Derick de Souza
Written By - Derick de Souza

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In the digital era, establishing a robust online presence is crucial for businesses. A master’s in web design development provides expertise in coding, graphic design, content production, marketing, and user experience. This comprehensive degree equips students to create visually appealing and functional websites, enabling businesses to tap into online opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)[1], Web Developers and Digital Designers earn a median annual pay of $80,730, with job growth expected at 16%, faster than the average. Explore the details of an online master’s in web design development, including courses, career options, and considerations due to its often being offered as a concentration within another master’s program. 

Online Masters in Web Design

Table Of Contents

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®.

Best Online Master’s in Web Design Development Programs

Only a few universities in the United States offer an online master’s degree in web design development. As a result, it is critical to pick the top college that can provide a well-rounded, well-recognized, and well-valued program. The best master’s in web design development programs should have excellent infrastructure, well-trained, qualified, and experienced teaching staff, a wide range of student support services, genuine accreditation, and career assistance, among other things. Here are the best online master’s in web design development degree programs in the country, based on these and other vital factors:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
University of Florida
Tigert Hall, Gainesville, Florida 32611
Harvard University
Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Boston University
One Silber Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02215
Illinois Institute of Technology
10 West 35th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60616
University of Denver
2199 S. University Blvd, Denver, Colorado 80208
Fort Hays State University
600 Park St, Hays, Kansas 67601
Southern New Hampshire University
2500 North River Road, Manchester, New Hampshire 03106

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

What to expect from the Online Master’s in Web Design Development

An online master’s degree in web design and development empowers professionals to enhance their expertise in creating and managing websites. The program encompasses specialized coursework in advanced web design, development techniques, user experience, and research methodologies. Participants will actively participate in dynamic online learning platforms, engaging in virtual discussions collaborative projects, and accessing educational materials remotely. Designed for the convenience of working professionals, the program is delivered entirely online, with credit requirements typically ranging from 30 to 36 credits. Some programs may incorporate a capstone project or research element, offering practical application opportunities to further enrich students’ web design and development proficiency.

Curriculum and Coursework of Master’s in Web Design

The curriculum for an online Master’s in Web Design program usually consists of a blend of foundational education prerequisites, essential courses in web design, and elective choices. This program will give students a well-rounded grasp of web design content knowledge and proficient teaching methodologies. Given the diverse facets of web design, including areas like interface design, coding, user experience, and multimedia integration, the precise array of course options may vary among educational institutions. Some core courses in web design development degree programs include but are not limited to:

Digital Imagery in Web Design: This course emphasizes integrating visual elements seamlessly. Students learn advanced digital imagery creation and application techniques, enhancing skills to craft visually compelling and engaging websites that align with contemporary design standards and user preferences.

Design Principles: This course explores foundational principles for creating aesthetically pleasing and functional digital experiences. Students delve into color theory, typography, layout, and usability, developing a solid understanding of design fundamentals crucial for effective web design in various contexts.

Applied 2D Graphics: Web Design: This course emphasizes the practical application of 2D graphics in web design. Students learn advanced visual communication, illustration, and graphic manipulation techniques, honing skills to create visually compelling and impactful digital content for web environments.

Web Development: This course immerses students in coding, scripting, and programming essential for effective web development. Covering languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript empowers students to create dynamic, responsive, and user-friendly websites, preparing them for diverse roles in web development.

Animated and Interactive Web Content: In this course, students learn advanced techniques in animation, interactivity, and user engagement, gaining skills to design visually compelling and interactive web content aligning with contemporary trends and user expectations.

Some of the other common courses across various curriculums are:

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Web Interactivity and Engagement
  • Web Research Methods
  • 2D Graphics: Bitmap
  • Mass Communication Theory
  • Digital Media Layout and Design
  • Advanced Design
  • Web Design Principles
  • Marketing Research for Multimedia Professionals
  • Web Programming: JavaScript
  • Corporate and Brand Identity on the Web
  • User Experience (UX) Theory and Research
  • Foundations of Visual Communications Design
  • 2D Graphics: Vector
  • Applied Art for the Web
  • Content Management
  • User Experience Design
  • Web Technologies
  • Social Media & SEO

In addition to core courses, students must opt for electives such as English Composition or Technical Communication or choose from the many technical courses available, such as:

  • 3D Visualization
  • Python Programming
  • Database Design and Implementation
  • Object-Oriented Methods and Programming
  • Principles of Cryptography
  • Introduction to Audio/Video Production
  • Web Graphics Production
  • Data in Web Application Development
  • Marketing Analytics
  • User Interface Design and Implementation
  • Web Development with PHP
  • Web Scripting with JavaScript
  • Internet Mapping
  • Creative Problem Solving and Programming Concepts
  • Mobile Application Development with Web Standards
  • Distributed Computing
  • Digital Photography and Imaging
  • Principles of Project Management
  • iOS Application Development
  • User Experience Design and Usability Assessment
  • Principles of Information Security
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Database Design and SQ
  • Motion Graphics/Compositing: After Effects
  • Application Security
  • Design Concepts: Typography
  • Database Administration

Why should I do an Online Master’s in Web Design Development?

Interaction design, development, and distribution of rich media content via the Internet to handheld mobile devices and desktop computers are all part of the Web Design and Development process. Through the online master’s in web design development program, students will learn the fundamentals of web design and get the required skills and knowledge to become great web designers and developers. Students will be equipped with professional competence in web design and content management and learn how to become successful professionals in the rapidly changing web design/development industry. Those interested in creating beautiful, functional, and effective websites and web applications with a flair for design will find this degree very suitable. 

With businesses and nonprofits increasing and refreshing their presence in the digital world, demand for web designers and developers is steadily rising. Web Developers and Digital Designers jobs are predicted to grow by 16% between 2022 & 20321, faster than the average for all occupations. 

Upon completing an online master’s in web design development, graduates will be ready to take on projects easily and efficiently. Among the many skills they would have acquired, they will have the ability to:

  • Use HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other industry-standard languages efficiently and effectively.
  • Plan, develop, create, test, and maintain interactive web pages and animations, meeting quality standards and established goals.
  • Create graphical assets, animations, and multimedia for websites and applications.
  • Make use of industry-standard software such as Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Apply design ideas and aspects to online environments.
  • Create fully responsive websites suited to the customer’s requirements and target audience.
  • Create effective integrated marketing plans and strategies for digital platforms.

Types of Master’s Degrees Web Design Students Can Obtain

Web design has two main types of master’s degrees: Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS). While both emphasize advanced knowledge, MA focuses on creative design and user experience, while MS delves into technical aspects, coding, and research. The programs may differ in their specific focus and orientation, depending on the institution providing them.

Master of Arts (MA) in Web Design

The Master of Arts (MA) in Web Design emphasizes a blend of artistic and technical skills. It explores design principles, user experience, and multimedia integration, fostering a well-rounded approach to creating engaging and effective web experiences.

Master of Science (MS) in Web Design

Master of Science (MS) in Web Design is a specialized program that emphasizes the scientific and technical aspects of web design. It explores advanced topics, including coding, programming, and applying analytical methodologies to create innovative and technically sound web solutions.

Areas of Specialization for Online Master’s in Web Design Development

Web design development, a specialization subject, sometimes offers only concentration courses. Through these courses, students can select one professional field within a bigger industry sector and become proficient in the abilities required to succeed in that area. Some examples of concentration courses include but are not limited to:

Area of FocusDescriptionCareers This Concentration Prepares For
Advanced Website Design and ManagementThis specialization focuses on in-depth skills for creating and maintaining sophisticated websites. Students delve into advanced design concepts, content management, and technical expertise, preparing them for strategic roles in crafting and managing intricate online platforms.Senior Web Designers, Web Development Managers, and User Experience (UX) Designers.
Web-Enabled Information SystemsThis specialization emphasizes integrating advanced information systems with web technologies. Students acquire skills in designing, developing, and managing web-enabled systems, preparing them for roles at the intersection of information technology and dynamic web solutions.Information Systems Managers, Web Systems Analysts, and Database Administrators.
Website Design and ManagementThis specialization focuses on comprehensive skills for creating, optimizing, and overseeing websites. Students delve into advanced design principles, content management, and strategic planning, preparing them for leadership roles in designing, enhancing, and managing effective and user-centric websites.
Web Project Managers, Front-End Developers, and Content Management Specialists.
Usability Design for WebsitesThis specialization focuses on creating user-centric digital experiences. Students explore advanced usability principles, user research methodologies, and design strategies, honing skills to craft websites that prioritize user satisfaction and accessibility, preparing for impactful roles in the field.Usability Specialists, Interaction Designers, and User Interface (UI) Designers.
Mobile Web DevelopmentThis specialization focuses on optimizing websites for mobile devices. Students acquire skills in responsive design, mobile user interface development, and adapting web content for diverse devices, preparing them for roles at the forefront of mobile web design innovation.Mobile App Developers, Responsive Web Designers, and Mobile UX Designers.

How long does it take to complete the Online Master’s in Web Design Development?

The duration of web design development studies primarily depends on the chosen master’s program since web design development will be a concentration in the selected master’s. In most instances, a master’s degree will require about two years to complete full-time. Part-timers will, of course, take longer. However, a master of arts in communications, with web design development as a specialization, can be completed in 12 or 18 months, depending on various factors. In all, students will require between 35 and 50 credits to graduate.

Accelerated Web Design Online Programs

An accelerated online master’s in web design offers a swift path to expertise, allowing students to benefit from flexible schedules and rapid skill acquisition. To find suitable programs, diligent research across universities is essential, considering curriculum, faculty, and delivery methods for optimal alignment with individual learning preferences and career goals.

How to Get Into the Online Master’s in Web Design Program?

Enrolling in an online master’s degree program in web design development is usually simple.  First, students must choose a master’s program in design, communications, or computer technology and opt for web design development as a concentration. To do so, most institutions require that prospective students have an undergraduate degree in any field. Although the admission requirements for each program and college may vary, the following are some basic admissions requirements for online master’s degrees in web design development:

  • Application for Admission
  • Application Fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • An Undergraduate Degree in Marketing or Other Discipline
  • Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.8 on a scale of 4.0
  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) Scores (sometimes asked)
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose
  • At least two Letters of Recommendation
  • Graduate Resume
  • Proof of Proficiency in English (if the native language is not English)

Note: Students are advised to check with the admissions office of their chosen college for exact and specific admission requirements, as they vary by college and program.

Master’s in Web Design Online Programs with No GRE

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test often required for admission to graduate programs. Some institutions may waive the GRE requirement based on various factors such as professional experience, a strong academic record, or specific program policies. Waivers aim to provide flexibility and consider applicants holistically. An excellent example of a university that waives the GRE requirement for a master’s program in web design is the University of Denver2.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Web Design Programs

Accreditation is when a third-party organization verifies that a school or degree program meets and/or surpasses the predetermined quality and rigor standards. Although college accreditation is optional, it has various benefits, one important one being – it verifies a curriculum to employers and other colleges and institutions. Accreditation also ensures that students can transfer credits simply and quickly from one recognized institution to another while still being eligible for federal financial help. The U.S. Department of Education (USDE)3 and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)4 have approved six regional accrediting agencies to accredit colleges:

More information on accreditation is available in the Accreditation Guide.

Free Courses for Online Master’s in Web Design Students

While free online courses may not lead to a master’s degree, they are frequently offered by some of the world’s greatest universities. They can provide students with additional knowledge and insights not available in the classroom or a textbook. Students might benefit significantly from them in their everyday studies, assignments, exams, and capstone projects. Here are some free resources for students pursuing a master’s degree in web design development:

CourseBuilding a Successful Business Website 11
Provided byAlison
DescriptionThis course guides individuals in constructing a successful commercial website, emphasizing attractiveness, online visibility, and user-friendly navigation. Crucially, it ensures seamless customer transactions. Ideal for small business owners and entrepreneurs seeking to leverage the potential of the Internet.
CourseDesigning User Interfaces and Experiences (UI/UX) 12
Provided byClass Central
DescriptionIn this course, participants will explore the best practices of visual design development and distinguish between well-designed and poor user interfaces. The exploration encompasses typography, readability, and color theory in UI design.
CourseDiploma in Web Accessibility 13
Provided byAlison
DescriptionThis free online course explores concerns regarding web accessibility and its essential role in contemporary web design and development. The course elaborates on the significance of web accessibility, its beneficiaries, and the technologies and measures facilitating the creation of accessible interfaces for everyone.

How to Pay for Online Master’s in Web Design Programs?

The cost of a master’s degree program is steadily rising. Students frequently wonder how to support their education because most graduate programs cost thousands of dollars. Fortunately, graduate students have access to various financial aid options. Applicants must meet all requirements the donor or lender sets to be considered for financial aid. Prospective students of an online master’s in web design development can look into the following sources of financial aid:


Scholarships are awards given to students who have excelled academically or have fulfilled all the scholarship sponsor’s conditions. Scholarships may be offered based on socioeconomic background, gender, volunteer work and social participation, religious affiliation, sporting accomplishments, career path, specific subjects or degrees, financial need, and more besides academic excellence. (To prevent being defrauded online, read about Scholarship Scams.)


Grants are sums of money provided to deserving students that do not need to be paid back. Governments, foundations, trusts, and companies frequently offer them to persons who demonstrate financial need. Since grants are “free aid” or “gifts,” like scholarships, which do not have to be repaid, they make one of the most popular college funding options.

Graduate Assistantships

A Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) is a university graduate student who also teaches undergraduate students at that university. They take classes and pursue their studies in a specialized academic subject. They also assist professors in the delivery of undergraduate courses. Graduate teaching assistants are compensated with a stipend or a fee waiver in exchange for their services.

Student Loans

To help pay for college, student loans can be a good option to consider. Federal, bank, group, and trust loans and other funding sources are available. Unlike scholarships and grants, student loans must be repaid to the lender with interest. While they might help bear educational costs, they can also increase the amount of student debt owed, making repayment more onerous and potentially taking years.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a standardized form that applicants can fill in and submit to assess whether or not they are eligible for financial aid.

More information on various funding options is available in the best Financial Guide.

Scholarships for Online Master’s in Web Design Development

Scholarships are the best way to fund a college education, as the awarded money does not have to be paid back. Besides, getting a scholarship will take a load off one’s head, not worrying about paying for college. Several individuals and organizations provide scholarships to students studying web design development and related programs. Here are some examples:

DesignCrowd Web, Graphic & Logo Design Scholarship 14

DesignCrowd Web, Graphic & Logo Design Scholarship for Innovation in Digital Art provides financial assistance to graduates in design or a related academic field to further their careers and express their creative talents.

Amount/Award :

February, annually

Adobe Design Circle Scholarships 15

Design Circle, an Adobe initiative, aims to catalyze change in the design industry. By enhancing awareness of design as a career path and advocating for diversity, we strive to offer aspiring designers, irrespective of background, equal opportunities and support to access educational resources.

$25,000 x 10 awards


Graphic Web Design Scholarship Program16

The Graphic Web Design Scholarship Program is open to all undergraduate or postgraduate students taking part in an Art, Graphic Design, Visual Communication, or Creative Advertising course at a US or Canadian-based University or College. Applicants must submit their portfolio containing “a banner or a full-size image,” which will be evaluated.

Amount/Award :

Deadline :
May, annually

Career Opportunities and Salaries after an Online Master’s in Web Design

Web design and programming abilities are in high demand in various industries, including business, nonprofit, academic, government, and health care. Students of an online master’s in web design development graduate with the highly marketable skills employers are looking for and will have innumerable opportunities to shape the next wave of technological advancement. Across sectors, some of the roles and job titles graduates can take on are:

OccupationGraphic Designer 17
Median Annual Salary$57,990
Job Growth (up to 2032)3% (As fast as average)
Job DescriptionGraphic Designers use creative skills to visually communicate ideas through various media. They craft compelling designs for print and digital platforms, incorporating aesthetics and functionality to convey messages effectively.
OccupationWeb Developers and Digital Designers 1
Median Annual Salary$80,730
Job Growth (up to 2032)16% (much faster than average)
Job DescriptionWeb Developers and Digital Designers merge technical expertise and design skills to craft engaging online experiences. They prioritize functionality, user experience, and visual aesthetics for effective digital platforms.
OccupationWeb Administration Manager 18
Median Annual Salary$133,986
Job Growth (up to 2032)No Data Available
Job DescriptionThe role of a Web Administration Manager involves overseeing the daily administration and maintenance of the organization’s websites. They supervise changes in the site’s technical architecture to ensure responsiveness and stability, manage maintenance and troubleshooting of hardware and software, and ensure compliance with established standards. Typically, a bachelor’s degree in a related field is required.
OccupationGraphic Art Manager 19
Median Annual Salary$119,610
Job Growth (up to 2032)No Data Available
Job DescriptionThe Graphic Art Manager ensures that the layout and design adhere to brand and production standards, following best practices. They oversee the design and production of graphic art and visual materials for both print and digital media.

Certifications and Licensing for Online Master’s in Web Design Graduates

When an individual is certified, it means they have gone through a rigorous process to prove mastery of a specific subject or skill. While standards and eligibility differ by subject, in general, certified individuals are deemed to have substantial firsthand experience and training in their field, having passed a rigorous examination. In brief, a certification is useful for finding professionals who have advanced to the top of their profession and are well-qualified to offer the best services their clients need. Here are a few certifications for web design development students and working professionals:

  1. Certified Web Designer Associate (CWDSA) 20
    The Certified Web Designer Associate (CWDSA) certification assesses more than just the fundamental skills required of aspiring and current Web designers. At the standard described by this test specification, the individual must demonstrate a working knowledge of Internet basics, HTML including HTML5, CSS3, WYSIWYG editors, web graphics, web audio and video, website design, website management, and basic legal issues.
  2. Certified Web Professional (CWP) 21
    The Certified Web Professional (CWP) is administered by the International Web Association (IWA). It assures the effectiveness of the services rendered by the professional to the public and provides recognition to those practitioners who have attained unquestioned professional status in a single discipline based on examination, professionalism, and experience.
  3. CIW Web Foundations Associate 22
    The CIW Web Foundations Associate certification, administered by the Certified Internet Web Professionals (CIW), is ideal for professionals who use the Internet. It validates their understanding of important technologies that affect virtually every business. Once certified, these individuals are ready to pursue specialties in Web design, JavaScript e-commerce, databases, and other fields.
  4. Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) 23
    The Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) certification is a vital credential to earn to further one’s profession. For those web developers and designers who use Adobe as the program of choice, this certification endorses their skill in various interactive and online content areas, including web design, video, rich Internet applications, technical communications, and eLearning. Apart from ACE, Adobe also offers a host of other certifications as well.
  5. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Developer 24
    The AWS Certified Developer certification is best suited for those who design or develop applications on the AWS platform. This certification will help prove proficiency in designing, developing, and maintaining cloud-based solutions and applications using AWS solutions and the platform.

Additional Resources for Online Master’s in Web Design Professionals

Web design and development can sometimes be challenging, with the constant introduction of newer technologies and related hardware and software improvements. The field is vast and subjective and cannot be learned completely, even if one has mastered most coding principles and methodologies. Therefore, students must find ways to connect with others and share ideas, brainstorm, find solutions to problems, and expand their scope and expertise through various resources available on the internet. Here are some fantastic resources to help with that:

  1. W3Schools 25
    W3Schools is a freemium educational platform that teaches individuals how to code online. It provides web development courses covering all facets of the field. It is the largest web developer site on the internet, with 3 billion pages displayed yearly and 60 million visitors monthly. Students can learn anything from HTML and CSS to PHP, jQuery, and Bootstrap.
  2. Atom 26
    Atom is a highly customizable text editor with many features to keep a developer occupied immediately. It is cross-platform, offers intelligent autocomplete (which is helpful when writing code), allows it to work in several regions of the screen, and supports various programming languages, including JavaScript, Ruby, and Ruby on Rails.
  3. Git 27
    Git is a free and open-source distributed version control system that can easily handle everything from tiny to very large projects. It is simple to understand and use, with a small footprint and lightning-quick performance. It outperforms most other SCM solutions with capabilities like cheap local branching, convenient staging areas, and numerous workflows.
  4. Stack Overflow 28
    Stack Overflow is a congregation of over 7 million programmers who help each other with questions and answers related to coding and development. This online community is the go-to destination for freely sharing tips, tricks, advice, and information.
  5. GitHub 29
    GitHub is the largest and most advanced development platform in the world. Millions of developers and companies build, ship, and maintain their software on GitHub. Students can access a wide range of open-source guides, a learning lab, and a strong community of developers to help them become better web designers and developers.

FAQs About Online Master’s in Web Design Programs

What is web design?

In short, web design is the art and science of creating the appearance, feel, and functionality of a website or online page. Target audiences can have a better user experience if websites have a clear user interface and are simple to use. HTML, HTML5, cascading style sheets, colors, JavaScript, responsive design, layouts, social media, text size, graphics, and more are essential to successful web design. For a web browser to render content, a developer must know various programming languages, backend code development, and more.

Can I do a web design development degree online?

Which is the best college for a web design development degree?

Is web design development hard?

What can I do with web design development?

How long is a web design development master’s?

Is a web design master’s worth it?