Online Graduate Programs & Schools
What Are Online Graduate Degrees?
Earning a graduate degree online means students have the flexibility and opportunity to balance academic goals with family or career demands.
Top 3 Reasons to Pursue Online Graduate Programs
There are many reasons a student may choose to pursue a graduate degree program online. Often times convenience and flexibility are factors that may influence the decision to select an online degree over a campus based program. But beyond the format decision, there are many other reasons students decide to continue their education.
According to the 2016 Online College Student Aslanian Market Research Report, the top 3 reasons are:
- New career (20% of respondents).
- Completing undergraduate/graduate education (15% of respondents).
- Keep up to date with skills and requirements of current job (14% of respondents).
What Types of Online Graduate Degrees Are There?
Online graduate degrees include online masters programs, online graduate certificates and online doctoral degree programs, there are also different features that can determine what type of degree you may pursue.
- Types may be defined by the subject you are pursing, Master of Arts (MA), MBA, DNP (doctor of nurse practitioner), Masters in Counseling Psychology, etc.
- Accelerated programs - some schools offer accelerated programs where students are required to dedicate more time in a shorter window to graduate sooner. For example, our sponsored school, Northcentral Universityoffers an accelerated MBA that allows students to graduate in as little as 12 months
- Bridge programs - some schools offer programs that combine earning multiple levels of degrees at once. When taken together, these degrees are earned faster than when taken separately. Many nursing programs are offered this way. For example an BSN to DNP. or an RN to MSN
- Direct entry programs - Direct entry programs are also found in the nursing arena. For students who are looking to enter into a new career such as nursing and have an undergraduate degree in a different subject, there may be specialized programs that prepare the student for this transition.
How Credible Are Online Degrees?
The first step in determining credibility for any school is to determine if the graduate school is accredited or not. Check to see if the online school is regionally accredited. Not all online schools are regionally accredited—though the vast majority are. Beyond the school being accredited, students should also research if their program of interest has specific programmatic accreditation. If the answer is yes, it is a good idea to lean toward those schools that have that specific graduate program accreditation.
Degrees earned from regionally accredited online schools are just as respected and accepted as degrees earned from traditional graduate schools.
Is Accreditation Important for Online Degrees?
Some online graduate schools are completely devoted to web-based learning and offer online graduate programs exclusively. Other universities may make their traditional programming available as an online graduate degree. Regardless of which type of school is offering the program you are interested in, it is important that you confirm that the school is regionally accredited. Why is accreditation important?
Among many reasons, two stand out as very important:
- Funding:As a grad student, you will not be eligible for federal funding if the school you are attending is not an accredited online graduate school. Main types of financial aid include the Pell Grant, the Federal Perkins Loan, and Stafford Loans. For example, as a grad student, you may be eligible for up to $8,000 per year through the Federal Perkins Loan.
- Quality of education:Accrediting agencies exist to ensure schools provide a quality education to students. Online Graduate Programs that are not accredited will not have the benefit of this oversight.The U.S. Department of Education recognizes several regional accrediting agencies, as well as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
GradSchools.com partners with only accredited schools so you can be comfortable searching our site for your online graduate degree.
DID YOU KNOW?
The 2016 Online College Student Aslanian Market Research Study reported that more than two-thirds of graduate students feel their online graduate program was worth the investment of their time (73%) and money (69%).
How Do I Choose an Online Graduate School?
With the variety of online graduate programs, there are a few features you might evaluate when choosing with online graduate school to attend. These are:
- Decide how specialized you want to be. For example, you may want to keep your options open and simply pursue an MBA. Or, you may want to get more specific and pursue an MBA that focus' on Marketing or some other are of Business.
- What are you going to use the degree for? If your desire is to focus on research it may be more appropriate to pursue accredited Online Doctoral Programs vs an Online Masters programs
- Are you looking for an accelerated program or program that may accept life experience for credits? Ask colleges you are interested in if they offer these options
- Do you want to avoid taking entrance exams such as the GRE or GMAT? Look for schools that advertise their programs as such
- Look for fully accredited online colleges and universities
Beyond the fields of study listed above, the 2016 Online College Student Aslanian Market Research Report also reports the following as the top 11 most popular online graduate program majors:
Popular Schools with Online Degrees
Did You Know?
About half of psychologists had a master’s degree in 2013 but another one-third of these workers had a doctoral degree. Those with a doctoral degree had an average annual wage that was 46 percent higher than that of psychologists with a master’s degree.
Are All Online Graduate Programs Formatted the Same?
Online graduate programs are not all formatted the same way. A traditional graduate school may offer ‘live’ classes at one of their campuses that online students can ‘attend’ by logging in synchronously (at the same time) to be able to participate. Or, a completely online grad school may have asynchronous course material where students pace themselves. There could also be a mixture of these two formats. Ultimately, each university, whether it is a brick and mortar graduate school or an online graduate school, has different ways of formatting their online grad programs.
Online Graduate Programs FAQs
Can I get my master's degree online?
Yes, there are many online master degree programs to choose from. Most online master degree programs are offered through accredited programs and offer the same diploma as a traditional campus degree.
How online is the graduate program?
Some programs may be entirely online (100%), while others may be partially online, which might entail campus visits, residency or intensives. (e.g. online MFT programs).
How long to complete an online degree?
Some online graduate degree programs may be full-time, others part-time. You might also find online graduate degrees that are offered in an accelerated format to appeal to executives (e.g. Accelerated online MBA programs).
What if there are lab requirements?
In online grad programs where a laboratory or supervised practicum is required, students may be able to complete the requirements in their community (e.g. Online MSW programs).
What are the tech requirements for online programs?
Your computer is your access to online discussion, online resources (E-Books, video, your course management system and email). You may be required to update your software, meet specific hardware requirements or have a working email address. In terms of tech support, this should be stipulated by a graduate school and you should be able to access this information ahead of enrollment.
How do I contact my professor?
There are usually provisions for contacting faculty. An online student may be paired with a faculty member, to reach out via email, telephone, online chat or whatever is predetermined by your university and program.
Where is the library?
An online graduate school may have agreements with your local library or have online resources. Some programs may supplement with textbooks.
Is an online graduate degree easier?
Online does not mean easier. It is a learning format that works best for self-motivated students.
Are online graduate programs accredited?
Many online graduate programs are accredited but some are not. All GradSchools.com partner schools are accredited but it is always a good idea to research on your own and double check. For those earning a degree from a lesser-known online school, researching accreditation is especially a good idea given the number of scams on the internet.
Top 330 Online Graduate Schools with Programs
- 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
Northcentral UniversityDoctor of Criminal Justice - Policing Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage & Family Therapy - Child and Adolescent Therapy Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Design (PhD-ID) Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Sport and Athletic Management Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Special Education Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Organizational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Learning Analytics in K-12 Education Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Learning Analytics in Higher Education
Lewis UniversityMS in Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence MS in Computer Science - Game and Simulation Programming MS in Computer Science - Digital Forensics MS in Computer Science - Enterprise and Cloud Computing MS in Data Science MS in Computer Science - Cyber Security MS in Computer Science - Software Engineering Master of Science in Data Science - Computer Science MS in Data Science - Computational Biology and Bioinformatics MS in Computer Science - Non-Declared
University of West AlabamaEd.D in Rural Education, Organizational Change and Leadership Ed.D. in Rural Education, Teaching and Learning Master of Education, Special Education Collaborative Teacher 6-12 Master of Education, Early Childhood Development Master of Education, Early Childhood Education P-3 Master of Education, Elementary Education K-6 Master of Education, Instructional Leadership Master of Education, Physical Education Preschool - Grade 12 Master of Education, Special Education Collaborative Teacher K-6 Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology
Aurora UniversityMPA MBA MSW
Winthrop UniversityMaster of Business Administration - Strategic Leadership Master of Education in Special Education Intervention Master of Business Administration – Sports Marketing & Revenue Generation Master of Business Administration Master of Business Administration - Marketing Master of Arts in Arts Administration Master of Social Work - Traditional Track Master of Social Work - Advanced Standing
Widener UniversityMaster of Business Administration Master of Social Work – Advanced Standing Master of Social Work
The University of ScrantonMaster of Accountancy - Accounting Analytics Master of Science in Finance Master of Business Administration Master of Accountancy Master of Science in Human Resources Management Master of Accountancy - Forensic Accounting Master of Science in Health Informatics Dual MBA-MHA Master of Health Administration MBA - Business Analytics
Queens University of CharlotteOnline Master of Health Administration Master of Arts in Communication - Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration Master of Arts in Communication Master of Business Administration Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Master of Arts in Educational Leadership Master of Business Administration - Finance Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Leader
St. John's UniversityMaster of Science in Library and Information Science: Management 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: Public Librarianship Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Archival Studies Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Academic Librarianship Master of Science in Library and Information Science Master of Science in Accounting Master of Public Health
Brandeis UniversityMaster of Science in Strategic Analytics Master of Science in Health and Medical Informatics Online Master of Software Engineering
Loyola University ChicagoMaster of Social Work Online Bilingual (MAESTRÍA BILINGÜE EN TRABAJO SOCIAL EN LÍNEA) Master of Jurisprudence in Health Law Master of Laws in Health Law Master of Jurisprudence in Compliance and Enterprise Risk Management Master of Jurisprudence in Children's Law and Policy Environmental Law and Policy Certificate Sustainability Assessment and Planning Certificate Working with Women: South Asian Women & Girls Certificate Dual Degree MA/MD in Bioethics & Health Policy Bioethics Certificates
Babson CollegeOnline Master in Business Administration Master of Business Administration – Part Time Master of Business Administration – Miami
Concordia University ChicagoMA, Leadership: Organizational Leadership Specialization MA, Innovation and Entrepreneurship MBA, Finance Specialization MBA, Leadership and Change Management Specialization MBA, Not-for-Profit Management Specialization MBA, Accounting Specialization MBA, School Business Management Specialization The Concordia University Chicago Core MBA MBA, Sports Management Specialization MBA, Health Care Management Specialization
University of Colorado DenverMaster of Science in Global Energy Management
Concordia University - Saint PaulMaster of Business Administration MA in Criminal Justice MA in Leadership Management Master of Arts in Sport Management MA in Strategic Communication Management MA in Early Childhood Education MA in Human Resource Management MS in Coaching & Athletic Administration MAHS in Forensic Behavioral Health MBA Health Care Management