Accredited Online Master’s Programs

Earning a master's degree can take your career to the next level. Here, we list the best online master's programs.

May 3, 2022 • 6 Min Read

edited by Lequita Westbrooks

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Accredited Online Master's Programs

Recent college graduates and working professionals can pursue accredited online master's programs to advance their education. Learners pursuing online master's degrees generally need a bachelor's degree. Common application requirements include standardized test scores, recommendation letters, and an interview. Degree-seekers take graduate-level major classes and may complete electives.

Career options vary by major. However, a master's degree may qualify graduates for a promotion or raise. A master's degree can give individuals entering a new career field a competitive advantage over bachelor's degree-holders.

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Questions About Master's Programs


Can you get a master's degree without a bachelor's?

Some specialized programs, such as ADN-to-MSN programs, admit applicants with an associate degree. These master's programs require additional undergraduate coursework before learners begin the graduate curriculum.

How long does it typically take to get a master's degree?

Full-time students can complete most online master's programs in two years. Part-time learners may need an additional year.

Can I get a master's degree entirely online?

Students can complete some online master's programs fully online. However, others require internships, practicums, and on-campus experiences. Enrollment counselors can help prospective students learn about in-person requirements.

Why Get a Master's Degree?

Many high-paying positions require a master's degree. According to data from Indeed, the top-paying careers for master's degree-holders offer salaries exceeding $77,000 annually. Some professionals with a master's earn more than $170,000 per year. A graduate degree can also lead to promotions to management-level positions.

Students enrolled in out-of-state schools can earn a master's degree online to save on housing and commuting costs. Many online programs offer asynchronous curricula, which can appeal to working professionals. Asynchronous online master's programs allow degree-seekers to schedule their education around work and family responsibilities. This flexibility helps make higher education more accessible.

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How Much Does a Master's Degree Cost?

According to October 2021 data from the Education Data Initiative, a master's degree costs an average of $66,340, including tuition, fees, and related expenses. The average price of an MA exceeds the average cost of an MS by approximately $10,000.

Tuition costs vary based on factors including school type. In-state public institutions typically offer the lowest tuition rates. However, some online master's programs offer all online learners in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency status.

Students earning an in-demand master's degree can also save money by submitting the FAFSA. Degree-seekers with financial need can qualify for federal grants and loans. Many schools use learners' FAFSA results to award institutional grants.

Additional Online Student Fees

Students earning a master's degree online may pay additional fees. Technology fees often pay for online class delivery and IT services. Degree-seekers should also budget for commuting and lodging to attend in-person requirements. Many schools charge a one-time graduation fee, and learners may need to pay for a background check.

Graduates entering a competitive job market can improve their resume by earning a professional certification. Private organizations award certifications to candidates who meet education and examination requirements. Professionals typically pay initial certification and renewal fees. Career advisors can help degree-seekers research relevant certifications.

Available Online Master's Degrees

Prospective degree-seekers can use the internet to research hundreds of online master's programs. Each program features a unique curriculum, set of graduation requirements, and student experience. To select a program, prospective learners can consider their career goals, take interest inventories, and research graduate outcomes. School websites and admissions counselors provide the latest program information

The following master's degrees prepare students for in-demand, well-paying careers. In addition to rigorous classes, the best schools provide career-planning resources and trained academic advisors. These and other factors can significantly impact graduate outcomes.

  • Master's in Business Administration

    Online MBA programs feature coursework in financial and managerial accounting, organizational behavior, and operations. Degree-seekers typically work with a local company during a final-semester practicum. Students propose a solution to a challenge the company faces. Some MBA programs offer concentrations, such as business analytics. Many graduates work as business executives.
  • Master's in Information Technology

    Master's in IT programs commonly offer many concentrations, such as cybersecurity, MBA information management, and data analytics. The latter features classes in data cleaning, predictive modeling, and exploratory data analytics. Positions for graduates include data administrators, business analyst, and business intelligence analyst. Other graduates apply to Ph.D. programs.
  • Master's in Human Resources

    HR professionals can earn this degree to qualify for a promotion. Coursework emphasizes collaboration, leadership principles, global HR trends, and business acumen. HR programs often feature cohort learning models, allowing learners to develop professional relationships with peers. Top HR programs hold accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Career and Salary Outlook for Master's Degrees

Many well-paying jobs require a master's degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for some positions requiring a master's to increase significantly from 2020-2030. This section highlights a few of these careers and details each job's typical responsibilities.

The BLS offers information on specific job's duties, salary potential, employers, and requirements.

  • Medical and Health Services Managers

    Medical and health services managers can work at hospitals, physicians' offices, and residential care facilities. Responsibilities include creating goals for various departments, monitoring safety, and coordinating other managers' work. These professionals can specialize in an area such as clinical management or health information management. Medical and health services managers need a master's degree or five years of work experience.
  • Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

    These managers work with other department heads, create advertising campaigns, and meet with clients. The profession requires at least a bachelor's degree and strong analytical, communication, and interpersonal skills. Nearly half of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers work in the public relations field.
  • Computer and Information Research Scientists

    Computer and information research scientists develop the software that IT professionals use. These scientists create new programming languages and conduct experiments. They also perform original research and present their findings at conferences. The federal government employs nearly a third of computer and information research scientists.
Salary Potential and Growth Rate
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Medical and Health Services Managers $101,340 32%
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $133,380 10%
Computer and Information Research Scientists $131,490 22%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Accredited Online Master's Programs

  1. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, Florida

    Tuition

    $11313

    UF offers 84 online master's programs across multiple disciplines, including engineering, agricultural and life sciences, health and human performance, and education. Unlike its online bachelor's degrees, UF provides its online master's programs through individual departments rather than a singular UF Online portal.

    Most master's programs require 30-33 credits and take 1-2 years to complete. The curriculum often culminates in a capstone course or project. For example, the online master's in educational leadership requires students to complete supervised practice in school administration.

    Admission criteria and application materials vary by program. However, applicants generally submit a statement of purpose, resume, recommendation letters, and undergraduate transcripts. Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some programs may require standardized test scores, such as the GMAT or GRE.

    University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. California State University-Bakersfield
    Location

    Bakersfield, California

    Tuition

    $6025

    CSUB features online master's programs with small class sizes and faculty who conduct cutting-edge research. CSUB's fully online offerings include a master of business administration (MBA), a master of arts (MA) in curriculum and instruction, a master of science (MS) in kinesiology, and an MS in general administration. The university also provides hybrid master's degrees in educational administration, special education, and social work.

    Most online master's degrees at CSUB require 30-33 credits and take 1-2 years to complete. The curriculum culminates in a capstone course, project, or examination. MBA students complete a project while MA in curriculum and instruction students take a comprehensive exam.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of coursework. Some departments and programs may list additional requirements. For instance, the MA in curriculum and instruction requires students to possess a teaching credential at the time of application.

    California State University, Bakersfield is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

  3. California State University-Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, California

    Tuition

    $4403

    Cal State LA offers online master's degrees through the College of Professional and Global Education designed to meet the needs of diverse learners. Students can choose from a fully employed master of business administration (MBA) program, a master of public health, and a master of social work (MSW).

    Each program provides flexibility and efficiency. MBA students earn their degree in 16 months through a program that combines in-person Saturday classes with online learning during the week to accommodate working professionals. The MSW program allows students with a bachelor's degree in social work to advance directly into upper-division coursework and complete the degree in one year.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 2.5 GPA. Most programs prefer candidates with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Prospective students should also submit their transcripts, resume, personal statement, and recommendation letters.

    California State University, Los Angeles is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

  4. California State University-Fresno
    Location

    Fresno, California

    Tuition

    $6771

    Fresno State offers a few fully online master's programs, including a master of arts (MA) in teaching and an MA in water resource management. The school also provides several other master's programs on campus.

    Fresno State's online master's degrees require 30 credits and take approximately two years to complete. In the MA in education programs, students choose from completing a capstone project, thesis, or comprehensive exam. Enrollees can also add a credential or certificate in reading/literacy to their degree. Students in the water resource management master's program must complete a relevant internship and capstone project.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Students applying to the water resource management program must also demonstrate proficiency in geographic information systems.

    California State University, Fresno is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

  5. American University
    Location

    Washington, District of Columbia

    American University offers 22 online master's degrees in disciplines such as business administration, strategic communication, healthcare management, and legal studies. These programs accommodate the schedules of working professionals. Enrollees can also pursue a graduate certificate in healthcare management, human resource management and analytics, project monitoring and evaluation, or sports analytics and management.

    The school's master's programs require 30 credits and take less than two years to complete. Some programs offer concentrations that allow enrollees to further specialize in the field. For instance, in the master's in strategic communication program, students choose from a concentration in advocacy and social impact, or digital communication strategies and analytics. Learners must complete a capstone course, project, or thesis.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Some programs require candidates to have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

    American University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  6. University of Connecticut
    Location

    Storrs, Connecticut

    Tuition

    $19650

    UConn offers online master's degrees in several subject areas, including accounting, educational technology, engineering, and neonatal nursing. These programs allow working professionals to earn advanced credentials while working full time. For example, the master's in accounting is designed for working accountants who need additional credits to qualify for CPA licensure or those who want advanced credentials to apply for a senior-level position.

    Each master's program at UConn provides flexibility for working professionals. The engineering master's program runs asynchronously or synchronously in the evenings, while the master's in educational technology program features condensed online courses over two summers.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Some programs, such as the master's in engineering program, require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in a specific field and to have a minimum undergraduate 3.0 GPA. Students should verify their program's admission requirements.

    University of Connecticut is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

  7. The University of Texas at Austin
    Location

    Austin, Texas

    Tuition

    $14156

    UT's Extended Campus provides several online master's degrees in disciplines such as business administration and technology commercialization. UT offers a master's in electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and nutritional sciences entirely online. Other programs feature flexible formats to accommodate distance learners and full-time employees. For instance, the executive master of business administration program requires one weekend of classes per month in Austin for 20 months.

    UT's online master's degrees require 30 credits and take two years to complete. Students in the master of science in nutritional sciences (MSNS) program can choose from two concentrations: health promotion and disease prevention or biochemical and functional nutrition. The engineering program is a non-thesis program while the MSNS requires a thesis.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA. The mechanical engineering program also requires 12 months of industry experience.

    The University of Texas at Austin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  8. Indiana University-Bloomington
    Location

    Bloomington, Indiana

    Tuition

    $11931

    IU offers 43 online master's degrees, most of which run entirely online. However, some master's programs require in-residence commitments. For instance, the master of health administration (MHA) and the master of business administration (MBA) program deliver courses 80-99% online. The MBA program includes two weeks of on-campus workshops and networking activities. The MHA program requires an on-campus health economics course.

    Most of IU's online master's degrees require 30-42 credits and take two years to complete. Some master's programs require 45-60 credits. Students complete a combination of core and elective courses. Depending on the specific program and degree, students then complete a capstone project, thesis, practicum, or exam.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Some programs list GPA and work experience criteria. Most programs also require GMAT or GRE scores.

    Indiana University Bloomington is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. California State University-Sacramento
    Location

    Sacramento, California

    Tuition

    $9885

    Sacramento State offers two fully online master's programs: a master of science (MS) in accounting and a master of arts (MA) in curriculum and instruction. The school also provides several hybrid degrees in business administration, education, and nursing. The hybrid programs vary in delivery format but include in-residence lectures and online courses. The executive master of business administration program, for example, holds every third week of classes online.

    The MA in curriculum and instruction and the MS in accounting both require 30 credits and take less than two years to complete. Sacramento State delivers 25% of courses in the MA program synchronously and 75% asynchronously. MA students must complete a culminating experience consisting of a written exam and oral defense. MS in accounting students complete a culminating experience project in accounting and ethics.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.5 or 3.0 GPA. MS in accountancy applicants must also submit GMAT test scores.

    California State University, Sacramento is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

  10. University of San Diego
    Location

    San Diego, California

    USD offers various online or hybrid master's degrees, including a master of science (MS) in cybersecurity operations and leadership, a master of education (M.Ed.), and a master of business administration (MBA). The MBA program delivers courses in a hybrid format that requires students to meet on campus for one weekend per month. The other two programs run entirely online.

    The MBA program requires 53 credits while the MS in cybersecurity and M.Ed. require 30 credits. The latter two take 20 months to complete while the MBA takes longer. Students enroll in a combination of core and elective courses. M.Ed. students choose from five concentrations: STEAM, inclusive learning, literacy and digital learning, curriculum and instruction, and school leadership. The master's curricula culminates in a capstone course.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 2.75 GPA. Specific admission criteria and application materials vary depending on the program.

    University of San Diego is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

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