A master’s degree program typically takes 2-5 years to complete depending on whether you’re a full-time or part-time student. But there’s greater flexibility in online master’s programs nowadays, with one-year programs being more popular among working professionals.
With online education becoming more popular, particularly among adult and non-traditional learners, these accelerated programs have truly established a firm footing!
Like their traditional counterparts with longer time-to-completion, one-year online master’s programs also require baccalaureate-level education, among other credentials. Students are also expected to apply higher cognitive skills, including:
- critical thinking,
- analytical thinking,
- problem-solving skills,
- and excellent communication skills.
Graduates leave the program with specialist knowledge and skills in their field of study and the ability to think independently and rigorously.
Earning a one-year master’s degree is as challenging as earning a two-year master’s degree because the academic and research demands are similar. The former may even be more selective in terms of admission requirements and more rigorous in its program of study due to its accelerated format. But the wide range of benefits, from increased earning potential and career advancement opportunities to awesome personal growth, are the same for both types.
How are one-year online master’s programs possible?
These programs are usually designed with a single calendar year or three terms in mind, the latter divided into the regular fall and spring terms plus one summer term. This is the typical program of study for accelerated programs with unique characteristics like lower credit requirements, higher course load per semester, and less flexibility in the choice of electives.
Most accelerated programs also require a minimum of years of work experience before applicants are accepted for matriculation. The work experience may or may not be evaluated for credits, but it’s a must-have prerequisite to demonstrate professional competence in a specialist discipline. Many programs also accept micro-credentials, such as professional-level certificates, which can be stacked toward the master’s degree.
20 Best Schools With 1-year Online Master’s Programs
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
UNC’s 12-month online Master of Business Administration program isn’t just an affordable and flexible program, but it’s also among the best online master’s programs in the country. Students complete 36 credit hours and can choose the Finance concentration to become specialists in the field. The core coursework covers managerial finance, accounting and marketing, and the fundamentals of international business. The Finance concentration courses tackle advanced concepts of portfolio diversification, optimal capital structure and modern investment theory.
The online Supply Chain Management concentration is also a 36-credit, 12-month program suitable for professionals interested in effectively and efficiently managing goods from production to consumption. The AACSB-accredited program offers other concentrations, including Financial Services, Business Analytics, and Forensic Accounting. The faculty members who teach these online MBA programs also teach the on-campus MBA programs, meaning the excellent quality of instruction is maintained.
University of Texas at Austin
UT Austin’s Master’s in Technology Commercialization program is unique because it’s at the intersection of business and technology! Students learn the best principles and practices in launching their business, including their innovative products and services, thus, enabling them to become better competitors. The curriculum emphasizes technology market research, technology creation, and technology entrepreneurship in a way that empowers students to bring their unique ideas more successfully into the market.
But it’s also a robust business curriculum that enables students to gain practical skill sets in business, from its development to its maturity. Students showcase their skill sets by presenting their final business plans to a panel of experts consisting of faculty members, venture capitalists, and business leaders. Many students have secured funding at this early stage, a testament to the excellent quality of education at McCombs School of Business!
Online students complete their graduate studies through online web conferencing but follow the rigorous on-campus curriculum.
University of Missouri St. Louis
The Master of Education in Elementary Education Early Childhood Emphasis program is a fully online program intended for educators, researchers and curriculum developers whose career trajectory includes specialization in early childhood education. This is a 33-hour program that can be completed in 12 months on a full-time course load.
The curriculum with this online master’s program includes five core curricular courses and six early childhood-centric courses, such as Organization and Development of Early Childhood Programs and Psychology of Early Childhood Development. Students gain the knowledge and skills in tackling the complex issues of early childhood learning processes.
Action research is emphasized as it’s crucial in improving practice in elementary education, including the development of technology for learning purposes. Students are encouraged to become advocates for social justice in their communities, broaden their horizons, and perhaps explore global opportunities.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University’s online Master of Business Administration program has a one-year time-to-completion that attracts professionals in various fields due to its outstanding quality of instruction.
Students at SNHU enjoy the flexibility of asynchronous classes while also thriving under the intensive program of study that puts their technical and transferable skills to the test. The learning outcomes include the effective analysis and interpretation of data in business decisions and the development and implementation of effective organizational strategies.
Students don’t just earn an MBA, as Southern New Hampshire University also offers recognized business credentials through certificates. SNHU offers 15+ concentrations, such as Business Analytics, Accounting, and Engineering Management. Every concentration’s curriculum emphasizes scenario-based learning that enables students to apply business principles to practice.
The best thing about this MBA degree is that its broad focus means the advanced principles and practices learned can be applied across industries. Graduates have successful careers in government, consulting, biotech, retail and manufacturing.
Colorado State University-Global Campus
CSU’s online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership has a short completion time of a little over a year due to its accelerated format. The six-week time-to-completion for each course means faster degree completion, but students must be prepared for rigorous studies commensurate with the fast pace.
Students, however, aren’t greenhorns with a minimum of five years of experience in organizational leadership, and they progress through the curriculum as a cohort. Their lessons in the virtual classroom are also immediately applicable in their organizations, thus, cementing the real-world value of their education.
The learning outcomes also reflect the curriculum’s contemporary design, such as developing strategies to enhance organizational capacity. Students also learn about adapting technology to their organization’s changing needs.
Aside from the five-year minimum professional leadership experience, applicants must also have at least a 3.25 undergraduate GPA. Statement of intent, recommendation letters, and a resume are also required.
The 30-credit-hour online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree at Lamar University is a 12-month program. The program’s students consist mainly of criminal justice professionals and law enforcement officers seeking career advancement in federal security agencies like the CIA and FBI.
Students must have a strong background in criminal justice through a relevant bachelor’s degree and work experience to maximize their learning potential. Applicants with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA are granted unconditional acceptance, while applicants with a lower GPA must submit additional requirements.
The program of study ensures that students gain specialist knowledge and skills in the US criminal justice system and its policies, crime control, including its theoretical foundations and practical applications, and justice leadership. The laws that apply to criminal justice, including homeland security, police and corrections, are also tackled. Students should develop their leadership skills in preparation for management roles.
Louisiana State University
Offered by LSU’s College of Business, the Master of Business Administration program consists of 30 credit hours and takes as little as ten months! Students, most of whom are working professionals, benefit from the flexibility of online courses, multiple start dates, and accelerated coursework. But the intensity of full-time studies means that it isn’t an easy degree to earn – students must be on full-time matriculation to complete the seven core courses and three electives on time.
The core courses help students obtain a solid foundation in financial and managerial accounting, economic analysis, and finance. Throughout the program, leadership skills are emphasized since students are already in leadership positions or aspiring to be in one.
Since the MBA program is in General Business, its real-world applications are broad, too, with graduates building successful careers in diverse industries from government to retail.
From Liberty University comes the Master of Medical Sciences – Public Health program that students can complete in one year, on average. The 34-credit program has a fully online format, with each course designed for completion in eight weeks, meaning students can focus their time on a few courses each term. Students may also request for transfer of credits from previous graduate work and other sources up to 50% of the total required credits.
Students satisfy their keen interest in medical research and its applications in public health through intensive coursework, including Principles of Community Health, Politics and Health Policy, and Biostatistics. Technical skills in these areas are acquired while critical thinking, analytical thinking and communication skills are encouraged. Liberty is a Christian university, and, thus, its programs are designed with a biblical worldview that emphasizes ethical leadership.
Saint Leo University
Students in SLU’s Master of Social Work program must be enrolled full-time and in advanced standing to earn the degree in 12 months. The four-semester program can be started during the summer term, with students earning 32 credit hours during its entirety. Advanced standing means the student must have a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a CSWE-accredited program, among other admission requirements.
Students progress as a cohort since the curriculum has a sequential design. While most courses are conducted online, there’s an on-campus weekend seminar. Students learn about the best social work practices in diverse settings, including the military, couples and family clinical practices, and ethics and leadership in social work. There’s also an emphasis on psychopathology, research and social and economic justice.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
TAMU’s online Master of Business Administration program consists of 20 courses equivalent to 30 credit hours. These include ten core courses, eight advanced business administration courses, and two elective courses, meaning students get the full depth and breadth of a world-class MBA education. Students also engage in cutting-edge research alongside their peers and faculty members and benefit from credentialed professors’ exceptional quality of instruction.
The MBA program empowers students to provide effective leadership for diverse teams, particularly collaborative problem-solving scenarios. Their ability to use decision-making tools based on analysis and logic is their edge among fellow MBA holders, while their communication skills are at par with the best. Ethics and governance are also emphasized as must-have skills.
Marist’s Master of Science in Information Systems program offers three concentrations, with each option consisting of 36 credit hours. The distinct curricula share core courses but different concentration courses, and students choose from several elective courses to diversify their degrees. Admission is highly selective, with applicants evaluated on their academic performance and potential, research interests, and community involvement.
The Computer Networks and Security concentration strengthens the students’ capabilities in designing, investigating, and implementing network and security technologies. Their skills are developed in the virtual classroom and networking labs. The Business Analytics track prepares students for successful careers as data architects, business analysts, business analytics managers, even Chief Data Officers. Students learn about advanced tools and techniques in data access, manipulation and analysis.
The Information Systems Management (ISM) track has practical business and workplace applications that lead toward successful careers as project managers, systems analysts, and information systems managers. Many students have become Chief Information Officers, too.
Marist has a long-standing, exclusive partnership with IBM that, among other benefits, provides students with direct access to state-of-the-art facilities.
Auburn’s Harbert College of Business offers among the best online Master of Accountancy programs that welcomes applicants with and without an undergraduate accounting degree. The online program also features the same faculty members, quality of instruction and curriculum as the on-campus program; both are AACSB-accredited. Students not only prepare for success in the CPA exam but also develop their research and transferable skills.
Students must be engaged in the program full-time to earn the degree in 12 months. The coursework includes intermediate accounting, advanced accounting topics, and auditing and assurance services. The traditional option consists of 30 semester hours and accepts students with an undergraduate accounting degree. Students must attend one 3-day on-campus residency.
Full-time students of the online Master of Business Administration program complete it in one year and earn between 30 and 39 credit hours. Each course is designed for completion in seven weeks, and the sequence of courses and quality of instruction is the same as the on-campus MBA program. Students can apply for transfer of credits, too, of up to six credits, and the coursework includes interdisciplinary and capstone courses.
The ACBSP-accredited program features credentialed professors committed to their student’s academic success. Alvernia ensures that graduate students receive dedicated counseling and advising services and valuable industry connections that pave the way for career advancement.
Students also benefit from the collaborative learning environment and practice-based experiences that transcend the limitations of an online format. Graduates become proficient in business administration in both for-profit and non-profit organizations with this MBA program.
Texas State University
The interdisciplinary Master of Science Major in Dementia and Aging Studies with a concentration in Dementia and Long Term Care program combines coursework from four different schools within Texas State. With its mother unit being the Department of Sociology, its curriculum has courses from the School of Social Work, School of Health Administration, and Department of Communication Studies. This is a 36-semester hours program that can be completed with full-time studies in a little over a year.
Students learn the best practices in adopting the social model of care approach to become leaders in extended living environments and other workplaces. The coursework reflects the approach with courses in dementia studies, dementia and caregiving, and dementia’s social psychology. Aside from standard assessment tools, a written comprehensive exam that highlights the students’ learning is a graduation requirement.
California Baptist University
The Master of Public Administration – California Baptist University Online program is a sought-after degree in public service with high organizational and societal value. Students prepare for leadership positions in public administration at the local, state and federal levels, even in non-profit organizations with a public service mission. The average time-to-completion for full-time students is 12 months, with students earning 36 credits.
Transferable skills are given as much emphasis as technical skills in public administration, and these soft skills include team development, decision-making and critical thinking. Theories are first learned before these are applied to practice, usually in the organizations that the students are already a part of.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in any relevant field, a 2.75 minimum GPA, and sealed official transcripts. Five years of leadership experience is an admission requirement in managerial and similar positions.
California Baptist University also offers online master’s degree programs in Accounting, Communication, and Counseling Technology and several concentrations in Master’s in Education.
Arkansas State University
AState’s Master of Engineering Management program attracts high-achieving engineers in management positions and ambitions for further career advancement. The program is also designed for engineering professionals whose states require 30 credit hours of a graduate degree to meet licensure requirements.
Offered at the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the fully online master program consists of 10 courses, with the typical course length being seven weeks. Students aren’t required to submit a graduate thesis, thus, making the degree among the best practice-based degrees in engineering management.
Students learn technical skills, including identifying issues, evaluating solutions, and resolving technical problems. Transferable skills are developed along the way, with communication and collaboration skills taking center and leadership capabilities that apply to diverse situations.
Central Washington University
Graduates possessing the Master of Science in Information Technology and Administrative Management degree from CWU agree that it’s a competitive edge in their careers. Combining sophisticated skill sets in these areas of study means being more qualified for diverse leadership positions in the private and public sectors. Leadership, entrepreneurship and communications are just a few of the skills learned in the 28-credit program.
Students choose four concentrations – Administrative Management, Information Technology, Cybersecurity Management, and Structures of Data Analytics for IT Managers. CWU ensures its students’ academic success through Learning Supporters that provide useful information and academic guidance, while financial aid options make it an affordable online master degree.
Fontbonne’s Master of Arts in Education online program consists of 33 credit hours and has accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. With its flexible online coursework, it’s a popular choice among practicing educators and leaders in the education industry. Aside from its reasonable tuition structure, Fontbonne makes it more affordable for students to earn the degree through a 15% discount to eligible educators.
Students choose from these concentrations:
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Diverse Learners
- Early Childhood
- Special Education
The Master of Science in Athletic Leadership offered online at Castleton University specifically targeted current and aspiring coaches and athletic leaders. Many students are already in supervisory positions in secondary and post-secondary athletic departments and similar organizations. But their jobs require advanced applied training in athletic leadership, thus, their participation in the graduate program.
The fully online master program consists of 30 credit hours divided into six core courses, two elective courses, and either a special project or an internship. The average time-to-completion is one year, but students can also take their time. A bachelor’s degree, a personal essay, a current résumé, and two letters of recommendation are used for evaluation.
Stetson’s Master of Accountancy program is a short-term one-year program that prepares students for long-term success as CPAs and other related occupations. The program has both asynchronous coursework and live online faculty lectures and other interactions; on-campus visits are non-existent. The accelerated program features ten five-week online courses that encourage students to commit full-time to their studies.
Students may acquire specialist skills by enrolling in the Data Analytics track, which consists of three concentration courses and the core and elective coursework. Stetson has an exceptional reputation in the uniform CPA exam and high graduate placement.
Enjoy the Benefits of a Master’s Degree
Whether you earn a master’s degree in one year or five years is less important than the specialist knowledge and skills you learned and how you leveraged them in your life! Earning a one-year online master’s degree brings the same benefits as a two-year degree. Many employers may even appreciate that you earned a one-year advanced degree because it demonstrates your extraordinary drive, skill and intelligence!
Among these benefits are:
- Increased earning potential
- Improved career advancement opportunities
- Gain specialist knowledge and skills, including research skillsets
- Satisfy your passion for lifelong learning (before the next itch for another master’s degree or a doctorate comes)
- Build your personal and professional networks
- Change careers or jobs
But you must also be aware of the disadvantages of one-year online master’s degree programs to set realistic expectations. These programs are likely to have a more rigorous program of study. This is not only due to their accelerated format but also because of the expectation that students have ample work and life experiences. You must then have strong time management skills and a higher drive and determination to survive.
Great Reasons To Pursue A 1-year Online Master’s Degree
Despite the pandemic challenges, there has been an increase in graduate enrollment in the United States in the Fall 2019-2020 period! It’s safe to conclude that the benefits of 1-year online master’s programs contributed to it, perhaps even among its strongest drivers.
Earn Your Graduate Degree Sooner
Undoubtedly, the most compelling reason individuals choose one-year online master’s programs is their quick time to completion. You will only spend 12 months in a rigorous program that will challenge your physical and mental stamina and strain your finances. You may find an accelerated 12-month program more rigorous than a 24-month or 36-month program, but going through the wringer will be worth it.
Furthermore, a shorter time to completion means leveraging your master’s degree sooner! You can start a business, apply for management positions, or conduct your research immediately after earning your master’s degree. You will also have more quality time spent with your family instead of waiting for another 1-2 years.
Enjoy Flexible Learning
Like the typical two-year online master’s degree programs, one-year online programs also offer asynchronous learning options that provide greater flexibility. You can log in to your student account, browse the learning materials and assignments, and watch the recorded lectures in your own space, time and pace. However, you must submit assignments based on set deadlines, but you can work on them at your convenience.
Such flexibility makes online learning attractive to working professionals, adult learners, and non-traditional students whose daily schedules don’t allow for set log-in times. But it doesn’t mean that you can be complacent, lazy and lenient in your studies either! The best one-year master’s degree programs have high academic standards that students must comply with to maintain their good standing.
But there are also synchronous aspects to these programs! You may be required to participate in live classes and discussion forums with scheduled log-in times. An online accelerated master’s program also may have on-campus components, such as a day-long orientation, in-person thesis oral presentation and defense, and meetings with professors.
Even with these in-person components, however, you still have the opportunity to enjoy a better work-life-studies balance than in an on-campus program! The trick is in adopting effective time management techniques, such as setting a daily schedule and organizing your study periods.
Spend Less on Tuition and Other Fees
While the actual cost of attendance will vary depending on the school, program and specialization, the average cost for a two-year master’s degree is $66,340. This means students in one-year online master’s programs may spend $33,000+ on average if they earn their degrees within the allotted time. Regardless of your cost of attendance, it’s undeniable that being a student in these programs can mean a lesser financial burden.
You may not have to take out graduate loans from the federal government and private lenders! You can save money for the tuition and other fees before enrolling in one of these programs. Search and apply for scholarships for graduate students, meaning you may be able to finance your education nearly for free. You must also ask your employer about tuition support and, if you’re active military personnel or veteran or an eligible spouse/dependent, ask about military discounts.
Since you’re in an online program, there’s also the matter of less spending on transportation to and from school, separate room and board, and even books and supplies. The dollars can add up and be used to pay for your fees and other incidental and emergency expenses.
Learn With Experienced and Credentialed Faculty Members
The best online master’s degree programs have similar, if not the same, curriculum and learning outcomes as their on-campus counterparts. These online programs also have high academic standards and quality of instruction adopted by their faculty members, who have impressive resumes. Their credentials usually include a doctorate and several years of relevant work experience, including advanced instruction and research in their field.
Since the main difference between online and on-campus one-year master’s degree programs are in their delivery, the diplomas issued to their graduates are the same. There are no indications of online education, such as the term “online” or “distance learning,” on the diplomas and, thus, prospective employers won’t know the difference.
What To Expect From A 1-year Online Master’s Degree Program
Among the best things about these accelerated online master’s programs is the newness of the learning experience, particularly if you’ve only experienced in-person classes. But there’s more to online programs, too, which cements their position in graduate education.
Productive Peer-to-Peer Interactions
Online programs may or may not have in-person sessions, but it’s also proven that students enjoy meaningful, plentiful and productive interactions with each other through technology! Their interactions occur through video conferences, real-time chats and emails, and synchronous classes. Their frequency and type of collaborations vary widely depending on the program requirements, but it must also be said that these interactions are maximized.
Group work is of particular importance among online graduate students for many reasons. Not only are these crucial for meeting degree requirements, such as combined research work and coursework, but these are opportunities for socialization and networking. The interactions may be entirely online or virtual and in-person meetings, but the same results.
The group work will take many forms, too, with each form intended to promote collaborative learning, among other purposes. You and a classmate, for example, may create opposing arguments about a specific topic and then write a joint paper. Other examples include investigative projects and the design and development of prototypes.
However, students must remember that group work can swing either way – be a success or be a failure depending on each student’s willingness to contribute. Be sure to have a purpose for the group work before making plans and setting goals.
Extensive Instructor Interaction
The best online graduate degree programs allow students to communicate and interact with their professors. Many even allow online students to make on-campus visits, usually by appointment, making in-person interactions in an otherwise completely online program possible.
Online class lectures through live streaming are the typical method of student-professor interactions. These lectures can be conducted over Zoom/Google Meet or live recordings of on-campus lectures in real-time. The latter is proof that online programs have the same quality of instruction and faculty as their on-campus counterparts.
Discussion boards are also common venues for student-professor interactions, although the extent to which professors and programs use these varies. These are social network forums where students and professors generate and exchange information, express their opinions about issues presented, and even implement ideas. Since a discussion board can be set up around a specific topic, it can be used for varying periods, from a couple of weeks to an entire semester.
Wide Range of Assessments
Graduate school is more about the ideas generated and exchanged and less about grades. This is highlighted by the core importance of your master’s thesis, an original research paper in your field of study. You can’t earn your master’s degree until you have satisfied its rigorous requirements, from the proposal to the oral defense before a panel.
But a graduate degree is still a formal education, and thus, there’s a wide range of familiar assessment tools. Assignments and homework are common in graduate school, too, which enables students to stay on track with their studies and allows professors to determine their progress. These are also designed to provide students with peer-to-peer interactions and opportunities for practical applications.
Online tests and exams are used for assessing the students’ progress in their independent studies. But these tend to be less frequent, shorter in length, and more about open-ended questions than their on-campus counterparts. Multiple choice questions are less common since graduate students are expected to possess advanced-level thinking skills that transcend these tests.
Don’t even think about cheating not only because it can result in dismissal from the program but also because online exams can be proctored. Online proctored exams are timed and combined with proctoring software for monitoring your computer’s activities. A webcam with audio capabilities is also used for this purpose.
Online presentations can be as nerve-wracking as in-person presentations, but these are crucial in polishing your communication skills. These may be presented in real-time or pre-recorded, but the standards of excellence are the same, meaning ample preparation and practice are a must.
Of course, all online master’s degree programs are characterized by self-paced learning. Many programs combine asynchronous and synchronous formats, usually 80-20 in ratio, meaning you have to set your learning schedule.
Laboratory work is also required in many programs, particularly in STEM fields. You may be required to perform on-campus lab work, but it’s also possible to perform virtual lab work.
However, internship and practicum requirements require in-person interactions and physical presence on site. But graduate students are usually allowed to find companies and organizations closer to home, thus, lessening the time and money commitments.
Making the Right Choice
Due to the significant investments in time, effort and money, you must be careful about choosing the best one-year online master’s degree program! You can’t afford to pursue a master’s degree because of its benefits, but you cannot afford to choose a scam program either. Here are five crucial factors when considering accelerated master’s degree programs and making your final choice.
Accreditation and Credibility
Accreditation is the first aspect you should look for in a post-secondary institution offering online graduate programs. Regional accreditation is preferred over national accreditation for colleges and universities, while programmatic accreditation for specific fields of study is also recommended. You can check for accreditation via the school’s official website and then verify with the specific regional accreditation agency’s roster of schools.
But be sure to look beyond the accreditation, too, since the quality of your graduate education will also depend on other factors. You should pay attention to the school’s rankings, awards and overall reputation in terms of academic excellence, student support services and faculty credentials. With the Internet, it’s an easier task since reviews and rankings are available and accessible, not to mention that you can ask your network about their experiences with online graduate programs.
Faculty Credentials and Support
While graduate school emphasizes independent study, the level of faculty support also matters in students’ academic success. Faculty members should ideally optimize learning experiences and opportunities for their students, from delivering exceptional lectures and challenging exams to providing mentorship services. The best professors know that their primary duty lies in providing students with excellent learning materials and letting them discover without spoon-feeding them.
While the online format has its limitations, it has its possibilities, too, that on-campus learning doesn’t offer for both students and professors. Students, for example, can leave messages on their professors’ emails without disturbing their sleep or reply to discussion boards on their own time.
Faculty credentials are just as important as professors sharing their knowledge and skills with students. Most, if not all, professors should have terminal degrees (e.g., doctorates) and professional certifications and years of teaching experience. Check the research outputs of professors if you’re planning on making your master’s degree a stepping stone toward a research-centric doctorate.
Student-Centric Learning Experiences
Online education students benefit from independent study and flexibility. You may, for example, struggle with learning the subject matter because you’re a hands-on learner with a preference for on-campus experiences. You may also have difficulties staying focused because of the absence of structured daily or weekly schedules.
Fortunately, the best programs offer students exceptional student-centric learning opportunities that overcome these unique challenges. The wide range of excellent student support services is among the opportunities you should look for when considering online graduate programs.
These should include:
- library services,
- tutorial and writing services,
- mental health and counseling services,
- academic advising and mentoring,
- and tech support services.
Flexible Format of Online Programs
The flexibility of scheduling is among your primary reasons for choosing online graduate education, so choosing a program that offers maximum flexibility makes sense. Even with synchronous classes, you should still maintain a good work-life-studies balance since most of the program has an asynchronous format. You will then be able to complete assignments, watch recorded lectures and perform other study-related tasks based on your convenient time and pace.
The best online graduate degree programs should provide students with depth and breadth of networking opportunities like their on-campus counterparts! You and your peers must be able to establish personal connections and professional networks not just with each other but with faculty and alumni.
You should also make the effort of socializing with your peers and professors since it comes with many benefits, not to mention that isolation can mean missing out on beautiful experiences.
Look for resources that the program provides for socialization and networking. These can be group chats, social media groups, and in-person meetings.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes accelerated online master’s programs flexible?
These are designed to quickly complete a series of courses each term, usually between five and eight weeks only. In contrast, traditional online master’s degree programs have 16-week semesters. With students allowed to take 2-3 courses each term, including the summer session, the one-year program of study makes sense.
But with the accelerated format comes the more intense academic demands! You may have to lessen your workload or find creative ways to fit more hours into your day. However, you need to complete a minimum number of courses, but you should ask for specific rules about the required course load for every term.
What are the typical admission requirements of online programs?
The admission requirements for one-year online master’s degree programs are similar to their traditional on-campus and online counterparts, with 2-3 years time-to-completion. These include:
- Bachelor’s degree (from a regionally accredited school)
- Standardized test scores GRE, GMAT or LSAT with minimum scores for specific sections (Note that many graduate programs have suspended test scores or made them optional)
- Letters of recommendation from various sources, such as their current and past employers, professors and academic advisors, and community leaders
- Official transcripts from all schools attended
- Professional certificates and other types of micro-credentials since these can be converted into transferable credits
- Resume with current information about education and work
- Personal statement of purpose and other essays
As previously mentioned, accelerated programs typically have additional work requirements for admission purposes. MBA programs, for example, require applicants to possess between four and five years of post-undergraduate work experience. Executive MBA programs, designed for senior executives, require more than ten years in a management position.
Are accelerated online master’s degree programs cheaper?
Yes, but the real money-savers are the less time you will spend commuting to and from classes and more time you can spend with your family, work and hobbies. You will also save time in your professional career with the time spent on your graduate studies cut in half. These are savings that will add over time, too.
What are the funding sources for your online education?
Online graduate students can apply for the same funding opportunities as their on-campus counterparts! While there may be specific scholarships for on-campus students, most scholarship programs are designed for online and on-campus students.
Filing the FAFSA for federal aid opportunities, including grants, work-study, and loans, has to be your first step. Many universities use the FAFSA, too, in determining eligibility for need-based scholarships. Merit-based scholarships and fellowships are also available, but these can be extremely selective due to their limited number of awards.
Check out employer tuition support payments and military benefits, too. When combined with federal, state and institutional aid, the free money adds up, and you may earn your degree with little to zero debt!
Are online master’s degrees acceptable to employers?
Yes, of course, these are accepted and recognized by employers, but the importance of accreditation and the overall reputation of the university matters!
- One-year online master’s programs/degrees are now widely accepted and recognized by educational institutions, industries and the government.
- Flexibility, affordability and excellent quality of instruction of online programs are among the great features that ensure these programs are here to stay.