Why Should I Earn a Master’s Degree?

accredited online master's degrees

Enroll in one of our top 30 accredited online masters programs and your resume will thank you!

Online learning gives you access to some of the country’s most respected institutions of higher education. You can learn no matter where you live!

Not only will you advance your education in a master’s degree, but you’ll also join a network of esteemed alumni. Bonded together by school spirit, your alumni connections might prove invaluable to your career goals.

According to the U.S. Census, more Americans than ever are earning bachelor’s degrees after high school. As the workforce becomes more educated, higher-paying jobs with distinguished titles are more competitive. Having a master’s degree on your resume is an excellent way to set yourself apart and get a full time job. 

Besides, there are master’s degree programs in many different fields:

  • Homeland security
  • Social work
  • Project management
  • Computer engineering
  • Business analytics
  • Human resource management

The first step is to decide what kind of masters degree you want!

See Also: 10 Tips for Maximizing Your Learning Experience in Online College

Will a Master’s Degree Online Lead to a Higher Salary?

Yes! A master’s degree can unlock higher wages.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the further you take your education, the higher your earning potential becomes. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that Master’s-level occupations will grow by almost 17 percent by 2026, faster than any other education level. 

What if I Change Careers? Will a Master’s Degree Boost My Pay?

A master’s degree is a great way to earn more money. But if you change careers, you might not see an increase in salary right off the bat.

Many careers take your experience into account when determining your wages. So, even if you have a master’s degree, without some measure of relevant work experience, your salary will need time to grow.

See Also: 9 Tips For Balancing Work, Life, and Academics: Navigating the Challenges of Pursuing an Online Master’s Degree

Why Should I Enroll in One of the Best Online Master’s Programs?

As an online learner, you’ll receive the same master’s degree diploma as traditional students. And, in most cases, you won’t need to study in person like you did in high school.

Most graduate students are already well into their professional careers. Taking time off for school isn’t always an option. An online master’s degree helps you and other grad students get to the next level on your schedule. That’s why so many universities have master’s programs that meet the unique needs of master’s degree students who want to earn a degree online. Many online graduate programs let you earn a paycheck while you study.

See Also: 20 Accredited Online Colleges That Offer Laptops

Online Learning is Becoming More the Norm

Online students are no longer outliers. In 2000, just 5 percent of graduate students studied online – fast forward six years, and that percentage jumped to more than 30 percent. In 2019, that number was 37.2 percent.

The accredited online masters degree programs in our rankings will help you fulfill your educational goals. Your degree will also help you find your ideal job.

See Also: Financial Aid Tips for Online College

What are the Best Online Masters Degrees?

Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics to determine these school rankings.

Each master’s degree has an individual score. That score is compared to all other universities offering that degree. This allows us to determine the final score you see by each ranking.

We consider various factors when ranking schools. This includes the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of master’s programs offered on-campus and online. To learn more, visit our methodology page

Let’s get to our list of online masters degrees! Also check out our school rankings for the Top 15 Accredited Online Colleges Without an Application Fee to see if you can save a little money.

See Also: Laptop Tips and Tricks for Online College Students

1. Penn State World Campus

Pennsylvania State University World Campus

Become a Nittany Lion, and you’ll join a pride of more than 692,000 alumni!

Penn State boasts the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world. Through Penn State World Campus, you can join this impressive network by enrolling in a Master’s degree online. After graduation, you can claim U.S. News & World Report’s No. 18 Top Public School on your resume. 

Penn State World Campus offers many academic opportunities for students. This includes more than 50 online master’s programs. As such, Penn State tops our list of accredited universities with online graduate programs.

This school is highly regarded for its online graduate programs in engineering, business administration, and education. Each of these appears at the top of U.S. News & World Report’s rankings.  

Best of all, Penn State’s online courses are asynchronous. This allows you to study on your schedule. You’ll learn from professors with online teaching experience. This guarantees they’ll understand your specific needs as an online learner. 

Penn State offers many scholarships and other financial aid for online learners. See if you can reduce your cost of attendance!

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Penn State World Campus here.

See Also: Mastering the Virtual Classroom: 8 Tips for Success in Your Online Master’s Program

2. University of Florida

University of Florida

Calling all teachers! If an online master’s degree in education is your goal, you can’t do much better than the University of Florida. The Florida Gators rank No. 2 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Master’s in Education Programs. 

This is only one of many areas in which the Gators excel. UF ranks at No. 7 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top Public Schools. The school’s online Master of Business Administration ranks at No. 4. Plus, UF dominates on the field, having earned more than 36 athletic national championships. Best yet, UF was Kiplinger’s No. 2 Best Value Public College for 2019. This allows you to gain a reputable degree at a low cost.  

UF offers more than 70 fully online master’s degrees. Many of these aren’t commonly found at other schools.

For example, UF has master’s programs in fisheries and aquatic science, international construction management, and sustainable design. That’s why UF is so high in our school rankings!

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at University of Florida here.

3. Liberty University

Liberty University

Liberty University is a top choice for students who want a graduate-level education grounded in the Christian faith. This private institution aims to graduate “Champions for Christ.”

Enroll in one of its more than 300 online master’s programs, and you’ll undertake a curriculum that focuses on your field and Christian values. 

Some of Liberty’s most popular online Master’s degrees include:

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling
  • Master of Public Health

Liberty offers start dates throughout the year. You can begin your master’s program whenever you’re ready rather than having to wait for the fall. 

Liberty’s classes also do not follow the typical semester format. Instead, each course takes eight weeks. This master’s degree online format lets Liberty’s “Flames” quickly reach graduation in just 18 months.

Liberty’s low tuition rates for online Master’s degree programs are another bonus!

Learn more about Online Master’s Degrees at Liberty University here.

4. Texas A&M University

Texas A & M University-College Station

Everything’s bigger in Texas! Texas A&M University is no exception. Enrolling more than 69,000 students, Texas A&M is one of the largest public universities in the country. With size comes reputation. The “Aggies” hold the No. 27 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top Public Schools. Furthermore, Texas A&M has the most graduates leading the top Fortune 500 companies. This is a top-notch online school!

Twelve of Texas A&M’s colleges and schools have online Master’s degrees. The school’s master’s programs in engineering, education, and nursing are especially respected. Unique among Texas A&M’s offerings are Master’s degrees in wildlife science, geosciences, and maritime administration and logistics. 

Many of Texas A&M’s Master’s degrees are 100 percent online. But, some master’s programs may require on-campus work.

At Texas A&M, a distance-education degree is any program in which more than half of a semester’s credit hours can be taken online. 

Financial aid programs are available to help reduce the cost of your studies.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Texas A&M University – College Station here.

5. National University

National University

Do you plan to work and study at the same time? Then your ability to focus will be critical to your success. National University helps you juggle multiple responsibilities by offering courses that last just four weeks. By covering coursework in smaller segments, you can focus on one topic at a time. You can quickly master the material to graduate faster.

Founded by a retired U.S. Navy captain, NU is a Yellow Ribbon School. This means that veterans pay little to no expenses. NU’s commitment to helping U.S. service members advance their education means that all master’s programs are flexible and designed with working students in mind. 

At National, you can begin one of more than 60 online Master’s degrees each month. Master’s programs include:

  • business
  • healthcare
  • engineering
  • education

Many of these programs have an accelerated format. For example, at NU, you can earn a Master of Criminal Justice in just 12 months. 

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at National University here.

6. Washington State University


Many students find inspiration to get a master’s degree out of a passion for research. If you’re eager to make a contribution to your field, then Washington State University is a great option.

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education evaluates institutions’ levels of research activity. WSU has its highest marks.

Through WSU’s Global Campus, you can join the Cougar community by getting a master’s degree online. Degrees include agriculture, health promotion, and molecular biosciences. U.S. News & World Report includes WSU’s business administration and engineering programs on its lists of the best online master’s programs in these fields.  

Are you worried that studying online might be lonely? You can join WSU’s Global Connections. This initiative helps distance learners form a close-knit community while getting a master’s degree online. For example, you can live-stream a School of Music concert or join a book club. 

Learn more about Online Master’s Degrees at Washington State University here.

7. North Carolina State University

NC State

At number seven on our list of online schools for accredited masters degrees is North Carolina State University.

Join the “Wolfpack” and enroll in one of North Carolina State University’s graduate programs! There are more than 50 fully online Master’s degree programs available. You can even pursue a degree that allows you to help fellow adult learners. NC State offers an online Master of Education in adult and continuing professional education. 

NC State ranks at No. 34 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top Public Schools. Its online graduate programs in engineering, business administration, and computer information technology are very well respected. Unique online master’s programs at the school include a Master’s in Textile Chemistry. You can also study Soil Science or Aerospace Engineering.

NC State takes its online education seriously. That’s why it’s so high in our school rankings. Its Course Quality Program follows standards set by Quality Matters. This organization improves online education across the nation. By partnering with this program, NC State offers training and resources for faculty members to enhance their online teaching skills. 

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at North Carolina State University here.

8. Sam Houston State University


When you were young, did you dream of fighting crime as a superhero? Live out your childhood dreams by enrolling at Sam Houston State University! This school holds the No. 2 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs. Named after a leader of the Texas Revolution, it’s not surprising that SHSU has such a strong reputation in this field.

This school offers more than 30 fully online Master’s degrees. You can study subjects like:

  • education
  • engineering
  • computer information technology

Through SHSU Online, you can even prepare to become a band director with a Master of Arts in Band Studies. You can also learn how to be a librarian with its online Master of Library Science. 

SHSU Online follows a traditional academic schedule for online learning. Courses begin in the fall and spring semesters. There are two shorter summer sessions as well. Summer sessions are great for getting ahead in your graduate studies. 

If you’re worried about the cost of a master’s degree, see what financial aid options there are at Sam Houston State.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Sam Houston State University here.

9. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

University of Nebraska—Lincoln

Earn a degree from the “Heartland” from anywhere in the country through the University of Nebraska Online. NU’s Lincoln campus is its flagship institution. The school has more than 20,000 students, and is ranked at No. 64 among U.S. News & World Report’s Top Public Schools. The “Cornhuskers” have earned a reputation that extends from coast to coast!

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers more than 30 online master’s degrees. This includes master’s programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report in business administration, engineering, and education. In fact, NU Online is a wise choice for teachers who want to work in educational administration or special education.

Some of NU’s most unique master’s programs include:

  • Master of Science in Architecture with a specialization in Interior Design
  • Master of Applied Science in Beef Cattle Production
  • Master of Arts in Textile History or Quilt Studies

On average, NU’s graduate programs require 36 credit hours to graduate.

Learn more about Online Master’s Degrees at University of Nebraska-Lincoln here.

10. Arizona State University


Once upon a time, earning your degree online was uncharted territory. Arizona State University likes uncharted territory. In fact, that’s where it excels!

The “Sun Devils” have held the No. 1 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Most Innovative Schools for five years. This university prides itself on trying out new ideas. For example, it partners with Uber to help drivers earn a degree free of charge. 

ASU is a cutting-edge university. Its robust online offerings reflect this. Here, you can choose from a list of dozens of bachelor’s degrees after you finish high school. There’s more than 75 fully online Master’s degrees, as well. Each degree is taught by the same faculty who teach on-campus courses. 

Many of ASU’s online master’s degrees have earned the No. 1 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s program-specific rankings. This includes its MBA in General Management and Marketing. ASU’s Master’s in Electrical Engineering is also among the best online masters. So is its Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. No matter which graduate degree you want, ASU has you covered with a well-respected program!

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Arizona State University here.

11. Ball State University

Ball State University

If you’re a fan of David Letterman, then earn a degree from his alma mater, Ball State University. The university is in Muncie, IN. But Ball State Online reaches worldwide. Interestingly, Ball State Online is in an on-campus building named for this famed alumnus. 

Ball State offers more than 20 online master’s degrees. If you live nearby, you can take advantage of the university’s blended programs. These degrees combine online coursework with in-person classes on Ball State’s famously friendly campus. All students at this university take a “Beneficence Pledge” to respect others. 

Ball State has some of the best online master programs in business, nursing, and education. It is an especially good choice for those who want to teach future nurses. Additional academic options include Master’s degrees in:

  • athletic coaching
  • emerging media design and development
  • nutrition and dietetics

Many types of financial aid are available. This includes federal loans, scholarships, and grants.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Ball State University here.

12. Ferris State University

Ferris State

Founded in 1884 by a former Michigan governor and his wife, Ferris State University is in Big Rapids, MI. This town sits on the banks of the Muskegon River. It’s flanked to the west by a large national forest that extends to the famed Lake Michigan coast. With its beautiful setting, Ferris State is a campus worth visiting. But a visit is not a requirement if you enroll in one of its six online graduate programs.

With online degrees in nursing, healthcare administration, and other health areas, Ferris State is a great option for health professionals seeking a Master’s degree. Ferris also offers an online Master of Business Administration with seven specializations, including:

  • Project Management
  • Performance Metrics
  • Incident Response

Ferris has a Master of Science in Information Security and Intelligence as well. 

At Ferris, 70 percent of students do an internship. Even though you’ll study online, expect to get on-the-job experience.

Learn more about Online Master’s Degrees at Ferris State University here.

13. Florida State University

Florida State University

Get the most bang for your buck at Florida State University, Kiplinger’s No. 9 Best Value Public College. This university offers low tuition rates and generous financial aid. It also makes an FSU education affordable for out-of-state students. Several of its online graduate programs have special out-of-state rates.

The Seminoles rank at No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top Public Schools. FSU has additional marks for its online master’s programs in criminal justice and computer information technology. You can also get degrees in business.

FSU offers 16 online master’s degrees in total. This includes a Juris Master, a Master of Social Work, and a Master of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence.

FSU’s online students learn from the same faculty that teach on campus in Tallahassee. Some of FSU’s faculty include Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel Laureates.

Additionally, FSU emphasizes connectivity. The university gives master’s degree students like you opportunities to get to know your peers. For example, you might take part in a regional study group or real-time forums. These special features enhance your online learning experience!

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Florida State University here.

14. Virginia Tech University

Virginia Tech

Calling all techies! Virginia Tech University is the school for you. In addition to being U.S. News & World Report’s No. 30 Top Public School, Virginia Tech ranks at No. 4 on its Best Online Master’s in Computer Information Technology. And when a school specializes in technology, you can be sure that its online learning platform is one of the best around. 

VT offers nine online Master’s degree programs. Here, online learners like you can earn a degree in aerospace systems or ocean engineering from VT’s renowned College of Engineering.

Educators can advance their expertise in an online degree in instructional technology as well.

Globally-minded students can pursue a Master of Arts in:

  • Foreign Languages
  • Cultures
  • Literature

Additional study areas include online degree options in:

  • agricultural science
  • life sciences
  • political science 

VT is part of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. This organization helps improve the quality of distance education while keeping costs low. 

Learn more about Online Master’s Degrees at Virginia Tech University here.

15. Auburn University


Walk across Auburn University’s Alabama-based campus and you’re likely to hear students exchange an enthusiastic “War Eagle” as they pass. This greeting, or battle cry, bonds the Auburn Family together.

This school has many reasons to be proud. Auburn ranks No. 44 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top Public Schools. It boasts famous alumni like sports superstars Charles Barkley, Bo Jackson, and Cam Newton. 

Auburn Online offers master’s programs across seven schools and colleges. Here, you can pursue a Master of Turfgrass Management from the College of Agriculture. There’s an online degree in Nutrition from the College of Human Services as well.

At Auburn, teachers advance their education with a specialized master’s program with 12 different areas of concentration. This includes studies in

  • agriscience
  • elementary education
  • foreign language education

Likewise, online courses in business lead to a Master of Business Administration. You can also pursue a degree focused on accounting, finance, or information systems.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Auburn University here.

16. University of Missouri

University of Missouri

Earn your degree in the “Show Me State!” The University of Missouri shows you the true value of an affordable education. The Tigers rank at No. 64 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top Public Schools. Almost half of Mizzou’s students graduate without student debt.

Mizzou Online offers more than 50 online master’s degree programs. Its master’s programs cover areas that include:

  • veterinary medicine
  • journalism
  • public health
  • engineering

The College of Education has the most online opportunities for graduate students. Educators can earn a Master of Education in 17 specializations. Choose from concentrations in:

  • English
  • Social Studies
  • Math Education

These degrees are a good stepping stone for a full time job in education.

Mizzou is part of a state-wide eLearning initiative. It’s investing time and resources into improving its online experience. Its goal is to expand enrollment from 16,000 to 25,000 online learners. 

Contact the financial aid office to see what aid opportunities there are for you, including scholarships and federal loans.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at University of Missouri here.

17. University of Memphis

University of Memphis

There’s no need to go “walkin’ in Memphis” to earn a degree from the University of Memphis. Through UofM Global, online students can pursue more than 25 graduate degrees. Based in a city famous for its music scene, it’s not surprising that a Master of Arts in Music Education is included among UofM’s offerings.

UofM Global offers a master’s degree in several disciplines. You can choose from

  • business
  • engineering
  • education
  • health

Here, you can also choose to pursue a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. This interdisciplinary, 33-credit-hour master’s degree program is highly customizable. You can combine areas of study into a degree plan that fits your specific professional goals.

UofM Global also has several master’s degree-level certificate programs. Certificates require fewer credit hours. As such, they take less time to complete.

For example, in under a year, you can earn a certificate in:

  • Museum Studies
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Science
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) Instruction

Learn more about Online Master’s Degrees at University of Memphis here.

18. Colorado State University

Colorado State

If you want to conduct research that helps protect the environment, enroll at Colorado State University. The Rams have the country’s most sustainable campus. About 90 percent of its departments conduct research related to sustainability. By pursuing one of CSU’s more than 30 online Master’s degree programs, you can further protect the planet by studying from home and avoiding the gas pump.

CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources offers three online master’s degree programs:

  • fish, wildlife, and conservation biology
  • natural resource stewardship
  • tourism management

Aspiring engineers also have several options at CSU. This includes master’s programs in civil, computer, and electrical engineering. 

Many people-focused programs require on campus coursework. But, CSU’s summer sessions make earning a degree in these fields more flexible.

For example, you can earn a Master of Music in Conducting. You can also choose a Master of Social Work through a mix of online coursework and summer classes. 

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Colorado State University here.

19. University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota

Become a “Golden Gopher” at the University of Minnesota! If you do, you’ll have a degree from U.S. News & World Report’s No. 27 Top Public School.

U of M has nine fully online Master’s degree programs. This includes a Master of Business Administration from its respected Carlson School of Management.

Additional programs range from computer science to family education to public health.

If research is your goal, you could also pursue a Master of Science in Clinical Research. This master’s program focuses on understanding and treating diseases. 

U of M is a great choice if you want to take a mix of online and on campus coursework. Many of its master’s degree programs are 100 percent online. But, the University of Minnesota also offers primarily online master’s programs. These require short, in-person classes. These in-person experiences give you opportunities for face-to-face interaction without traveling to campus each week. These primarily online programs include a Master of Health Informatics or an Executive Master of Healthcare Administration. 

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at University of Minnesota here.

20. Oregon State University

Oregon State University

Oregon State University is the largest institution of higher education in Oregon. There are almost 32,000 students. ‘s also one of the best online schools!

More than a quarter of OSU Beavers study in its acclaimed College of Engineering. It ranks No. 12 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Master’s in Engineering Programs. It

At OSU, you won’t feel like the odd man out as a distance learner. Approximately one-fifth of this university’s students study online.

Its Master of Engineering is one of more than 25 online graduate degrees. Online students can also pursue a master’s degree in public service areas like:

  • public health
  • public policy
  • education

Additionally, OSU offers several graduate certificates in unique fields. You can choose from rural policy, urban forestry, and organic agriculture. 

You can also add an online, 15-credit-hour graduate minor in Organizational Leadership to your OSU course of study. This master’s degree helps you lead through a better understanding of employee motivation, work-life balance, and conflict management.

OSU offers many financial aid programs that can help you reduce the cost of your education.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Oregon State University here.

21. Bowling Green State University


Bowling Green State University is a public institution in northwest Ohio. It has around 19,000 students. Each year, BGSU awards more than $25 million in scholarships. Better yet, this university has at least 75 scholarships for graduate students. 

BGSU offers 16 online Master’s degrees. Its most notable master’s program is the Master of Science in Criminal Justice. This program ranks No. 12 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

You’ll also find several Master of Education options. There are specializations in:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Classroom Technology
  • Music Education

Business students can earn a general MBA. There’s concentrations in areas like accounting, finance, or supply chain management. Additional master’s degree programs are available in strategic communication and nutrition.

BGSU is one of six universities to have a Quality Matters’ Online Learner Support Certification. This accolade shows that BGSU takes online Falcons’ feedback seriously. The school seeks ways to improve students’ academic experience. 

If you need help with funding, get in touch with Bowling Green’s financial aid office.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Bowling Green State University here.

22. The University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global Campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus meets the needs of working adults. UMGC dates back to 1947. It began to help U.S. service members more easily access higher education.

Today, UMGC offers flexible online master’s programs and in-person classes on military bases across the globe. Discounted tuition rates are available for active military, veterans, and their families.  

What distinguishes UMGC from other mostly online institutions is that it’s a member of the University System of Maryland. The school is a public state university. This status helps it keep costs low and value high.

What’s more, 88 percent of its faculty have doctoral degrees. UMGC prioritizes hiring professors with hands-on experience in their fields.

UMGC has 18 online Master’s degrees. Most of these degrees are in the areas of:

  • business
  • technology
  • education

Unique degrees include programs in:

  • biotechnology
  • cloud computing architecture
  • digital forensics
  • cyber investigation

Many of UMGC’s programs are accredited online masters.

Learn more about Online Master’s Degrees at University of Maryland Global Campus here.

23. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a higher-education heavy-hitter. As U.S. News & World Report’s No. 14 Top Public School, the “Fighting Illini” are especially good in engineering. Illinois holds the No. 1 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Programs. It ranks in the top four for industrial and mechanical engineering.

Also highly regarded is Illinois’ College of Education. It offers more than ten online master’s degree programs. Here, globally-minded educators have unique opportunities to earn a Master’s in International Education Administration. There’s other options for graduate studies in Global Studies or Diversity and Equity in Education. These are just a few examples of Illinois Online’s more than 35 graduate programs.

Over 3.6 million learners enroll in Illinois’ online classes. It’s one of the top online schools in the nation. Its global reputation in online learning is due in part to the virtual classroom environment. Fighting Illini students like you can use message boards, screen-sharing, and instant messaging to enhance your studies. In fact, these technologies were invented on Illinois’ campus!

Help offset the cost of your education by checking on financial aid opportunities from the University of Illinois.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign here.

24. Iowa State University

Iowa State

Enroll in one of Iowa State University’s online graduate programs, and you’ll earn a degree from U.S. News & World Report’s No. 55 Top Public School. You’ll also have access to 18 other universities’ accomplished faculty. Iowa State is part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA). This consortium of colleges enhances the effectiveness of online programs by pulling resources from member schools. 

Six of Iowa State’s schools and colleges offer online graduate-level degrees and certificates. Some of these are GPIDEA programs. Others are solely delivered through Iowa State.

You can get a Master of Family and Consumer Sciences in Dietetics from Iowa State. You can choose a graduate degree in Family Financial Planning, too. Other options include Gerontology or Youth Development.

Iowa State also offers 11 online courses in engineering. There are five agricultural sciences degrees, too. 

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Iowa State University here.

25. The University of South Carolina

University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina’s mascot might be “Cocky,” the fighting gamecock, but this school excels in a gentler field. USC ranks at No. 2 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs. 

All of South Carolina’s graduate-level nursing coursework is online. This provides you with several flexible pathways to earn your degree. You can specialize in

  • psychiatric mental health
  • administration
  • informatics

Moreover, 100 percent of USC’s Master of Science in Nursing graduates pass the exam for the American Nurses Credentialing Center certification. This is a great degree for registered nurses who want to advance their careers.

USC offers additional online Master’s degree programs across six schools and colleges. Health professionals can earn a Master’s degree in Public Health in Health Education or Policy. Engineers can advance their knowledge in several industries, from aerospace to nuclear engineering. If you’re a librarian, you can aid your fellow graduate students’ research by pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science with a Certificate in Graduate Study. 

Learn more about Online Master’s Degrees at University of South Carolina here.

26. University of Michigan- Flint


The University of Michigan is a long-standing leader in higher education. UM-Flint is part of this respected school’s commitment to better access to education.

At UM-Flint, you’ll join the University of Michigan system while attending courses focused on nontraditional students. UM-Flint provides personalized attention and the flexibility to earn your degree online. The 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio helps in that regard!

At UM-Flint, you can earn one of ten fully online Master’s degrees. Programs include:

  • liberal studies
  • education
  • business
  • nursing

Unique among online schools is UM-Flint’s online Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy program. This program helps practicing physical therapists advance their education. Topics of study include new industry-wide standards.

UM-Flint also has several hybrid programs. These programs require in person classwork every few weeks. For example, the Master of Public Administration is online with scheduled Saturday or evening classes in person. 

Remember that financial aid is available for qualifying master’s degree students. This can help reduce the cost of your degree.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at University of Michigan – Flint Online here.

27. Fort Hays State University


In 1902, the cost for a semester’s worth of studies at Fort Hays State University was only $5. FHSU has remained true to these affordable roots. Today, it offers the lowest tuition rates among Kansas’ public institutions of higher education. Online master’s degree students pay approximately $287 per credit hour. 

FHSU offers 60 online graduate programs. Each of these programs follow a traditional academic calendar. Among these is a Master of Professional Studies. This is an accredited masters degree. The multidisciplinary degree program centers on career-focused skills. With an MPA, you can combine disciplines to customize your studies.

For example, you can get a degree in Human Resources management and organizational leadership. As another example, you can major in criminal justice and cybersecurity.

In the 1920s, FHSU served as a teacher’s college. Today, this university has robust offerings for educators. Its online Master’s in Education degrees include various areas of emphasis, including:

  • PreK
  • higher education student affairs
  • math
  • reading
  • library media
  • school counseling

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Fort Hays State University here.

28. University of Southern California

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California is in Los Angeles. It’s a private institution with a very public reputation. USC ranks at No. 22 among U.S. News & World Report’s National Universities. This list is topped by world-renowned schools like Princeton and Harvard. USC Online allows students everywhere to become a USC Trojan.

U.S. News & World Report gave USC first place ribbons for online graduate education in business and computer information technology. Additionally, the school is in the top five in the nation for its Master of Business Administration and Master’s in Engineering programs. Unique among USC’s online master’s degree programs are opportunities for dentists. This includes Master of Science options in:

  • Oral Medicine
  • Geriatric Dentistry
  • Community Oral Health

Private online schools tend to come with a higher price-tag. But, this investment can pay dividends. USC’s alumni lead across industries and most famously in Hollywood. Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, and John Wayne are all proud Trojans.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at University of Southern California Online here.

29. Golden Gate University

Golden Gate University

Golden Gate University is in San Francisco. It’s named for this city’s iconic bridge. GGU is for adult learners. The university offers online and hybrid-format degree programs with in person classes. These classes occur at campuses in the Bay Area and Seattle. 

This institution has a strong tradition in legal studies. Many of its more than 68,000 alumni serve as leaders in law offices across the country.

GGU also has 15 online Master’s degree programs and several more graduate certificates that span multiple disciplines. Many of the school’s business programs focus on areas that require a strong knowledge of corporate law. An example of this is the Master of Science in Accounting or Taxation. 

Additionally, GGU’s online Master’s degree in Business Administration includes a Juris Doctor joint-degree concentration. This allows you to earn an MBA online while completing your law degree through in-person evening courses. 

Check on graduate funding opportunities with Golden Gate’s financial aid office.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at Golden Gate University here.

30. University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas Austin

Rounding out our list of the best online masters is the University of Texas at Austin.

This university delivers academic excellence at an incredible value. This school ranks No. 14 among U.S. News & World Report’s Top Public Schools. It’s also Kiplinger’s No. 9 Best Value Public College. 

Fifteen of UT Austin’s schools and colleges offer graduate programs. And while the university does not have a centralized hub for fully online programs, these do exist.

For example, health-conscious students can earn a Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences entirely online. Also, the Cockrell School of Engineering offers a 100 percent online Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. What’s more, you can earn UT Austin’s Master of Science in Computer Science online in just ten courses. 

So, if you’re still unsure whether you want to become a “Longhorn,” then just ask Matthew McConaughey. The Hollywood actor and UT alum recently joined the faculty at the school’s Moody College of Communication! 

Financial aid is available from UT for eligible students.

Learn more about Online Masters Degrees at The University of Texas at Austin here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes accredited master’s programs better than other master’s programs?

Accredited online schools and programs must show that they meet educational standards. These standards come from third-party accrediting agencies. This helps hold colleges and universities accountable for the education their students receive.

So, accreditation shows you’ve received a quality education in your master’s degree. It also helps for transferring credits.

What if I change schools? Does accreditation make transferring credits easier?

For example, let’s say you start a degree program at an accredited university. The chances that those credits transfer to another university are high. But, what if you begin your studies at a school that is not accredited? Well, the chances of your credits transferring are much less. Why? Because accreditation isn’t in place to guide the development and delivery of the curriculum.

Does having a degree from an accredited school help me get a job?

There’s another benefit of enrolling in an accredited master’s degree program: jobs. In some cases, employers might require that your degree is from an accredited institution. Furthermore, if you work in a field that requires a competency exam, you might need an accredited degree to sit for the exam.

In other words, there are many benefits of studying in an accredited master’s degree program!

Who accredits colleges and universities?

There are two types of institutional accreditation: national and regional.

National accreditation is the lesser of the two. It’s usually applied to for-profit and online institutions. However, national accreditation is certainly a step up from no accreditation at all.

What agencies are responsible for regional accreditation?

The preferred institutional accreditation is regional. According to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), there are seven collegiate accrediting bodies:

Each of these agencies has its own set of accreditation standards. But there is reciprocity between the agencies. So, if you attend a school that has accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and transfer to a school that’s accredited by WASC, the chances are good your credits will transfer. This is true of each agency in the list above.

Are there other types of accreditation?

Yes. Individual master’s degree programs might have a professional accreditation.

For example, if you’re getting your master’s degree in counseling, your graduate program might be accredited by CACREP, or the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Registered nurses pursing a graduate degree might enroll in a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Note that not all individual programs have professional certifications. If you pursue a master’s degree in history, for example, the school you attend might be accredited, but your graduate program might not.

What programs usually have professional accreditations?

Typically, professional accreditations are for programs that lead to certain careers, like:

  • Business
  • Nursing
  • Education
  • Psychology and counseling
  • Computer science

Further Reading

Want more information? Check out the 15 Best Accredited Online Graduate schools. The 30 Cheapest and Easiest Masters Degree Online is another ranking worth your time!