100% Online Masters Degree Programs

What is an Online Master's Degree?

Online master degree programs offer working students and professionals the opportunity to earn a graduate degree in a convenient and flexible online format.

Most online master degree programs are offered through accredited programs and offer the same diploma as a traditional campus degree.

Online Masters Degree Programs

About Online Master's Degree Programs

Many universities and colleges have both residential and online master's programs which one might pursue on a full-time or part-time basis. Today, an increasing number of adult learners are turning to the online option. Applicants to online master degree programs should have first earned an undergraduate degree.

As with traditional masters programs, an online master program may take anywhere from one to two years to complete full-time. Some universities may offer an online dual degree that combines both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree. These may take longer. Furthermore, duration may vary between graduate schools and the type of degree you work towards.

Why Pursue an Online Master's Degree?

Studies report that certain professions may require a masters degree for entry-level jobs, and also that earning a master's degree might lead to higher wages.

5 Careers That Require A Master's Degree

Career Median Annual Salary for Master's Degree



Industrial-Organizational Psychologist


Healthcare Social Workers


Nurse Midwives


Urban and Regional Planners


In addition, there are many different groups that might benefit from the convenience of distance learning. An online Master's Degree program could be a great option for any of the following.

  • Undergraduates returning for a graduate degree
  • Professionals returning to update skills or change careers
  • Working students who want to balance job and study
  • Students out of geographical proximity to a masters degree program of interest
  • Students returning to finish their degree
  • Students who have family duties and demands
  • Students who are autonomous and self-motivated
  • Working students who travel

Popular Schools with Online Masters Degrees 

ProgramInstitutionDegree Awarded
Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy - Military Family TherapyNational UniversityAM
Master of Health InformaticsWake Forest UniversityMS
MEd in Education Technology and Instructional DesignWestern Governors UniversityMS
M.A. in History with an Emphasis in EducationGrand Canyon UniversityMA
MA in PsychologyThe University of Arizona Global CampusN/A
Master of Science in Materials Science and EngineeringThe Catholic University of AmericaN/A
Master of Public Administration: OnlineCalifornia State University, NorthridgeMS
Entertainment Business MSFull Sail UniversityMS
Online MBATemple University Fox School of BusinessN/A
M.Ed. in Christian School AdministrationRegent UniversityN/A
Master of Science in CybersecurityNational UniversityN/A
M.S.N. - RN to Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Family Nurse PractitionerSouth UniversityN/A
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Most Common Online Master Degrees Awarded

There are many types of Master's Degrees but some of the most common you may have heard of are; M.A., M.S., M.B.A., M.F.A., M.P.H., M.Ed., M.S.N. and M.S.W.

The online master's degree is a “second-cycle” or postgraduate degree that is awarded to students who have demonstrated “mastery” in their academic field (according to BLS.gov). Within this tier of education, you can find different types of online master's degree programs.

Learn more about these types of Master Degrees:

Many online master's programs can actually be less expensive as traditional campus setting programs. Learn more about affordable online master degree programs here.


According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the Fall of 2014 -- 25% of graduate students were enrolled in exclusively online courses!

Try a MicroMasters Program

MicroMasters programs are a set of masters-level online courses that help you earn professional credentials and valuable university credits. If you are a professional and can’t take time off to earn a traditional master's degree, a MicroMasters program may be an accessible and affordable option. And now you can test drive a MicroMasters Program for Free!

What Do I Need to Take A Masters Degree Online?

While each university may define their online masters programs differently, the term “distance-learning” commonly means that the graduate student and the professor are separated by space, or by both time and space. As such, some of the potential features of earning an online master degree could include those listed below.

  • Course material delivered online
  • Use of digital cameras and other technology
  • Use of special software, pre-recorded video, live streaming video
  • One-way video and two-way audio for live lectures and class participation
  • Assembling on different campus sites to see and hear a lecture transmitted via television monitor
  • Using a common web browser to view and listen to pre-taped lectures
  • Lecture notes and web pages to complement textbook readings and assignments
  • Electronic discussion boards, chat rooms, email, telephone, group projects to facilitate interaction and feedback between classmates and student to professor
  • Turn in assignments by mail or online course management system
  • Fully online (100%) or partially online (some campus courses)
  • Some online masters programs don't require you to take the GRE

Faculty, Curriculum & Course Content

A factor to consider when searching for an online Master's program is how the courses, curriculum, and faculty handle the online delivery method. Often distance learning programs are mirrors of residential ones, but this is a good thing to verify.

Sometimes you have a choice between ‘tracks’ and you should spend some time researching the curricula and possible outcomes of the various online masters programs. This should give you a feel for whether it aligns with your goals. For instance, are you using the Master’s degree as a stepping stone to a Ph.D.? Do you aspire to enter the workplace after graduation? These are some things to consider when comparing online programs and schools.

Technical Support

If you are enrolling in an online Masters program, make sure you understand the technologies involved and that your graduate school has tech support. Sometimes there is an orientation for new students which could be beneficial to you. At the very least, make sure you have all the requirements necessary to study online. This usually includes a reliable computer or laptop, wi-fi or internet connection, and any apps required by your specific graduate program.

Finding Accredited Online Master Degree Programs

One of the things to consider is accreditation. Accredited graduate schools have demonstrated that they meet industry standards. You can look for regional accreditation, national accreditation and professional accreditation.

The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation are good resources. Online graduate degrees are gaining respect and becoming very popular and widely accepted. The diploma does not usually stipulate how a student earned their degree but employers may look for accreditation.

Top States for Employment: Managers, All Other
StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
District of Columbia15,060$134,430

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Managers, All Other
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$148,7004,200
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$147,27011,980
California-Lexington Park, MD$145,620490
Kennewick-Richland, WA$134,880280
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV$134,42037,550

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sources: bls.gov/careeroutlook/2001/Summer/art01.pdf, nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=80, bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-5, bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-5, bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/urban-and-regional-planners.htm#tab-5

Top 580 Online Graduate Schools with Masters Programs 

  • No application fee for April & June terms
  • 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
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