Cynthia Sullivan
Written By - Cynthia Sullivan

Check MarkEdited By Gabriel D.

Check MarkReview & Contribution By Dr. Edmund Moyer

It is said that over 1,700 universities in the United States offer master’s degree programs in hundreds of subjects. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number of master’s degrees awarded in 2023-2024 was 860,00[1]. But with over three-quarters of a million students having earned their master’s degree, the question is – how useful are they? A master’s degree is undoubtedly an excellent choice to improve career prospects and pay. Still, it is important to check if the degree in question aligns with interests and professional goals. This guide walks through the most useful master’s degrees that promise excellent career options, high wages, potential growth, and an overall bright outlook.

Most Useful Master’s Degrees

Table Of Contents

What Are the Most Useful Master’s Degrees?

Here are the top 15 most useful master’s degrees (not listed by rank) 

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

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 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 the Most Useful Master’s Degrees

Which master’s degrees are the most versatile?

While almost all master’s degrees can be used well, some are more versatile than others. Going by popularity, expected salaries, growth opportunities, flexibility, etc., the few best and most versatile degrees that students might choose to build marketable abilities that will better equip them for various careers include Math, Computer Science, Finance, Engineering, Education, Communications, Computer Science, and Business Administration.

What are the most in-demand master’s in the future, and how much do they pay?

How fast can you do a master’s program?

Can you do more than one master’s degree? 

Can you get a master’s in a different field?

What are the highest-paying jobs without a master’s degree?

Find Most Useful Masters Degrees by Subject

Most Useful Master’s Degrees: Details

Several significant factors play a role in determining why some master’s programs are useful to obtain. These factors include: 

  • Availability: the popularity and availability of the program across numerous master’s colleges. 
  • Affordability: the average cost of the master’s program. 
  • Delivery: the option to learn online, on campus, or via the hybrid mode that blends both. 
  • Curriculum: the choice of courses, electives, and concentrations and the flexibility to take synchronous or asynchronous classes. 
  • Duration: the time it takes to complete the master’s program.
  • Statistics: the acceptance, retention, and graduation rates.  
  • Employability: the availability of jobs after graduation and good job prospects. 
  • Return on Investment: the possibility of earning back the money one has spent on their master’s degree. 

Considering these primary variables and many more, these are the most useful master’s degrees (not listed by rank):

Computer Science A master’s degree in computer science offers students advanced, in-demand computer and information technology principles and teaches how to use programming languages for operating systems, practical applications, data mining, and more. 
Courses* Computer programming, computer networking, cybersecurity,  system architecture, distributed systems, and cloud computing. 
Duration* ~ 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Software Developer | $109,020
• Computer Network Architect | $120,520
• Computer & Information Research Scientist | $131,490
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Nursing A master’s degree in nursing program can provide practicing nurses with a pathway to nursing administration, leadership, and management while also teaching them various topics such as adult-gerontology, primary care, health sciences, and more. 
Courses* Health informatics, nursing leadership, health assessment, psychiatric mental health, and adult-gerontology primary care. 
Duration* ~ 2 to 2.5 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Registered Nurse | $77,600 
• Physician Assistant | $121,530
• Nurse Anesthetist, Midwife, and Practitioner | $123,780
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
MBAs A master’s in business administration (MBA) provides business knowledge through teaching critical abilities such as leadership, communication, and management. An MBA not only leads to higher-level positions but can also quickly increase pay.
Courses* Marketing management, business analytics, financial-decision making, leading and managing, and business communication. 
Duration* ~ 1 to 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Financial Manager | $131,710
• Management Analyst | $93,000
• Administrative Service and Facilities Manager | $99,290 
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Marketing A master’s in marketing degree teaches students marketing management and marketing strategy and covers a wide range of topics such as consumer behavior, strategic internet marketing, social media marketing campaigns, global marketing, international marketing, etc. 
Courses* Market strategies, social media marketing, market research, consumer behavior, marketing analytics, and marketing communications. 
Duration* ~ 1.5 to 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Market Research Analyst | $63,920
• Sales Manager | $127,490
• Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Manager | $133,380
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Software Engineering A master’s in software engineering prepares students for careers in various fields, including gaming, healthcare, finance, and research, among others. Students gain advanced knowledge in software development methodologies, tools, processes, and techniques to manage various software projects effectively.
Courses* Software architecture, web development, modern technologies, software development methodology, and software development in C++.
Duration* ~ 2 to 2.5 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Computer Programmer | $93,000 
• Software Developer and Tester | $109,020
• Computer Systems Analyst | $99,270 
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Public Health A master’s in public health helps students enter the health services, human services, and advocacy professions, including epidemiology, disease management, biostatisticsnutrition, environmental health, occupational healthetc. 
Courses* Public health practice, public health biology, health management, epidemiology, biostatistics, and social behavioral sciences. 
Duration* ~ 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Epidemiologist | $78,830
• Medical and Health Services Manager | $101,340
• Health Education Specialist | $48,860 
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Finance A master’s in finance in finance focuses on the fundamentals of how markets work and is built around the most sophisticated financial theories, industry practices, and quantitative models.
Courses* Corporate finance, international finance, financial planning, investment analysis and portfolio management, and banking. 
Duration* ~ 1 to 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Financial Analyst | $95,570
• Financial Manager | $131,710 
• Personal Financial Advisor | $94,170
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Cyber Security A master’s in cyber security teaches a broad range of skills, including cloud security, data protection, and network analysis, to prospective and current IT professionals or those with a computer or data science background. 
Courses* Foundations in algorithms, malware and attack reverse engineering, cryptology, information assurance analysis, and ethical hacking. 
Duration* ~ 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Computer Network Architect | $120,520
• Information Security Analyst | $102,600
• Computer Systems Analyst | $99,270 
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Accounting A master’s in accounting provides in-depth knowledge of financial analysis, tax research, financial accounting, managerial accounting, federal taxation, etc., and is a sure path to obtaining a CPA or CMA certification. 
Courses* Governmental accounting and not-for-profit accounting, federal tax research, advanced cost accounting, and situational ethics in accounting. 
Duration* ~ 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Accountant or Auditor | $77,250
• Financial Analyst | $95,570
• Budget Analyst | $79,940 
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Communication A master’s in communication prepares students for leadership roles in the diverse communications field by learning communication theory and communication research methods and developing excellent communication skills to work in various settings.
Courses* Leadership in communication, intercultural communication, communication skills & professional writing, political communication, and ethics in communication. 
Duration* ~ 1.5 to 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Public Relations Specialist | $62,800
• News Analyst, Reporter, or Journalist | $48,370 
• Technical Writer | $78,060
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Human Resources A master’s in human resources is tailored for students and professionals who desire to understand how humans think and act and capitalize on human behavior in the workplace and beyond. 
Courses* Financial and human capital, organization development, HR analytics, strategic workforce planning, employment law, and foundations of strategic human resources. 
Duration* ~ 1.5 to 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Human Resources Manager | $126,230 
• Training and Development Manager | $120,130
• Labor Relations Specialist | $77,010 
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Digital Strategy A master’s in digital strategy teaches students how to acquire, use, and evaluate data and information to address organizational issues. Digital Strategy is sometimes termed and is interchangeable with Digital Marketing or Online Marketing. 
Courses* Lead generation and management, inbound strategy, digital audience management, marketing concepts in the digital age, strategic communication campaigns, and search engine optimization. 
Duration* ~ 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Manager | $133,380
• Advertising Sales Agent | $52,340
• Art Director | $100,890
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Psychology A master’s in psychology deals with the study of psychological theory and human behavior and provides students with an opportunity to move into entry-level work in the field, usually under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. 
Courses* Contemporary issues in psychology, biological basis of behavior, psychology of death and dying, and advanced psychological assessment
Duration* ~ 2 to 3 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Psychologist | $81,040
• Marriage and Family Therapist | $49,880 
• Social and Community Service Manager | $74,000
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Supply Chain Management A master’s in supply chain management deals with sourcing raw materials and components required by companies to manufacture their products or aggregating goods from suppliers at their warehouses and selling them to customers. 
Courses* Supply chain management, supply chain analytics, operations management, strategic sourcing and procurement, and global supply chain management 
Duration* ~ 1.5 to 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Logistician | $77,030 
• Purchasing Manager or Purchasing Agent | $75,410
• Operations Research Analyst | $82,360
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 
Data Science A master’s in data science teaches students to communicate computer science concepts and information, create and manage new strategies, compile analytics at an advanced level, and lead teams to meet organizational goals. 
Courses* Database systems and data preparation, statistics for data science, computer vision, and practical machine learning. 
Duration* ~ 2 Years Potential Careers & Salaries**
• Information Security Analyst | $102,600
• Computer and Information Systems Manager | $159,010
• Database Administrators and Architect | $101,000
Delivery Mode* Online & On-Campus 
*typical | **median annual pay, 2021 

Universities That Offer Most Useful Master’s Degrees: Details

Several universities provide useful master’s degree programs. Various teams at OMC collaborated to research and draw up a list of the best ones, providing degrees that we think are excellent options for students. Numerous elements were included in our methodology to curate the list, all of which were baked into a proprietary formula we used. These elements included:

  • Affordable Tuition
  • Program Flexibility
  • Shorter Durations
  • Expert Instructors
  • Multiple Intakes in a Year
  • No GRE or GMAT Requirements
  • Excellent Student Support Services
  • Accredited (College and/or Programs)
  • Availability of Accelerated Programs
  • Online & On-Campus Programs
  • Synchronous & Asynchronous Learning
  • Availability of Financial Aid
  • Respectable Graduation Rate
  • Excellent Infrastructure
  • Variable Curriculum & Coursework
  • Specialization Options
  • Selection of Programs
  • Reputation (College & Programs)
  • Excellent Student-Teacher Ratio
  • Availability of Extra & Co-curricular Activity

Here is the list of universities offering some useful master’s degrees (not listed by rank): 

Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University is a public university established in 1879 in Huntsville, Texas. The third-oldest university in Texas, its academic departments and programs are organized into 8 colleges offering about 80 undergraduate, 59 master’s, and 10 doctoral degree programs. 

Common Title Established Type Student Enrollment 
SHSU or Sam 1879 Public, Research 21,650+ 
AccreditationsSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC+ Programmatic Accreditations 

Popular Programs at SHSU 

Additional Resources for students looking for the Most Useful Master’s Degrees

  1. Best Online Masters: Discover the best online master’s degrees in the U.S. recognized by employers in the U.S. and overseas. 
  2. Affordable Online Masters: Graduate school does not always have to be expensive. Check out some of the most affordable online master’s degrees that do not break the bank. 
  3. 1-Year Online Masters: Yes, it is possible to get a master’s degree in 1-year. Find out how and which ones can be done in a year. 
  4. Fastest Online Masters: The faster, the better. Take a look at this list of the fastest online master’s degrees in the U.S. 
  5. Easiest Online Masters: All master’s programs are not necessarily hard to pursue. Find out about the easiest ones across many disciplines. 
  6. Free Masters Online: Yes! Some master’s programs can be done without incurring a considerable cost. Check out the free online master’s program list for free degrees.
  7. Highest Paying Masters: Find out which master’s degrees lead to the highest salaries and bring excellent career growth. 
  8. Online Masters No GRE: Find the GRE a pain? This list of No GRE master’s degree programs should make the admissions process easier and hassle-free.
  9. Self-Paced Masters: Discover how to take enough time to pursue and complete a master’s degree without worrying about time constraints. 
  10. Masters Without Bachelors: Pursuing a master’s degree program is possible without first obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Find out how from this guide. 
  11. Ivy League Online Masters: Explore this list of the top online master’s degrees offered by premium Ivy League universities in the U.S. 
  12. 6 Months Programs: Prefer a master’s program shorter than 1 year? This list contains a list of master’s degrees that can be completed in as little as 6 months.