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CC Best Online Graduate Schools

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 online master’s degree programs a convenient and accessible option for adults who want to advance in their careers.

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 master’s degree 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

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

Ranking the Best Online Graduate Schools: College Consensus Methodology

College Consensus rankings combine the results of the most respected college ranking systems with the averaged ratings of thousands of real student reviews from around the web to create a unique college meta-ranking. This approach offers a comprehensive and holistic perspective missing from other college rankings. Visit our about page for information on which rankings and review sites were included in this year’s consensus rankings.

The Online Graduate Schools category is limited to schools offering at least three fully-online Master’s degree programs.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
92.2
College Consensus
99
Publisher Consensus
85.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
11
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.1
College Consensus
93.7
Publisher Consensus
80.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
14
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.9
College Consensus
90.2
Publisher Consensus
83.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.6
College Consensus
90.5
Publisher Consensus
82.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
10
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.6
College Consensus
96.1
Publisher Consensus
77.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4

Recommended Online Graduate Schools

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.1
College Consensus
94.3
Publisher Consensus
77.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.9
College Consensus
91.5
Publisher Consensus
78.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
42
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.1
College Consensus
88
Publisher Consensus
80.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
11
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
83.6
College Consensus
91.5
Publisher Consensus
75.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
43
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
83.4
College Consensus
87.6
Publisher Consensus
79.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
5

Recommended Online Graduate Schools

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
83.3
College Consensus
84.9
Publisher Consensus
81.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
83
College Consensus
86.4
Publisher Consensus
79.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
5
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.7
College Consensus
87.7
Publisher Consensus
77.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
30
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.3
College Consensus
86.2
Publisher Consensus
78.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
12
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.8
College Consensus
83.6
Publisher Consensus
80
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.6
College Consensus
84.5
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.1
College Consensus
87.3
Publisher Consensus
74.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
5
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.9
College Consensus
85
Publisher Consensus
76.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
7
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.8
College Consensus
86.3
Publisher Consensus
75.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
5
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.2
College Consensus
80.6
Publisher Consensus
79.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
6
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.9
College Consensus
81.1
Publisher Consensus
78.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
41
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.6
College Consensus
76
Publisher Consensus
83.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
9
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.3
College Consensus
81.1
Publisher Consensus
77.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
6
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.2
College Consensus
79.7
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.4
College Consensus
75.9
Publisher Consensus
80.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
14

Recommended Online Graduate Schools

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.3
College Consensus
75.3
Publisher Consensus
81.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.1
College Consensus
78
Publisher Consensus
78.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
17
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.9
College Consensus
74.8
Publisher Consensus
81
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
11
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.5
College Consensus
76.3
Publisher Consensus
78.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
13
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.3
College Consensus
81.3
Publisher Consensus
73.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
5
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.6
College Consensus
74.6
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.1
College Consensus
72.8
Publisher Consensus
79.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
12
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.9
College Consensus
75.6
Publisher Consensus
76.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.8
College Consensus
71.3
Publisher Consensus
80.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
16
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.5
College Consensus
75.8
Publisher Consensus
75.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.4
College Consensus
75.1
Publisher Consensus
75.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
24
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
74.9
College Consensus
67.6
Publisher Consensus
82.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
6
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
74.7
College Consensus
68.2
Publisher Consensus
81.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
9
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
74.7
College Consensus
74
Publisher Consensus
75.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
8
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
74.3
College Consensus
76.1
Publisher Consensus
72.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
11
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.9
College Consensus
68.5
Publisher Consensus
79.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
10
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.9
College Consensus
71.6
Publisher Consensus
76.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.9
College Consensus
70.4
Publisher Consensus
77.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
7
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.3
College Consensus
71.7
Publisher Consensus
75
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
14
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.8
College Consensus
67
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
8
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.7
College Consensus
65.9
Publisher Consensus
79.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
5
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.6
College Consensus
67.6
Publisher Consensus
77.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
7
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.3
College Consensus
66.6
Publisher Consensus
78
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.2
College Consensus
65
Publisher Consensus
79.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.9
College Consensus
68
Publisher Consensus
75.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
19

Recommended Online Graduate Schools

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.7
College Consensus
64.8
Publisher Consensus
78.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
29
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.6
College Consensus
62.8
Publisher Consensus
80.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
11
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.4
College Consensus
66.1
Publisher Consensus
76.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.1
College Consensus
67
Publisher Consensus
75.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
6
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70.8
College Consensus
56.4
Publisher Consensus
85.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
5
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70.6
College Consensus
69.4
Publisher Consensus
71.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70.5
College Consensus
60.7
Publisher Consensus
80.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
7
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70.4
College Consensus
71.3
Publisher Consensus
69.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.9
College Consensus
62
Publisher Consensus
77.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
6
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.9
College Consensus
62.5
Publisher Consensus
77.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.6
College Consensus
60.9
Publisher Consensus
78.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.5
College Consensus
68.6
Publisher Consensus
70.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
6
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.4
College Consensus
64.3
Publisher Consensus
74.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.1
College Consensus
60.5
Publisher Consensus
77.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
5
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.2
College Consensus
62.1
Publisher Consensus
74.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.1
College Consensus
65.2
Publisher Consensus
71
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
22
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.9
College Consensus
62.1
Publisher Consensus
73.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
18
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.7
College Consensus
57
Publisher Consensus
78.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.3
College Consensus
56
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.1
College Consensus
56.1
Publisher Consensus
78
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
7
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67
College Consensus
54.7
Publisher Consensus
79.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67
College Consensus
57.1
Publisher Consensus
76.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.9
College Consensus
55.5
Publisher Consensus
78.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.8
College Consensus
57.4
Publisher Consensus
76.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
10
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.8
College Consensus
60.1
Publisher Consensus
73.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
14

Recommended Online Graduate Schools

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.5
College Consensus
50.5
Publisher Consensus
82.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
7
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.4
College Consensus
62
Publisher Consensus
70.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.3
College Consensus
52.4
Publisher Consensus
80.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
8
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.3
College Consensus
58.3
Publisher Consensus
74.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.2
College Consensus
57.3
Publisher Consensus
75.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
5
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.2
College Consensus
59.4
Publisher Consensus
73
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
21
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.6
College Consensus
51.7
Publisher Consensus
79.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
6
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.6
College Consensus
51.3
Publisher Consensus
79.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
15
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.5
College Consensus
53.7
Publisher Consensus
77.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
5
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.4
College Consensus
53.9
Publisher Consensus
76.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
12
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.3
College Consensus
53.3
Publisher Consensus
77.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.3
College Consensus
51.7
Publisher Consensus
78.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
24
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.9
College Consensus
53.6
Publisher Consensus
76.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
7
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.7
College Consensus
55.4
Publisher Consensus
74
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.6
College Consensus
52.4
Publisher Consensus
76.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
4
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64
College Consensus
54.5
Publisher Consensus
73.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
26
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.6
College Consensus
50.3
Publisher Consensus
76.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
5
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.6
College Consensus
59.6
Publisher Consensus
67.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
3
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.4
College Consensus
49.5
Publisher Consensus
77.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
22
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.3
College Consensus
54
Publisher Consensus
72.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
7
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.3
College Consensus
60.7
Publisher Consensus
65.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
9
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.2
College Consensus
45.7
Publisher Consensus
80.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
8
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.8
College Consensus
46.4
Publisher Consensus
79.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
14
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.7
College Consensus
54.5
Publisher Consensus
70.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
15
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.7
College Consensus
52.5
Publisher Consensus
72.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022
Online master's degree programs
7

Recommended Online Graduate Schools

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

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 Master’s 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.

Related:

25 Highest Paying Online Masters Degrees
Ultimate Guide to Online Master’s Degrees
Most Affordable Online MBA Programs
Best No-GMAT Online MBA Programs
Best 1-Year Online MBA Programs


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