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An online master’s in management degree emphasizes leadership skills and high-level strategic planning within a business context. This program is often for business professionals seeking advancement opportunities. However, prior business experience is only sometimes necessary. Management programs touch on various business specializations, including accounting, marketing, and logistics.

There are several career paths for individuals with management skills; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for these positions is $107,360. Employment opportunities for many of these professions, such as financial manager, are projected to grow much faster than the average rate.

A master’s degree is not necessarily essential for these career paths, but it will reduce the professional experience required for a management position and benefit your overall job search. Most programs are just 30 total credits, allowing full-time students to graduate with a master’s in management within two years.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Management Program

Choose your area of study

You have two main choices for the type of degree to pursue: a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in management or a Master of Science (MS) in management.

MBA credentials are more familiar to potential employers, but many require that aspiring candidates possess a background in business, whether professionally or through their undergraduate degrees. The MS option better suits those who have minimal academic or relevant professional experience but are interested in this career path. Both degrees will prepare you for leadership positions within a business.

Management-specific master’s programs may offer concentration options or specialized electives. Common focus areas include healthcare, human resources, and global finance. Before applying to a school, ensure the program provides the elective or specialty coursework you need for your career goals.

Research schools and programs

You should only apply to institutions that 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. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

Ideally, your master’s in management program will also be accredited by a respected industry group like the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. These organizations have particularly high standards for business education.

Research the other aspects of each online option as well, such as:

  • What support services are available to online students? Research what resources you can leverage to get the most out of your degree. Online students should have access to support services such as free tutoring, 24/7 tech support, career counseling, and mental health resources.
  • What is the program’s faculty-to-student ratio? Programs with a low faculty-to-student ratio allow for more one-on-one opportunities to engage with faculty and more customized coursework. Building relationships with faculty members will significantly expand your professional network.

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements vary by school and program. Before deciding on a program, make sure you’re eligible. For some management degrees, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in a related subject (such as business, finance, or economics). Most programs set a minimum undergraduate GPA, with some as high as 3.0.

Some master’s in management programs require GRE or GMAT scores. Check the admissions requirements for each program to confirm whether standardized test scores are mandatory. You should allow plenty of time to prepare for these exams, especially if you plan to enroll in a test prep course. Besides test scores, you may also need a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and undergraduate transcripts to apply. Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

Select your program

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Are you only interested in 100% online programs, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a few in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Fill out the FAFSA form to help determine how you’ll pay for this degree. The FAFSA outlines your eligibility for federal loan assistance and potential grant opportunities. Also, if you currently work in a business-related field, speak to your employer about possible tuition assistance.

From there, contact a financial counselor for your program. You may learn that there are scholarships or other discounts for which you’re eligible. Students who served or have family members who served in the military may qualify for associated discounts. Finally, meet with an academic advisor to determine if your prior college coursework or professional experiences count for transfer credit.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Management Programs

Best Master's in Management Programs

Franklin University

Liberty University

Brenau University

Marquette University

Babson College

The University of Alabama

Southeast Missouri State University

Ashland University

Lewis University

University of Florida Warrington College of Business

University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

The University of Texas at Dallas

Stevens Institute of Technology

Oklahoma City University

Indiana University

Boston University

Michigan State University

Ohio University

Penn State World Campus

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Towson University

West Chester University

Embry - Riddle Aeronautical University

Abilene Christian University

Concordia University at St. Paul

California Lutheran University

Brandeis University

The George Washington University School of Business

Wichita State University

City University of Seattle

Tarleton State University

Troy University

Indiana Wesleyan University

Kettering University

Charleston Southern University

Salve Regina University

Chadron State College

CSU Global Campus

Minot State University

Lamar University

Campbellsville University

Dallas Baptist University

Fontbonne University

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Southwestern College

Benedictine University

Russell Sage College

University of Colorado Denver

Webster University

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best online master’s in management programs at top colleges nationwide. Each school featured is a nonprofit, regionally accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for postsecondary education. Many of the options on our list also have programmatic accreditation from an industry group such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition costs, faculty, reputation, and the resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online master’s in management programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Management Program?

An online master’s in management prepares students for leadership positions within the modern business workforce. Participants engage in coursework featuring accounting, marketing, leadership, and financial management practices, allowing them to effectively make high-level, strategic decisions for an organization. Most programs are entirely online, but some integrate brief in-person requirements and networking events.

Coursework traditionally takes two years to complete, though accelerated programs are available. Part-time students may need up to three years to graduate.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in management program

  • Managerial Accounting. Generally a core requirement, this course introduces management accounting as part of an organization’s information system. Students learn modern cost accounting and budgetary processes for business operations purposes.
  • Leadership and Teams. Students explore leadership styles and effective team-building strategies.
  • Marketing Management. Participants study marketing best practices and buyer behavior. Students learn from real-world case studies.
  • Introduction to Finance. This course outlines a financial manager’s decision-making process and defines vital topics in modern finance.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Management?

Career outlook

In the dynamic world of business, effective management is the cornerstone of success. An online master’s degree in management equips individuals with the skills, knowledge, and mindset required to lead teams, drive innovation, and navigate the ever-changing landscape of modern organizations. From executive leadership and project management to human resources and consulting, there is a diverse array of in-demand job options for those who hold this degree.

Indeed, organizations value professionals who possess strong management skills, as they are crucial in achieving strategic goals, enhancing operational efficiency, and fostering a culture of collaboration. With the rise of remote work and digital organization, managers who understand how to navigate virtual teams and leverage technology are in particularly high demand. Here are some potential career paths to consider:

  • Top executive — Coordinate the work of an organization by establishing goals, overseeing activities, and appointing department heads and managers.
    • Median annual salary: $100,090
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 3%
    • New job openings projected: 311,600 annually
  • Human resources manager — Oversee employee relations, payroll administration, and talent acquisition and development.
    • Median annual salary: $130,000
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 5%
    • New job openings projected: 15,500 annually
  • Management analyst — Advise organizations on how to increase revenue, reduce expenses, and improve efficiency.
    • Median annual salary: $95,290
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 10%
    • New job openings projected: 92,900 annually

Online Master’s in Management Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master's in management degree program?

Interested attendees should apply through each school’s online admissions portal. Application materials vary from school to school, but most request the following:

  • A completed application
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate program
  • GRE or GMAT scores (if applicable)
  • A personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Proof of English proficiency (if applicable)
  • A processing fee

Contact an admissions counselor if you have any questions regarding the application materials or need financial assistance with the processing fee.

How much does an online master's in management degree cost?

On average, graduate school tuition costs $20,513 per year. Private schools tend to have much higher tuition rates than public schools. And at public schools, out-of-state students are typically charged more than in-state students. In addition to tuition, the total cost for a master’s degree in management will include books, occasional travel expenses for in-person networking events, and computer-related expenses such as reliable internet.

How long does it take to earn an online master's in management degree?

A typical master’s degree in management is 30 credit hours (10 classes). Full-time attendees can graduate within two years, with some finishing in less time. Part-time students can typically graduate within three years. Most programs mandate that attendees graduate within five years of starting the program.

Is an online master's in management worth it?

Pursuing an online master’s degree in management offers numerous advantages and the potential for a fulfilling and rewarding career. This advanced degree equips you with a versatile skill set that is applicable across industries and positions you for leadership roles and professional growth.

Graduates of this program often qualify for particularly high-paying positions. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for management occupations is $107,360, which is the highest of all major occupational groups.

Online master’s programs in management offer flexibility, allowing you to balance your studies with work or other commitments. Virtual learning platforms provide access to course materials, interactive discussions, and networking opportunities, enabling you to enhance your knowledge and skills from anywhere, whether it’s your dining room table or the local cafe.

Furthermore, the networking opportunities provided by an online master’s program are invaluable. You’ll have the chance to connect with fellow students, faculty, and professionals in the field, expanding your professional network and potentially leading to job opportunities and collaborations.