Masters Degree Programs: The Ultimate Directory in United States
What is A Master's Degree?
A master’s degree is an academic degree awarded by a college or university upon completion of a specific course of study. Students obtain a Master's Degree to further their studies in a specialized field and to gain highly developed skills in analysis and critical thinking.
Also known as a second-cycle academic degree, a Master's Degree usually precedes a Doctorate or Ph.D.
Do You Need a Master's Degree?
On average, full-time workers with a Master's Degree can potentially earn $25,000 more per year compared to all workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Professional development, cultivating more expertise in your field of study, and potentially earning a salary increase, are a among the reasons many students consider earning a masters degree. In some occupations you are likely to need a Master's Degree in your field to qualify for entry-level jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master’s degree may not be required but having one might lead to advancement or higher pay. Another reason to earn a Master's degree is that it usually required for those continuing education at the Doctoral level.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Master's Degree?
Most master degree programs require 1-2 years of study, depending on the program type and enrollment. This may entail completing around 36 to 54 semester credits or 60 to 90 quarter semester credits; equivalent to about 12 to 18 graduate-level courses. Of course, program lengths and course requirements vary by school and type of Master's Degree Program.
A bachelor's degree is typically required to apply into a Master Degree program, although some programs offer a combined bachelor's to master’s program.
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. However, earning a Master's degree can vary in cost based on several factors such as in state residency, out of state residency, online, blended or accelerated programs. Learn more about how much a Master's degree might cost here.
Many graduate schools charge a cost per credit hour instead of charging a flat fee for tuition. This unit price reflects the number of classroom hours per week throughout a term. Usually it's 3 credits per course, and around 30 to 36 credits to earn a master's degree. Learn more about average cost per credit hour for a master's degree.
What is the Best Master's Degree To Get?
The best master's degree to get depends completely on your goals. For many it may be to increase your salary or to gain more skills in a specific area. Below are the most popular in terms of degrees awarded by subject.
Top 7 Master Degree Majors (according to the NCES by graduate degrees granted in 2015-2016)
Popular Master's Degree Programs in United States
Masters of Science Degree
The Master of Science, or MS degree, is a type of masters degree that is typically awarded in the sciences, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematical subjects such as computer science and analytics. Generally, an M.S. degree takes 2 years of full time study and requires a thesis or research project. Admission to M.S. programs is usually contingent on the applicant having previously obtained their Bachelor’s degree which is often a Bachelor of Science.
Master of Arts Degree
The Master of Arts, or MA degree, is a type of graduate degree which includes all arts and humanities disciplines as well as some social sciences. The M.A. degree is typically awarded in English, history, communication studies, international relations, international business administration, humanities, philosophy, and social sciences. Generally, an MA degree takes 2 years of full-time study for a non-thesis program, and longer for a thesis option; the Master of Arts (M.A.) may either be entirely course-based, entirely research-based or a combination. Admission to M.A. programs is usually contingent on the applicant having previously obtained their Bachelor’s degree which is often a Bachelor of Arts.
Master of Fine Arts Degree
The Master of Fine Arts, or MFA degree, is a graduate degree that usually requires 2 to 3 years of postgraduate study after a Bachelor’s degree (Bachelor of Fine Arts). Unlike the Master of Arts, the M.F.A. centers around practice in a particular discipline and is recognized as a terminal degree in visual arts, design, dance, photography, theater, and creative writing.
Master of Business Administration Degrees
The Master of Business Administration, or MBA degree, is a master’s degree in business administration (management) that actually originated in the U.S. as a scientific approach to management; it is both a terminal degree and a professional degree. Core topics in MBA programs commonly cover accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations.
The Professional Science Master, or PSM degree, is a graduate degree intended to allow students to pursue advance training in science or mathematics at the same time as developing workplace skills. PSM programs tend to be interdisciplinary, can take about 2 years of full time study, and usually involve an internship. Often, you can find the PSM degree in forensic science, computational chemistry, applied mathematics and bioinformatics programs (STEM fields).
BY THE NUMBERS
In 2015–16, over half of the 786,000 master's degrees conferred were concentrated in three fields of study: business (187,000 degrees), education (146,000 degrees), and health professions and related programs (110,000 degrees).ii
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.
Some popular types of master degree programs are Master of Science (MS Degree), Master of Arts (MA Degree), Master of Fine Arts (MFA Degree), and Master of Business Administration (MBA Degree). The type of master degree awarded may depend on the school, program focus and area of study.
Professional Insight into Earning a Master's Degree
“Earning my master’s degree has already opened new doors to career opportunities. I always wanted to return to the television industry after spending a majority of my career in a newsroom. Going to grad school helped me achieve that goal. I now manage an online graduate program in television management, teaching the industry’s future leaders.” Click To Tweet!
Professor Michelle Bradsher-McHugh, Associate Director, Paul F. Harron Graduate Program in TV Management at Drexel University
What Master's Degree Degree Should You Get?
Use our subject selection filter at the top of this page or start with the list below to find some of the most awarded degrees (by subject). You will find accredited M.A., M.S., M.F.A., M.B.A., P.S.M. and other specific master degree programs with the help of our subject selection and sponsored program listings. The broad list of masters degree programs include the following subjects:
- Masters in Business
- Masters in Psychology
- Criminal Justice & Legal
- Fine Arts
- Health & Medicine
- Liberal Arts & Humanities
- Math, Science & Engineering
- Public Affairs & Social Sciences
- Religious Studies
DID YOU KNOW?
Securities, commodities and financial service agents workers who had a masters degree earned nearly 90% higher wages than workers with a Bachelor’s degree.i
Potential Features of Masters Degree Programs
The basic premise behind earning a Master’s degree is that the student has achieved a “high-order overview” of their academic discipline. This could involve the following.
- Advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and practical topics
- Highly developed skills in analysis and critical thinking
- Understanding of professional application of their subject matter
- Ability to solve complex problems
- Independent thinking
While Masters programs vary in scope, these capabilities might be achieved through rigorous coursework, a thesis paper or final project, an internship or supervised practicum, exams and case studies.
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.
How to Choose a Masters Program
- Consider that your Master’s degree should reflect your professional career needs as well as targeting your academic goals.
- Remember your M’s: MS, MA, MEd, MBA, MFA, PSM, and whether you are excited to study on campus or need the convenience of online.
- Read these helpful articles to help you navigate subjects like accreditation and applications.
- Finally, always reach out to the graduate school for full program details, especially because there are deadlines and you want to stay ahead of the class as you master your field of study!
Can I Get My Master's Degree Online?
Yes! There are many online master degree programs available! You can often choose between a campus and online masters program format as well as low residency formats which are mostly online but require some in-person attendance.
In some cases, especially for human centered and medical fields, your options for online degrees may be limited, however a hybrid or low residency choice may be offered.
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|District of Columbia||15,060||$134,430|
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$148,700||4,200|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||$147,270||11,980|
|California-Lexington Park, MD||$145,620||490|
Top 368 Graduate Schools with Masters Programs in United States
- Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
- Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
- Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
- Tuition around $4,000 a term - about half the cost of most other online universities
- Master of Business Administration, Healthcare Management, Data Analytics, Information Technology Management, Accounting, Leadership and more
- Programs start monthly - Apply free this week!
Northcentral UniversityMaster of Science in Organizational Leadership - Criminal Justice Master of Business Administration - Financial Management MPA Management Information Systems Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Project Management Master of Science in Technology and Innovation Management - Information Systems Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology Master of Education - Reading Education Master of Business Administration - Criminal Justice Master of Business Administration - Human Resources Management Master of Business Administration - General Business Master of Science in Nursing – Management and Organizational Leadership Master of Business Administration - International Business Master of Science in Educational Psychology Master of Science in Technology and Innovation Management - IT Project Management MPA Computer and Information Security Master of Education - Leadership in Higher Education MPA Criminal Justice Master of Education - Global Training and Development Master of Public Administration Master of Education - Adult Learning and Workforce Education MPA Management of Engineering and Technology Master of Science in Data Science Master of Education - Sport and Athletic Management Master of Education - Organizational Leadership Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy - General Family Therapy
Rivier UniversityMaster of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner MBA (Healthcare Administration) MS in Computer Information Systems MBA (Marketing, Management, IT) M.S. Nursing: Leadership in Health Systems Management M.S. Nursing: Nursing Education MPH
Campbellsville UniversityMBA MSW MSN-FNP
Aurora UniversityMSW MPA MBA
Canisius CollegeOnline MS in Sport Administration Online NYS School Building and District Leader Education Technologies and Emerging Media Online MS in Anthrozoology Online MS in Respiratory Care (MSRC) Online MS in Community and School Health (MSCSH) MS in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Online Online MS in Physical Education Online M.S. in Health and Human Performance
Roger Williams UniversityM.P.A. Public Administration M.S. Historic Preservation Master of Architecture (MArch) M.S. Criminal Justice
Widener UniversityMaster of Business Administration Master of Social Work – Advanced Standing Master of Social Work
Winthrop UniversityMaster of Arts in Arts Administration Master of Business Administration Master of Education in Special Education Intervention Master of Business Administration – Sports Marketing & Revenue Generation Master of Business Administration - Strategic Leadership Master of Business Administration - Marketing Master of Social Work - Traditional Track Master of Social Work - Advanced Standing
Emerson CollegeMaster of Science in Communication Disorders
Brandeis UniversityMaster of Science in Strategic Analytics Online Master of Science in Technology Management Online Master of Software Engineering Master of Science in Health and Medical Informatics
Moore College Of Art And DesignMaster of Arts in Art Education Socially-Engaged Art; MA, MFA
Purdue UniversityMaster of Science in Communication: Communication & Leadership Master of Science in Communication Master of Science in Education in Special Education Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology Master of Science in Communication: Health Communication Master of Public Health Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Intergrated Stem Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Mathematics Education Concentration Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Gifted, Creative, and Talented Studies Concentration Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction - English Language Learning Concentration Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Educational Technology Concentration Master of Science in Engineering Technology (MSET)
Temple UniversityProfessional Science Master's (PSM) in Computer and Systems Security Master of Science in Engineering Management Bioengineering M.S. Master of Science in Electrical Engineering Master of Science Environmental Engineering Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering Master of Science in Civil Engineering
Ashford UniversityMBA in Public Administration MA in Education - Family and Community Services Specialization MBA in Media Management MA in Education - Higher Education specialization Master of Human Resource Management MA in Education - Special Education (non-licensure) Specialization MBA in Marketing Specialization MS in Instructional Design and Technology MA in Organizational Management - Media Management Specialization MA in Teaching and Learning with Technology - Online Educator Specialization Master of Public Health MA in Early Childhood Education Leadership MA in Education - Curriculum & Instruction Specialization MS in Criminal Justice - Forensic Science Specialization MBA in Project Management Specialization Master of Information Systems Management - Project Management Specialization MBA in Environmental Management Specialization MS in Health Informatics and Analytics MS in Finance MBA in Human Resources Management Specialization MA in Education - Early Childhood Education specialization MA in Psychology MA in Teaching and Learning with Technology MA in Organizational Management - Supply Chain Management MA in Education
Queens University of CharlotteMaster of Arts in Communication Master of Business Administration Master of Arts in Educational Leadership Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Leader Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Master of Business Administration - Finance Master of Arts in Communication - Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration Online Master of Health Administration
Michigan State UniversityMaster of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Western New England UniversityMaster of Arts in Communication with a Public Relations Concentration
Fuller Theological SeminaryMaster of Divinity
Baylor UniversityEdD in Learning and Organizational Change Master of Public Health Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders Master of Social Work Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Leadership & Innovation
Dakota Wesleyan UniversityMaster of Arts in Educational Policy and Administration Master of Business Administration
Manhattanville CollegeMaster of Science in Finance Master of Science in Business Leadership Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Organizational Effectiveness Master of Science in Marketing Communication Management
Pennsylvania State UniversityMaster of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering Master of Professional Studies in Data Analytics Master of Applied Statistics Master of Professional Accounting Master of Project Management Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development Master of Professional Studies in Strategic Communications Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering Master of Education in Adult Education Master of Education in Higher Education Master of Finance Master of Business Administration Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering Master of Education in Special Education Masters of Health Administration Master of Software Engineering Master of Education in Educational Leadership Master's of Professional Studies in Supply Chain Management Master of Professional Studies in Organization Development and Change Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction Master of Education in Learning, Design, and Technology Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security Master of Engineering Management
St. John's UniversityMaster of Business Administration: Risk Management & Insurance Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business Master of Business Administration: Taxation Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Academic Librarianship Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Archival Studies Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Public Librarianship Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Youth Services Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Special Librarianship Master of Science in Library and Information Science Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Management Master of Public Health Master of Science in Accounting
University of MiamiMaster of Arts in International Administration (MAIA) Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)
Johns Hopkins UniversityMaster of Arts in Science Writing Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems Online Master of Arts in Public Management Master of Science in Energy Policy and Climate Master of Science in Biotechnology Master of Arts in Non-Governmental Organization Management Master of Arts in Teaching Writing Master of Science in Applied Economics Masters in Biotechnology Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Master of Science in Food Safety Regulation Master of Science in Geospatial Intelligence Master of Science in Individualized Genomics and Health Master of Liberal Arts Master of Arts in Communication Master of Arts in Museum Studies Master of Science in Research Administration Master of Science in Bioinformatics Master of Arts in Government Master of Science in Government Analytics Master of Science in Regulatory Science Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and Policy Master of Arts in Cultural Heritage Management
Norwich UniversityMaster of Arts in Military History Master of Arts in History Master of Arts in Diplomacy Master of Arts in International Relations Online Master of Business Administration - Energy Management Master of Business Administration - Finance Master of Business Administration - Project Management Master of Business Administration - General Master of Business Administration - Organizational Leadership Master of Business Administration - Supply Chain Management and Logistics Master of Civil Engineering Master of Public Administration – Municipal Governance Master of Public Administration – Nonprofit Management Concentration Master of Civil Engineering - Environmental/Water Resources Engineering Master of Civil Engineering - Geotechnical Engineering Master of Civil Engineering - Structural Engineering Master of Civil Engineering - Construction Management Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Administration Master of Public Administration - General Master of Science in Leadership Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Educator Master of Science in Nursing Master of Public Administration - International Development and Influence Master of Public Administration – Criminal Justice and Public Safety Concentration Master of Public Administration – Leadership and Crisis Management
Edinboro University of PennsylvaniaMasters in Social Work Master of Arts in Counseling-Art Therapy
Merrimack CollegeMS in Data Science MS in Business Analytics MS in Healthcare Analytics MS in Accounting M.Ed. in Secondary Education (Grades 5-12) – for Massachusetts licensure M.Ed. in Moderate Disabilities (Pre-K-8) – for Massachusetts licensure, includes Sheltered English Instruction M.Ed. in English as a Second Language (Pre-K-6) – for Massachusetts licensure M.Ed. in Elementary Education (Grades 1-6) – for Massachusetts licensure, includes Sheltered English Instruction M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education (Pre-K-2) – for Massachusetts licensure M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction (non-licensure master’s degree)
Quinnipiac UniversityMaster of Business Administration Master of Science in Sports Journalism Master of Science in Public Relations Master of Science in Journalism MBA Chartered Financial Analyst Track MBA Supply Chain Management Track MBA Health Care Management Track
Concordia University-PortlandMEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Mathematics MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Educational Technology Leadership MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Social Studies MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - ESOL (K-Adult) MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Leadership MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Early Childhood Education MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Community Engagement in Education MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Science MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Environmental Education MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Reading Interventionist MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) MEd in Career and Technical Education MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - The Inclusive Classroom (Special Education) MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Methods and Curriculum MEd in Educational Leadership
SOURCES: [i] www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm |[ii] nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_ctb.asp | [iii] nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_318.30.asp