Best Online Master’s Programs 2022

Updated July 1, 2022 | Tessa Cooper

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Top Online Schools for a Master's Degree

A master's degree can lead to more opportunities in today's competitive job market. Graduate degree-holders can also qualify for high-paying careers. According to Payscale data from Dec. 2021, master's degree-holders earn an average salary of $78,000 per year. Comparatively, Payscale reports that bachelor's degree-holders earn an average annual salary of $65,000.

Professionals with a master's degree often become leaders in their field. Master's degree-seekers learn about theories that guide practices and write a thesis. Virtual learning allows learners to earn an advanced degree conveniently. This guide covers the steps to earning an online master's degree.

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Featured Online Masters Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Why Get a Master's Degree?

Master's degree-holders often earn more than people with a bachelor's degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals with a master's degree earn a median weekly income of about $1,545. Bachelor's degree-holders earn a median of $1,300 per week.

In addition to qualifying holders for higher salaries, a master's degree can lead to more job opportunities. Graduate students learn the reasoning and theories that guide practice in their field. They also conduct research to fill in industry knowledge gaps.

Busy students often pursue an online master's degree. The flexibility of online learning allows students to continue working while earning their degree.

How Much Does a Master's Degree Cost?

The exact cost of earning a master's degree depends on a few factors. For example, private institutions tend to charge more than state schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, graduate students paid an average of $19,792 in tuition and fees for the 2019-20 academic year. However, graduate students attending public institutions paid an average of $12,410 for the same academic year.

Online learners often pay discounted tuition rates and are exempt from paying campus fees. They may also save on commuting costs. The following section highlights additional fees for online students.

Additional Online Master's Student Fees

Many online programs charge a virtual classroom fee. Online students may need to pay for an upgraded video conferencing platform, such as Zoom.

Online students should also budget for books. Learners can save money by purchasing used books, renting materials, or choosing digital versions. Online students also need to purchase and maintain a quality computer, and they need high-speed internet access.

Careers in some fields, such as education and medicine, require certification or licensure. These credentials require additional fees.

Available Online Master's Degrees

Students earning an online master's degree build upon foundational industry knowledge. In addition to practical applications, degree-seekers explore theory and research. Students learn to think critically and make decisions based on best practices. Many master's programs feature lecture-based courses and research assignments. Learners also complete a thesis.

With many options to choose from, graduate students can find a master's degree to fit their career goals. The following list highlights a few noteworthy options. Program availability varies by school, so learners should research their prospective institution for more information.

  • Education

    Professionals in the education field can pursue a master of arts in teaching or a master of education. The latter highlights theory and research. Learners think critically about the state of education. A master of arts in teaching emphasizes practice. Students specialize in an area such as math or English.

    The BLS projects employment for education professionals to increase 10% from 2020-2030. A master's in education qualifies graduates to become high-earning teachers, administrators, and college professors.

  • Nursing

    Registered nurses can pursue a master's degree to become nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners diagnose and treat ailments, and they write prescriptions. The curriculum covers topics including medical ethics and pharmacology.
  • Information Technology

    A master's degree in information technology explores new uses for technology. Degree-seekers explore computing processes and gain problem-solving skills. Graduates often become computer and information research scientists, who earn a median salary of $126,830 per year, according to BLS data.

Best Online Master's Programs 2022

#1

Southern New Hampshire University

School Information
Location Manchester, New Hampshire
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Concentrations Available: Accounting, applied economics, business analytics, communication, criminal justice, cybersecurity, data analytics, English, nursing, finance, history, higher education administration, healthcare, information technology, marketing, psychology, sports management

Accredited By: New England Commission of Higher Education 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? N/A

Founded in 1963, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) enrolls over 135,000 students and offers more than 250 programs. Students can pursue one of over 100 master's degrees in fields like accounting, communication, and cybersecurity. Learners can complete their degree in 10 months. 

SNHU charges $627 per credit. Most online master's degrees require 36 credits. Enrollees can transfer up to 12 graduate credits. SNHU offers five annual start dates. The school does not require the GMAT or GRE.

Available Scholarship: Finlay Family Scholarship

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#2

Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Concentrations Available: Accounting, aeronautics, counseling, biomedical sciences, Bible, business administration, communication, criminal justice, cybersecurity, divinity, education, engineering, history, homeland security and disaster management, human biology, human performance, information systems and technology, international relations, juris master, marketing, medical science, music, nursing political science, psychology, public administration, public health, public policy, public safety, religion, sports, worship studies

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? N/A

A Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University offers nearly 300 online master's degrees across many academic fields. Liberty has provided distance-education options since 1985. Learners can pursue master's degrees in fields like nursing, education, and political science. Students typically take classes in eight-week blocks. Most programs require 1.5-2 years to complete.

Liberty offers tuition discounts for qualifying military members, first responders, missionaries, and Southern Baptists from select states. Admission requirements vary by degree. 

Available Scholarship: Middle America Scholarship

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#3

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Accounting, African and African diaspora studies, computer engineering, construction management, criminal justice, curriculum and instruction, engineering management, finance, global affairs, healthcare, health informatics and analytics, health services administration, hospitality management, human resource management, international business, international real estate, logistics and supply chain management, logistics engineering, marketing, mass communication, music education,

public administration, public health, special education

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Florida International University (FIU) enrolls almost 54,000 students, giving it one of the nation's 10 largest student bodies. The school offers hundreds of majors, including 50 online graduate degrees in a variety of concentrations. Some options include economics, education, and engineering. 

FIU also offers some programs in an executive or hybrid environment. Some programs may lead to professional licensure or certification. Online students learn from the same instructors who teach on-campus programs. FIU's online platform lets learners study in a flexible and interactive format. 

Available Scholarship: Academic Merit Scholarship

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#4

Ohio State University-Main Campus

School Information
Location Columbus, Ohio
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 86%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Plant health management; art education; bioethics; nursing; dental hygiene; engineering management; engineering leadership; healthcare innovation; learning technologies; public administration and leadership; public health; agricultural communication, education, and leadership; translational pharmacology; welding engineering; health-system pharmacy administration; social work; translational data analytics; business administration; business analytics

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

The Ohio State University maintains one of the world's largest alumni networks, with more than 500,000 graduates all over the globe. Students can pursue their master's degrees online and learn from the same faculty who teach on campus.

Ohio State offers master's degrees in many fields, including art, business, and education. Online applicants follow the same admissions procedure as on-campus students. Requirements vary by program. Once enrolled, distance education learners can access technical support and other student services.

Available Scholarship: J. Parker and Kathryn Webb Dinius Fellowship

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#5

Arizona State University-Skysong

School Information
Location Scottsdale, Arizona
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 4%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Architecture and construction, arts, business, communication and media, computing and mathematics, education and teaching, engineering and technology, entrepreneurship, health and wellness, humanities, interdisciplinary studies, law, justice and public service, science, social and behavioral sciences, sustainability, STEM

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

Arizona State University-Skysong (ASU) offers over 100 online master's degrees in a variety of fields. Some options include forensic psychology, project management, and engineering. ASU offers enrollment options throughout the year. 

ASU offers several opportunities for current undergraduate students to accelerate their education. Some fields let learners start studying for a master's degree concurrent with their bachelor's degree.

Specific timeframes, requirements, and admissions criteria vary by program. Applicants typically need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA in the final 60 credits.

Available Scholarship: Dr. Mark and Mrs. Judy Searle Graduate Scholarship

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Featured Online Healthcare Administration Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's Degrees

How many years is a master's degree?

Most full-time students earn a master's degree in about two years. Part-time learners may need four years.

What's the difference between a bachelor's degree and a master's degree?

Bachelor's programs take longer than master's programs. Bachelor's curricula focus on entry-level information, while master's students gain a specialized view of their subject.

Can I get a master's degree in a field unrelated to my bachelor's degree?

Yes. Many master's programs accept students with a bachelor's degree in any subject. Learners pursuing a master's degree in a field unrelated to their undergraduate studies may need to take prerequisite courses.

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