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Best Value Online Master’s Programs

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Online Master’s Degrees

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Online master’s programs prepare students to change or advance their careers. Some programs seek applicants with specific bachelor’s degrees or work experience, while others accept college graduates from all backgrounds.

Online master’s programs offer advanced coursework and training in disciplines like business, education, psychology, and computer science. An online master’s degree can open the door to higher pay and greater responsibilities in many fields.

The flexibility of earning a master’s degree online allows students to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Many online programs allow students to view lectures, participate in discussions, and complete assignments on their own schedule. Master’s degrees often require capstone projects, comprehensive exams, or thesis papers to demonstrate student mastery of the subject matter.

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

This guide ranks the best value online master’s programs to help students find the right program for their needs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, including common requirements, concentrations, and scholarships.

Top 25 Best Value Online Master’s Program

  1. Logan University
    Location

    Chesterfield, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Chesterfield, Missouri-based Logan tailors its online master's programs to meet the continuing education needs of healthcare professionals. Logan offers online master's programs for nutrition and human performance, sports science and rehabilitation, and health informatics. Courses follow a 15-week semester format with three terms each year. Rolling admissions allow students to begin coursework at their convenience.

    Logan ensures that learners complete comprehensive clinical education as needed. The school maintains partnerships with community health centers, veterans affairs facilities, and regional universities to provide opportunities for internships and clinical programs.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Specific requirements vary by degree. The university accepts transfer credit, but students must complete 30% of their degree at Logan.

  2. John F. Kennedy University
    Location

    Pleasant Hill, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    JFKU in Pleasant Hill, California, offers flexible online master's degrees that allow students to progress at their own pace. Learners can choose degrees in sport psychology, business administration, or consciousness and transformative studies.

    The MBA program begins with an assessment of students' skills and competencies. Courses incorporate free resources such as digital textbooks and instructor-curated videos. Degree-seekers work through each unit and take their final exam. They can then move on to the next course. Students pay a flat rate each term.

    JFKU uses a cohort model for its sport psychology and consciousness and transformative studies degrees. The semester-based courses incorporate lectures, scheduled testing, project deadlines, and regular instructor meetings. The school includes fieldwork and hands-on learning with internships. Learners pay a per-credit tuition.

    Students need a bachelor's degree to apply for a master's program. Some programs include course prerequisites. JFKU accepts up to six transfer credits from other universities.

  3. Western Governors University
    Location

    Salt Lake City, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    WGU, a private, nonprofit university based in Salt Lake City, offers online master's programs in high-demand fields such as computer science, healthcare, and business. WGU's competency-based educational model focuses on skill attainment and mastery of concepts rather than time in class. Because of this, students can move through the curriculum at their own pace.

    WGU works with leaders in each field to develop curriculum, ensuring students focus on the skills employers need. The school's information technology department embeds industry-recognized certifications throughout its curriculum.

    Requirements vary by program, such as three years of work experience for the MBA program, a valid nursing license for nursing programs, and teaching experience for education degrees. New students can start the first of each month. WGU offers flat-rate tuition every six months.

    Degree-seekers work closely with faculty, evaluators, and program mentors. The school also provides e-textbooks, tutorials, and simulations. Students can pursue financial aid, including generous institutional scholarships.

  4. Texas Woman's University
    Location

    Denton, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Online master's programs in education, healthcare, and business carry forward TWU's mission. The public university in Denton continues to help Texas and the broader community meet the need for more teachers and leads the state in preparing healthcare professionals for work.

    Founded in 1901 as the Girls Industrial College, TWU welcomed men beginning in 1972. Today, the school offers more than 20 fully online master's degrees, with 14 more hybrid programs that blend online and on-campus learning.

    Online learners use Canvas to access course materials. Most classes feature flexible, asynchronous scheduling. Faculty incorporate interactive activities that encourage class discussion and collaboration. Online students can access a variety of student resources, including the TWU library, career services, and academic counseling.

    Applicants need a 3.0 GPA or higher in their bachelor's program. Students who do not meet this requirement can supplement their application with standardized test scores.

  5. University of Illinois at Springfield
    Location

    Springfield, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Program coordinators help students navigate the more than 50 online programs at UIS. The school offers master's degrees in several areas, including computer science, data analytics, education, and environmental studies.

    Online classes include both asynchronous courses and scheduled classes. Faculty use interactive technology to engage students and promote teamwork and collaboration. The Blackboard learning management system hosts course content. The school supports online learners with a variety of support services, such as research assistance.

    Admission requirements vary by department, but typically students need a 2.7 undergraduate GPA and relevant coursework. Some programs may require specific work or licensing requirements, particularly education. UIS offers a special e-tuition rate for online students, including out-of-state enrollees.

  6. Arizona State University-Online
    Location

    Scottsdale, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    ASU online graduate students can complete more than 60 fully online degrees in 18-24 months. Learners can earn an online master's in areas such as business, education, engineering, and law. The school's highly qualified faculty conduct classes asynchronously.

    ASU welcomes students with a bachelor's degree and a 3.0 GPA or higher in the final 60 credits. Some programs may also require entrance exams from the GMAT or GRE, recommendation letters, and a resume. Applicants work closely with a student success coach throughout the application process and once enrolled.

    ASU ensures that online students can access resources such as journals, e-books, and research databases. Career and professional development services help degree-seekers hone their job search skills. Online learners can also explore study-abroad opportunities.

  7. Bellevue University
    Location

    Bellevue, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Private, nonprofit BU in Bellevue, Nebraska, emphasizes Real Mastery of academic concepts throughout its 29 online graduate programs. Faculty connect the fundamental concepts of each class to real-world situations.

    Graduate programs include traditional semester-based calendars and cohort-based options. Learners can study education, cybersecurity, criminal justice, and human services. The business administration program features 19 concentrations that allow students to tailor their degree to their goals. Most programs feature asynchronous courses with mobile connectivity.

    BU ensures that online learners enjoy access to and interaction with faculty by capping enrollment at 24 students per class. Online learners gain access to tech support and library resources and can communicate with classmates through online forums.

    Admission requirements vary by program, but graduate students typically need a bachelor's degree and a 2.5 GPA. Most degrees require 30 credits.

  8. Louisiana State University-Shreveport
    Location

    Shreveport, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    LSUS offers online master's degrees in accelerated options that often only require 10 months to complete. Online students pay in-state tuition regardless of their state of residency.

    The school offers 19 online master's programs in areas including education, healthcare administration, and nonprofit administration. The business program offers specializations in high-demand fields such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and international business. Master's programs require learners to complete a thesis or capstone project.

    LSUS forms a part of the Louisiana State University System, based in Shreveport. The school's online programs run asynchronously, with online learners working closely with a personal advisor throughout their enrollment. About 80% of graduate faculty hold a terminal degree in their field, and many bring relevant industry experience to their classrooms.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited university with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Some programs may also require prerequisite courses, entrance exams, certification, or licensure. Degree-seekers may transfer up to six graduate credits.

  9. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
    Location

    Lubbock, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Individuals interested in advancing their healthcare careers can explore online master's programs at TTUHSC. The public university offers graduate degrees in nursing, public health, healthcare administration, and counseling. The school meets Texas licensing requirements, but out-of-state students should verify their state's educational standards before enrolling.

    TTUHSC, a member of the Texas Tech University System, includes five schools focused on preparing medical professionals in Texas. The school serves about 5,000 students each year, with approximately 2,400 using the online, flexible learning options. While most coursework occurs online, students may need to visit the Lubbock campus to complete some short-term residencies.

    Online learners enjoy access to a variety of reference and academic tools. Each school maintains a library with degree-specific resources and guides. Tech support helps students stay connected to their courses and colleagues.

    In addition to healthcare education, TTUHSC also promotes research and public health through numerous institutes housed on campus, including rural health, mental health, addictive diseases, and aging.

  10. University of Houston-Victoria
    Location

    Victoria, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UHV continues its commitment to accessible and affordable educational opportunities with a variety of fully online graduate degrees. The public university centrally located within the Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi area serves students seeking degrees in education, psychology, computer information, and biomedical sciences through asynchronous online programs.

    The school serves approximately 4,500 students each year on campus and online. Small classes allow for more personal student-to-faculty interaction. Most master's programs require 30-36 credits. Learners can often select a specialization, such as forensic psychology or economic development.

    UHV requires a 3.0 GPA in an accredited bachelor's degree for full admission but may consider students with lower grades based on prerequisite coursework and entrance exams. The school allows learners to begin working on their degree while completing their graduate school application through the temporary graduate program. UHV limits students to six credits before being formally admitted.


  • Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools


    At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs.
    We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.

    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 25%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 35%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 10%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 15%

    You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page.


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Best Value Online Master’s Overview

College graduates aiming to change jobs or advance their current career can benefit from earning a master’s degree online. Online programs are often more affordable and flexible than traditional, on-campus programs while offering the same high-quality education. Online students save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and transportation costs. Additionally, many programs allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of where they live.

The flexibility of online learning also allows students to balance school with work, family, and other obligations. Many schools design online programs with working professionals in mind, offering accelerated, full-time, and part-time options.

Graduates with a master’s degree enjoy strong job prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2017, master’s degree-holders earned 19% more per week, on average, than workers with only a bachelor’s degree. They also benefited from a lower unemployment rate.

Online master’s degrees offer advanced training in many fields, including education, business, healthcare, engineering, and information technology. Graduate learners interested in business can pursue degrees in areas like finance, accounting, business administration, and nonprofit management. Healthcare, education, and social services students can choose from degrees in teaching, school counseling, public health, nursing, and social work. Depending on the program, graduates may qualify for professional licensure or certification.

Courses in Criminal Justice Programs

The curricula of criminal justice programs vary by institution. Some schools offer broad undergraduate criminal justice programs that allow students to explore a variety of prospective career paths. Learners in these programs typically choose a concentration area to study during their junior and senior years.

Students should examine each prospective program’s curriculum to ensure the available courses align with their career aspirations. The foundational courses below are common to many programs from the best criminal justice colleges.

Online Master’s Courses

  • LEADERSHIP Many graduate programs include one or more courses in leadership. Such courses aim to prepare graduates for leadership positions in specific fields, such as business or education. Course topics may include ethics, strategic planning, innovation, organizational behavior, and diversity. Students may explore case studies and apply leadership skills, such as negotiation and motivation, to real-world scenarios. Some courses may include mentorship or fieldwork opportunities.
  • STATISTICS Online master’s programs typically require one or more courses in research methods or quantitative analysis. Students learn the statistical methods needed to conduct research and complete data analysis in their field. Learners may study appropriate uses of statistical techniques, the functions of statistical methods, and methods for interpreting data and research findings. Some programs require a final thesis or research project.
  • COMMUNICATIONS Master’s programs may require one or more courses in communications with an emphasis on the specific skills and strategies needed in a particular field. Students learn how to use communication skills to enhance teamwork, cross-cultural understanding, and customer relationships. Students practice using skills and techniques through social media, public speaking, and writing.
  • HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Many programs in the social sciences, human services, healthcare, and education include one or more courses in human growth and development. Some courses may emphasize a particular age group, such as children or the elderly. Learners study past and current theories of development and explore the impact of family, culture, and trauma on human development.
  • PUBLIC POLICY Many master’s programs include courses on governmental laws, regulations, and policies relevant to a particular area of study. Public policy courses explore relevant legislative and regulatory processes, key stakeholders in the policymaking process, and current laws and regulations. Students learn how to interpret, implement, and impact policy at the local, state, and federal levels.

Online Master’s Program Concentrations

Master’s degree concentrations allow students to prepare for specific jobs through advanced coursework in a specialization area. Graduate students earning an online master’s in business, for example, can often concentrate in areas such as operations, corporate finance, or nonprofit management.

Some concentrations require internships or other field experiences that online students can often complete at an approved local site. Hands-on projects and supervised work prepare graduates for employment and advanced practice in their chosen field. Education students may complete student teaching experiences, while counselors, social workers, and therapists may complete supervised practice with clients as part of their master’s program. Students should seek programs that offer concentrations aligned with their interests and career goals.

Online Master’s Program Requirements

Applicants to online master’s programs typically need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Some graduate programs may require a minimum GPA in undergraduate coursework. Programs may also require an undergraduate major in a field related to the master’s program or completion of prerequisite undergraduate courses.

Additional application requirements may include GRE, GMAT, or other standardized test scores. Applicants to online master’s programs may also need to submit a personal statement, an essay, letters of recommendation, or a resume or CV.

Online Master’s Program Scholarships

Forté MBA Fellowship

Forté offers fellowships for women pursuing full-time, part-time, or executive MBAs at partner business schools. Students apply through their business school. Forté encourages schools to select fellows from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate leadership and a commitment to women and girls. Forté Fellows may participate in conferences and other networking opportunities as part of the program.
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AAUW Career Development Grants

The American Association of University Women offers $2,000-$12,000 grants to female college graduates seeking their first graduate degree or specialized training beyond a bachelor’s degree. The program aims to assist women seeking to change careers, advance their careers, or enter nontraditional fields. Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation, a resume, narratives, and a budget by the November deadline.
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Beinecke Scholarship

The Sperry Fund offers up to 20 scholarships to promising college juniors each year to help cover the costs of research-based graduate study in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Scholars receive $4,000 before entering graduate school and $30,000 while in graduate school. Interested students with a demonstrated history of academic promise and financial need should contact their campus liaison to apply.
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Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Graduate students of Hispanic heritage may apply for an HSF scholarship. Awards range from $500-$5,000, based on financial need. Interested students from any field with a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA who are planning to enroll full time in graduate school may apply, although students in STEM fields are preferred. Applicants must complete the FAFSA or a state-based financial aid application.
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Additional Resources

Use articles and resources to uncover answers to common questions, get guidance on your goals, and learn about applying to schools.


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