Summary of work: More than 115 hours of research. Every online Master program in the US analyzed. 56 industry experts, hiring managers, current students, and alumni consulted. 50 of the best programs identified.
The best online master’s degree program will vary from person to person. Multiple factors including your career interests, scheduling needs, and finances will affect which program is best for you. That said, there are still a few key characteristics that define the best graduate programs. Keeping these characteristics in mind can lead to a rewarding and fulfilling educational experience and greater career opportunity.
No matter what program you choose, students should make sure that it is accredited. Accreditation ensures that the educational quality of the schools is acceptable and recognized by employers and other universities. In addition, students should look for professors that specialize in the fields they’re interested in as well as flexible scheduling—an essential consideration for online students. Keeping these factors in mind will allow students to develop an advanced understanding of the fields they choose to specialize in. In short, it will improve their graduate experience and the benefit of their degree.
Online degrees are just as accepted as traditional degrees. In fact, the most well-respected universities in the nation also offer online degrees.
It is important to choose a program based on your educational and career interests. The best option is to spend time thinking about the specialized fields you would like to join.
Most master’s programs take around 2 years to complete. Students can obtain their degrees faster by taking on more courses, but it is important to aim for a balanced schedule.
For many the answer is yes. Not only do they offer an opportunity to explore fields that interest you in greater detail, but they can also lead to greater career opportunities.
For those who are hesitant to join a master’s program, they can feel confident that graduate programs will offer a rewarding opportunity to further their education. At the same time, students should be prepared for the costs of school (financial and time base). But students who choose to go on to a graduate program can look forward to an engaging and exciting intellectual challenge and greater career potential.
For more more resources and career information related to this degree, please read our career guide here.
We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Masters program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and list of the 50 best online masters degree programs.
Read about our methodology here.
Texas A&M offers 12 distance degree programs and eight distance certificates and is best known for its College of Engineering and commitment to military students. Distance learners in the master's programs at A&M receive a high-quality education from industry leaders, graduating as nurses, engineers, attorneys and other professionals in their respective field.
USC provides distance learners with 17 master's degree programs in everything from business and accounting to gerontology and engineering. Students in the online degree programs benefit from several tracks of study in each program and gain the credentials to advance their careers with their master's degrees in science, business, health, psychology and more.
With two doctoral, nine master's and eight certificate programs, UNC provides a wealth of educational opportunities for distance learners. The Kenan-Flagler Business School and the School of Public Health are just two areas in which UNC ranks highly for its educational leadership and devotion to learners in and out of state.
JHU offers 21 master's degree programs and 15 certificate programs for online students who are pursuing advanced careers in everything from applied economics to nonprofit management. Every program is designed with flexibility in mind and features scholarly instruction and a high level of interaction to engage students on their pursuit of a graduate degree or certificate.
The University of Minnesota Twin Cities provides 14 master's degree programs and 15 graduate certificate programs, each one offered fully or primarily online with affordable costs per credit. Each degree program is equivalent to on-campus degrees, and only a few require a short residency as part of graduation.
UI Urbana-Champaign offers 35 graduate degree programs that are available in an online format, making this school ideal for distance learners who want to receive a quality education without stepping foot on campus. Students can choose from accounting, aerospace engineering, business administration and more, building their skills and earning their degrees for career advancement.
MSU excels at delivering a quality education through distance programs, offering 26 graduate degrees and 22 graduate certificates through fully online classes. Those who are interested can also take part in its many hybrid courses in which classes are available both online and through on-campus participation.
Professionals looking to advance their careers will find 22 graduate degree programs available at Purdue University, a leader in online education. Purdue is known for its science department and offers M.S. degrees in everything from computer science to construction management, making it the ideal location to earn an advanced degree in the fields of engineering, aviation and technology.
IU Bloomington offers 12 master's degree programs in an online format, allowing professionals to take courses from an on-campus faculty in a virtual learning environment. Graduate students have the freedom to learn on their schedule and will earn a degree that provides the credentials to pursue leadership roles in the fields of social work, philanthropy, education and more.
Penn State World Campus is an online leader in education, offering 52 master's degree programs for distance learners. This nationally recognized institution provides specialty programs in additive manufacturing and turfgrass management as well as traditional programs in homeland security, electrical engineering and business administration, making it one of the premier online schools of higher education.
With a combined 39 online master's degree programs and graduate certificates, Boston University provides the necessary education in topics that professionals need to advance their careers. From health communication to international business law, graduate students from across the country can earn their degrees through Boston U's online learning system.
The University of Florida offers an astounding 77 master's programs for students who are interested in earning their degrees online. Whether it's for veterinary medicine, sport management or another profession, UF delivers numerous programs to help graduate students excel and advance in the field.
Georgetown University offers 15 master's degree programs in an online format, some of which are also offered on campus and with up to five residencies. Graduate students can choose between business and management, marketing and communications, real estate and urban planning, and technology and security programs.
NCSU offers 39 fully online master's degree programs as well as 12 hybrid programs in which students can participate in both online and on-campus classes. Selective courses range from nutrition and computer engineering to soil science and textiles, making NCSU a great choice for graduates looking to further their knowledge and skills in traditional and nontraditional fields.
The University of Nebraska offers 29 graduate distance programs, covering everything from agronomy and business administration to beef cattle production and interior design. Graduate students from diverse backgrounds and professions choose Nebraska for its broad range of available programs and excellence in academic instruction.
With 25 graduate degree programs, Oklahoma State University provides students with a path to achieve their degrees for career advancement. Graduate students can select from programs in aviation, engineering, health care administration and more, completing the coursework in an online format without interrupting their careers.
George Washington University offers nearly 50 graduate degree programs in everything from business to security, many of which emphasize leadership and expert decision-making. The Milken Institute School of Public Health is one standout area of the university and adds to its reputation for delivering quality education to distance learners everywhere.
Liberty University delivers more than 60 master's degree programs to graduate students seeking greater knowledge and skills for career advancement. Liberty has many areas of study, including divinity, giving students a way to earn their master's in religion, ministry and more in an online format.
Texas Tech offers more than 30 master's degree programs for online students, providing advanced courses in human sciences, agricultural sciences, engineering and more. TTU puts a heavy focus on e-learning and has numerous academic partnerships to enhance the students' overall educational experience.
Cincinnati offers more than 25 different graduate degrees, many of which forgo the GRE and GMAT requirement. This university is all about accessibility and offering affordable online courses to help graduate students propel their careers through cutting-edge programs in health sciences, business administration and more.
Mizzou has more than 100 online degree and certificate options to help graduate students excel in their education and careers. This university stands out in its College of Education, providing 19 different programs in areas of special education, TESOL, positive coaching and more for graduates interested in advancing their careers as teacher leaders.
Northeastern University offers 25 online master's degree programs and 32 graduate certificates for professionals who are ready to launch their careers to the next level. Graduate students have numerous programs from which to choose, such as nonprofit management and higher education administration, making NU a wise choice for professionals looking to assume higher roles in their respective businesses and organizations.
Auburn University has six major educational schools, one of which is the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, which consistently ranks as a top school for students seeking their MBAs and master's in business degrees. The College of Agriculture is also a popular choice among online students as it has three distance education degree programs from which to choose.
Drexel University is an academic leader in distance education and offers 20 different areas of study for online students. Each department, such as Arts or Technology, features multiple degree programs for students to build upon their current skill set and to gain the knowledge for advancing their professions.
The University of Denver emphasizes flexibility with its online master's degree programs, designing them for busy professionals who are seeking career advancement without interrupting their current schedules. Graduate students can select from different programs such as arts and culture management, geographic information systems and more, gaining the credentials and the knowledge to become leaders in the field.
ASU offers more than 60 online graduate degree programs in art, education, engineering and more for distance learners. Each program is designed to fit around the students' work schedule and to help give them the expertise for career advancement upon graduation.
UM College Park offers countless master's degree programs, with around 20 offered in a convenient online format for distance learners. Some of these programs include data science, project management and cybersecurity, giving students various areas in which to hone their skills in their respective careers.
The University of Colorado Denver offers 14 master's degree programs, all of which are available online without any residency requirements. Students can also take advantage of fully online nondegree programs to improve their skills and to gain general knowledge in a specific area of interest or for work-related purposes.
KSU Global Campus offers 34 online graduate degree programs for distance learners who are ready to earn their degrees but aren't able to attend classes on campus. This university caters to students of every profession with programs in human ecology, engineering, arts, technology and more
UAB is known for the Collat School of Business but also has other highly renowned schools with several degree offerings. More than 95 percent of the graduate degree programs at UAB are available in a blend of both online and on-campus classes with around 40 programs offered completely online without any on-campus or residency requirements.
CSU has 38 online master's degree programs available for distance learners from most every profession whether it's biomedical engineering or tourism management. Through virtual learning, graduate students develop the necessary skills to advance their careers upon graduation.
With 62 master's degree and graduate certificate programs, UND offers something for every professional seeking a higher education. Graduate students enjoy the freedom of the virtual campus and have access to courses in accounting, business, early childhood education and more.
ECU offers around 50 graduate degree programs in an online learning format, making it a prime choice for students seeking a higher education but wanting to forgo on-campus classes. This university is known for its nursing and health programs and includes popular areas of study in nursing education, gerontology and more.
Regent University has dozens of online graduate degree programs in health care, education, arts, STEM and more. It caters to online students, providing them with full faculty support and academic advisers who ensure that they receive a quality education and meet their educational and career goals.
NMSU offers 12 graduate degree programs and five graduate certificates for online learners who are coming from nursing, engineering, education and other professional backgrounds. The programs meet the students' career needs and helps them to gain the credentials to advance their careers to senior positions within their organizations.
UCF is an innovative leader in education and offers more than 25 master's degree programs in an online learning format, such as aerospace engineering and criminal justice. The programs are designed with convenience in mind and easily adaptable to busy professionals who are ready to earn their degrees while continuing their full-time employment.
UMUC offers nearly 20 graduate degree programs, each one with numerous specializations to hone the students' skills and knowledge in a specific area of interest. Whether it's information technology or another well-received program, students receive expert instruction from industry leaders in both academics and their professions outside of teaching.
CSU Global Campus has 13 master's degree programs and six graduate certificates for online students seeking advancement in their careers. With such offerings as criminal justice, management and health care administration, students from various professional backgrounds can receive a quality education without stepping foot on campus.
Lindenwood University offers 25 online graduate degree programs in growing areas such as game design, fashion business, web design and social media/digital content strategy. More traditional master's programs are also available, such as business administration and accountancy, providing graduate students with abundant learning paths to advance their careers.
Webster University has more than 30 online master's degree programs available, including a couple dual-degree options, for distance learners of every profession. Many of the programs, such as communication arts, are delivered in a flexible format; however, others are only offered synchronously with set times to attend online classes.
FHSU has nearly 20 graduate degree programs, a few of which are available in a hybrid format and require students to attend classes online and on campus. This university is ideal for students seeking careers in education, offering such programs in special education, educational administration, nursing education and higher education.
UMass Lowell has more than 40 graduate degrees and certificates available for online students who seek professional advancement in business administration, criminal justice and other areas. Graduate students are able to learn the necessary skills through a virtual learning format and to earn the credentials to succeed as administrators and other upper-level positions within their organizations.
UMass Boston excels as a leader in distance learning and online education, providing nearly 15 master's degree programs and 13 certificate and licensure programs in a virtual learning format. UMass also has several professional development programs available and provides useful online resources to help students succeed academically and professionally.
West Texas A&M has 13 fully online master's degree programs available, including several known as mixed or hybrids that require on-campus attendance in some capacity. Graduate students have access to programs such as school counseling, nursing, business administration and more in a convenient and flexible online format.
The University at Albany offers nearly 20 online graduate degree and certificate programs to help distance learners receive an education without the need to visit campus. The School of Education as well as the School of Public Health are two well-known areas of the university and excel in academic excellence.
GSU offers around 50 master's degree and graduate certificate programs combined and excels as leaders in the College of Education. The Waters College of Health Professions is another popular choice among distance learners who are pursuing advanced roles in kinesiology, sports management and other areas related to the field.
Golden Gate University has more than 30 master's degree programs available in an online format, including more than 20 graduate certificates. From accounting to taxation, GGU offers a broad range of programs to help graduate students receive their degrees for career advancement.
Kennesaw State University has more than 20 combined master's degrees and graduate certificates for students in professions from business to education. Whether it's nursing or social sciences, KSU offers the required courses to help students receive the credentials to advance their careers in their respective field.
Bellevue University has more than 25 master's degree programs available online for distance learners who are seeking advanced careers in strategic finance, security management, accounting and more. Every class is offered completely online, giving students a way to balance their school work with their careers and other commitments.
UW Platteville offers nearly 10 graduate degree programs online, such as criminal justice, education and project management. All of the programs are designed to give students the education and the experience needed for them to become leaders in their field.