Masters Degree Programs: The Ultimate Directory in Illinois
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 Illinois
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.
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|Peoria, IL||$82,010||Not Reported|
|Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI||$81,700||Not Reported|
Top 460 Graduate Schools with Masters Programs in Illinois
- 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
Lewis UniversityMS in Data Science MS in Computer Science - Digital Forensics MS in Computer Science - Non-Declared MS in Computer Science - Software Engineering MS in Computer Science - Cyber Security MS in Criminal Justice MS in Data Science - Computational Biology and Bioinformatics MS in Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence MS in Computer Science - Game and Simulation Programming Master of Science in Data Science - Computer Science MS in Computer Science - Enterprise and Cloud Computing MS in Public Safety Administration MA in Organizational Leadership - Training and Development MA in Organizational Leadership - Organizational Management MA in Organizational Leadership - Nonprofit Management MA in Organizational Leadership - Professional and Executive Coaching MA in Organizational Leadership - Higher Education - Student Services MA in Organizational Leadership
Aurora UniversityMBA MPA MSW
Benedictine UniversityDual Master of Public Health/Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior Accelerated MSMOB Master of Science in Accountancy Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Educator Master of Science in Nursing Dual MBA-MSN Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Executive Leader Master of Public Health Master of Public Health - Health Education & Promotion Master of Public Health - Health Management & Policy Dual Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior Master of Science in Nutrition and Wellness Accelerated Masters in Business Administration Master of Business Administration Dual Master of Business Administration/Master of Public Health Master of Public Health - Epidemiology Focus
Loyola University ChicagoMaster of Science in Medical Physiology Master of Public Health Master of Science in Health Informatics Master of Science in Infectious Disease and Immunology Master of Science in Neuroscience Master of Science in Molecular Pharmacology & Therapeutics Master of Science in Microbiology and Immunology Master of Science in Dietetics Master of Science in Medical Laboratory Science Master of Science in Clinical Research Methods and Epidemiology Dual Degree MD/MPH in Public Health and Medicine Master of Science in Exercise Science
Northern Illinois UniversityMaster of Science in Data Analytics Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Education Master of Public Health - Health Promotion Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner Master of Public Health - Health Services Management Master of Science in Digital Marketing
Concordia University ChicagoMA, Innovation and Entrepreneurship MA, Leadership: Organizational Leadership Specialization The Concordia University Chicago Core MBA MBA, Accounting Specialization MBA, Chief School Business Official Specialization MBA, Leadership and Change Management Specialization MBA, Entrepreneurship Specialization MBA, Finance Specialization MBA, Digital Marketing Specialization MBA, School Business Management Specialization MBA, Not-for-Profit Management Specialization MBA, Sports Management Specialization MBA, Health Care Management Specialization
The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyM.A. International Psychology M.A. Psychopharmacology M.A. Behavioral Economics M.A. Forensic Psychology: Non-Licensure Track AND Master of Legal Studies M.A. Psychology Master of Health Services Administration M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis M.A. Industrial & Organizational Psychology: ARP Track M.A. Industrial/Organizational Psychology: ARP Track AND Master of Legal Studies M.S. Clinical Psychopharmacology M.A. Organizational Leadership M.A. Forensic Psychology: Non-Licensure Track M.S. Clinical Psychopharmacology Illinois Prescriptive Authority Preparation Track Master of Public Health M.A. Forensic Psychology M.A. Organizational Leadership and Management M.A. Psychology, Child and Adolescent Concentration Dual Enrollment: Master of Health Service Administration and Master of Public Health M.A. Forensic Psychology, Professional Counselor Licensure Track
American InterContinental UniversityMaster's - Healthcare Management Master of Science (MSIT) - IT Project Management MBA - Finance MBA - Human Resource Management MBA - Marketing MBA - Project Management Master of Science (MSIT) - Information Assurance and Security MBA - Management MBA - Healthcare Management MBA - Operations Management MBA - Accounting
Colorado Technical UniversityMaster of Science in Management - Homeland Security Master of Business Administration - Project Management Master of Science in Computer Science - Database Systems Master of Science in Criminal Justice Master of Business Administration - Human Resource Management Master of Science in Homeland Security Master of Business Administration - Marketing Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Master of Science in Homeland Security - Cybersecurity Policy Master of Science in Management - Project Management Master of Science in Management - Organizational Leadership and Change Master of Science in Information Technology - Network Management Master of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship Master of Business Administration - Finance Master of Business Administration - Health Care Management Master of Business Administration - Global Leadership Master of Science in Computer Science - Software Engineering Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Master of Science in Information Technology Master of Science in Management Master of Science in Computer Science Master of Business Administration Master of Business Administration - Technology Management Master of Science in Management - Information Technology and Project Management Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education
Northcentral UniversityMaster of Education - International Education Master of Business Administration - Homeland Security Master of Science in Educational Psychology MPA Strategic Management MPA Computer and Information Security Master of Science in Information Technology Master of Business Administration - Strategic Management Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy - Child and Adolescent Family Therapy Master of Business Administration - Applied Computer Science Master of Education - Corporate Wellness Master of Public Administration Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy - Military Family Therapy MPA Criminal Justice Master of Education - Adult Learning and Workforce Education Master of Science in Forensic Psychology Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Services Master of Business Administration - Financial Management Master of Science in Instructional Design (MSID) Master of Education - Reading Education Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Human Resources Management Master of Business Administration - General Business Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy - General Family Therapy Master of Education - English Language Learning Master of Business Administration - Management Information Systems Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Criminal Justice
National Louis UniversityMA Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Bradley UniversityMaster of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (ADN/diploma or BSN to MSN-FNP) Master of Arts in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) Master of Arts in Counseling – Professional School Counseling (PSC)
University of Illinois at ChicagoMaster of Science in Health Informatics
Northwestern UniversityMaster of Arts in Counseling
Loyola University ChicagoDual Degree JD/MBA in Law and Business Master of Science in Mathematics Master of Arts in English Master of Arts in Applied Social Psychology Dual Degree MA/JD in Law and Political Science Master of Arts in Political Science Master of Arts in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies - Health Care Chaplaincy Master of Laws in Tax Law Master of Arts in Theology Dual Degree MA/MLIS in Public History and Library and Information Science Master of Arts in Social Justice Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies Dual Degree JD/MPP in Law and Public Policy Master of Science in Applied Statistics Dual Degree JD/MEd in Law & Education Policy Master of Arts in Philosophy Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology Master of Arts in History or Public History Master of Science in Chemistry Master of Arts in Counseling For Ministry Dual Degree JD/MA in Law & Comparative Education MSW/Master of Divinity Dual Degree Master of Arts in Sociology Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality
Governors State UniversityEnvironmental Biology Psychology Communication Disorders Art Nursing (MSN) Addictions Studies Business Administration (MBA) Multicategorical Special Education Early Childhood Education Communications and Training Management Information Systems Counseling Education Health Administration Reading Political and Justice Studies English Occupational Therapy Social Work Computer Science Analytical Chemistry Public Administration Accounting Educational Administration
University of Illinois OnlineHuman Services - Social Services Administration Concentration Public Administration Health Professions Agricultural Education Environmental Studies Computer Science
Erikson InstituteMaster of Science in Early Childhood Education
Adler UniversityMaster of Arts in Applied Psychology Master of Arts in Psychology: Military Psychology Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Northwestern CollegeComputational Biology and Bioinformatics Master of Arts in Theological Studies - Master Master of Organizational Leadership - Master
Columbia College ChicagoBusiness & Entrepreneurship Arts, Entertainment and Media Management MAM Creative Writing - Poetry MFA Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling MA - Master Cinema Art + Science – Creative Producing MFA Cinema Art + Science – Directing MFA Visual Art Education (K-12) MAT Journalism MA Photography MFA Music Composition for the Screen MFA Interdisciplinary Arts MA Elementary Education (K-9) MAT Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA Creative Writing - Fiction MFA Creative Writing - Nonfiction MFA Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts MFA
Millikin UniversityBusiness Administration
Gratz CollegeMaster of Education (M.Ed.) Master of Arts in Jewish Studies
The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyM.A. Forensic Psychology, Professional Counselor Licensure Track
Loyola University ChicagoMSN - Population-Based Infection Control and Environmental Safety Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing and Healthcare Administration
Rush UniversityResidency in Medical Physics, PhD & Master's Immunology and Microbiology - Master Speech-Language Pathology Molecular Biophysics and Physiology Respiratory Care RRT Advanced Standing Biotechnology Doctor of Medicine Clinical Research Generalist Entry Master's (GEM) in Nursing for Non-Nurses Biochemistry - Master Clinical Nutrition and Dietetic Internship Biomechanics Health Systems Management Radiological Sciences Clinical Laboratory Sciences Physician Assistant Studies Occupational Therapy Perfusion Technology Religion Health and Human Values Anatomical Sciences Health Care Ethics Respiratory Care Pharmacology - Master
Lake Forest CollegeLiberal Studies
Argosy UniversityClinical Psychology (MA) Educational Leadership (MAEd) MA in Industrial Organizational Psychology
University of Illinois Global CampusMaster of Education Degree with a concentration in E-Learning Master of Science in Patient Safety Leadership Master of Science in Recreation, Sport and Tourism Master in Information Systems with a concentration in Data Mining
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