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Web development is a lucrative career that empowers creativity, problem-solving, and high job satisfaction. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting about 19,000 openings between 2022 and 2023, web developers have many opportunities across nearly every industry as e-commerce expansion and other demands increase the need for skilled professionals.

A master’s degree in web development program provides students with the advanced skills needed for competitive roles. While web developers earn an average of $84,960 yearly, students with master’s degrees may qualify for even higher-earning roles. Graduate programs also develop expertise and experience, allowing students to pursue senior roles in IT or project management.

Students can complete a master’s in web development in two years, often transitioning to the workforce via internships or work experience programs. Graduate degree programs cost an average of $20,513 per year.

How to Choose a Master’s in Web Development Program

Choose your area of study

A master’s in web development degree program helps students develop the advanced skills and knowledge necessary to build and maintain websites. Keep your career goals in mind as you explore degree programs — some offer different concentrations, opportunities, or other educational outcomes, and it’s important that your education aligns with your professional objectives.

Web development often doesn’t have its own designated master’s degree. Instead, most graduate programs applicable to web development careers fall under computer information or communications technology and offer concentrations in web development.

These graduate programs develop an advanced understanding of technical concepts such as algorithms, web and mobile applications development, programming languages, and data structures related to web development. These programs typically have diverse curriculums with many opportunities to specialize in user experience (UX) design, web design, database management, cybersecurity, and other web technologies or methods.

Alternatively, prospective students can consider graduate programs in related or overarching fields or with a concentration in web development. These options include:

  • Computer Science. Computer science master’s programs broadly cover topics in operating systems, databases, computer architecture, and more to develop diverse skills that apply to web development and other fields.
  • Software Engineering. Covering topics such as software design, programming languages, testing procedures, and project management, a master’s in software engineering emphasizes skills that can apply to website development.
  • Computer Programming. Computer programming graduate programs focus on coding language fluency and may offer specializations in front-end, back-end, or web security code development.

Research schools and programs

Prioritize accredited schools and programs as you research your options. As per the standards of the U.S. Department of Education, accrediting agencies evaluate program curricula and other details to ensure the quality of education. Students must attend a regionally accredited institution to qualify for federal financial aid, and many employers prefer graduates from these schools as they provide credibility for their skills in that field. Regionally accredited schools typically only accept credits from other accredited schools, which can help save students time and money should they choose to transfer.

Verify accreditation status with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. Research school and program websites for details on their accredited curriculums and graduate outcomes, and contact an admissions counselor for additional information and recommendations. For further insights, sign up for in-person and virtual school or program information sessions, campus tours, and other events.

Prepare for tests and applications

Requirements for web development programs vary, but they generally include the following:

  • Application form and fees
  • Four-year bachelor’s degree and transcript
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Personal essay or statement
  • Resume or CV
  • GRE or GMAT scores
  • TOEFL (for students educated in a non-English language)

Some programs may request additional materials or information, such as a portfolio of web development projects and related professional experience. Speak to an admissions counselor to verify program-specific requirements, eligibility, deadlines, and other details that can help strengthen your application.

Select your program

The right program for each student depends on their career and educational goals as well as their needs and preferences. Certain factors may influence program selection more than others depending on individual circumstances — for example, many students study for graduate programs in conjunction with their existing career and may require part-time, hybrid, online, or other flexible course delivery and logistics options to suit their schedule.

Other decision factors include:

  • Curriculum
  • Concentrations
  • Location
  • Networking opportunities
  • Campus amenities and resources
  • Cost and financial aid
  • Research or capstone project requirements

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Financial aid counselors from your chosen institution can provide program-specific information regarding tuition, campus fees, costs for books and supplies, and other expenses. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify for need-based federal loans, scholarships, grants, and other financial assistance.

Graduate students can explore other funding options, such as fellowships or assistantships through their schools, which offer stipends, salary, or tuition coverage. Schools, non-profit foundations, and private organizations may also offer need- or merit-based funding, and some companies provide employees with tuition assistance benefits.

Best 50 Accredited Master’s in Web Development Programs

Best Master's in Web Development Degree Programs_2024 badge

Naval Postgraduate School

Idaho State University

LSU College of Art and Design

Oklahoma Christian University

Portland State University

Purdue University Northwest

Discover More Options

How we rank schools

Our research has identified the top master’s in web development programs and includes both online and on-campus options as well as programs that combine the two formats. The programs offered by these schools include specializations in web design, web development, and web application development.

Accreditation is essential to the value of any master’s degree program, so all of the institutions included on our list have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Web Development Program?

Graduate web development programs vary, but students can generally expect to learn advanced aspects of website design, development, and implementation using mainstream programming languages and frameworks. Students develop practical skills for analyzing business challenges and webpage audiences, assessing risk, ensuring web security, and other elements of web development.

Exact curriculums vary depending on students’ concentrations, but most offer a blend of theoretical content and practical application via projects and lab-based study. Students may also gain practical or professional experience through research projects, internships, seminars, and work co-ops. Some programs assign academic and career mentors to students to help guide their focus and career development.Most programs require between 30 and 48 credits for graduation and a thesis or capstone project. Programs typically take about two years to complete and offer flexible course delivery methods and pacing.

Potential courses you’ll take in a master’s in web development program

  • Full-Stack Web Development. Students integrate front-end tools and content with back-end architecture and databases through the fundamental concepts and techniques of full-stack web development. Topics may include Web APIs, CSS, JavaScript, Python, and web development frameworks.
  • Database Design and Programming. This course covers the principles and best practices for managing website database design and employing structure query language. Topics may include data definition, transaction management, and database administration.
  • Website Optimization. To create websites that attract and engage visitors, students learn how to optimize desktop and mobile websites with user interface and user experience. This course usually builds fluency and capability with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.
  • Cyber Security Technology and Management. An in-depth exploration of topics related to the management and security of website data, such as access control systems, legal and ethical issues, and security models. Technology topics may include viruses, worms, security protocols, and encryption.

Master’s in Web Development Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a master's in web development degree program?

Most school websites feature a portal that guides students through the application process. Requirements vary, but applicants typically must provide digital copies of transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and resumes. An admissions counselor can also provide assistance, confirm deadlines or requirements, and offer advice on strengthening your application.

How much does a master's in web development degree cost?

The average graduate program tuition is $20,513 per year but can vary depending on the field. Out-of-state or private institutions tend to result in higher tuition.

Other factors, such as course delivery method, required materials, and local cost of living, can affect your yearly expenses. Federal financial aid and other funding can reduce your upfront costs.

How long does it take to earn a master's in web development degree?

Most web development graduate programs require between 30 and 48 credits and typically span about two years with full-time study. Some programs permit self-pacing or accelerated study for degree completion in as little as a year.

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