Best Online Master’s Programs for education

Best Online Master’s Programs for education

Investing in your education can pay off. Individuals with a master’s degree make 21.4 percent more than those with only an undergraduate degree, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Furthermore, several areas (economists, sociologists, occupational therapists, etc.) demand a master’s degree for entry-level positions, while others require a master’s degree for progression.

A master’s degree can also be used to transition from one field to another. A master’s degree in business administration is a good illustration of this.

In recent years, online degrees have become more popular. The success of online-only institutions, which allow students to learn at their own pace and on their own time, has prompted traditional, in-person-only universities to offer online programs of their own.

In 2016, students enrolled in 100 percent online programs received 31 percent of all master’s degrees awarded. This is an increase from 23% in 2012. 2 COVID-19 has increased the amount of online students seeking these types of degrees because they not only give a high-quality education, but also a secure learning environment.

Despite the growing popularity of online learning, not all online master’s programs are created equal. If you’re a potential graduate student interested in learning more about some of the best online master’s programs, we looked at over 100 before narrowing it down to the top seven.

The Best Online Master’s Programs for education of 2021

BEST OVERALL: University of Southern California

The University of Southern California (USC) offers one of the most complete ranges of high-quality, online master’s degrees accessible, with more than 80 programs spread over 16 colleges. BestColleges has it ranked first overall for online master’s degrees, while U.S. News & World Report has it ranked first for most of its programs.


  • The coursework and lecturers are the same whether you study online or on campus.
  • The student body at USC is one of the most diversified in the country.
  • There are over 100 master’s degrees available online.


  • Tuition is amongst the highest compared to other online master’s programs

USC, which was founded in 1880, was a pioneer in distant learning when, in 1972, it used microwave technology to broadcast engineering classes to various sites around southern California. We chose USC as the best overall program since it provides over 100 online master’s degrees, the majority of which are ranked in the top ten in various rankings.

USC has modified its online master’s degrees to be more similar to in-person programs. The courses and lecturers are the same for any of their online programs, and the classes can be attended in real-time, practically at the same time as the planned on-campus class.

They can also be watched asynchronously at a time that is convenient for you. Whether a student is studying online or in person, online and in-person registrants for a given class are pooled for an enrollment limit to guarantee that academic support is sufficient for that class.

A USC online master’s degree is among the most expensive because it is offered by a prestigious, private university. For example, an MBA costs around $74,000 and a master’s degree in computer science costs around $60,000. USC is extremely well-funded and offers a variety of student aid programs to help defray these costs.

While other criteria differ by program, the majority of them require an undergraduate degree, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a written personal statement. The GRE or GMAT is usually necessary.

BEST VALUE: Western Governors University

We chose Western Governors University as the greatest value because it offers the appropriate mix of high-quality graduate education at an affordable price, all delivered entirely online.


  • Students can progress at their own speed and achieve degrees in less time because to the school’s innovative “competency-based” learning style.
  • One of the most cost-effective master’s degrees offered online
  • Offers fixed tuition for six months, allowing students to finish their degrees for less money.
  • Students can start attending lessons on the first of each month, all year round.


  • Only four colleges and 12 degrees are available through the program.
  • Interaction with other students is limited.

Western Governors University (WGU) was created in 1997 by 19 United States governors to satisfy the demand for high-quality, low-cost online education.

WGU stands out as the best value for money when it comes to providing a high-quality, 100% online graduate education at a reasonable price. Furthermore, students can finish their education at their own speed, allowing them to accomplish their degree in less time and for less money.

WGU’s knowledge-based learning philosophy allows students to acquire a high-quality master’s degree at a fraction of the cost of a comparable in-person or online program (an MS in Educational Leadership, for example, costs less than $13,000).

Furthermore, students pay a set fee every six months, creating an incentive for them to advance at a faster pace, and degrees are frequently finished in less time than other master’s programs. Each student sets their own pace, but these online master’s programs typically take 18 to 24 months to finish.

Furthermore, because all instruction and learning is done through e-books and other online resources, there is no additional expense beyond tuition. Through four colleges, WGU offers 12 online master’s degree programs (business, education, information technology, and health professions).

WGU also provides each student a mentor who keeps track of their academic progress and assists them in overcoming any obstacles they may face. Third-party evaluators review all competency and knowledge evaluations. Professors communicate with students via email and one-on-one meetings. Interaction with other students is limited.

All students must complete a short interview to confirm course expectations and produce transcripts from an accredited undergraduate school as part of the online application process. Depending on the program, there may be extra prerequisites.

BEST MBA: Indiana University (Kelley School of Business)

The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University is our top pick for an online MBA because it strikes the proper balance between online courses and interactive and periodic in-person learning. Both U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review have ranked the school first.


  • Provides a superb balance of live, immersive learning and self-paced learning.
  • Allows students to customize their education to their specific interests.
  • The online program’s student base is extremely diverse in terms of demographics.
  • There are no additional fees for out-of-state or overseas students.


  • Despite being a public institution, the program is one of the most expensive.
  • Working full-time students should be aware that the curriculum necessitates some in-person immersion study.

Indiana University was established in 1820, and its first online degrees were given in 1989. The Kelley School of Management’s online MBA program, which is our top option for online MBAs, has continued to strike the appropriate balance of online and in-person study and networking. Both U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review ranked it first in 2020.

The courses are provided using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning methods, as well as in-person immersion engagement on a regular basis.

This online school offers seven degrees, including business analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, and others, and it’s one of the most flexible we looked at, with electives accounting for half of the student’s credit hours. It is expected to take two years to finish, but it can be extended to four years.

With students from more than 30 countries and all 50 states, the program offers the opportunity to learn alongside a varied group of classmates. The student body is 11 percent military and 29 percent female, with an average of nine years of professional experience.

The program cost of $74,520 is among the most expensive, but it’s comparable to the cost of other premier MBA programs because it’s a state institution with no out-of-state or foreign premium.

Enrollment begins at two separate periods during the year, and the online application can be submitted at any time. Transcripts, as well as a GMAT or GRE, are required. In addition to an interview, a statement of intent and letters of recommendation are necessary.

BEST FOR MASTER’S OF EDUCATION: University of Illinois

Because it is one of the pioneers of distant learning and offers one of the most cheap degrees for such a distinguished program, the University of Illinois online master’s in education is our top option for people pursuing an advanced degree in teaching. Various graduate rankings, including U.S. News & World Report, routinely place it in the top ten programs.


  • Provides high-quality programming at a reasonable price.
  • Tuition is the same for in-state, out-of-state, and international students.
  • 100% online, with synchronous and asynchronous learning options
  • There are eight different fields of study available.


Every week, an obligatory real-time class is required.

Only one of the eight majors is dedicated to a single topic (biology)

The University of Illinois was founded in 1867 and is a world-renowned institution of higher learning, with more than 50 Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners among its alumni and professors. The University of Illinois was a forerunner in online education, offering its first entirely online degrees in 2000.

The program has embraced online learning to its full extent. Not only does it mention expressly that teachers are interchangeable between in-person and online classes, but it also states that there is no tuition difference between in-state and out-of-state students.

With a focus on learning styles across cultures of origin, handicap, race, gender, sexual orientation, social status, and primary language, the curriculum is also one of the most diversified. Bilingual/bicultural studies, learning design and leadership, digital learning, and others are among the eight topics of study offered by the program.

One of the reasons we chose the University of Illinois’ online master’s in education as one of the best online master’s degrees for education is that it is one of the least expensive at $15,680 for the entire program (fees and books are not included), and it can be completed in as little as four semesters.

Students have plenty of opportunity to interact with other students and instructors with a combination of real-time classes with their lecturers and classes that they can take on their own timetable.

References, a personal statement, a CV, and a transcript showing at least a 3.0 GPA for the past two years of your undergraduate studies are all required for the application to be completed online. It is not necessary to take the GRE. There are a few more program-specific needs.

BEST FOR COMPUTER SCIENCE: North Carolina State University

Because it provides three different degrees and is one of the most academically difficult programs for any student wishing to advance their study, North Carolina State University’s online master’s in computer science is our top choice for computer science. It consistently ranks in the top ten graduate school program rankings, including seventh place by U.S. News & World Report.


  • The online master’s degree is one of the most comprehensive, with three different concentrations to choose from.
  • Working professionals benefit from the flexibility of being able to learn on their own time.
  • The cost of the program’s degrees is among the lowest because it is a public school.


  • The program is limited to students living in the U.S. (military based outside the U.S. are allowed)

In 1887, North Carolina State University was established. We chose this program as the best for computer science because it is both affordable and flexible while also offering rigorous coursework and award-winning faculty with deep experience in the field. It has over 40 online master’s degrees, three of which are computer science-related and ranked in the top ten.

Computer science, computer networking, and computer engineering are the three computer science degrees available, and they are all aimed for students with extensive computing experience.

This program, which consists of ten courses and 31 credit hours, is an affordable choice for in-state students, costing around $13,800. When compared to alternatives, even out-of-state students will perceive this program as a fair deal at slightly over $40,000.

The curriculum is planned to be completed in two years, but it is flexible and can be completed in as little as six years. All of the learning takes place online, with professors delivering lectures through download and assignments and questions being exchanged via email. Professor access is similar to that of on-campus programs. Interaction with other students is possible via the message board.

The online application is common, and needed courses vary based on the program. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required on transcripts from a computer science or comparable undergraduate program. In addition, the GRE is required.

Michael Will

At Michael Will works as a writer and editor. He has 5 years of expertise in the business world, with an emphasis on small enterprises and startups. Digital marketing, SEO, business communications, and public policy are just a few of the areas he's addressed. He's also written about artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain, among other new technologies and their intersections with business.

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