Why This Matters

  • WORKERS WITH A MASTER’S DEGREE EARN $1,574 PER WEEK

    This is significantly higher than the average weekly earnings for all workers, which is $1,057.

  • UNEMPLOYMENT RATE OF JUST 2.6%

    The unemployment rate for workers with a master’s degree is much less than the 4.7% unemployment rate for all workers.

  • CHOOSE FROM A VARIETY OF HIGH-PAYING OCCUPATIONS

    The highest-paying jobs that require a master’s degree include political scientists, nurse midwives, mathematicians, and sociologists.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online master’s programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as 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 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.

The Top 50 Online Master’s Degree Programs

Best Master's Degree Programs 2023 Badge
01
Intelligent Pick
University of Houston
01
Best Education Degrees
Central Michigan University
01
Best Scholarships
Angelo State University
01
Best Faith-based Institution
Creighton University
01
Best Research University
Florida State University
01
Best for Working Professionals
California Baptist University
01
Best Admissions Process
Mississippi State University
01
Best Support Services
University at Buffalo
01
Best Library Science Program
St. John's University
01
Most Degree Options
University of Nebraska at Lincoln
01

Emporia State University
01

Lamar University
01

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
01

University of Illinois Springfield
01

Arizona State University
01

Concordia University at St. Paul
01

Colorado State University Global
01

Georgia Southern University
01

Western Kentucky University
01

University of South Florida
01

Robert Morris University
01

The College of St. Scholastica
01

Pittsburg State University
01

Auburn University
01

University of Massachusetts Global
01

North Carolina State University
01

Drexel University
01

Regent University
01

Sam Houston State University
01

Fort Hays State University
01

University of Arkansas
01

Ball State University
01

Eastern Kentucky University
01

California University of Pennsylvania
01

Penn State World Campus
01

Pennsylvania Western University Clarion
01

Florida International University
01

Kennesaw State University
01

Texas Tech University
01

Tiffin University
01

University of Missouri
01

University of North Carolina at Greensboro
01

Old Dominion University
01

Regis University
01

University of the Cumberlands
01

George Washington University
01

University of Massachusetts
01

Kansas State University
01

Ohio University
01

University of Cincinnati

What You Should Know About This Degree

There’s no denying the popularity of online degrees, but there are some special considerations and challenges one must address when thinking about an online program. Online students don’t have face-to-face interaction and accountability to keep them on track, so they must be self-motivated and good at time management. This lack of in-person discussion can also be an adjustment for individuals used to learning in a classroom setting and can make it more difficult to network with peers and faculty. Distance learners must also be proficient with technology and have reliable devices and internet connections.

If you are considering an online program offered by an out-of-state school, make sure that school is authorized to grant degrees to students who live where you do. The National Council of State Authorization of Reciprocity Agreements oversees distance learning in the U.S. and is a good resource for understanding which schools can offer you an online degree.

When considering a master’s, it’s important to understand your career aspirations and whether a master’s is the best route to achieving them. Depending on the field, you may be able to advance with a certification program or on-the-job training. Earning an online master’s is a significant commitment of time and money; knowing why you’re doing it will help you stay motivated.

What’s Next?

Ask the following questions when researching online master’s programs:

  • Does the program have any in-person requirements? Even if all of a program’s coursework is offered online, it may have in-person requirements like internships, residencies, or orientations. Find out if the program has any in-person requirements and if they can be completed where you live, or if they require travel to campus.
  • What support services are offered for distance learners? Online students require many of the same support services that on-campus learners do, including tutoring, library access, tech support, and job placement. Many schools now offer these services specifically tailored to online students through video conference, live chats, or online access to library materials. Also, make sure that your instructors will be accessible via email, phone, or video chats so that you have the support you need to succeed.

You will also want to review the program’s admission procedures and deadlines. Begin gathering application materials early to ensure that everything is submitted in a timely manner. Funding your master’s degree is another important consideration. Find out if you are eligible for financial aid and scholarships through the school. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers tuition assistance.