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Web developers are essential to the continued growth of the digital market. These individuals are responsible for website and mobile application construction, design, and functionality. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for trained web developers are on the rise, and individuals with these valuable skills can easily make $75,000 or more annually.

In the tech world, graduate degrees aren’t always necessary for gainful employment, but these academic credentials expand your job prospects and earning potential. Online master’s in web development programs help students specialize in a specific technology and advance into organizational leadership roles.

A typical online graduate degree in web development requires 30 to 45 credit hours (10 to 15 courses); full-time attendees need 16 months to two years to graduate. Program cost varies, but the average total tuition is approximately $25,000.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Web Development Program

Choose your area of study

The more common graduate degree in web development is a Master of Science (M.S.). Exact degree names vary slightly (such as an M.S. in Computer Information Systems or an M.S. in Information Technology), but the primary coursework is relatively similar across programs. However, institutions offer different electives and concentrations, so decide early on whether you have a specific area on which you’d like to focus. Common elective topics include web design, mobile applications, and full-stack development.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve narrowed down your area of study, consider the following aspects of each program:

  • Is the degree program accredited? Select institutions that meet the accreditation standards of a national agency. Web development master’s programs don’t have a dedicated accrediting organization, but you might prioritize ABET-accredited (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) degrees. ABET certification verifies that the coursework prepares graduates for professional, technical positions within the workforce.
  • How is online coursework facilitated? Web development courses integrate easily within an asynchronous, self-guided environment. This format is often preferable for working adults who might need more flexibility rather than attending scheduled remote class sessions.
  • What student resources are available to online learners? Research what support services are included in your tuition. You should have access to tutoring, mental health counseling, disability accommodations, academic advising, mentorship opportunities, library databases, and technical support.

You might also compare each program’s practical application prospects, faculty-to-student ratio, or capstone project. Ultimately, find a degree that serves your professional and personal needs. Most of the information you need is available via university websites, though you should take advantage of virtual open houses or FAQ sessions.

Prepare for tests and applications

Few web development graduate programs require standardized test scores, but assembling your other application materials takes time. Prepare well before application deadlines, especially when requesting letters of recommendation and undergraduate transcripts. International candidates will have additional steps, including English language proficiency testing and residency requirements.

Before submitting your application package, verify your eligibility for the program itself. Many graduate schools have a minimum undergraduate GPA requirement or prerequisite coursework.

Select your program

After completing your research and confirming your eligibility, it’s time to decide. Consider cost, schedule flexibility, professional opportunities, and specific electives. It’s essential to narrow your search to just those programs that meet your needs; focusing on your top-choice programs is better than spreading yourself too thin. Additionally, application processing fees can be costly.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Most program websites include the per-credit price of tuition. However, this is rarely a reflection of the actual cost. Schools may charge additional student services and technology fees. Seek funding opportunities wherever you can. Start by completing the FAFSA; master’s students may be eligible for federal grants and affordable loans. Then, speak with a financial aid counselor through your school. You may qualify for military discounts, need-based scholarships, or other tuition reduction possibilities.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Web Development Programs

Best Online Master's in Web Development Degree Programs

Boston University

University of Denver

Southern New Hampshire University

Fort Hays State University

University of Florida

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How We Rank Schools

We focused our research on graduate programs in web development. Available types of master’s degrees in this field include Master of Science (MS), Master of Arts (MA), and Master of Professional Studies (MPS).

To ensure accessibility for the greatest number of students, we sought out programs that can be completed entirely or primarily through distance learning.

To confirm quality, we only included programs offered at regionally accredited institutions. This flexibility guarantees that the program meets high standards of excellence in postsecondary education, so employers will widely recognize and regard your degree.

Once we narrowed our list of programs, we reviewed each based on cost, reputation, faculty, flexibility, and outcomes. Based on this information, we calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

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

Students enrolled in an online master’s in web development program further their expertise in programming languages and strategic technical design. Participants engage in interactive coursework to help them master in-demand skills for the modern workforce.

Throughout their study, attendees develop a portfolio of web development projects demonstrating their mastery of UX principles and web design. Graduates of online web development programs will also possess the communication and planning skills required for leadership positions within the industry.

In most cases, full-time students will graduate in less than two years; part-time students may need between two and three years. Online web development degrees are almost entirely online with no in-person commitments or internships; coursework and activities translate easily into a remote environment.

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

  • Technology Leadership. Students develop a broad perspective on how technology integrates within modern organizations. Participants learn the necessary communication and planning skills to advance into leadership roles with a company, such as creating an overall technology vision, implementing a technical strategy, and managing a budget.
  • Web Development with PHP. Participants focus on strategies for programming web applications using mainstream programming languages and tools (including HTML, CSS, PHP, and MySQL database). Students engage in unit testing, debugging, security issues, and object-oriented programming.
  • Introduction to Probability and Statistics. This course provides students with the necessary mathematical foundation for success in the field. Featured topics include combinatorial mathematics, the fundamentals of differentiation and integration, and the elementary probability theory.
  • Database Design and Implementation for Business. Students develop hands-on experience in designing and implementing a database system.

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

Career outlook

The world of web development is both dynamic and indispensable. An online master’s degree in web development equips individuals with advanced technical skills, creative design expertise, and a comprehensive understanding of the ever-evolving realm of web technologies. This degree paves the way for diverse and rewarding career opportunities that span industries, from technology and e-commerce to media and beyond.

The need for web developers and digital designers is increasing much faster than the economy in general, with a 23 percent increase expected by 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those in the top ten percent of the field can expect to make more than $168,200 annually.

Career paths

As technology evolves and new web development tools and frameworks emerge, individuals with advanced knowledge and expertise in web development are well-positioned to capitalize on these opportunities. The ability to create user-friendly interfaces, optimize performance, and ensure security are highly valued skills in today’s digital economy.

An online master’s degree in web development opens the door to a wide array of potential career paths, each with its unique focus and responsibilities. Here are some options to consider:

  • Web application developer — develop dynamic web applications that provide interactive and engaging user experiences
  • Mobile app developer — create mobile applications for iOS, Android, or other platforms, optimizing functionality and user experience
  • E-commerce developer — build and maintain e-commerce websites, ensuring seamless online shopping experiences and secure payment processing
  • User experience (UX) designer — focus on enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and overall interaction between users and websites or applications
  • Web development manager — oversee teams of developers, coordinate project timelines, and ensure the successful delivery of web development projects
  • Technical lead — provide technical guidance, mentorship, and leadership to development teams, ensuring best practices and efficient collaboration

Front-End Developer

Earning Potential: $55,000-$110,000 annually

Education Required: Bachelor’s or master’s degree in web development, computer science, or a related field

A front-end developer specializes in creating the visual and interactive elements of websites and web applications. They use languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to design and implement user interfaces, ensuring a seamless and engaging user experience. Front-end developers collaborate with designers and back-end developers to bring design concepts to life, optimize performance, and ensure cross-browser compatibility. Their expertise lies in creating intuitive layouts, responsive designs, and interactive features that captivate users and enhance the overall usability of digital platforms.

Back-End Developer

Earning Potential: $60,000-$120,000 annually

Education Required: Bachelor’s or master’s degree in web development, computer science, or a related field

A back-end developer is responsible for the server side of web applications, focusing on the functionality, databases, and server operations that power the user experience. They use languages like Python, Java, or Ruby to build and maintain the infrastructure behind websites, handling data storage, processing, and retrieval. Back-end developers ensure secure user authentication, manage data interactions, and implement business logic to deliver seamless functionality. They collaborate with front-end developers to ensure smooth integration and optimize overall system performance. Back-end developers play a critical role in creating web applications that provide a solid foundation for user interactions.

Full-Stack Developer

Earning Potential: $65,000-$130,000 annually

Education Required: Bachelor’s or master’s degree in web development, computer science, or a related field

A full-stack developer possesses expertise in both front-end and back-end development, capable of building and maintaining entire web applications. They design user interfaces using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript while also managing databases, server logic, and APIs with languages like Python, Java, or Node.js. Full-stack developers handle the entire development cycle, from user experience to server operations, enabling seamless communication between front-end and back-end components. Their versatility allows them to create complete and dynamic web solutions, ensuring responsive design, robust functionality, and optimal performance across the entire application.

Online Master’s in Web Development Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in web development degree program?

You can apply online through each institution’s application portal. While exact requirements vary, most online master’s in web development applications include:

  • An application (plus processing fee)
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • A statement of purpose addressing your career goals
  • A recent professional resumé
  • Letters of recommendation

Before hitting the apply button, contact an admissions counselor for your selected school. They can help answer any lingering questions and walk you through the application process.

How much does an online master’s in web development degree cost?

The average cost of tuition for this master’s program is close to $25,000. While some online programs are more affordable than their in-person counterparts, many schools charge the same tuition regardless of course delivery format. Attending online programs for which you qualify for in-state residency is often the most cost-effective option.

Web development programs have additional associated costs, especially regarding the necessary software and hardware to complete coursework. To save time and money, speak with an admissions counselor to ascertain whether you can apply any transfer credits or professional experience toward your academic plan or qualify for student discounts on software purchases.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in web development degree?

Online master’s in web development programs require between 30 and 45 credit hours. Full-time students can graduate within two years; some degrees provide an accelerated track, which one can finish within 16 consecutive months. Working professionals may instead attend part-time. If you enroll part-time, you may need up to three years to complete the program. Because online web development degrees are primarily asynchronous, students can benefit from a more independent, self-paced course of study.

Is an online master's in web development worth it?

Earning an online master’s degree in web development offers numerous advantages. The degree program provides in-depth knowledge of the latest web technologies and programming languages, preparing graduates for senior-level positions and leadership roles within the tech industry. According to industry reports, professionals with a master’s degree in web development often command higher salaries than those with only a bachelor’s degree.

Per the BLS, the demand for web developers is projected to grow substantially in the coming years, underscoring the continued need for skilled professionals in this field. With an average median annual salary of $78,300 and the potential for higher earnings as expertise grows, the financial rewards are compelling.

Pursuing an online master’s degree allows students to tailor their education to their schedule, making it an ideal choice for working professionals or those with other commitments. This flexibility, combined with access to cutting-edge curriculum and experienced instructors, ensures a comprehensive and well-rounded education.

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