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:
Most Popular Accredited Online Graduate Programs
|Rank||Online Subject||Online Degree Type|
MS, MBA, DBA
M.S.N., Msc, DNP, PhD
MA, MS, Phd, DBA
M. Ed., M.S., EdD, PhD, Graduate Certificates, Post Master's Certificate
M.S., DBA, MBA, DIT, PhD
M.A., M.S., PhD, Ed.D, Graduate Teaching Certificate
PhD, PsyD, MA, M.A.I.O.P., MIOP,MS, Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Applied Research
MS, MIS,MSIS, MBA, MBA/MSISM, Doctor of Computer Science
#9 (tied at 9)
MS, MA, Advanced Certificate
#9 (tied at 9)
EdD,PhD, EdM, MS, MA
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.
GradSchools.com Offers 8,242 Accredited Online Graduate 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
Roger Williams UniversityM.S. Cybersecurity
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 Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Masters in Social Work - Clinical Practice Masters in Social Work - Community Practice Master of Social Work - Advanced Standing Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing Master of Science: Healthcare Informatics Online
Michigan State UniversityMaster of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Purdue UniversityMaster of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Intergrated Stem Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology Master of Science in Communication Master of Science in Education in Special Education Master of Public Health
Fordham UniversityMaster of Studies in Law in Corporate Compliance
Our Lady of the Lake UniversityMaster of Arts in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master of Arts in Counseling: Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Master of Arts in Counseling: School Counseling Master of Social Work
George Mason UniversityMaster of Science in Data Analytics Engineering Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization Master of Business Administration MPS in Applied Industrial and Organizational Psychology Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder Master of Science in Health Informatics Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis
University of DelawareMaster of Arts in Strategic Communication
Winthrop UniversityMaster of Business Administration Master of Social Work
Lewis UniversityMA in Organizational Leadership - Higher Education - Student Services MS in Data Science MS in Computer Science MS in Computer Science - Cyber Security MA in Organizational Leadership - Professional and Executive Coaching MS in Data Science - Computational Biology and Bioinformatics MA in Organizational Leadership - Nonprofit Management MS in Computer Science - Software Engineering MA in Organizational Leadership - Training and Development MA in Organizational Leadership Master of Science in Data Science - Computer Science MS in Criminal Justice MS in Computer Science - Intelligent Systems MA in Organizational Leadership - Organizational Management
Utica CollegeMBA - Economic Crime and Fraud Management MS - Nursing Education MS in Financial Crime and Compliance Management MS in Cybersecurity - Malware Analysis MS - Nursing Leadership MS in Cybersecurity - Electronic Crime MS in Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics MS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Intelligence MS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations MS in Cybersecurity MS in Data Science: Financial Crime MS in Data Science - Business Analytics MS in Data Science: Social Science Analytics MS in Data Science MS in Data Science - Cybersecurity MBA - Health Care Management MBA - Finance and Accounting MBA - Cybersecurity MBA - Entrepreneurship MBA - Data Analytics MBA - Cyber Policy MBA - General MHA in Health Care Administration - Service Organization MHA in Health Care Administration MHA - Health Care Administration - Acute Care
Benedictine UniversityMaster of Science in Accountancy Dual Master of Business Administration/Master of Public Health Accelerated Masters in Business Administration Dual Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior Master of Business Administration Master of Public Health - Health Management & Policy Master of Public Health - Health Education & Promotion Master of Public Health Dual MBA-MSN Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Educator Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Executive Leader Master of Science in Nursing
The University of ScrantonMaster of Science in Human Resources Management MBA - Business Analytics Master of Accountancy Master of Science in Finance Master of Business Administration Master of Science in Health Informatics MBA - Finance
Queens University of CharlotteMaster of Business Administration Master of Business Administration - Finance Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Master of Arts in Communication Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
St. John's UniversityMaster of Public Health Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Youth Services Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Management 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 Library and Information Science: Special Librarianship Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Public Librarianship
Saint Mary's University of MinnesotaMaster of Science in Cybersecurity Master of Arts in Human Resource Management Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology Master of Arts in Health & Human Services Administration Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics Master of Science in Accountancy Master of Arts in International Development Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership Master of Science in Project Management Master of Arts in Public Administration Accelerated MBA Master of Arts in Educational Leadership Master of Arts in Special Education
The George Washington UniversityEducation Specialist in Educational Leadership and Administration Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners MA in Education and Human Development in Educational Leadership and Administration MA in Education and Human Development in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services Strategic Public Relations Political Management
Saint Joseph's UniversityMS in Business Intelligence and Analytics MS in Organization Development and Leadership MS in Special Education MS in Secondary Education (with OATCERT) MS in Health Administration - Organizational Development and Leadership MS in Strategic Human Resource Management MS in Health Administration - General Concentration MS in Health Administration - Informatics Specialization MS in Criminal Justice - Federal Law Enforcement Specialization MS in Criminal Justice - Behavior Analysis Specialization MS in Criminal Justice - Intelligence and Crime Analysis Specialization MS in Criminal Justice MS in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Specialization
Anna Maria CollegeMaster of Public Administration - General Track Master of Public Administration - Criminal Justice Master of Public Administration - Fire and Emergency Services Master of Public Administration - Homeland Security Master of Public Administration - Emergency Management
Antioch UniversityMA Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master of Human Services Administration
Georgetown UniversityMaster of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management Master of Science in Finance
Pennsylvania State UniversityMaster of Applied Statistics Master's of Professional Studies in Supply Chain Management Master of Professional Studies in Psychology of Leadership Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security Master of Professional Accounting Master of Professional Studies in Data Analytics – Business Analytics Option Master of Project Management Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering Master of Enterprise Architecture Masters of Health Administration Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations Master of Education in Special Education Master of Professional Studies in Strategic Communications Master of Professional Studies in Data Analytics Master of Education in Learning, Design, and Technology Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction Master of Finance Master of Education in Higher Education Master of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering Master of Engineering Management Master of Professional Studies in Applied Demography Master of Education in Adult Education
Northern Illinois UniversityOnline MSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice Master of Public Health - Health Promotion Master of Science in Digital Marketing Online BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice Master of Public Health - Health Services Management Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Education Master of Science in Data Analytics
American UniversityMaster of Public Administration and Policy Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics Master of Arts in Economics - Applied Economics Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Master of Science in Human Resource Analytics and Management Master of Science in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security Master of Science in Healthcare Management Master of Science in Sports Analytics Management Master of Science in Nutrition Education
Seton Hall UniversityMaster of Science Professional Accounting Master of Science in Nursing - Health Systems Administration with Case Management Master of Science in Accounting Master of Science in Nursing - Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care Master of Science in Nursing - Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care Master of Public Administration in Non-Profit Management Master of Business Administration - Finance Master of Business Administration - Accounting Master of Business Administration - Marketing