2021 Best Online Master's Programs

Online Master's Degrees with the Highest Return on Investment

By Diana Zaremba | Updated November 6, 2020

Using student salary and debt data from the government, we have developed the first online master's program rankings that showcase the online colleges and universities with the best return on investment (ROI). We calculated an ROI percentile for each online master's degree program by comparing the 10-year ROI value against the average for similar programs. We ranked the schools with the highest average percentile scores that offered online programs at the master's degree level in at least three different subject areas. The highest-ranked schools typically offered online master’s programs in business, computer science, and education.

View our methodology for more details. We’ve also published an appendix that lists all of the program salaries and debt figures for these ranked schools.

Popular Online Master's Programs

Students pursuing an accredited online master's program can browse our thorough list of options, including 579 colleges and 17,153 degree programs. The following comprehensive list of online master's programs includes accredited programs in fields like accounting, computer science, healthcare administration, management, nursing, and nutrition, and outlines how many online programs are available in each field of study.

Best Online Master's Programs Highlights

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Master's Degrees

How long does it take to complete a master’s degree program?

On average, it will take graduate students one to two years to complete a master’s program. This may vary depending on whether the student enrolls on a part- or full-time basis and the number of transfer credits applied to the program.

Should I get a master’s degree?

Getting a master’s degree is a significant time and financial investment. Many people pursue graduate degrees to increase their earning potential or broaden their career opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified the career fields where workers earn more with a master’s degree than a bachelor’s degree. These fields are business, education, healthcare and social services, and STEM.

What are the benefits of earning a master’s degree online rather than in person?

Working adults with busy schedules may find it more convenient to complete a master's degree online than in person. Most online master’s degree programs offer asynchronous learning options so that students can log in to their classes to watch lectures and work on assignments when convenient. Examples of online education programs at the master's level include online MBA programs, programs in the health sciences, and human resource management master’s degrees. Earning a degree online leads to the same personal and professional benefits as earning a master's degree in person, but often at a lower cost and with increased flexibility.

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