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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 and expanding their earning potential. 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 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for these positions was $102,450. Employment opportunities for many of these professions, such as financial managers, are projected to grow 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 from an online master’s in management within two years. In-state tuition for the entire course of study is $55,000.

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 in Management (M.S.).

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 M.S. option better suits someone with minimal academic or relevant professional experience but is 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 goals.

Research schools and programs

Accreditation status is essential. Ensure that a regional accreditation agency recognizes each institution. Business-related degrees often feature programmatic accreditation. Prioritize programs recognized by one of the following organizations: the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Then, research the different aspects of each online option.

  • How is online coursework delivered? Most remote management programs are asynchronous, meaning you’ll complete coursework independently. Some offer more structure, such as real-time class discussions and group projects. Determine which format works best for your personal schedule and learning style.
  • 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.

Check out the school’s website for more in-depth information on each program. Contact an admissions counselor or attend a virtual FAQ session for specific questions.

Prepare for tests and applications

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 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 must assemble letters of recommendation and undergraduate transcripts to apply.

Select your program

Select your program based on your professional goals, personal schedule, and eligibility. You may apply to multiple programs, as some business-related degrees can be very competitive. However, note that most applications require a processing fee, so only select those that meet your needs.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Business-related graduate degrees like a master’s in management are costly. However, this credential will increase your overall earning potential. Nonetheless, it’s an investment. 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. 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, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. Many of the schools on our list have been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which assesses business-related programs’ objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, reputation, and the student 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 the 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 with an online master’s in management. As one example, the need for medical and health services managers is expected to grow by 28 percent over the coming decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median salary for this position is $101,340 a year.

Career paths

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.

An online master’s degree in management opens doors to a wide range of dynamic and influential career paths. Here are some potential avenues to consider:

  • Management consultant — analyze business practices and offer strategic recommendations
  • Operations manager — optimize processes, supply chains, and logistics to maximize efficiency and reduce costs
  • Marketing manager — develop and implement strategies to promote products or services, drive brand awareness, and engage target audiences
  • Financial manager — oversee an organization’s financial health, managing budgets, investments, and financial planning
  • Human resources manager — plan, coordinate, and direct workforce management, employee relations, and organizational development

Business Manager

Earning Potential: $78,630-$208,000 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in management or related field

A business manager plays a pivotal role in overseeing and coordinating the operational aspects of an organization. They manage day-to-day operations, allocate resources, and implement strategies to achieve business goals. Business managers supervise teams, monitor performance, and make decisions to optimize efficiency and profitability. They collaborate with various departments, ensure compliance with policies, and adapt to market trends. By providing leadership, strategic direction, and effective communication, business managers drive growth, enhance customer satisfaction, and contribute to the company’s overall success.

Project Manager

Earning Potential: $74,040-$154,140 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in management, project management, or related field

A project manager plans, executes, and oversees projects to successful completion. They define project goals, scope, and timelines, allocate resources, and assemble teams. Project managers manage budgets, mitigate risks, and track progress, ensuring projects stay on schedule and within budget. They facilitate clear communication among stakeholders, resolve issues, and adapt to changes. With a strategic mindset, leadership, and organizational abilities, project managers drive collaboration, coordinate tasks, and deliver high-quality results that meet client expectations and contribute to the achievement of organizational objectives.

Management Consultant

Earning Potential: $67,510-$176,920 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in management or related field

A management consultant assists organizations in improving efficiency, solving problems, and achieving growth. They analyze business processes, gather data, and identify opportunities for optimization for their clients. Management consultants offer expert insights and recommendations, guiding clients through strategic planning, organizational restructuring, and performance enhancement. They collaborate with leadership teams, implement changes, and monitor progress. By leveraging their expertise, analytical skills, and industry knowledge, management consultants drive innovation, streamline operations, and empower businesses to maximize their competitive edge.

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?

Online business-related graduate degrees vary significantly in overall cost. The average in-state tuition of an online business program is around $28,500 a year, or a little more than $55,000 for the whole program. While online students can save on living expenses, the actual tuition is the same whether you attend on-campus or online. The primary variable to consider is your residency status; in-state tuition is much more affordable.

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.

One of the key benefits of earning a master’s in management is the potential for increased earning potential. Graduates of this program often qualify for higher-paying positions, particularly in management and leadership roles. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for management occupations was $102,450 in 2021, which was 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.