Are Online Masters Degrees Respected?

Written by Grad School Center Team We are a passionate team of experienced educators and advisors at, dedicated to guiding students through their graduate education journey. Our experts, with advanced degrees across various disciplines, offer personalized advice, up-to-date program information, and practical insights into application processes.

Reviewed by David Krug David Krug is a seasoned expert with 20 years in educational technology (EdTech). His career spans the pivotal years of technology integration in education, where he has played a key role in advancing student-centric learning solutions. David's expertise lies in marrying technological innovation with pedagogical effectiveness, making him a valuable asset in transforming educational experiences. As an advisor for enrollment startups, David provides strategic guidance, helping these companies navigate the complexities of the education sector. His insights are crucial in developing impactful and sustainable enrollment strategies.

Updated: February 29, 2024, Reading time: 15 minutes

Find your perfect college degree

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Unlike school education, higher studies play a significant role in career building.

We understand that the chances of rejection on minute issues like the mode of education are higher. If you’re wondering, “Are online master’s degrees respected?” Let’s discuss this issue in the light of soaring popularity – and acceptance – of the online mode of education.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are Online Master Degrees Respected?

Yes, online master’s degrees are gaining respect in many fields. Digital platforms have changed the face of higher education. Now, you can get a master’s degree online instead of going to campus. Initially, the legitimacy of online degrees could have been better.

A woman sitting on floor with laptop

Thankfully, things have changed for good. Big schools now see potential in online education. Realizing the use of technology to deliver quality education, most universities have started offering online degrees. With this in mind, a graduate of a postgraduate degree’s reputation often relies on the credibility and accreditation status of the institution granting it. 

Online degrees from accredited schools are also respected by employers. However, it’s important to ensure that the online master’s program you choose is from a reputable institution. Several factors have contributed to the increased acceptance of online degrees in recent times, such as:

How to Choose a Respected Online Master’s Degree Program?

Students should take into account various factors when selecting a master’s degree, including accreditation. 

Reputable colleges commonly provide accredited online degrees in different concentrations and majors, which can be perfect for professionals seeking to polish their skills within a specific career field. 

Nevertheless, when choosing an online master’s program, here are the factors you should consider:

Difference Between Online and Traditional Master’s Degrees

Understanding the differences between online and traditional master’s classes can help you choose the degree program that best fits your requirements. Online and traditional degrees have many unique characteristics that set them apart. 

Online Degree

Traditional Degree

Common Myths About Online Master’s Degrees

Some students and professionals are skeptical about online programs. However, you shouldn’t believe everything you hear. There are many myths associated with online degrees that bar students from pursuing online programs.

Let’s debunk them one by one:

A woman sitting on couch with laptop

Myth 1: Employers Don’t Value or Accept Online Masters

Many people return to school and enroll in a master’s program for better job opportunities. It’s a myth that employers don’t respect online degrees, whether master’s or bachelors

Although employers were hesitant when online learning started, things have drastically changed since then. According to one survey, 79% of employers hired individuals with online degrees at some point. In addition, one study shows employers rate online degrees as good as or better than traditional ones. 

Employers now care more about the skills you learned than how you learned them. Most accept online degrees, especially from accredited schools. Some businesses even partner with online institutions for internships and job preparation.

Myth 2: Professors Teaching Online Master’s Aren’t Real Professors

One common myth among students is that online programs – whether a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. – don’t have real professors. This is far from the truth. Colleges that provide online master’s degrees don’t just pick someone to lead classes; renowned professors teach many lessons and lectures. 

Don’t believe us? According to one Economist report, Michael Sandel (Harvard’s popular political science professor) translated his on-campus lectures into online classes for edX. Many on-campus professors teach online master’s because they believe it will reach a broader audience, including those who can’t afford a quality education. 

Students who enroll in an online master’s can expect recognized and well-established names to lead their classes with the same vigor as on-campus.

Myth 3: Limited Program Options

Many students believe that online masters lack variety. However, this is different. 

You can select from a range of degree programs in high-demand areas like Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology, Management, Engineering, and more. 

Myth 4: Students Can’t Meet with Their Instructors

It’s increasingly frustrating when you can’t reach your instructor for help with the week’s content, an extension on a deadline, or if something is missing from the course. Fortunately, students won’t have to go through this with online master’s programs. 

Despite not meeting in person, many online degree programs and courses enable students to engage with their instructors in different ways – whether by phone, Skype, email, or any other means. 

Some instructors and professors even have virtual office hours every week or live chat sessions for questions.

A woman sitting at a table with a laptop

Myth 5: You Won’t Be Able to Transfer Course Credits

Another myth that is prevalent among students is that you can’t transfer course credits ‘to and from’ online programs. Luckily, like others, it’s too just a myth. 

Credit transfer issues aren’t only linked to online programs. Every school or college has its ‘own’ credit-transferring policy – some provide leniency, while others can be stricter. 

With that said, you have to check the specific requirements of universities for online course credit transferring. It can vary from similar courses and college accreditation to CGPA and how recently a student completed those courses.

Myth 6: Online Master’s Is Easy

Pursuing a master’s degree in any program online isn’t simpler than going to a physical college campus. This is particularly true if a student gets a masters from a reputed and accredited institution. 

Prospective online master applicants should know that online learning demands more self-direction than in-person programs. People with experience taking online courses even say you’ll have to dedicate the same amount of time as you would taking classes on campus. 

Myth 7: Online Master Students Can’t Get Financial Aid

Believe it or not, how a student gets federal financial aid is similar to online and on-campus programs. Some online degree programs even offer federal work-study opportunities. 

Before applying for the program, make sure it’s eligible for financial aid from the “Department of Education” to receive federal funds.

Why Should You Get a Master’s Degree Online?

Although online master’s degrees are accepted, many students wonder if they’ll be able to gain proper learning. Here’s what an online graduate or postgraduate degree offers students:

Online Degree Learning Experience

Students can benefit from dedicated support forums and the ability to rewind, pause, and review lectures.

Instructor-to-student contact is higher in online master’s degree programs than in conventional on-campus classes because of the convenience of online scheduling and the variety of communication channels available.

A man working on his laptop while enjoying a cup of coffee

Networking and Peers

Students with full-time jobs often prefer online degree programs. Most students enrolled in online master’s programs have prior professional experience. This translates to more driven, committed, and assertive students. Furthermore, it also provides professionals with network-building opportunities that foster valuable connections.

Quality of Qualifications and Advancement

A Master’s degree online offers similar opportunities as a conventional degree earned on campus. This includes professional advancement avenues and post-doctoral degree prospects. 

The grades/results for most master’s degrees are evaluated and benchmarked. The merit of an online degree completion certificate is equivalent to its on-campus counterpart.

How to Increase Your Job Prospects With an Online Master’s Degree?

Mentioning your online education to employers can boost your job prospects. Many hiring managers recognize the value of online learning. Highlight your online degree to stand out. You can showcase the self-discipline and time-management skills you’ve honed through online learning. Employers appreciate these qualities.

Additionally, participate in online education forums to connect with potential employers and discover job openings. Effective networking enhances your chances of securing your desired position.

Can You Graduate Quicker With an Online Master’s Program?

Yes, you can graduate quickly with an online master’s program. If you want to progress in your career, consider accelerated online master’s programs. These accelerated programs allow students to complete a master’s degree in as little as 12 months. They offer the same quality education in a shorter time frame.

Early completion shows your efficiency and commitment to growth – qualities many employers value.

Best Online Masters Programs

Online master’s degree programs can help people stay ahead in their careers or even consider changing fields. Furthermore, online degrees enable students to juggle higher studies with full-time jobs. 

Since the market is full of fake online degrees, we’ve rounded this list of best-accredited colleges so you can earn a master’s that is both respected and accredited. 

University of Arkansas Little Rock

University of Arkansas Little Rock provides students and professionals with over 450 online courses. It manages 11 online programs in areas like criminal justice, mass communication, health education, and more. 

Just like most online degrees, their online program doesn’t require you to be on campus. The university professors use the ‘Blackboard’ platform to teach students, allowing flexibility for people with jobs. 

Admission requirements can vary based on the program you choose to enroll in. 

A man sitting on a rock by a lake, engrossed in his laptop

Franklin University

Located in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin University provides over 20 online master’s degrees in cybersecurity, business, computer science, nursing, and public administration. Your courses can last six, 12, or 15 weeks; many programs don’t require on-campus presence. 

To keep students engaged, programs use discussion boards, labs, projects, and simulations. Although admission requirements vary for each master’s program, a common requirement includes a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. It doesn’t require a GMAT or GRE

You can easily complete your master’s in 12 months or so. 

Brenau University

A private university in Gainesville, Brenau University hosts more than 1000 graduate students and offers nearly 27 graduate degree programs – 17 of which are available online. Around 60% of online students are part-time. 

Students can choose from various fields, from business and healthcare management to conflict resolution. Many programs deliver projects and coursework asynchronously via Canvas LMS. The classes typically run for seven weeks, with a maximum of 20 students per class. 

You must submit official transcripts and an application to apply for online programs. 

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University is a nonprofit, private Christian university that serves over 12,000 students and provides over 30 online master’s programs. These include degrees in education, business, criminal justice, sociology, computer science, and ministry and theology. 

The university caters mainly to working professionals, delivering most of its online coursework asynchronously. Classes are entirely online – with no on-campus obligations. 

Moreover, the university extends a substantial tuition discount to military members and offers various scholarships for online learners.

A mobile phone with written information on a table

Marquette University

Founded in 1881, Marquette University is a private institute offering 70+ graduate programs, eight online. You can choose from business administration, Christian doctrine, supply chain management, and computer science. 

The university has an equal enrollment ratio of men and women. When it comes to admission requirements, they vary based on programs. So, it’s better to check their website before applying for their master’s degree. 

University of Northwestern-St Paul

As one of the best institutes for online master’s, the University of Northwestern-St Paul provides students with 100% online programs at the same level they provide on campus.

It provides seven master’s programs in business administration, human services, organizational leadership, theological studies, and ministry leadership. The university has set rigorous standards for online programs and classes – and they undergo routine updates. 

Are you thinking about enrolling in a master’s program at this institution? You must meet the admission requirements, like submitting a resume and two essays and having a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.

How Do You Prepare For Online Master’s Degree Programs?

Many experts say students need to prepare ahead to succeed in online classes. Here are a few things you should do before kicking off your online course:

A laptop and a water bottle sitting on a train seat

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Online Master’s Valid in the USA?

Yes, an online Master of Science (MS) degree is valid for employment in the USA if accredited by the Distance Education Council (DEC). The DEC accredits colleges and universities offering distance learning programs and degrees through its Automated Accreditation System (AAS). Accreditation ensures the degree meets certain standards of quality and credibility.

What Is the Easiest Master’s Degree to Get Online?

One of the easiest master’s degrees to obtain online is in business. Numerous business schools provide online MBAs. A master’s in business equips you with problem-solving, analytical thinking, and decision-making skills.

What Is the Quickest Degree to Get Online?

You can earn various online degrees relatively quickly due to streamlined structures. Examples include Art and Design, Business, Computer Science, Counseling, Criminal Justice, Education, Healthcare, and Nursing. However, completion time varies based on factors like course requirements.


Recognition for online master’s degrees has soared in the past few years. Professionals and academics value the merits and rigor of online programs in this tech-driven era. Accreditation and reputable institutions are crucial for quality education and broader recognition. Now is a great time to explore accredited online degrees for a flexible and excellent education. 

We’re certain of one thing—your search for more information on picking the best graduate degree or school landed you here. Let our experts help guide your through the decision making process with thoughtful content written by experts.