Online higher education has transformed professional education, and nowhere is that more obvious than in graduate education. Over the last two decades, bachelor’s degrees have become standard for entry-level jobs in nearly every occupation, and as more workers went into the job market with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree became more valuable as a way to specialize and stand out from the competition. Fortunately for busy professionals, online education also evolved during that time, making a master’s degree more convenient and accessible for adults who want to advance in their career.
Where online degrees were once dominated by predatory for-profit diploma mills, today, nearly every reputable, trusted university in the nation offers at least some fully-online graduate programs. A lot of these are in the most in-demand fields, like technology, healthcare, and business. Interfaces have improved to the point that many online classes are just as engaging and interactive as real-world classes. And more importantly, employers no longer see an online master’s degree as a liability – they see it as the valuable professional training that it is.
Recommended Online Graduate Schools for 2021
Ranking the Best Online Graduate Schools: College Consensus Methodology
To rank the best online graduate schools, College Consensus began with our vast field of Consensus-ranked colleges and universities. We narrowed down our pool with institutions offering at least 3 fully-online master’s degree programs. Finally, we ranked them according to their Consensus score. Prospective students can be sure College Consensus has the most comprehensive and inclusive ranking of the best graduate schools for online master’s degrees.
Stanford UniversityStanford, CA
Stanford University is known as the most popular “dream college” in America. It’s also one of the best graduate schools online. Online students receive all the rigor and challenge they might expect from a Stanford grad school education. However, they also get a lot of flexibility that they wouldn’t get inside the classroom.
University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA
The University of Pennsylvania is a leader in graduate education, which is just one reason why it ranks among the best online graduate schools. The University of Pennsylvania has many graduate and professional schools, and its online programs provide an accessible education to busy adults who want to advance their careers.
University of Michigan-Ann ArborAnn Arbor, MI
The University of Michigan has thriving graduate programs. In fact, this campus is one of the best graduate schools online today. With several campuses and plenty of talented faculty members, the University of Michigan offers many academic resources. Online grad students benefit from all the same resources as their on-campus peers.
Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew York, NY
Renowned for its research and student opportunities, Columbia University ranks as one of the best online graduate schools. The New York City location leaves a lot of room for possibility, even for students who learn from a distance. Plus, a graduate degree from Columbia is bound to make employers take notice.
University of Virginia-Main CampusCharlottesville, VA
The University of Virginia is a top choice for graduate students in the US, both for online and on-campus studies. This school is a leader in online opportunity, making it one of the best graduate schools online. Online students get all the benefits of learning from a large school. However, they also get a personalized education and one-on-one mentorship.
Washington University in St LouisSaint Louis, MO
Washington University in St Louis is a school for high achievers. This university fosters each student’s individuality while challenging them to reach new academic heights. It’s also one of the best online graduate schools, since it’s a leader in both graduate education and online learning opportunities.
Northwestern UniversityEvanston, IL
Northwestern University is one of the top public research universities in the United States. It’s also one of the best graduate schools online, with flexible programs that help students reach the next stages in their lives and careers. This school offers many graduate programs in the arts, engineering, education, and much more.
University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC
As the first public university in the United States, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is no stranger to leadership and innovation. It’s no wonder why it also ranks among the best online graduate schools. The online graduate programs here help students sharpen their passions while taking the next steps in their careers. Online grad students get the best of flexibility, challenge, and innovation.
University of FloridaGainesville, FL
The University of Florida is one of the top public research universities in the United States. It’s a challenging, high-ranking school where students are deeply challenged every day. Thanks to its history of innovation, the University of Florida is also one of the best graduate schools online today. Its programs are designed to provide flexibility while helping students reach their callings.
Georgetown UniversityWashington, DC
Georgetown University is one of the best online graduate schools, especially for students who value social justice, public service, and politics. Georgetown is a Jesuit Catholic school, so it values academic rigor and deep study. Graduate students benefit from these values while learning how to apply their degrees to a life of service.
University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadison, WI
As a top research university and a leader in innovation, the University of Wisconsin Madison is also one of the best graduate schools online. With over 250 graduate and professional studies options, UW Madison is full of opportunities for students to grow their careers and goals. UW Madison also offers internships and other chances for making connections.
The University of Texas at AustinAustin, TX
The University of Texas Austin is a large public research university with all the resources students need to succeed. It has several well-respected graduate programs, and it’s one of the best online graduate schools in its region. Students get all the flexibility of an online education, but they also get all the leadership, creative opportunities, and other benefits of UT Austin’s in-classroom courses.
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main CampusAtlanta, GA
For STEM students, the Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the best graduate schools online. With its forward-thinking nature and commitment to innovation, this school has become a leader in graduate studies. The Georgia Institute of Technology stays aware of what contemporary students need most, and it maintains a commitment to meeting those needs.
Purdue University-Main CampusWest Lafayette, IN
Purdue University is a land grant university with a deep commitment to its students. Purdue ranks among the top schools for innovation, which is just one reason why it’s one of the best online graduate schools. The innovative thinking allows this school to provide the technology and flexibility that today’s students need most.
University of Washington-Seattle CampusSeattle, WA
As a world-recognized public research university, the University of Washington in Seattle has become one of the best graduate schools online. Just like all of its programs, UW’s graduate programs foster big ideas, encourage questions, and help students step into exciting careers. Online graduate courses challenge students while connecting them to a diverse group of fellow online learners.
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign, IL
The University of Illinois makes a great school choice, both for graduate and undergraduate studies. It has thriving business and engineering programs, but it also provides strong academics in all of its courses. Plus, UIUC is one of the best online graduate schools, with programs that combine challenge with flexibility. Online grad students make connections and sharpen their skills.
California State University-Long BeachLong Beach, CA
California State University, Long Beach is a large university with the resources to go with its size. Among those resources are some excellent online courses, which is why it’s one of the best graduate schools online. Online students receive challenging, worthwhile, and career-building educations. Grad students especially benefit from these rigorous courses.
Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MD
John’s Hopkins University is America’s first research university. As such, it has been a leader in education since day one. That’s one reason why this school ranks among the best online graduate schools; It’s not afraid to stand out among the crowd. Online grad classes here are challenging, thought-provoking, and forward thinking.
William & MaryWilliamsburg, VA
William and Mary has a long history. In fact, it’s the second oldest higher learning institution in the US. This school has come a long way since 1693, though, and now it’s one of the best graduate schools online. Grad students choose William and Mary for its cutting-edge research, mentorship opportunities, and online learning flexibility.
University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA
As a top private research institution, the University of Southern California has gained a lot of respect and admiration. This school is a leader across the board, and its online grad programs are no exception. That’s why USC has become one of the best online graduate schools for learners in the United States. Students may pursue an online graduate degree in the arts, sciences, and more.
Citadel Military College of South CarolinaCharleston, SC
The Citadel is a top-ranked university with many thriving online programs. This school is one of the best graduate schools online, especially for veterans and military members. As a military college, The Citadel is uniquely equipped to meet these students’ needs. This school’s online grad programs foster leadership abilities, discipline, and lifelong learning.
Texas A & M University-College StationCollege Station, TX
Texas A&M University has several campuses, but its main campus in College Station is particularly strong when it comes to online learning. In fact, it’s one of the best online graduate schools. Graduate programs include everything from science to liberal arts, and the online programs in particular provide lots of flexibility.
California State University-San BernardinoSan Bernardino, CA
California State University, San Bernardino is one of the best graduate schools online. As a top research university, CSU San Bernardino has always been a leader in innovation. As a result, it meets the needs of contemporary students. Its online graduate programs provide a flexible learning schedule, but they also provide high standards for teaching and learning.
California State University-NorthridgeNorthridge, CA
California State University, Northridge is a diverse and challenging university that has some excellent grad school options. It’s also a top choice for adult learners, since it’s one of the best online graduate schools. For online students as well as on-campus students, CSU Northridge stays committed to its students’ needs and career goals.
Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh, PA
Known for its excellence in the arts and research, Carnegie Mellon University is also one of the best graduate schools online. Students can get a top-ranked education with all the flexibility that comes from online learning. From business to fine arts, Carnegie Mellon’s online grad programs help students reach new levels.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg)Blacksburg, VA
Virginia Tech is a public land grant institution and one of the best online graduate schools. This University is a top choice for those who love science, technology, and engineering. VT’s online graduate programs encourage research, deep thought, and connection. They also provide a level of flexibility that many other programs do not.
California State University-Dominguez HillsCarson, CA
California State University, Dominguez Hills has one of the best graduate schools online. Online grad students benefit from CSU’s wealth of resources. They learn on a flexible schedule while working toward their professional goals. CSUDH blends deep academics with practical, career-based learning for students who want to challenge themselves and move forward.
Lehigh UniversityBethlehem, PA
As a premier research university, Lehigh University values innovation. That’s one reason why it’s one of the best online graduate schools. This school’s graduate programs have been recognized for their high quality. Learners enhance their leadership and research skills while advancing their careers. The online options provide a flexible learning schedule.
Wake Forest UniversityWinston-Salem, NC
Wake Forest University is a private school that attracts students from all over the world. As one of the top national universities, Wake Forest offers deep academics and opportunities to make connections. Online graduate students can study anything from neuroscience to the humanities. In any case, this school provides academic challenge and student support, and it’s one of the best graduate schools online.
James Madison UniversityHarrisonburg, VA
James Madison University encourages students to take action. Even in its online programs, students learn how to take a hands-on approach to learning. That’s why JMU is one of the best online graduate schools. Its online graduate offerings include education, political science, business education, and nursing programs.
University of GeorgiaAthens, GA
The University of Georgia is one of America’s top research universities. It’s also one of the best graduate schools online today. It has some of the foremost graduate studies programs, including nutrition programs, economics, communication, and many more. All of these programs help students sharpen their expertise and become competitors in the career field.
North Carolina State University at RaleighRaleigh, NC
Though North Carolina State University began as an agriculture and engineering university, it thrives today across all disciplines. It has particularly strong graduate programs and is one of the best online graduate schools for students who want both excellence and flexibility. That’s why it’s a top choice for students who don’t want to compromise.
University of Northern IowaCedar Falls, IA
The University of Northern Iowa is one of the top public universities in the Midwest region. It’s also one of the best graduate schools online. UNI’s online graduate programs help students stand out, reach their goals, and move further into their careers. Students get a high quality graduate education without sacrificing their other responsibilities.
Ohio State University-Main CampusColumbus, OH
The Ohio State University is a large, thriving university that is recognized all over the world. OSU is also one of the best online graduate schools, partly because it offers programs that a lot of other online universities don’t offer. For example, students can earn a Master’s in Plant Health Management, Learning Technologies, or Global Engineering Leadership.
Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI
Known for its research and highly-ranked academics, Michigan State University is also one of the best graduate schools online. MSU’s online programs include a wide range of options in science, nursing, and education. All of these programs provide a high quality education and meet the same standards as their on-campus counterparts.
Appalachian State UniversityBoone, NC
Appalachian State University provides an education with a purpose. This school helps students step confidently into the next step of their lives. On top of its other great programs, Appalachian State University is one of the best online graduate schools. App State’s online graduate programs provide small class sizes and personalized attention.
University of ConnecticutStorrs, CT
The University of Connecticut has several campuses, including a flourishing online campus. The eCampus provides a surprising amount of personalization, and professors work closely with their students to provide the best education. That’s part of the reason why UConn ranks among the best graduate schools online.
Bentley UniversityWaltham, MA
Bentley University is one of the best online graduate schools for students who want to go into business. Bentley is uniquely focused on business education, so it’s a top choice among entrepreneurs and those who want to climb the business ladder. Online graduate courses offer flexibility while imparting advanced business knowledge.
Eastern Illinois UniversityCharleston, IL
Eastern Illinois University is a public university with a commitment to excellence and accessibility. That accessibility is just one reason why EIU is one of the best graduate schools online. Its online graduate programs don’t compromise on quality, but they do offer flexible schedules for non-traditional students.
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesMinneapolis, MN
Located across Minneapolis-St Paul, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities stands out for several reasons; its unique location is just one of them. UM Twin Cities also stands apart thanks to its online grad programs. As one of the best online graduate schools in its region, this school provides rigorous programs to help students get ahead in their careers.
Florida State UniversityTallahassee, FL
Florida State University is widely respected for all of its disciplines, including its online grad school programs. This school is one of the best graduate schools online. FSU Global provides a full educational experience for students who have responsibilities outside of school. Students work with faculty to get the most out of their education.
George Washington UniversityWashington, DC
George Washington University is one of the best graduate schools online, especially for students who want to study politics, public policy, and similar topics. Even for online students, this school’s Washington DC location provides a close look at politics in the United States. GWU offers online programs in everything from communications to public health.
Boston UniversityBoston, MA
Boston University is a private research institution that can help students go far in their careers. It’s also one of the best online graduate schools in its region. Boston has won several awards and recognitions for its online programs, including recognitions for its Business, Computer IT, and Criminal Justice programs.
Brandeis UniversityWaltham, MA
Brandeis University is a private research university with a unique focus on the liberal arts. As such, it provides students with a well-rounded education. Brandeis also stands out as one of the best graduate schools online. Brandeis University offers several online graduate programs, all of which are robust and challenging.
Rutgers University-New BrunswickNew Brunswick, NJ
Rutgers University New Brunswick is the main Rutgers campus, and it’s one of the best online graduate schools in its area. The online graduate programs at Rutgers provide a quality education while connecting students with the resources they’ll need to succeed in the next phases of their careers.
Northwestern College (IA)Orange City, IA
As both a research institution and a teaching institution, Northeastern College stands out. It’s also one of the best graduate schools online. Its online programs are robust but flexible, helping students move forward in their careers without sacrificing any of their current responsibilities. In addition to full degrees, Northwestern also offers graduate certificates.
Indiana University-BloomingtonBloomington, IN
Indiana University of Bloomington is one of the best online graduate schools. Bloomington’s graduate programs are designed to help students stretch their limits as they take the next steps in their lives and careers. Uniquely student-centered, IUB’s online programs let graduate students make their educations their own.
Tulane University of LouisianaNew Orleans, LA
Favoring boldness and curiosity, Tulane University is one of the best graduate schools online. Tulane has offered online learning for more than ten years, so it’s no stranger to providing what adult learners need for success. Tulane’s online graduate programs include degrees in education, law, public health, and more.
California State University-FullertonFullerton, CA
California State University, Fullerton provides the resources and experiences that one would expect from a CSU education. Furthermore, it’s one of the best online graduate schools. Fullerton’s online graduate programs come with many tools and resources, as well as personalized support from faculty members and advisors.
University of Maryland-College ParkCollege Park, MD
University of Maryland College Park ranks among the top public research universities in the United States. One of the reasons for this distinction is the fact that it’s one of the best graduate schools online. The university has challenging academic programs for grad students, and the online learning format combines quality with flexibility.
John Brown UniversitySiloam Springs, AR
John Brown University is one of the best online graduate schools for students who want a Christian education. As a private Christian school, John Brown University blends spirituality into its education. John Brown is also one of the top universities in its region, with high academic standards that make it a good choice for graduate students.
University of MiamiCoral Gables, FL
The University of Miami is a large public research university that has a lot to offer its students. Graduate students, both online and on campus, benefit from the many resources that this school has to offer. The University of Miami has become one of the best graduate schools online, for students in Florida and beyond.
New Mexico Institute of Mining and TechnologySocorro, NM
For students interested in science, technology, and other STEM subjects, New Mexico Tech is one of the best online graduate schools. Its online grad classes combine all the flexibility of online learning with all the rigor of a STEM education. It’s a top choice for students who want the best of both.
University of Illinois at ChicagoChicago, IL
University of Illinois at Chicago is a bustling university with some great online programs. Grad students in particular should check out this school, as it’s one of the best graduate schools online today. The big city connections can benefit even online students. Plus, this school is recognized for its value and diversity in learning.
Southern Methodist UniversityDallas, TX
Southern Methodist University is a nonsectarian private school that has educated students for over a century. This school is strong in both the humanities and the sciences, and it’s one of the best online graduate schools. Its online graduate programs combine academic challenge with flexible scheduling.
University of Michigan-DearbornDearborn, MI
The University of Michigan Dearborn is an important part of the broader UMich system. It’s also one of the best graduate schools online, thanks to its many resources and career-focused programs. This university supports students as they build their careers, whether those students are just starting their journeys or ready to take more advanced steps.
Cedarville UniversityCedarville, OH
Cedarville University is a private Christian school and one of the best online graduate schools. Grad students choose this school when they don’t want to compromise on faith, flexibility, or worthwhile academics. At Cedarville, students get all three. Cedarville proudly teaches every course from a Bible-based worldview.
New York UniversityNew York, NY
New York University is one of the most well-known and well-respected schools in the United States. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s also one of the best graduate schools online. A leader in innovation, New York University has the resources to provide an excellent online education. Plus, NYU’s city connections can benefit students in their careers.
University of IowaIowa City, IA
As one of the best online graduate schools in the Midwest, the University of Iowa has a lot to offer for its students. This public research university is the second-largest university in its state, so it’s no stranger to innovation, opportunity, or resources. This school attracts grad students across all core disciplines.
University of ArizonaTucson, AZ
The University of Arizona is a top choice for online learning. More specifically, it’s one of the best graduate schools online. As a leader in online education, the University of Arizona provides the tools and resources that students need for online learning success. All the while, it imparts key skills and training.
Milwaukee School of EngineeringMilwaukee, WI
Milwaukee School of Engineering is a private university that focuses on STEM and business. For students pursuing these subjects, this school is one of the best online graduate schools. Students can dive deeply into STEM topics while enjoying the flexibility of an online education. Small class sizes mean that students can get to know their cohorts.
Villanova UniversityVillanova, PA
Villanova University is the only Augustinian Catholic university in the United States. As such, it promotes peace, justice, and of course, faith-based learning. For these reasons, it’s one of the best graduate schools online for Augustinian Catholic students. Villanova embraces diversity, including full acceptance of LGBTQIA students.
University of Wisconsin-La CrosseLa Crosse, WI
The University of Wisconsin La Crosse provides the best of all worlds. It’s part of a large university system, so it has plenty of student resources, but it’s also a small school, so it provides a personal education. It’s also one of the best online graduate schools in Wisconsin, so it’s garnered a lot of attention for online learning.
California State University-FresnoFresno, CA
California State University, Fresno ranks among the best graduate schools online. As part of the Cal State system, it has a lot to offer for grad students, both online and on campus. As a public research university, this school’s discoveries make an impact on California and beyond. Plus, it provides a flexible learning experience for those who need it most.
University of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherst, MA
University of Massachusetts Amherst is a land grant university that began as an agricultural college. Now, this school provides a full educational experience. It has even become one of the best online graduate schools in its region. Grad students choose UMass Amherst for its academic challenge, diversity, and student support.
Clemson UniversityClemson, SC
Clemson University is one of the foremost land-grant universities in the United States. And as one of the best graduate schools online, it’s also become a top choice for students who want to take the next steps in their careers and educations. Clemson promotes excellence through academics, individuality, and hard work.
University of DelawareNewark, DE
The University of Delaware is a research-centered university that has also become one of the best online graduate schools. This school makes positive changes in Delaware and beyond. With its commitment to innovation and excellence, it attracts forward-thinking students with a passion for growth.
Case Western Reserve UniversityCleveland, OH
Case Western Reserve University is the highest-ranked private research university in Ohio. This diverse and welcoming school is also one of the best graduate schools online, especially for students who want to go into social work or engineering. Case Western’s online learning platform provides support for busy students.
Stony Brook UniversityStony Brook, NY
Stony Brook University is an important part of the SUNY system. It has made some big differences in the world with its research, and it’s also become one of the best online graduate schools. Having gained worldwide recognition for its research, Stony Brook University can help students looking for a career boost.
Central Washington UniversityEllensburg, WA
Central Washington University is one of the best graduate schools online. It offers small classes and personalized education, which benefits even online students. Fully online courses provide students with flexibility, while academic challenges help students reach their full potential.
Salisbury UniversitySalisbury, MD
As one of the top-ranked universities in Maryland, Salisbury University is also one of the best online graduate schools for students who aren’t afraid of a challenge. This school values diversity and collaboration, which can help online students who may otherwise feel isolated by remote learning. Salisbury provides a highly immersive experience.
University of San DiegoSan Diego, CA
The University of San Diego is a Catholic university that promotes excellence and ethics. It’s also one of the best graduate schools online, especially for students who share this school’s Catholic values. As a research university, the University of San Diego blends faith and innovation. It also offers much support for online learners.
San Jose State UniversitySan Jose, CA
As the oldest public university on the west coast, San Jose State University doesn’t shy away from leadership or forging new pathways. That’s one of the reasons why this school has become one of the best online graduate schools in the area. Its forward-thinking nature means that it can meet the needs of today’s students.
Illinois Institute of TechnologyChicago, IL
Illinois Tech is the only technological university in Chicago. As such, it has gained a lot of attention from STEM and business students. It has also become one of the best graduate schools online, with the resources and innovative thinking required to support all students. This school attracts students who value creativity and discovery.
Iowa State UniversityAmes, IA
Iowa State University is distinctly student-centered. By always putting students first, Iowa State University has become one of the best online graduate schools. Even online students can rest assured that their needs will be met. Online grad students get a challenging education with plenty of support to go with it.
American UniversityWashington, DC
American University is a top school for political-minded students. It’s also a top choice for online Master’s programs, with no GRE required and 24/7 course access. Thanks to its wide variety of program options and focus on leadership skills, American University is one of the best graduate schools online.
Hamline UniversitySaint Paul, MN
Hamline University was the first university in the state of Minnesota. In the past several years, Hamline has also become one of the best online graduate schools. Deeply rooted in the liberal arts, Hamline provides a well-rounded and balanced education. Students here sharpen their leadership skills and develop social justice awareness.
Syracuse UniversitySyracuse, NY
Syracuse University is one of the top schools in the US and one of the best graduate schools online today. Syracuse takes an interdisciplinary approach to education, so students can experience connections in education. Grad students in particular get a challenging education, and they benefit from flexible scheduling options.
Buena Vista UniversityStorm Lake, IA
Buena Vista University is a private university that helps students discover opportunities and grow into their potential. This is true for both undergraduate and graduate students, as Buena Vista is one of the best online graduate schools. Online students get the same challenge and opportunity as their on-campus peers.
University of TulsaTulsa, OK
The University of Tulsa is a STEM-centered university that values creative discovery. This school ranks among the best graduate schools online, especially for students who want to sharpen their math, science, and technology skills. Graduate students take their skills to the next level, increasing their career potential.
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcester, MA
Focusing on the technical arts and sciences, Worcester Polytechnic Institute is one of the best online graduate schools. This university is committed to providing a deeply relevant education. Students here learn the skills they’ll need for today’s most in-demand careers. Online grad students take their learning to the next level.
Santa Clara UniversitySanta Clara, CA
Santa Clara University is a private Jesuit institution. It has become one of the best online graduate schools for students who value social justice and the Catholic faith. With small class sizes and personal attention, Santa Clara University provides a supportive college experience, even for students who learn online.
Radford UniversityRadford, VA
Radford University is one of the best graduate schools online in the southeast region. This comprehensive research university helps students reach their academic and career goals, all while providing the support they need for success. Online students benefit from challenging academic experiences.
Pepperdine UniversityMalibu, CA
As a Christian research university, Pepperdine appeals to students who value discovery and faith. Pepperdine blends both of these values into their challenging academics. Pepperdine is also one of the best online graduate schools, providing online grad students with the same values as their on-campus peers.
University of Central FloridaOrlando, FL
The University of Central Florida has earned recognition for a lot of reasons, including diversity, ROI, community impact, and quality in education. It also gets counted among the best graduate schools online. Grad students in online classes benefit from all the factors that make UCF stand out.
Marquette UniversityMilwaukee, WI
Marquette University is a private Jesuit school that inspires students who want to make a difference. This is true both for undergraduate and grad students, and for both online learners and on-campus learners. As a result, Marquette has become one of the best online graduate schools for those who value social justice.
La Salle UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
La Salle University has a long and rich history as a private Catholic school. Its faith and excellence in education make La Salle one of the best graduate schools online today. Catholic grad students can deepen their faith as they push their academic limits, all while getting flexibility in their course schedules.
West Chester University of PennsylvaniaWest Chester, PA
West Chester University of Pennsylvania is one of the best online graduate schools. This comprehensive university provides a well-rounded and challenging education as it supports online learners. This school supports diversity, including neurodiversity, with programs that center autistic students.
Towson UniversityTowson, MD
Towson University is a top public university, and it’s also one of the best graduate schools online. Towson is committed to helping students take advantage of opportunities. For grad students, this means getting support and flexibility as they move into the next stages of their educations and careers.
Michigan Technological UniversityHoughton, MI
Michigan Tech is a public research university with a focus in STEM subjects. For students who appreciate science and technology, Michigan Tech is one of the best online graduate schools. This schools online learning platform provides grad students with flexibility and support from faculty members.
George Mason UniversityFairfax, VA
George Mason University is a public research school and a leader in education. As such, it’s one of the best graduate schools online. With its commitment to leadership and innovation, George Mason University provides an excellent learning platform for grad students and online students.
California State University-East BayHayward, CA
As part of the broader Cal State system, California State University, East Bay serves the Bay Area with its research and teaching. However, it’s not just for Bay Area residents. In fact, it’s one of the best online graduate schools, so it makes a great choice for distance learning. Grad students can get a challenging and prestigious education from a distance.
Montclair State UniversityMontclair, NJ
Montclair University is a research institution that ranks among the top schools in the US. Specifically, it’s one of the best online graduate schools for today’s busy learners. With its long history of leadership and academic challenge, Montclair helps graduate students prepare for success, providing excellence in education.
SUNY College at BrockportBrockport, NY
SUNY College at Brockport is a liberal arts college that provides a balanced education, both for online students and those who’d prefer to learn on campus. It also has some excellent graduate programs, which makes SUNY Brockport one of the best graduate schools online. Small class sizes and in-depth learning make SUNY Brockport a top choice.
Webster UniversitySaint Louis, MO
Webster University provides a top-quality education, especially for graduate students. Online graduate students can choose from many program options, including programs in the arts, technology, education, and more. This wide range of options is part of what makes Webster one of the best online graduate schools.
Winona State UniversityWinona, MN
Winona State University has a great distance learning program. In fact, this university is one of the best graduate schools online. The distance learning program is designed to help students maintain a balance between their school, work, and home lives. All the while, it provides a high quality learning experience.
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh CampusPittsburgh, PA
As one of the most renowned universities in the US, the University of Pittsburgh is also one of the best online graduate schools in its region. This university attracts top scholars from all across the United States. Online grad students can expect challenge and growth, even as they benefit from the flexibility of distance learning.
Rutgers University-NewarkNewark, NJ
Rutgers University is the #1 public university in New Jersey, thanks to its academic prestige and full range of learning opportunities. For example, Rutgers is one of the country’s best graduate schools online. The online learning platform has plenty of Master’s degree programs to choose from.
University at BuffaloBuffalo, NY
The University at Buffalo is a challenging, dynamic school. It’s a first-choice graduate school for many students, and it’s one of the best online graduate schools. Buffalo provides enough flexibility for school/life balance, but it doesn’t compromise on the quality academics that students have come to expect.
Dominican UniversityRiver Forest, IL
Dominican University is a Catholic school with a reputation for advanced knowledge. This school emphasizes relevance and deep thought, and it’s one of the best graduate schools online. Catholic students seek Dominican for an education with faith and flexibility.
Are Online Master’s Programs Really Reputable?
Places that offer online master’s programs are no different from any other learning institution. All the same rules apply. People seeking a master’s program will want to earn their online degree from one of the many fully-accredited online universities.
Accreditation means the program or institution received either regional or national validation from an official review board. A college or institution can only receive accreditation if it meets or exceeds the strict standards set by the review board. Online universities and institutes with online degree programs must also go through accreditation.
Fully accredited online universities hold the same weight and full reputation as any other university whether online or off. In fact, checking for valid accreditation is a good first step for those seeking a reputable online master’s program.
What Are Some of the Best Degrees for Adults Returning to College?
Returning to college can come with many challenges. Before choosing an online university, the choice of which master’s degree to pursue must come first. Often, it’s possible for people to figure out which degree to pursue by analyzing their personal goals.
For example, someone already working in their chosen profession may want to pursue a degree in that discipline so they can advance and do more with their careers. Some others may want to switch gears and jump into an entirely new career. No matter the case, there are a few degrees that work well for adults returning to college.
Business MBA – A postgraduate business degree works well for those who want to boost their earning potential and on take leadership roles in business. MBA programs are also good for networking with like-minded people.
Nursing MSN – Going from a bachelor’s to a master’s in nursing makes a lot of sense for RNs who want to branch out and take on specialized or advanced nursing practices.
Law LLM, MLS, MSL – Pursuing an LLM after obtaining a JD will help law practitioners specialize in a specific field. As a specialist, it’s possible to focus on a particular client base to maximize earnings. An MLS or MSL degree works for those who want to have advanced legal knowledge for any of a number of roles, but don’t want to practice law.
These represent good degrees to consider, but people should choose the online graduate programs that line up best with their goals.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Master’s Degree Online?
How long an online master’s degree program takes will depend on several factors. People can find 1-year master’s programs online and even 6-month master degree online programs. In most cases, the quickest master’s degree online will represent whichever program fits the applicant’s schedule.
Many accelerated degree programs for working adults exist. Some programs have short time frames by nature. For example, it’s possible to find 1-year master’s programs online for a Law LLM degree simply because that particular degree typically takes a year to complete.
By contrast, obtaining a 6-month master’s degree online will usually require the applicant to work extra hard. People should choose the program they legitimately feel they can handle. Earning the quickest master’s degree online is possible, but only for the dedicated.
Many accelerated degree programs for working adults often allow applicants to move at their own pace. So, someone can choose an accelerated pace, but don’t necessarily have to.
Can I Make More Money with an Online Master’s Degree?
One of the main reasons to pursue further study for a master’s degree is to increase earning potential. Just having a master’s allows someone to demand a higher salary. But, that master’s degree also allows people to move into higher paying positions and careers in general.
In the current job market, master degree average salary sits higher than the average salary of someone with a bachelor’s. Master degree average salary can also see numbers far higher depending on the degree’s specific field of study. For example, those with the top master’s degrees in demand will always see more by way of earnings.
However, the top master’s degrees in demand can change over time, so no one list can always say which is the best graduate degree to pursue. With that in mind, applicants should also consider those degrees that have stood the test of time.
Different people bring a passion to different careers. The best graduate degree to pursue is the one that can truly make a positive difference in someone’s life.
How Much Does an Online Master’s Degree Program Cost?
Online master’s degree programs can vary widely in pricing. Finding the most affordable graduate schools will depend on the location of the applicant and how much research they do. Loans, financial aid, and all the other traditional ways to fund college will also come into play.
The most affordable graduate schools for one person will not necessarily seem so affordable to another. Nevertheless, many accredited online master’s degree programs are out there. Even traditional colleges offer online degree programs, so there’s always something to suit anyone’s budget.