Reaching your professional goals with a master’s degree doesn’t have to take several years or require on-campus commitments thanks to accredited online graduate colleges. Online universities are increasingly offering accelerated graduate courses to reap the ROI of a master’s quicker. According to a Georgetown study, master’s degree holders earn an mean annual salary of $78,000, which is notably higher than the baccalaureate average of $61,000. Forbes shows that engineering, computer science, management, communication sciences, and biostatistics are among the best master’s degrees for jobs today. Fast online graduate programs can help you unlock better prospects and more profitable income earlier to limit tuition spent.
We began our search for America’s Top 30 Fastest Accredited Online Graduate Colleges by using the U.S. News and World Report online rankings. We narrowed our list down to universities that had landed in the survey’s top 200 for at least two online graduate degrees. Next, we headed to the online colleges’ websites to investigate the accelerated learning options available. We only selected graduate programs that could be completed in less than the traditional two-year pace, preferably 12 months. We used the U.S. Department of Education database to double check that each online college was regionally accredited for credit transfer and aid. Other factors were course length, ease of online technology, 24/7 tech support, cohort size, and non-thesis track availability.
1. Boston University
Attracting 2,500 online students from six continents, Boston University is a private, nonsectarian RU/VH institution in Beantown’s Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood that’s endowed for $1.65 billion. Given the USDLA 21st Century Award in 2016, BU is recognized for America’s fourth best online graduate computer IT and fourth best online graduate criminal justice programs by the U.S. News. Since 2002, Boston University has developed 30 fast online master’s programs for Blackboard. Degrees like the M.A. Art Education, M.S. Health Communication, and M.S. Financial Management usually take 12-18 months.
Graduate Tuition: $$450-$860 per credit
2. University of Cincinnati
Directed by President Neville G. Pinto, the University of Cincinnati is a public, space-grant RU/VH institution in Ohio’s “Queen City” that’s educating 5,590 online students at an average age of 35. According to the U.S. News, UC presents America’s fifth best online graduate nursing and 11th top online graduate criminal justice education. Twelve Cincinnati colleges deliver 19 online master’s programs asynchronously in 12-24 months without GRE requirements. Available degrees include the M.Ed. Educational Leadership, Master of Health Administration, and M.Eng. Mechanical Engineering.
Graduate Tuition: $724-$1,311 per credit
3. Auburn University
Noted for alumni like Admiral Michael Rogers and Tim Cook, Auburn University is a public, land-grant polytechnic SURA member that’s educating 28,200 students on-site and online from eastern Alabama. The U.S. News applauded Auburn for America’s 10th best online graduate business and 10th best online graduate education programs. Through the Biggio Center, Auburn Online conducts 250+ unique courses for finishing 27 master’s options quickly. Some of the fastest programs include the 12-month M.S. in Nutrition, 13-course MBA, and 32-credit, non-thesis Master of Turfgrass Management.
Graduate Tuition: $533-$875 per credit
4. Ball State University
Bestowed the QM Learner Support Program Certification, Ball State University educates 4,987 post-grads as a public, co-educational MAC member endowed for $192.69 million in Muncie, Indiana. Recognized for the 12th best online MBA and 13th top online graduate nursing degrees by the U.S. News, BSU received the 2014 Strategic Innovation in Online Education Award. Fast, eight-week courses lead to 23 online master’s degrees in as little as 12 months. Consider the M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis, M.A. in Journalism, M.S. Interior Design, and more.
Graduate Tuition: $394-$590 per hour
5. Louisiana State University
Endowed for $788 million, Louisiana State University is a public, sea-grant RU/VH institution led by President F. King Alexander in Baton Rouge to educate over 31,500 Tigers. According to the U.S. News, LSU houses America’s 11th top online graduate engineering and 47th best online MBA programs. With condensed, seven-week modules, LSU Online offers eight SACS-accredited master’s degrees starting six times yearly. Graduates could quickly finish the M.S. in Kinesiology, Master of Social Work Advanced Standing track, and M.S. in Construction Management.
Graduate Tuition: $1,353-$3,240 per course
6. University of North Texas
Established in 1890, the University of North Texas is a public, co-educational RU/VH institution using Blackboard to teach 6,770 post-grads in Denton and 100 percent online. The U.S. News chose UNT for America’s 16th best online graduate teaching degrees and 33rd top online graduate criminal justice programs. With five flexible start dates, North Texas offers 23 accelerated online master’s options. Eight-week courses make earning the M.S. in Learning Technologies, MBA in Strategic Management, and M.S. in Health Services Administration convenient.
Graduate Tuition: $303-$711 per credit
7. National University
With a 65 percent graduation rate, National University is a private, nonprofit college opened by David Chigos in 1971 that’s educating 11,800 post-grads at 28 California campuses and online. NU houses America’s 15th best online graduate criminal justice and 89th top online graduate business degrees according to the U.S. News. National accelerates study with four-week, WASC-accredited online courses for adults to finish 38 master’s degrees within 12-16 months. Great options include the Master of Public Administration, M.A. Film Studies, and M.A. Human Resource Management.
Graduate Tuition: $1,872 per course
8. Stony Brook University
Occupying 1,454 acres of Long Island, Stony Brook University educates 8,440 post-grads as a public, sea-grant and space-grant RU/VH institution endowed for $254 million. The U.S. News distinguished Stony Brook for America’s 21st best online MSN and 35th best online graduate teaching education. Developed in 1996, the Office of E-Learning uses Open SUNY to conduct nine graduate programs online for as little as 36 credits. Students accelerate toward the M.S. in Nursing Education, M.A. in Higher Education Administration, M.A. in Liberal Studies, and more.
Graduate Tuition: $453-$925 per credit
9. Colorado Technical University
Fully HLC-accredited through 2022, Colorado Technical University enrolls 2,700 post-grads online as a private, for-profit institution based near Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. According to the U.S. News, Colorado Tech offers America’s 28th best online graduate criminal justice and 38th top online graduate computer IT degrees. Thanks to CTU Fast Track, graduates can finish one of 50 online master’s programs 30 percent quicker. Available options taking 12-18 months include the MBA in Project Management, M.S. in Homeland Security, and MSN in Nursing Administration.
Graduate Tuition: $370-$598 per credit
10. University of South Florida
Generating a $3.7 billion economic impact, the University of South Florida is a public, space-grant RU/VH institution led by President Judy Genshaft to educate 9,880 post-grads in Tampa and online. The U.S. News applauded USF for America’s 29th best online graduate computer IT programs and 29th best online graduate education degrees. Most of USF’s 29 online master’s require 30 to 36 hours for affordable, accelerated learning. Consider the M.S. in Cybersecurity, M.A. in Global Sustainability, M.S. in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, and more.
Graduate Tuition: $347-$771 per hour
11. University of North Dakota
In the Big Sky Conference, the University of North Dakota is organized by President Mark Kennedy as a public, space-grant RU/VH institution in Grand Forks with 2,870 post-grads. Ranked 21st by OnlineU for affordability, UND holds America’s 29th best online MBA and 43rd top online graduate business education according to the U.S. News. Fighting Hawks take as little as 32 credits online while finishing 29 master’s options. Accelerated degrees include the MSW for BSW Students, M.S. in Medical Laboratory Science, and M.S. in Applied Economics.
Graduate Tuition: $435 per credit
12. Fort Hays State University
Training 14,210 “forward-thinking, world-ready” students, Fort Hays State University is a public, HLC-accredited Kansas Board of Regents member endowed for $70.95 million in Ellis County. The U.S. News recognized FHSU for America’s 29th best online graduate nursing and 77th top online graduate education programs. The Virtual College offers 15 master’s degrees via Blackboard within one to 1.5 years full-time. Fully online options include the MBA in Finance, Master of Professional Studies, and M.A. in Public History without Thesis.
Graduate Tuition: $272 per hour
13. Lamar University
Belonging to the TSUS since 1995, Lamar University is a public, space-grant doctoral institution positioned in Beaumont, Texas, that’s attracting 4,715 post-grad Cardinals. The U.S. News congratulated Lamar for America’s 30th best online graduate criminal justice and 61st top online graduate nursing education. Offering accelerated five- and eight-week plans, Lamar has 19 online SACS-accredited master’s programs ranging from 36 to 48 credits. Among the fastest graduate degrees are the M.Ed. in Digital Learning, MBA in Enterprise Resource Planning, and MSN in Nursing Administration.
Graduate Tuition: $235-$318 per credit
14. Regis University
Opened by exiled Italian Jesuits in 1877, Regis University is a private, nonprofit AJCU member offering HLC-accredited Roman Catholic education to 8,725 Rangers on-site in Denver and online. The U.S. News applauded Regis for America’s 29th best online graduate criminal justice and 133rd top online graduate teaching degrees. After the WorldClass Orientation, online students select from 39 accelerated graduate programs for completion in 12-16 months. Consider the M.S. Information Assurance, M.Ed. Secondary Education, MSOL Project Leadership and Management, and more.
Graduate Tuition: $485-$810 per hour
15. Northeastern University
Located in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, Northeastern University is a private, nonsectarian RU/VH doctoral institution directed by President Joseph Aoun with a $693 million endowment to educate 6,950 post-grads. The U.S. ranked NEU for America’s 32nd best online graduate computer IT programs and 37th top online graduate business degrees. Northeasterners can pursue 29 online master’s Fast-Track options in 12-18 months. The fastest graduate degrees are the M.S. in Health Informatics, M.S. in Innovation, Master of Sports Leadership, and M.S. in Engineering Management.
Graduate Tuition: $530-$1,570 per credit hour
16. University of Miami
Operating on a $3.1 billion budget, the University of Miami has been headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida, since 1925 to educate over 5,725 post-grad Hurricanes as a private, nonsectarian RU/VH institution. Accredited by the SACS, UMiami offers America’s 32nd best online graduate business courses and 61st top online MBA program according to the U.S. News. Seven online master’s programs have multiple start dates and 24/7 access. Students finish the M.S. in Finance, M.S. in Health Informatics, and MPA in under two years.
Graduate Tuition: $1,960 per credit
17. Liberty University
Noted for alumni like Shannon Bream, TobyMac, and Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty University is a private, nonprofit evangelical Christian NAICU member that’s serving 12,500 post-grads online from Lynchburg, Virginia. The U.S. News honored Liberty for America’s 38th best online graduate criminal justice and 87th top online MSN programs. Accelerated, eight-week online courses lead to 138 master’s and doctoral degrees with credit for life experience. Fast options include the M.A. in Human Services Counseling, M.A. in Strategic Communication, and M.A. in History.
Graduate Tuition: $565-650 per hour
18. Southeast Missouri State University
Founded as the Third District Normal School in 1873, Southeast Missouri State University stands on 328 acres in Cape Girardeau to educate around 1,285 post-grads as a public, HLC-accredited regional institution. According to the U.S. News, SEMO hosts America’s 39th best online graduate criminal justice and 84th top online graduate teaching degrees. Through Moodle, accelerated courses lead to 17 master’s options 100 percent online. The M.A. Teacher Leadership, M.S. Technology Management, and M.S. Organizational Management require just 30 credits.
Graduate Tuition: $262-$490 per credit
19. University of Arkansas
Within the SEC Academic Initiative, the University of Arkansas enrolls 4,275 post-grad Razorbacks as a public, space-grant RU/VH institution located in Fayetteville that’s endowed for $948.6 million. The U.S. News recognized UA Online for America’s 40th best graduate engineering degrees and 47th top education programs. The Electronic Campus confers 21 online master’s offerings fast for 30-39 credits total. Speedy, non-thesis graduate degrees include the M.Ed. in Adult and Lifelong Learning, M.S. in Electrical Engineering, Advanced Standing MSW, and M.S. in Food Safety.
Graduate Tuition: $420-$1,464 per credit
20. Wright State University
Serving 4,168 post-grad Raiders in the Horizon League, Wright State University is a public, co-educational research hub endowed for $84.68 million and named for the Wright Brothers in Fairborn, Ohio. According to the U.S. News, Wright has America’s 43rd best online graduate teaching and 56th top online graduate engineering degrees. Online scholars select from 16 graduate programs using interactive video instruction. Fast Wright degrees include the M.Ed. in Educational Technology, M.S. in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and MSN in Nursing Education.
Graduate Tuition: $953-$1,060 per hour
21. Cleveland State University
Admitted to the Great Cities’ Universities Coalition, Cleveland State University is a public, co-educational research center endowed for $66.2 million to educate 4,800 post-grads and employ 1,000 staff from Ohio’s “Forest City.” The U.S. News congratulated CSU for America’s 47th top online MBA and 76th best online graduate nursing education. Post-bachelor’s study in 12 online programs takes only two to three semesters. Popular options include the Accelerated Master of Business Administration, M.S. in Health Sciences, and M.Ed. in Gifted and Talented Education.
Graduate Tuition: $531-$1,074 per credit
22. Marist College
Marist College is a private, nonprofit Catholic AAC&U member endowed for $220 million under President David N. Yellen’s leadership to educate 900 post-grads from Poughkeepsie, New York. The U.S. News lauded Marist for America’s 61st best online MBA program and 66th top online graduate business education. Logging into iLearn lets Marist Red Foxes finish eight online graduate options with fast, eight-week courses. In just 12 months full-time, students could pursue the M.A. in Communication, M.S. in Information Systems, M.A. in Educational Psychology, and more.
Graduate Tuition: $800 per credit
23. California Baptist University
Holding 10-year WASC accreditation, California Baptist University uses Blackboard and WebEx to educate around 9,150 Lancers at a distance from Riverside as a private, nonprofit Christian teaching institution. The U.S. News placed CBU as America’s 73rd best online graduate business and 95th top online MBA provider. Fourteen master’s programs are conducted online for average full-time completion in 12-16 months. The fastest graduate degrees are the M.S. in Accounting, M.S. in Kinesiology, M.A. in Organizational Leadership, and M.S.Ed. in Disability Studies.
Graduate Tuition: $563-$833 per credit
24. Campbellsville University
Operated by the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Campbellsville University is a private, nonprofit Christian liberal arts school led by President Michael V. Carter to educate 3,200 Tigers on-site in Taylor or LaRue counties and online. The U.S. News honored Campbellsville for America’s 74th best online graduate business and 92nd top online graduate teaching education. For standard completion in 12-18 months, Campbellsville confers 18 fast master’s options online with SACS approval. Consider the M.Ed. in Montessori Education, M.S. in Justice Studies, M.A. in Sport Management, and more.
Graduate Tuition: $399-$559 per hour
25. Brandman University
Boasting 100,000 alumni, including a PublicCEO Service to California Award winner, Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution in Irvine, California, that’s serving 6,000 post-grads yearly. The U.S. ranked Brandman for America’s 89th best online graduate business and 101st top online graduate education offerings. Following the Brandman iDEAL model, the School of Extended Education grants 29 WASC-accredited master’s degrees online fast. Programs like the MBA in e-Business Strategic Management, M.A.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction, and M.S. in Human Resources are finished in one year.
Graduate Tuition: $350-$620 per credit
26. Concordia University Wisconsin
Affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Concordia University Wisconsin enrolls 3,550 post-grad Falcons under President Patrick T. Ferry’s leadership as a private, nonprofit institution in Mequon. With an average class size of 18, CUW offers America’s 92nd best online graduate nursing and 95th top online graduate business degrees according to the U.S. News. The HLC-accredited college awards 42 master’s-level programs online with six-week Adult Accelerated courses. Available degrees include the Risk Assessment MBA, Environmental Studies M.S., and Early Childhood Education M.S.Ed.
Graduate Tuition: $585 per credit
27. Webster University
Split into five HLC-accredited colleges, Webster University is a private, nonprofit distance learning institution endowed for $111 million that’s attracting 22,000 students from 140 countries to its Webster Groves campus and online. The U.S. News applauded Webster for America’s 92nd best online graduate business and 149th top online graduate teaching education. Since 1999, the Online Learning Division has made 28 master’s degrees available 24/7. Fast, eight-week courses lead to the M.A. in Advertising, M.S. in Space Systems Operations, M.A. in Legal Studies, and more.
Graduate Tuition: $780 per hour
28. Lindenwood University
Established by George and Mary Easton Sibley in 1827, Lindenwood University is a private, nonprofit liberal arts MIAA member endowed for $143.4 million that’s serving 3,760 post-grad Lions from St. Charles, Missouri. The U.S. News honored Lindenwood for America’s 94th best online graduate business and 113th top online graduate education programs. Eight-week courses are available for 27 master’s options for completion in 12-18 months. Some of the fastest are the Accelerated MFA in Writing, MBA in Nonprofit Administration, and M.A. in Art History.
Graduate Tuition: $460 per credit
29. Troy University
Endowed for $85.53 million, Troy University is an Alabama public, co-educational ACHE member attracting 18,390 Trojans from 11 countries to study in Troy, Dothan, Montgomery, Phenix City, and online. The U.S. News ranked Troy for America’s 98th best online graduate business programming and 136th top online graduate degrees for teachers. Troy’s SACS-accredited education is accelerated on Blackboard for 40 online graduate offerings with 12-month, Fast Track availability. Consider pursuing the non-thesis M.S. in Strategic Communication, M.Ed. in Adult Education, M.S. in Social Science, and more.
Graduate Tuition: $494 per credit
30. Southern New Hampshire University
Sitting along the Merrimack River with 300 acres in Manchester, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonsectarian NEASC-accredited college led by President Paul J. LeBlanc to educate 17,450 post-grad Penmen. The U.S. News noted SNHU for America’s 98th best online graduate business degrees and 171st top online MBA. With six term start dates, students can finish SNHU’s 50+ master’s programs online in just 15 months. Some of the fastest options include the Accelerated MBA in Accounting, M.S. in Psychology, and M.S. in Data Analytics.
Graduate Tuition: $1,881 per course