The Online Masters Colleges (OMC) Staff consists of professional writers, editors, and researchers with an in-depth knowledge of higher education institutions and college degree programs. Many of them have advanced degrees.
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Online degree programs have become increasingly popular over the years. Earning a master’s degree helps immensely in advancing careers. All kinds of statistics show that a master’s degree has become the new bachelor’s degree in today’s higher education, wherein prospective students graduate from a master’s degree to take on more responsible roles in industry and diverse career paths. And the most convenient way of getting a master’s degree is through online programs. Enrolling in an online master’s program has become very easy, given numerous choices that are available today. But unfortunately, most master’s programs are expensive to pursue and cost top dollar. Consequently, when it comes to choosing an online master’s degree program, affordability, therefore, becomes a very essential factor. Although getting an online master’s degree helps prospective students advance their careers, paying for a state university and colleges can be a huge challenge. But in the end, earning a master’s degree is always worth the effort and expense. Read OMC’s guide about why students should get an online master’s degree.
In this guide, OMC lists out schools that offer the most affordable online masters degree programs and highlights everything there is to know about an affordable master’s degree.
What are the most affordable online masters programs?
Looking for cheap online degree programs is no easy task. When prospective students do a thorough school search for an affordable master’s degree program, they must include the evaluation of school rankings and trusted partner programs and several other key factors, aside from the cost of tuition. Also, perhaps one of the most important factors is accreditation – whether or not the state university offers the master’s degree in an accredited institution. Accreditation can be conferred by one of the many independent accreditation agencies, such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), or the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). (More information on accreditation is available in the Accreditation Guide.)
Based on all these and other factors, here is the list of schools that offer the most affordable online master’s programs:
www.onlinemasterscolleges.com 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.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.
We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.
SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.
FAQs about Affordable Online Master’s Degree Programs
Higher education, higher education
Here are a few questions online graduate students frequently ask affordable online master’s degrees:
How do I pay for affordable online master’s degree programs?
Most schools generally offer some kind of financial aid for their online master’s degree programs. Additionally, there is also plenty of outside financial aid available to online graduate students. Read more about financial aid on the best Financial Aid guide.
Do employers value affordable online master’s degree programs?
Yes, the most affordable online master’s degree programs are just like any other traditional (and expensive) master’s degree programs, wherein online courses are taught by the same faculty of both formats. But some schools offer these master’s degree programs to graduate students at affordable tuition fees for various reasons. Most employers only look for a traditional or online master’s degree that is accredited and do not consider whether the master’s degree program was an affordable online master or not.
Do universities that offer affordable online master’s degree programs maintain high standards in the programs?
Yes, universities that offer affordable online master’s degrees in this guide maintain high standards. They offer the same core courses, online learning experience, and overall quality as their expensive counterparts. OMC has undertaken a thorough school search and carefully taken the quality and reputation of the online master degree program, before ranking these most affordable online master’s degrees and schools.
What are the admission requirements for affordable online master’s degree programs?
The admission requirements for online graduate students at schools that offer affordable online master’s programs vary based on the state university. But generally, most online graduate programs requirements include some common ones like:
Are affordable online master’s degree programs accredited?
While factoring in affordability, online master’s students should note that accreditation provides better access to financial aid. Yes, all the affordable online master’s programs mentioned in this guide are accredited programs.
20 Most Affordable Masters Degrees Online – Details
The below rankings of the 20 most affordable online master’s programs were based on several crucial metrics with the degree program cost featured prominently in the evaluations. In higher education, tuition is a key factor but a low tuition rate will not matter if the university doesn’t offer the exact online master’s degree a prospective student is seeking. Consequently, the criteria encompassed the number and range of online master’s degree programs available at each university, available financial aid, accreditation, admission requirements, and application fees.
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Online master’s degree students at Purdue Online undertake the same curriculum as their on-campus counterparts. Currently, there are 54 online master’s degrees at Purdue. Except for a limited number of programs that require on-campus attendance, Purdue’s master’s degrees can be completed entirely online. Online courses are asynchronous, so students can work at their convenience and pace. Purdue’s online master’s focus is heavily weighted toward the hard sciences, with seven engineering programs including computer engineering, electrical engineering, aeronautics and astronautics, and industrial engineering. Applications, $60, are completed online and require a conference with an admissions counselor, submission of transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. Tuition: $354 per credit hour.
Arizona State University serves more than 70 online master’s degree programs. Key fields are behavioral health, science, journalism, computer science, education, criminal justice, engineering, and an MBA. The best selections of online master’s degree programs are in education and engineering. Online graduate admission requirements include completion of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The application to a master’s degree program is online and costs $70. More than 80 percent of graduate students receive some form of financial aid. Online graduate tuition varies by online master’s degree program and costs $522 to $1,397 per credit hour.
There are more than 20 online master’s degree programs at Wilmington University. Programs in this state university are offered in accounting, business administration, criminal justice, nursing, education, information technology, etc. Online graduate programs offering the greatest selection of master’s degrees are education, business, and nursing. More than 90 percent of graduates reported they were prepared “exceptionally well” for the workplace. Application to a master’s degree program costs $35 and is completed online at this state university. Application requirements include transcripts and an interview with an admissions specialist. Tuition: $477 per quarter unit.
UTPB, a state university, is a member of the University of Texas System. Special features are the university’s accelerated programs. Of the 10 online master’s degree programs offered at this state university, seven are offered in seven-week sessions, shortening time to the degree. Online master’s programs that are not offered in accelerated formats are delivered in 15-week semesters. UTPB online graduate programs are available in accounting, business administration, education, kinesiology, English, and public administration. Applications to an online master, $40, can be completed at the UTPB “Apply Now” website. Admission to an online master’s degree program requires the submission of transcripts and GRE scores. Tuition: $326 per credit hour.
With more than 20 online master’s degrees, Lamar University consistently ranks high among online master’s programs. There are eight master’s degrees in business, two in criminal justice, three in nursing, and two in the health sciences. Top programs include business and education, each offering 11 degrees. In addition to state university admission requirements, each master’s degree has its own criteria. For example, students applying to education programs must have a valid teaching certificate and two years of experience. Admissions are made online at the university and fees are $25 to apply. Tuition: $11,550, annually.
NC State University frequently ranks high on the list of most affordable master’s degree programs. Potential graduate students can choose among nearly 100 master’s programs noted for their scope of available online degrees. Online master’s degree programs are offered in fields such as aerospace engineering, business administration, clinical education, mental health counseling, nanoengineering, soil science, and information technology. NCSC’s specialty is in education, with 18 online education master’s degrees in focus areas such as academic excellence, teacher leadership, education statistics, educational leadership, elementary education, early childhood education, special education, educational administration, etc. Master’s degree programs are presented in 100 percent online formats, with others offered as hybrid master’s degrees that blend online learning with campus classes. Each graduate college at NCSC has its own admissions requirements. Applications to an online master, which cost $70, are submitted online and include official transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Some, but not all degree programs, require submission of GRE scores. Tuition: $11,672, annually.
Wayne State has 17 online master’s degree programs. Four degree programs are presented in a hybrid format, requiring some on-campus attendance. Top online specialties are offered in education, business (MBA), and information technology At this state university. Graduate online students can also pursue online master’s degrees in theater arts, library science, and dance. Applications to an online master, costing $50, are made online. Admissions requirements vary by degree program, but college-wide graduate requirements include submission of GRE or GMAT exam scores, transcripts, and recommendation letters. The college Career Center provides online graduate students assistance with writing resumes and cover letters, along with listings of available internships. Tuition: $215 per credit hour.
The Fort Hays State University Virtual College offers 13 online master’s degree programs. All but three master’s programs are delivered entirely online. Degree programs in counseling and music performance are hybrids, requiring campus attendance, while most others are based on online learning. Business studies comprise the single-largest selection of online master’s degrees. The MBA degree program offers 12 specializations in leadership including finance, healthcare, marketing, management information systems, and international business. Other online master’s degrees are in education, liberal studies, nursing, and professional studies. Online graduate applications cost $40 and require submission of transcripts, entrance exam scores (if required by the department), and letters of recommendation. Tuition: $287.75 per credit hour.
There are 27 online master’s degree programs available at Southeast Missouri State University. The university’s online specialty is in education, with eight of the total online master’s degree programs, including teacher leadership, elementary education, secondary education, STEM fields, early childhood education, and special education. Other online master’s programs are in information science and healthcare administration. In addition to its education master’s degree programs, SMSU offers an online MBA degree with a selection of 10 business specialties. Online graduate applications cost $30 and require the submission of materials germane to the major. Education master’s degree students must hold a current teacher’s license and submit transcripts and GRE scores as well. Tuition: $276.70 per credit hour.
Midway’s Graduate School offers a choice of online degrees in business administration (MBA), nursing (MSN), and education (M.Ed.). Courses are delivered in eight-week semesters, accelerating the time to completion of the degree. Applications to an online master at this state university, $40, can be made online or through a paper application process. Admissions requirements vary by the graduate program; however, none require GRE scores. The grad school requires all applicants to provide official transcripts, confirmation of a bachelor’s degree, three letters of recommendation, and have a conference with a graduate adviser. Tuition: $250 to $520 per credit hour, depending on the online master’s degree.
Alabama’s state university master’s degree programs are frequently ranked among the top online programs in the land. Education master’s degree programs lead the list with 14 specializations. Two of these master’s programs are blended, requiring some campus attendance. Graduate online students can choose from online master’s business degrees in operations management, global business management, and marketing. Other online master’s degree programs are available in public health, information technology, and nursing. Applications to an online master, $65, require submission of supporting documents: resume, statement of purpose, unofficial transcripts, letters of recommendation, and scores from the GRE, GMAT, or MAT, depending on the online master’s degree. Tuition: $394 per credit hour.
Online programs at Valdosta State University culminate with awards of M.Ed., MS, MA, MAT, MBA., or MIIS. degrees. Of the 28 online master’s degree programs at this state university, 20 are dedicated to the field of education. Additional online master’s degrees are offered in healthcare administration, information science, public administration, and library science. Online master’s degree students have access to degree counseling, digital research, and internship searches. Applications to an online master, $35, are submitted online and must include official transcripts. Test scores on the GRE, GMAT, or MAT may be required for the master’s degree program. Tuition: $293 per credit hour.
Georgia Tech first began offering distance education in the 1940s. Prospective online graduate students of this state university can pursue more than 100 online master’s degrees and specialties. Georgia Tech is renowned for its online engineering and mathematics master’s degrees. There are 37 online master degree options in engineering alone. But the institute also gets high marks for its master’s programs in business, computing, design, liberal arts, and sciences. Online applications for enrollment in an online master cost $75. To apply for grad school, online students need to submit transcripts and three letters of recommendation. Depending on the online master’s program, graduate students may be required to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Tuition: $9,027 ($14,754 MBA), annually.
Wisconsin’s eCampus is home to 61 online master’s degree programs. Prominent eCampus master’s degree specialties are in business administration, education, engineering, information systems, human resource development, criminal justice, healthcare administration, nursing, counseling, and communications. Online programs lead to degrees such as the MS, MA, MBA, MSE, PMS, and MNR. Some master’s degree programs at this state university are presented in hybrid formats that combine asynchronous learning with campus attendance. Applications for an online master, $50, can be submitted online or via paper mail. Grad school admission requirements include confirmation of a completed bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Each online program may set its own additional requirements. Tuition: $12,010, annually.
Distance learning programs at the state university of Florida, offer nearly 80 master’s degrees, with major specializations in engineering, agricultural and life sciences, pharmacy studies, allied health professions, and veterinary studies. Most master’s degrees are offered wholly online. Some majors with labs, fieldwork, or internships require attendance. Florida uses an online application process, $30, for its graduate school online programs. Every distance learning program has its own online application requirements, which may include scores from the GRE, GMAT, or the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. Some College of the Arts programs do not require GRE scores. Potential graduate students should contact the appropriate department for details. Tuition: $21,824, annually.
Sam Houston State University (SHSU) has a strong online master’s degree program and is often ranked among the nation’s best online schools. It offers 29 online master’s degree programs, in education, criminal justice, and communications, drawing accolades. Other online master’s degrees are available in business administration, banking, homeland security, library science, history, mathematics, and health care quality and safety. SHSU graduate transcripts and master’s degrees do not include the word “online”. Applications for admission to an online master, $45, are made online at “ApplyTexas.” Supporting documentation includes transcripts with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.8, a resume, statement of intent, writing samples, and letters of recommendation. Some online programs require scores from the GRE or GMAT entrance exam, while others have no requirement for test scores. Tuition: $8,572, annually.
At UI Online, master’s degree aspirants can pursue one of 37 accredited master’s degrees. Online master’s degrees contain the same curriculum as those offered on campus. Engineering and computer science are among the most notable programs online, at UI Online. However, online master’s degree program students can earn degrees in education, business administration, social work, and library and information science as well. Applications for an online master, $70, are made online. Potential graduate students must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. While the GRE is not a grad school requirement, individual online programs may call for test scores. Other application submissions include transcripts, a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and a program essay. Tuition: $12,266, annually.
With 31 online master’s programs, ECU provides a wide range of online master’s degree choices for prospective students. ECU offers online graduate programs in the fields of arts, business administration, communication, computer science, criminal justice,education, nursing, public health, social work, etc. Graduate students can apply online on the ECU website with a non-refundable fee of $75. The base tuition fee for online graduate programs is $249.29 per semester hour. However, there is an additional cost depending on the master’s degree program. MBA/MSA courses cost an additional $125 per semester hour; MSN, MS in OT, MPH cost an additional $100 per semester hour; MS in social work costs an additional $34 per semester hour. ECU estimates that the cost of attendance is $4,487 per semester for tuition fees.
Oklahoma State University (OSU) offers a wide selection of majors among its 24 online master’s degrees. The agriculture master’s degree has been an academic staple of OSU education since its founding in 1890. Six OSU graduate colleges offer four master’s degrees in agriculture, four degrees in business (including an MBA), and nine in engineering/information technology. Applications to an online master at OSU cost $50, and are handled online through CollegeNET. Master’s degree aspirants must have satisfactorily completed a baccalaureate or first professional degree and provide relevant transcripts. Some online programs may require GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores, and up to four letters of recommendation. Tuition: $22,060 annually.
Liberty University (LU) offers a wide variety of online master’s programs that are 100% online and come with affordable tuition fees. With over 200 programs, LU’s most popular online programs include criminal justice, public health, education, business administration, and more. Prospective students can apply online for a master’s program on Liberty University’s website and the application fee is a non-refundable $50. The tuition fee varies by online program but falls in the range of $330 – $565 for full-time per hour rate and $330 – $615 for part-time per hour rate.
The rankings, average tuition (based on the degree type for in-state students), and average graduation rates are based on information from several sources, including Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and may vary. All rankings and figures mentioned are subject to change. Based on our proprietary methodology, the rankings are purely Online Masters Colleges's (OMC's) opinions. They do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor any official government census or survey. Additionally, any views or opinions expressed on this page are those of OMC's researchers and teams. Unless specifically indicated, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the people, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page's provided content is solely for informational purposes, with information drawn from several sources, including IPEDS. OMC or its employees make no guarantees of the accuracy or completeness of any information on this page or found by following any link. OMC will not be held liable for any mistakes or omissions in this material, nor will it be held liable for any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the material on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, reader discretion is always advised because part or all the provided information may have changed over time, potentially leading to inaccuracies. Please read our Terms of Service for more information. Logos and trademarks are properties of their registered owners
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