online Master's Programs
Online Master's Degree
Online master degree programs offer working students and professionals the opportunity to earn a graduate degree in a convenient and flexible online format. Studies report that certain professions may require a masters degree for entry-level jobs, and also that earning a master's degree might lead to higher wages.i
About Online Master's Degree Programs
Many universities and colleges have both residential and online master's programs which one might pursue on a full-time or part-time basis. Today, an increasing number of adult learners are turning to the online option.ii Applicants to online master degree programs should have first earned an undergraduate degree. As with traditional masters programs, an online master program may take anywhere from one to two years to complete full-time. Some universities may offer an online dual degree that combines both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree. These may take longer. Furthermore, duration may vary between graduate schools and the type of degree you work towards.
What Should I Look For in An Online Masters Program
Your search for online programs may lead you to colleges, universities, for profit companies and virtual universities. So how might you ensure a quality education?
One of the things to consider is accreditation. Accredited graduate schools have demonstrated that they meet industry standards. You can look for regional accreditation, national accreditation and professional accreditation. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation are good resources. Online graduate degrees are gaining respect and becoming very popular and widely accepted. The diploma does not usually stipulate how a student earned their degree but employers may look for accrediation.
Faculty, Curriculum & Course Content
Another factor to consider when searching for an online Masters program or degree is how the courses, curriculum and faculty handle the online delivery method so you ensure your own educational needs are met. Often distance learning programs are mirrors of residential ones, but this is a good thing to verify.
If you are enrolling in an online Masters program, make sure you understand the technologies involved and that your graduate school has tech support. Sometimes there is an orientation for new students which could be beneficial to you.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the Fall of 2014 -- 25% of graduate students were enrolled in exclusively online courses!
Who Might Consider Earning a Master's Degree Online?
There are many different groups that might benefit from the convenience of distance learning. An online Masters degree program could be a great option for any of the following.
- Undergraduates returning for a graduate degree
- Professionals returning to update skills or change careers
- Working students who want to balance job and study
- Students out of geographical proximity to a masters degree program of interest
- Students returning to finish their degree
- Students who have family duties and demands
- Students who are autonomous and self-motivated
- Working students who travel
Types of Online Master Degree Programs
Type of Degree
Area of Study
Online Business Master’s Degree Programs
MBA, MS, Executive Master (EM), MPA
Finance, Business Administration, Health Administration, Accounting, Public Administration
Online Criminal Justice and Legal Master’s Degree Programs
MPA, Master of Science in Law (MSL), MS
Criminal Justice, Law, Cybercrime and Technology
Online Education Master’s Degree Programs
MA, MS, MEd
Special Education, Educational Administration
Online Fine Arts and Design Master’s Degree Programs
MS, MFA, MA
Interior Architecture, Media Design, Information Technology – Game Design and Development
Online Health and Medicine Master’s Degree Programs
Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), EM
Public Health, Nursing, Healthcare Administration
Online Liberal Arts and Humanities Master’s Degree Programs
MFA, MA, MS
Creative Writing, Public Relations, Communication
Online Math, Science, and Engineering Master’s Degree Programs
Master of Mathematics (MMath), MS, Master of Engineering (MEng), Master of Aerospace Engineering (MAE)
Mathematics, Information Technology – Data Analytics, Engineering, Aerospace Engineering
Online Public Affairs and Social Sciences Master’s Degree Programs
MPA, MA, Master of Social Work (MSW)
Public Administration, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Psychology, Social Work
Online Religious Studies Master’s Degree Programs
MA, Master of Divinity (MDiv)
Ministry, Divinity, Theology
Online Technology Master’s Degree Programs
MS, Master of Library Science (MLIS), MPS
Business Intelligence and Analytics, Library Science, Technology Management
Types of Online Master Degrees: MA, MS, MBA, MFA, MPS
The online master's degree in itself is a “second-cycle” or graduate degree that is awarded to students who have demonstrated “mastery” in their academic field.ii Within this tier of education, you can find different types of online master's degree programs. Types of master degrees online are:
- Online Master of Arts (MA)
- Online Master of Science (MS)
- Online Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Online Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
- Online Master of Professional Studies (MPS)
- Online Master of Education (MEd)
Try a MicroMasters Program
MicroMasters programs are a set of masters-level online courses that help you earn professional credentials and valuable university credits. Now you can test drive a MicroMasters Program for Free! Browse MicroMasters Programs now.
DID YOU KNOW?
If you are a professional and can’t take time off to earn a traditional master's degree, a MicroMasters program may be an accessible and affordable option.
Potential Features of Online Masters Programs
While each university may define and format their online masters programs differently, the term “distance-learning” commonly means that the graduate student and his or her professor are separated by space, or by both time and space. As such, some of the potential features of earning an online master degree could include those listed below.ii
- Course material delivered online
- Use of digital cameras and other technology
- Use of special software, pre-recorded video, live streaming video
- One-way video and two-way audio for live lectures and class participation
- Assembling on different campus sites to see and hear a lecture transmitted via television monitor
- Using a common web browser to view and listen to pre-taped lectures
- Lecture notes and web pages to complement textbook readings and assignments
- Electronic discussion boards, chat rooms, email, telephone, group projects to facilitate interaction and feedback between classmates and student to professor
- Turn in assignments by mail or online course management system
- Fully online (100%) or partially online (some campus courses)
5 Careers That Require A Master's Degree
|Career||Median Annual Salary for Master's Degree|
Healthcare Social Workers
Urban and Regional Planners
Narrow Your Search for Online Masters Degree Programs
Enrolling in an online Masters degree program can be an exciting way to advance your education in a flexible format! Remember to check for application deadlines for programs you wish to consider and ensure you have all the important aspects of your application lined up.
Sometimes you have a choice between ‘tracks’ and you should spend some time researching the curricula and possible outcomes of the various online masters programs. This should give you a feel for whether it aligns with your goals. For instance, are you using the Master’s degree as a stepping stone to a Ph.D.? Do you aspire to enter the workplace after graduation? These are some things to consider when comparing online programs and schools.
sources: [i] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm |[ii] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2001/Summer/art01.pdf |[iii] nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=80 | [i] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2014/article/education-level-and-jobs.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/economists.htm#tab-5 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-5 | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-5 | [v] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-5 | [vi] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/urban-and-regional-planners.htm#tab-5 |
University of Dayton
The University of Dayton School of Education and Health Sciences offers a top-ranked online Master of Science in Education (MSE) in Educational Leadership with an optional path to principal licensure that can be completed in two years.
The Catholic University of America
The online Master of Social Work is a top-50 Best Graduate Program for Social Work according to U.S. News and World Report—prepares its graduates to pass the Licensed Graduate Social Work exam to meet the challenges as a clinical social worker.
Sacred Heart University
Move up to a leadership role with a sought-after credential. Offering four specializations in Clinical Nurse Leadership, Nursing Management & Executive Leadership, Nursing Education, and Family Nurse Practitioner.
Online MBA in Fraud Management Fight Fraud and Economic Crime with an MBA focused on fraud and risk management techniques The online Economic Crime and Fraud Management MBA from Utica College is one of the few programs in the nation that combines fra...
George Mason University
George Mason University's online Master's Degree in Special Education, specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) equips students to identify, address, and overcome complex learning challenges to influence the educational potential for pe...
Build the skills,knowledge, and experience you need to lead technology initiatives and develop cutting-edge business solutions.
Regis University’s online Master of Science in Information Assurance degree program offers IT professionals up-to-the-minute training to ensure that systems are designed to protect the confidentiality, integrity of sensitive data at all times.
St. John's University
What They’re Known For Based in New York City, St. John’s University is a diverse academic community with a globally focused curriculum.The Tobin College of Businessgives students the opportunity to learn from top...
The online M.S. in Organizational Leadership offers learners the practical skills necessary to effect powerful, positive change in their organizations. This is a student-centered program that provides an individualized path to success, built around a...
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Master of Arts in Health & Human Services Administration Lead with Compassion. Manage with Care. Saint Mary’s helps you lead with confidence to achieve your health and...
Our Masters in Social Work focuses on the impact of trauma, a leading factor in mental health, and other social-emotional issues that affect quality of life.
Saint Joseph's University
A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Advanced Physician Assistant (APA) program offers the most direct path to APA credentials–even without a Bachelor’s degree (additional admission requirements apply). Practicing Physician Assistants can...
Winthrop University's online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program empowers students to lead with conviction in their current and future roles. Learn in a rigorous AACSB-accredited program taught by dedicated faculty committed to your s...
The Canisius College Educational Leadership program has three sequential segments, customized to meet your career goals. Complete NYS School Building Leader or School District Leader Certification...
With a rich history dating back to 1918, Boston University School of Social Work continues to educate agents of change through our comprehensive graduate program housed at a leading private research university.
Seton Hall University
The online M.S. in Professional Accounting (M.S.P.A.) from Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business does more than prepare students for licensure as a Certified Public Accountant. In this degree program, designed for professionals wi...
Join the ranks of more than 40 alumni serving as police chiefs nationwide. They have two things in common — a rewarding career and a Master of Science in Criminal/Social Justice from Lewis University.
The George Washington University