Why Should I Earn My Master’s Online?

Choose one of our 30 Cheapest Easiest Accredited Online College Programs for Graduate Degrees and increase your earning potential without uprooting your life. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, salaries rise with increased educational attainment. Moreover, the number of jobs that require a graduate-level education is quickly increasing. The BLS projects that these positions will grow by nearly 17% in the next six years, which is faster than any other education level.

Just as a master’s degree opens more doors to higher-paying positions, so online learning opens more doors to more affordable academic opportunities. By studying online, you’re no longer restricted to nearby universities, and you don’t need to move to find the most cost-effective program. You won’t even need to quit your job. An online graduate degree gives you the flexibility to continue to work while pursuing a program that fits your budget and goals. 

Will My Diploma Say That I Got My Degree Online?

No. With an online graduate program, you’ll undertake the same assignments and learn the same material as on-campus students. Many programs are even taught by the same faculty. So, even though the delivery of information differs, the expectations are the same. And your diploma will be too. 

Plus, online learning is no longer “nontraditional.” According to a study conducted by the Urban Institute, 31% of master’s students reported that their programs were entirely online. 

What Jobs Require a Master’s Degree?

Master’s degrees are not always a requirement for promotion, but listing one on your resume can make you a more competitive candidate. The BLS reports that 85% of workers with master’s degrees hold management or professional roles. This goes to show that rising in the ranks often goes hand-in-hand with advancing your education.

What Are the Best Online Graduate Degrees?

Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online College considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. To learn more, visit our methodology page. 

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 1 AmericanPublicUniversity

American Public University

American Public University is an especially cost-effective choice for graduate students who are also U.S. service members. At this institution, active-duty military members receive a tuition discount of $120 per credit hour. Additionally, all textbooks and technology fees are waived for these students. With financial assistance like this, it’s unsurprising that 80% of APU’s student body consists of servicemembers and veterans.

APU’s academic offerings also reflect its military focus. For example, students can pursue a Master of Arts in Homeland Security, Military History, or Emergency and Disaster Management. With more than 40 online graduate programs, however, prospective students will find an array of degrees to fit their professional goals. 

If you enroll at APU, you won’t need to wait until the fall to start your master’s; this university offers monthly start dates. Classes take either eight or 16 weeks to complete, and you’ll need between 12 to 15 courses to graduate.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at American Public University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 2 UniversityofthePeople

University of the People

The University of the People is a tuition-free institution. That’s right – there is no tuition at this school. Established in 2009, UoPeople treats higher education as a basic human right, believing it has the power to promote global peace and economic development. 

This university is dedicated to helping students in underserved communities around the world afford their education. UoPeople enrolls more than 27,000 students, and approximately 1,000 of these are refugees, many of whom are from Syria. UoPeople keeps costs low through generous donations to its mission. Graduate students pay a $200 assessment after completing each course, and several scholarships are available to further reduce these costs.

UoPeople offers two online master’s degrees: a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Education. These can be completed in as few as 15 and 17 months, respectively. The total cost for each is well under $3,000.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at University of the People here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 3 OhioUniversity

Ohio University

Founded in 1804, this institution was the first university in the state of Ohio, and its charming home base, Athens, is often ranked as one of the country’s best college towns. OU has committed to affordable higher education by freezing its tuition rates for the past four years.

Ohio University has more than 30 online master’s degrees and a wide array of certificate programs. In addition to programs in business, health sciences, and education, this school has several unique degrees like the fully online Master of Science in Chemistry, Master of Music Education, and Master of Arts in Organizational Communication. 

If you’re eager to take classes online but also want opportunities to interact with professors and classmates face-to-face, then becoming a “Bobcat” is a great option. OU also offers several blended programs. For example, you can pursue an Executive Master of Public Administration, which incorporates monthly, on-campus weekend intensives. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Ohio University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 4 AmericanBusinessandTechnologyUniversity

American Business & Technology University

American Business & Technology University offers one of the most affordable online Master of Business Administration programs available. Students pay just $249 per credit hour, and the 36-credit-hour degree’s total tuition is under $11,000. Compare this to some business schools that charge as much as $2,000 per credit!

ABTU’s MBA is the only master’s program offered at the school. Based in Missouri, this university is an entirely online institution with several additional online associate’s, bachelor’s, and certificate programs. Unlike many universities that deliver asynchronous courses, ABTU prioritizes live interaction. Courses are scheduled at specific times so that students can ask questions and get immediate answers from their professors. Students can also tune-in while they are on the go through the school’s mobile app.  

ABTU students still have the flexibility to study at any time, from anywhere. All lectures are recorded and can be played back around the clock. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at American Business & Technology University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 5 AmridgeUniversity

Amridge University

Amridge University is a private, Christian institution committed to online education. This university has offered online courses since 1993 and served as a nationwide frontrunner in distance education. Today, Amridge has more than 20 online graduate programs, many of which are centered on studies in Christianity.

If your goal is to lead your own congregation as a minister, then you can enroll in Amridge’s Turner School of Theology. Its online 78-credit-hour Master of Divinity prepares graduates for this leadership role and is one of many graduate-level degrees delivered by the school. Or if you aim to serve as a counselor, Amridge’s School of Education and Human

Services has several options. For example, the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy is a seven-semester program that prepares graduates for licensure. Lastly, Amridge’s College of Business and Leadership offers programs like the 40-credit-hour Master of Science in Leadership and Management.  

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Amridge University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 6 UniversityofArkansas

University of Arkansas

Graduate from the University of Arkansas, and your fall weekends might soon be consumed by cheering for the Razorbacks! U of A boasts an NCAA Division I football team in the Southeastern Conference. The Razorbacks are not just competitive on the field, however – they also rank at No. 72 among U.S. News & World Report’s Top Public Schools

U of A’s online learning system comes well-tested. More than 3,000 Razorbacks study exclusively online, and over 14,000 take online classes. Offering more than 20 online master’s degrees, this university is especially esteemed in education and engineering. It ranks at No. 42 and No. 46, respectively, on U.S. News & World Report’s lists for online graduate programs in these fields. 

Unique online offerings here include a Master of Laws in Agricultural and Food Law, a Master of Science in Food Safety, and a Master of Education in Educational Equity. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at University of Arkansas here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 7 FortHaysStateUniversity

Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University offers an affordable online tuition rate of just $287 per credit hour, and the value of an FHSU degree is especially advantageous for nurses. This Kansas-based school ranks at No. 31 among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs. FHSU students can pursue an online Master’s in Nursing Administration or Education or a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

FHSU Online has more than 60 online graduate programs. Unique degrees include a Master of Business Administration with a Tourism and Hospitality Management concentration, a Master of Arts in Public History, and a Master of Science in Health and Human Performance.

Fort Hays once served as a teacher’s college, and so it also offers many opportunities for teachers. If you want to make a career change to education, you might choose to enroll in FHSU’s Master of Science in Education, Transition to Teaching program.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Fort Hays State University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 8 UniversityofAlaskaFairbanks

University of Alaska Fairbanks

You don’t have to travel to “The Last Frontier” to graduate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. This public university offers six fully online master’s degrees, many of which reflect UAF’s unique locale. For example, an online Master of Arts in Arctic and Northern Studies examines the communities who have braved the cold for centuries. Additionally, the online Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Fisheries, Marine Biology, or Oceanography develops leaders with the scientific and business acumen to help industries weather climate change. 

Alaska may be remote, but don’t underestimate this flagship university’s academic prowess. UAF ranks at No. 128 among U.S. News & World Report’s Top Public Schools. Furthermore, its online graduate program in justice administration ranks at No. 37 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs. UAF also offers an online Master of Education with concentrations in Special Education and Online Innovation and Design.  

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at University of Alaska Fairbanks here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 9 EasternNewMexicoUniversity

Eastern New Mexico University

Become an Eastern New Mexico University “Greyhound,” and you can zip through your graduate-level coursework. ENMU’s online courses follow a four- or eight-week format, allowing students to delve deeply into a topic, master it, and then speed on to their next lesson.

ENMU is the state’s largest public university, serving around 5,700 students. Approximately a fifth of its student body is pursuing graduate degrees. Online learners can choose between 18 fully online master’s degrees, spanning academic disciplines like business, communication, and nursing. However, educators will find the most opportunities at ENMU; the school’s Master of Education has nine specializations, including Educational Technology, Career and Technical Education, and Elementary Education. Additionally, ENMU has several online certificate programs, like its Personal Financial Planning certificate.

ENMU uses Blackboard and Mediasite for its online learning management systems. In Blackboard, students will find their assignments, grades, and syllabi, while Mediasite stores live and recorded lectures. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Eastern New Mexico University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 10 MinotStateUniversity

Minot State University

At Minot State University, you can have a small college experience at a public university’s cost. Boasting a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, this North Dakota school is dedicated to providing students with individualized attention. In total, MSU enrolls just over 3,100 students, 300 of whom are graduate students.

Minot State has five online master’s degrees. If you are a teacher, you can advance your credentials with either a Master of Education with three available concentrations or a Master of Science in Special Education with four specializations. If you want to rise in the ranks at your company, you can pursue a Master of Science in Management. Or, if you want to work as a high school or collegiate coach or athletics administrator, you might choose to enroll in MSU’s sports management graduate program. Lastly, tech-savvy students can earn an online Master’s in Information Systems.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Minot State University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 11 UniversityofArkansasLittleRock

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Based in the state’s capital, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock boasts proximity to some of Arkansas’ biggest employers. Thus, serving working students has long been this campus’ priority. Today, online learning makes it easier than ever for UA Little Rock to deliver quality education that doesn’t interfere with the workday.

UA Little Rock has 19 graduate-level degrees, including U.S. News & World Report’s No. 19 Best Online Master’s in Computer Information Technology Program. Additional programs include a Master of Science in Information Quality, a Master of Social Work, and a Master of Education in Rural and Urban School Leadership. 

Become an online graduate student at UA Little Rock, and you’ll only pay $383 per credit hour with no additional fees. If you are a veteran or currently serve in the military, you’ll save even more in tuition, paying just $320 per graduate-level credit hour. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at University of Arkansas at Little Rock here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 12 AspenUniversity

Aspen University

Although Aspen University is based in Denver, the “Mile-High City,” your student debt won’t rise a mile high if you choose to enroll here. Offering affordable tuition, Aspen is on a mission to make higher education’s price more transparent. There’s no complicated math to do when estimating this school’s cost of attendance. Aspen gives a full breakdown of how much students in each program can expect to pay in tuition, fees, and books.

Aspen also offers a different way for students to pay: no-interest monthly payment plans. Instead of paying per credit, graduate students can pay $325 per month until their balance reaches zero. 

Aspen is a fully online institution delivering ten master’s degrees and three doctoral degrees. These academic opportunities fall into six disciplines, including nursing, technology, and education. Aspen also offers a unique Master of Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Aspen University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 13 WesternGovernersUniversity

Western Governors University

Based in Alabama, Western Governors University was started by U.S. governors on a mission to increase access to higher education. This group recognized that a more highly educated populace would lead to more prosperity in their states. Thus, they established a university geared toward adult learners who require a different educational experience than students just starting out in their careers.

WGU offers more than 30 online master’s programs, ranging from those in business and education to health sciences and information technology. All programs follow a competency-based learning model. As a WGU student, you can use past knowledge to help you move more quickly through material that you’re already an expert on. 

At WGU, you’ll pay flat-rate tuition for each six-month term. The more classes you take at one time, the less you’ll pay in total tuition for your degree. This payment model rewards hard workers and incentivizes students to stick with their studies.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Western Governors University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 14 ThomasEdisonStateUniversity

Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison was in his forties when he developed the motion picture camera, proving that great achievements can happen later in life. Likewise, Thomas Edison State University proves that academic achievements have no age limit. This New Jersey-based institution was founded to provide degree programs designed for mature adults. Serving more than 17,000 learners, TESU’s average student age is 35. 

TESU offers 17 online graduate programs, including two doctoral degrees in business administration and nurse practice. Its master’s degrees run the gamut from accounting and public service to liberal studies and nursing. 

If you enroll at TESU, you can design your program to your preferred learning style. If you learn best by discussing course material with classmates, then you can choose to take interactive courses. But if you like to work independently, then you can take courses that focus on exam preparation and do not require peer-to-peer collaboration.  

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Thomas Edison State University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 15 SouthwesternOklahomaStateUniversity

Southwestern Oklahoma State University

At Southwestern Oklahoma State University, online graduate students have several distance education options, putting them in control of how they want to learn. First, SOSU offers programs delivered through Canvas. Canvas programs utilize asynchronous coursework, letting students choose when they want to study, with the expectation that they participate in their virtual classrooms daily. There are seven programs using this format, including degrees in healthcare informatics, education, and nursing.

Second, SOSU students can pursue one of the school’s Webinar/Zoom programs. These incorporate scheduled virtual classrooms in which students digitally tune-in for live lectures and discussions. This path is a great option for students pursuing careers in which networking is critical. Available Webinar/Zoom programs include a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Education in Educational Administration. 

Lastly, virtual Bulldogs can enroll in a blended program that combines online and in-person coursework. Available degrees in this track focus on psychology.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Southwestern Oklahoma State University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 16 SouthernIllinoisUniversity

Southern Illinois University

Never heard of a “Saluki?” Well, enroll at Southern Illinois University and you’ll become one. This dog breed is SIU’s mascot. In 1951, the university polled students to choose a new nickname, and Saluki beat out competing names like the “Rebels” and the “Marauders!”

The Salukis rank among U.S. News & World Report’s Top Public Schools. This Carbondale-based school has garnered specific accolades for its online Master of Business Administration program, which U.S. News ranks at No. 69. SIU’s MBA program takes less than two years to complete, and it is accredited by the gold standard in business schools, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

In addition to its online MBA, SIU offers nine online master’s degrees. These include several unique offerings, like a Master of Architecture, a Master of Health Informatics, and a Master of Science in Medical Dosimetry.  

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Southern Illinois University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 17 UniversityofTexasofthePermianBasin

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Not everything is bigger in Texas, and that’s okay! The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is the smallest institution in the University of Texas System. It serves approximately 5,800 students, nearly 19% of whom are pursuing graduate degrees. Here, students benefit from UTPB’s close-knit community while also joining the revered statewide UT system. 

Become a UTPB “Falcon,” and you can pursue one of seven online master’s degrees without setting foot in the basin. Better yet, you can start putting your degree to work in as little as 12 months. UTPB offers accelerated graduate programs, like a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, and a Master of Public Administration, each taking only a year to earn. 

UTPB’s online programs are taught by the same professors who teach on campus. Online Falcons use Canvas, a convenient hub for weekly assignments and discussion boards. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at University of Texas of the Permian Basin here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 18 EasternIllinoisUniversity

Eastern Illinois University

Calling all creative types! At Eastern Illinois University, you’ll discover two arts-focused online graduate programs that can’t be found at many other institutions; EIU offers a Master of Arts in Art with concentrations in Art Education and Community Arts. This program combines online coursework with studio intensives that allow students to hone their artistic talents and engage with fellow professionals in the field. 

EIU’s online Master’s in Art is one of 21 virtual graduate programs. These range in disciplines from history and music to cybersecurity and talent development. All online graduate students pay a cost-effective tuition rate of $362.90 per credit hour, and this rate includes fees and textbook rentals.

Based in Charleston, IL, Eastern Illinois is a public university boasting a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio. This school serves as a National Student Exchange host school with partner institutions in countries like Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Eastern Illinois University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 19 OregonStateUniversity

Oregon State University

Calling all engineers! If problem-solving is your bread and butter, then Oregon State University is the school for you. OSU has one of the most well-respected engineering schools in the country. It ranks at No. 12 among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Master’s in Engineering Programs. Better yet, you don’t need to live in the “Beaver State” to take advantage of OSU’s affordable tuition. All OSU Ecampus students pay the same low costs, no matter where they reside. 

Oregon State is the state’s largest public university, serving around 32,000 students. Approximately 20% of students take online classes. Prospective students have more than 30 options in graduate programs and certificates. These cover disciplines like business, education, and public health. 

If you want to become a “Beaver” to save the beavers, then you’ll find many environmentally-focused opportunities at OSU, like programs in fisheries and wildlife administration, urban forestry, and organic agriculture. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Oregon State University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 20 ArkansasStateUniversity

Arkansas State University

At Arkansas State University, you can pay as little as $277 per credit hour for your online graduate program. Since 2008, more than 10,000 online learners have taken advantage of A-State’s affordable tuition rates. And upon graduation, they joined an alumni network of more than 90,000 “Red Wolves.”  

A-State Online has around 20 online master’s programs. Educators will find many options here, with programs in a variety of specializations like school counseling, special education, and curriculum and instruction. Or, if you’re interested in improving the college experience for others by working in financial aid, multicultural affairs, or academic advising, for example, you might choose to enroll in the online Master of Science in College Student Personnel Services.

As an online A-State student, you are assigned a teaching assistant. This mentor can help answer questions about course material and give advice on what classes to take. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Arkansas State University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 21 ChadronStateUniversity

Chadron State College

Chadron State College’s mission is to develop leaders who will enrich Nebraska’s High Plains and beyond, and this university takes “beyond” seriously. CSC’s online graduate programs allow students from across the country to take advantage of its affordable tuition rates, approximately $370 per graduate-level credit hour. Moreover, CSC’s students travel the globe, partaking in faculty-led study abroad trips to places like London, Cuba, and Ireland.

CSC once served as a teacher’s college, and so educators will find robust online offerings here. Online learners can pursue a Master of Arts in Education or a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. CSC also offers an online Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Organizational Management. 

Coursework in all programs is delivered in an eight-week, asynchronous format, and students can begin at three times throughout the year. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Chadron State College here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 22 WestTexasA MUniversity

West Texas A&M University

Keep profits high and costs low by earning your Master of Business Administration at West Texas A&M University. WT’s affordable tuition rates provide great value for soon-to-be business leaders. This school ranks at No. 54 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online MBA Programs and at No. 29 on its list of the Best Online Master’s in Business Programs (Excluding MBA). WT is also well-respected in information technology, ranking at No. 8 on U.S News’ list for online graduate programs in this field. 

WT’s MBA is a two-year program with online courses that mirror those taken by on-campus students. Business students choose one of five concentrations, which include computer information systems, marketing, and management. 

In total, WT offers more than 15 online graduate degrees. These include a Master of Arts in Counseling, a Master of Science in Engineering, and a Master of Arts in Teaching. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at West Texas A&M University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 23 UniversityoftheCumberlands

University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands’ history stretches back to the 19th century when it was founded by a group of Kentucky-based ministers. Today, UC continues to uphold its founders’ mission by providing faith-based higher education. UC’s commitment to Christian values is demonstrated through a focus on service-learning; all UC students participate in community service.

UC is a particularly excellent choice for students who strive to serve communities by keeping them safe. In fact, the school ranks at No. 7 among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs. This is one of 35 online master’s and doctoral degrees available, the rest of which cover areas of study like business, health science, and information technology. Students can also choose to pursue a Master’s in Christian Studies. 

In addition to fully online degrees, UC offers several executive-format business programs. These combine online coursework with in-person weekend intensives, providing face-to-face networking opportunities that can result in key professional contacts. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at University of the Cumberlands here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 24 ValdostaStateUniversity

Valdosta State University

If you are an endlessly curious learner who would love to help fellow students with their academic research, then you might consider pursuing Valdosta State University’s online Master of Library Information Science. This special degree prepares students for roles like archivist, information analyst, and library manager. 

Valdosta State touts a sunny, palm-tree-strewn campus in South Georgia. However, prospective “Blazers” don’t need to visit this pretty public university to earn their diploma. VSU has 25 online master’s and doctoral degrees. Many of these focus on advanced studies in education. VSU’s Master of Arts in Teaching offers six specializations, like Foreign Language Education, and the school’s Master of Education offers nine concentrations, like Adult and Career Education.

All online VSU students pay in-state tuition rates and have access to campus-wide resources, like the Academic Support Center for free tutoring and the University Advising & Student Transitions for academic and career advice.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Valdosta State University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 25 TennesseeStateUniversity

Tennessee State University

You won’t need to move to Nashville to earn a degree from Tennessee State University, but you might want to! U.S News recently ranked Nashville as one of the best places to live in America, and TSU is lucky to call the Music City home. 

Tennessee State is a public university enrolling approximately 7,700 students, a fifth of whom are graduate students. This institution offers 16 online graduate-level master’s and certificate programs. Aspiring landscape architects or urban planners can earn a Professional Science Master’s in Applied Geospatial Information Systems, and nurses have several concentration options with TSU’s Master of Science in Nursing, including Holistic Nursing. Alternatively, students aiming to promote healthier, longer lives can pursue TSU’s Master of Public Health. 

TSU also offers a unique opportunity for veterans called Troops to Teachers, a program that helps veterans transition into a teaching career.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Tennessee State University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 26 GeorgiaSouthwesternStateUniversity

Georgia Southwestern State University

You don’t need to step foot in Americus, GA, to earn a degree from Georgia Southwestern State University. But if you enroll here, you might want to visit, at the very least, to golf! GSW’s 250-acre campus boasts an 18-hole golf course and plenty of sunny days to enjoy a round of golf.

This public university offers an online Master of Business Administration program that costs just $257 per credit hour. Better yet, GSW’s College of Business and Computing is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which is often considered the top accrediting agency for business schools. 

GSW also offers an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems and an online Master of Science in Nursing. The latter requires clinical hours in addition to online courses, but these can be arranged close to home. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Georgia Southwestern State University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 27 MarshallUniversity

Marshall University

Enroll at Marshall University, and you’ll join a network of more than 91,000 proud alumni. This West Virginia-based school’s history stretches all the way back to 1837. Its long history is evident across its campus, with preserved buildings that date back to Marshall’s beginnings.

A substantial portion of Marshall’s students consists of graduate students who take advantage of the university’s low tuition to further their education. Full-time, online graduate students taking nine credit hours pay just $3,762 in tuition each year. Marshall has more than ten online graduate degrees. Its Master of Science in Criminal Justice ranks at No. 51 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of graduate-level criminal justice programs

Social-media-savvy students interested in improving companies’ online presence should consider Marshall’s online Master of Arts in Journalism with a concentration in New Media Studies. Students tackle topics like web design, photojournalism, and organizational storytelling.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Marshall University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 28 EasternKentuckyUniversity

Eastern Kentucky University

Based in Richmond, KY, at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Eastern Kentucky University provides a unique opportunity for nurses to advance their education and improve the health of rural communities. EKU offers a fully online Master of Science in Nursing – Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner degree. Not only is this degree cost-effective, but it also provides great value, as EKU ranks at No. 45 among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Master’s In Nursing Programs.

This is one of nine online master’s at EKU. Another unique offering is EKU’s online Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. In this program, students gain insight into how humans behave in groups, and they can use this to suggest business strategies for increased productivity or collaboration. 

Through Blackboard, EKU students easily access their course material, quizzes, and discussion boards with classmates. Courses are delivered in two eight-week terms per semester with two six-week summer terms.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Eastern Kentucky University here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 29 UniversityofMaine

University of Maine

Lobsters, blueberries, and affordable online education; Maine has them all! The University of Maine ranks at No. 100 among U.S. News & World Report’s Top Public Schools. Its online Master of Business Administration and graduate-level education programs also rank highly, at No. 47 and No. 60, respectively. Best yet, online Maine residents pay only $450 per credit hour for their graduate coursework. 

UMaine has just over 20 online graduate degree and certificate programs, including degrees in social work, nutrition, and information systems. In addition, UMaine’s Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies provides two unique concentrations in Maine Studies or Peace and Reconciliation Studies. 

UMaine is the state’s premier public research university with more than 109,000 alumni around the globe. The National Science Foundation ranks it as a top institution engaged in research, and the same accomplished faculty who are breaking new ground on campus are teaching online. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at University of Maine here.

EDU AOC 30CheapestEasiestAccreditedOnlineCollegeProgramsforGraduateDegrees 30 AthensStateUniversity

Athens State University

If you’ve enrolled at Athens State University, you know you’re on the brink of something big. This public university plays a unique role among Alabama’s institutions as it only offers upper-division courses. For undergraduates, this means that Athens State’s students have already completed credit hours at a junior or community college, making them ready to cross the finish line and graduate.

Two of Athens State’s colleges deliver online graduate-level degree programs: the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Business. In the former, students can pursue a Master of Arts in Religious Studies, delving deep into a variety of religions’ texts, traditions, and institutions.

In the College of Business, online learners can earn a Master of Science in Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management in as few as 12 months. For both online programs, students pay just $340 per credit hour. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graduate Degrees at Athens State University here.

What Does “Accredited” Mean?

In short, “accreditation” means that a university has received the stamp-of-approval from an objective third party. Accrediting agencies have an in-depth process for evaluating a school’s performance. They examine things like the quality of faculty member’s research and teaching abilities, the average length of time it takes students to graduate, and the depth and breadth of a school’s student support services. The organization then grants accreditation if a university meets its standards.

Enrolling in an accredited college or university is important. It guarantees that you will learn the right material from qualified instructors. It ensures that prospective employers will recognize the value of your degree, and it keeps the door open to further academic achievements. You’ll need a degree from an accredited institution to pursue further graduate-level studies.

For graduate students, it’s also beneficial to research the programmatic accreditation at your school-of-choice. Programmatic accreditation is given by industry-focused agencies, like the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology or the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication. These evaluate specific degree programs, determining whether or not they properly prepare graduates to excel on the job.

What Do I Need to Apply to a Graduate Program?

This depends on what universities you apply to. In general, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. You’ll also need an undergraduate GPA that meets your prospective school’s minimum requirement. You might need to take the GRE and provide letters of recommendation from former professors.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Master’s?

A master’s degree typically takes two years of full-time study to earn a total of 30 credit hours. 

What Is an “Affordable” Tuition Rate for Graduate Students?

In the 2016-2017 academic year, the average total graduate tuition for all institutions was $18,416, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. For a 30-credit-hour graduate program, this works out to approximately $614 per credit hour. Many of the programs on this list offer rates far below this average.

In general, public universities cost less than private institutions. The NCES reported the average graduate tuition for private schools at $24,712, while public universities averaged $11,617. Another benefit of online learning is that students often pay in-state tuition rates no matter where they reside. 

Will I Have to Write a Thesis to Earn My Master’s?

Not necessarily. Most graduate programs do incorporate scholarly research into their curricula. After all, contributing your own research is part of becoming a master in your field. However, many career-focused programs do not require a theory-based thesis. Instead, these programs might require an applied research project. For example, if you’re an educator, you might focus on a researched solution to an issue your school district currently faces. You might also develop a plan for enacting your solution.

If you intend on pursuing a Ph.D., however, then you’ll want to write a thesis. Doctoral programs will want to see a scholarly contribution that tackles an overarching theme in your discipline. It will also help your application process if you are able to publish your thesis in an academic journal. 

Can Graduate Students Receive Financial Aid?

Because graduate students have already earned a bachelor’s degree, they are no longer eligible for need-based financial aid, such as the Pell Grant. However, graduate students can fill out a FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, to take out federal student loans to fund their education. These loans offer lower interest rates than many private banks would provide. And there are several ways to forgo full payment of your federal loans. For example, teachers who serve full-time for five consecutive years in a low-income school can have a substantial chunk of their loans forgiven. 

Graduate students can also apply for scholarships within their university and department. Non-academic organizations offer scholarships for graduate students, too. To find these, search the websites of professional organizations or leading companies in your field. You might also find scholarships for graduate students in your home state or region. 

If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out our Top 30 Easy Accredited Online Ph.D. Programs and the Top 30 Fastest Accredited Online Graduate Colleges