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 398 Online Graduate Schools with Programs
Northcentral UniversityEducation Specialist - Instructional Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Global Training and Development Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Learning Analytics in K-12 Education Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management Education Specialist - Organizational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Technology and Innovation Management - Cybersecurity Doctorate of Marriage & Family Therapy - General Family Therapy Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Mental Health Policy and Practice Education Specialist - Global Training and Development PhD in Psychology - Industrial Organizational Psychology
Pepperdine UniversityMaster of Laws in Dispute Resolution MS in Applied Analytics Master of Science in Behavioral Psychology Master of Arts in Psychology Master of Legal Studies Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy
Sacred Heart UniversityDoctor of Nursing Practice Master of Science in Nursing - Clinical Nurse Leader Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Management and Executive Leadership RN-BSN-MSN - Nursing Management and Executive Leadership RN-BSN-MSN - Nurse Education RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Master of Science in Nursing RN-BSN-MSN - Clinical Nurse Leader Master of Social Work - Advanced Standing MA in Strategic Communication and Public Relations
University of West AlabamaMaster of Education, Elementary Education K-6 Master of Education, Special Education Collaborative Teacher K-6 Master of Education, Early Childhood Education P-3 Master of Education, Early Childhood Development Master of Education, Instructional Leadership Master of Education in Student Affairs in Higher Education Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology Master of Education, Physical Education Preschool - Grade 12 Master of Education in School Counseling Master of Education, Special Education Collaborative Teacher 6-12
Rockhurst UniversityMaster of Arts in Management Master of Business Administration Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Analytics
University of the PacificMS in Data Science
American UniversityMaster of Arts in Strategic Communication, Digital Communication Strategies and Analytics Concentration Master of Science in Analytics (Analytics@American) Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation Master of Arts in Economics - Applied Economics Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration Master of Science in Sports Analytics Management Master of Science in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security Master of Science in Healthcare Management Master of Science in Human Resource Analytics and Management
Lewis UniversityMS in Public Safety Administration MA in Organizational Leadership - Higher Education - Student Services MA in Organizational Leadership - Organizational Management MS in Computer Science - Enterprise and Cloud Computing MA in Organizational Leadership - Professional and Executive Coaching MS in Computer Science - Game and Simulation Programming MS in Computer Science - Digital Forensics MA in Organizational Leadership - Training and Development MA in Organizational Leadership MS in Data Science - Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Benedictine UniversityMaster of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior Accelerated MSMOB Dual Master of Public Health/Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior Graduate Certificate in Emergency Preparedness Master of Science in Accountancy Graduate Certificate in Health Management and Policy Internet Marketing Certificate Graduate Certificate in Epidemiology Graduate Certificate in Health Education and Promotion Dual MBA-MSN
Utica CollegeMS Accounting MS in Financial Crime and Compliance Management MBA - Economic Crime and Fraud Management MS in Cybersecurity - Malware Analysis MHA - Health Care Administration - Acute Care MS in Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics MS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations MS in Cybersecurity - Electronic Crime MHA in Health Care Administration - Service Organization MHA - Health Care Administration - Long Term Care
Aurora UniversityMBA MSW MPA
Roger Williams UniversityM.S. Cybersecurity
University of Southern CaliforniaOnline Executive Master of Urban Planning Online Master of Public Administration Master of Science in Nursing Master of Education in School Counseling Doctorate of Social Work Master of Arts in Teaching with Teaching Credential - Secondary Social Science (Online) Master of Arts in Teaching - Elementary Multiple Subject Teaching (Online) Master of Arts in Teaching & Special Education Credential (Online) Master of Arts in Teaching with Teaching Credential - Secondary English (Online) Master of Arts in Teaching - Secondary Mathematics (Online)
Purdue UniversityMaster of Science in Communication Master of Science in Communication: Communication & Leadership Master of Public Health Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology Master of Science in Communication: Health Communication Master of Science in Education in Special Education Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Intergrated Stem Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management Master of Science in Engineering Technology (MSET) Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Mathematics Education Concentration
Dakota Wesleyan UniversityMaster of Arts in Educational Policy and Administration Master of Business Administration