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Are you ready to earn your online master’s degree? Did you know that the master’s degree wasn’t always an academic degree earned through studies?
Instead, it was awarded to individuals with a bachelor’s degree who maintained a respectable lifestyle and paid a token fee! Nowadays, students in the fastest online master’s degree programs must earn the right to be granted the distinction.
Earning your online Master’s degree is quite an accomplishment. And… one that many desire, but don’t achieve because of the time, cost, and determination needed to excel in a program. Often, an accelerated online Master’s program is the answer!
Accelerated master’s degree programs often take less time to complete compared to the typical master’s degree program. However, these types of online master’s degree programs can also be rigorous as you cover a lot of topics in half the time.
Online Master’s Degree Defined…
It’s an academic degree that demonstrates mastery of a specific subject, such as education, accounting, or biomedical engineering. It must be awarded an accredited college or university to value employers, colleagues, and society.
Take note that a typical online master’s degree program comes with high expectations. These include the possession of:
- Advanced knowledge and skills, or mastery, of a specific subject;
- Higher-order skills include critical thinking, analytical thinking, and problem-solving skills in the analysis of issues and application of solutions.
Master’s vs PH.D.
Emphasis must be made between an online master’s degree and a Ph.D. Students in online master’s degree programs explore in greater detail an existing body of knowledge. For that matter, students in Ph.D. programs, or doctoral programs, add to the existing body of knowledge through original research. Both cohorts, nonetheless, are typically required to submit a thesis or dissertation as a capstone project.
The accelerated online master’s degree programs featured here are among the fastest university programs in terms of duration. Most can be completed in under two years, usually between 12 and 18 months. Many are also accelerated bachelor’s-to-master’s degree programs that can be completed in five years.
Regardless of their duration, these accelerated master’s degree programs were chosen based on the following aspects:
- These have accelerated formats, such as shorter terms, more credit load per term, and a liberal transfer credits policy,
- These have national, regional, and programmatic accreditations. Regional and programmatic accreditations are preferred because of their specialized focus,
- Provides financial aid options,
- Offers accelerated online programs that are offered in either a 100% online or hybrid format,
- These have student-friendly learning platforms, including effective learning management software (LMS), such as Canvas or Blackboard. The schools must also be well-known for their quality education, student support services, and graduate outcome.
To learn more about our selection of these online master’s degree programs, see our Methodology page.
Fastest Online Master’s Degrees
Accelerated master’s degree programs in the field of applied nutrition are a ticket to supervisory or managerial positions in the diet and nutrition field. There are several career possibilities, such as registered dietitians, health and nutrition educators, and nutrition specialists.
Many of these occupations have specializations, such as sports dietetics, pediatric nutrition and obesity, and weight management.
There are just as many places to put an online master’s degree in applied nutrition to work, too! Hospitals, clinics, residential care facilities, schools, and gyms are just a few examples.
Courses include nutritional health among different cohorts, nutrition education and counseling, and nutrients and human metabolism. The typical curriculum prepares students for a career that treats food as medicine.
300 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115
Students are encouraged to bring innovative ideas to the table regarding nutrition, fitness, and wellness issues. In this online master’s degree, their advanced understanding of these topics enables them to do so. Their perspective also encompasses not just the local level but also the national and global levels.
The standalone online master’s degree program has two tracks to choose from:
- The Research track attracts students with a keen interest in research and nutrition epidemiology and culminates with a thesis.
- The Entrepreneurship track fits students who want to start a food and nutrition-related business and culminates with a business plan. Students also take courses from the Simmons School of Business.
The academic coursework and capstone project can be completed in a single academic year. Students can customize their degree, too, up to a point through elective courses.
Simmons also offers 4+1 programs to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years. The choices include B.S. in Public Health BS/Master of Science in Nutrition; B.S. in Exercise Science + Master of Science in Nutrition; and B.S. in Nutrition + Master of Science in Nutrition.
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Students attend small classes for maximized experiential learning, including seminars and research activities, and case-based discussions. Your professors will encourage independent and creative thinking, as well as provide enlightening discussions on nutrition-related matters.
108 Ravine Parkway Oneonta, NY 13820
This is a one-year, full-time online master’s degree program that combines intensive academic coursework with experiential learning in the field. Students must complete 36 credits along with a 1,220-hour supervised community-centric internship and a community health intervention project.
While the school assists, students have the primary responsibility of finding their registered dietitian preceptors and internship facility in their local community.
In this online master’s degree, the non-thesis component makes it a fairly easy program to complete. But students must spend about 55 hours per week during their internship applying their knowledge, completing readings and assignments, and other activities.
The coursework includes:
- Applied Health Statistics
- Nutrition-Focused Physical Assessment
- Applied Nutrition Therapy
- Current Issues in Dietetics
Most courses involve hours of supervised experiential learning. Students who can’t meet the requirements may have to rethink their full-time status.
Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSA) and Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)
This is a competitive program where only 20 students are accepted in each class. Graduates earn an M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics degree but can become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) after passing the CDR-RDN exam.
Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, life sciences, or natural sciences can thrive in a master’s in a Biomedical Engineering program.
Biomedical engineering, also known as medical engineering or bioengineering, refers to applying engineering principles and practices to medicine and its related disciplines. Students in these online master’s degree programs have the exceptional ability to combine math and sciences.
Aside from becoming biomedical engineers in leadership positions, graduates also become biochemists, medical scientists, and environmental scientists. In addition, many life-saving devices have come from their ranks, such as the artificial heart.
Students tackle rigorous courses and work with hospitals and laboratories in creating useful technology during their internship. Such a combination enables them to contribute to the best inventions that biomedical engineers have given to the world. Examples include the camera pill, bionic contact lens, and exoskeletons.
University of Arizona
Administration 322, P.O. Box 210066, Tucson, AZ 85721-0066
Students currently enrolled in UArizona’s online Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering or Life Sciences programs are eligible for its M.S. in Biomedical Engineering program, too. The bachelor’s degree must first be completed before the online master’s degree can be conferred.
Qualified undergraduate students can be admitted to the graduate program in the second semester of their junior year. In their senior year, they must complete advanced courses that apply to both degrees. Students must have at least a “B” grade in all their undergraduate courses before being granted graduate status.
Either a master’s report or a master’s thesis is required for graduation from the 4+1 program. This online master’s degree program consists of 30 credits, minimum.
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
With UArizona’s rigorous curriculum, you can make a difference in the lives of people and the improvement of the healthcare system! Your training will involve intensive hands-on experience in the creation of biomedical devices, instruments, and systems.
Michigan Technological University
309 Minerals & Materials Engineering Bldg., 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931
The 4+1 online Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering program at Michigan Tech allows full-time students to get both degrees in five academic years.
The ten semesters of full-time studies will be challenging, but it will be worth the time and energy considering the benefits of a double degree. Plus, this is Michigan Tech, among the best engineering schools in the country!
Qualified students start their graduate coursework during their senior year of undergraduate studies. Then, the one-year graduate studies start with the conferment of the bachelor’s degree. The Biomedical Engineering Accelerated Master’s program only involves academic coursework, but it’s just as challenging as thesis-centric programs.
The online master’s degree component is a 30-credit hours program where students must take up 4000 or higher courses. Up to six credit hours can be completed during the undergraduate years. These six credit hours can be applied to both degrees.
Graduate students must participate in the graduate seminar throughout their stay.
You will be getting an interdisciplinary education encompassing medicine, biology, and engineering. Your career prospects become wider because of your multiple skillsets.
Master’s in business administration (MBA) programs are the best fit for practicing business professionals who want a more in-depth understanding of business.
Individuals with little to no business experience, particularly recent graduates of business-related bachelor’s degree programs, are better suited for master’s in business management programs.
Students in MBA programs tackle comprehensive courses in operations management, human resources, finance, and strategy. A business administration program features peer-to-peer education, where students learn from each other. This is because the students are already successful business professionals willing to share their knowledge and learn from others.
Business administration programs are also excellent venues for meeting new people and, thus, expanding your personal and professional network. Students become well-rounded individuals whose value lies beyond their credentials, as prestigious as these may be.
The admission requirements for a business administration online master’s degree program sets the bar high, however. Many schools require applicants to possess work experience in business or related fields, usually 2-4 years, and a minimum GPA. This is because an online MBA program is a preparation for the next big step in your career!
Career opportunities are business consultants, finance managers, and general managers.
St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
2500 Park Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55404
( 877) 308-9954
Students at SMUM’s Master of Business Administration program can earn the degree within 12 months of full-time study! The program comprises 30 credit hours and a capstone project, as well as the option to attend a 20-lecture series. Students can customize their program of study, too, through the lecture series and electives.
For an online master’s degree in business administration, the capstone project can be done in the student’s choice of location. Students can complete the project in either the local or international setting, but the program’s administrators must approve it.
There’s also the option of adding graduate certifications alongside the online master’s degree courses. These graduate certifications involve six credits and further customize the graduate degree. These are instructor-led courses that complement graduate work as well as add to your skillset.
Choose from eight graduate certificates that will advance your career goals! These include Business Analytics, Healthcare Analytics, and Human Resource Management. This is a rare opportunity for sub-specializations in an MBA program.
100 S Washington Ave Suite 1210, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Walden’s One-Year Fast-Track MBA option makes it even faster to earn your online master’s degree! But it doesn’t mean that it’s an easy program because students must complete twice the work in half the time. With more than 50 years of experience, Walden also knows what its students want and delivers!
Students choose from four tracks:
- The General track enables students to learn critical business skillsets for success as business leaders.
- The Healthcare Management track prepares students for a successful career in the healthcare industry, such as in hospitals and nursing homes.
- The Human Resource Management track equips students with diverse skillsets for the leadership of teams.
- The Project Management track allows students to manage projects of varying scopes effectively.
There’s also the self-designed option where students have the flexibility of a customized program of study based on their career goals. All tracks, nonetheless, involve the completion of 30 semester credits consisting of core courses, specialization courses, and a capstone course.
Accreditation: HLC and Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
The MBA program is accessible with its no GRE/GMAT requirement and achievable with its end-to-end student support services. You can also apply the lessons in your workplace or business since these are largely practical.
Master’s in communication programs provide a more focused and advanced academic approach to the field of communication. Students may choose from specializations, such as corporate communications, strategic communications, or marketing communications.
These specializations prepare them for the competitive field where specific skill sets are as necessary as people skills.
No matter the specialization, students share similar learning goals. The exceptional ability to create, deliver and evaluate effective messages is a must, as they adapt to the ever-evolving trends and technologies in communication. The coursework across programs includes:
- Theory of communication
- Communication research methods
- Strategic and corporate communication
- Methods of communication in traditional and digital media
Many programs have a capstone project, such as a thesis or a seminar.
Most careers in communications don’t require licensure. Instead, work experience, credible reputation, and professional network are the main determinants of upward mobility. But for individuals who want to teach communication subjects at the K-12 levels, a teaching certification or license will be necessary.
1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23464
With Regent University being a private Christian institution, its M.A. in Communication program has a Christian perspective emphasizing ethics and values. But it’s also an exceptional program that prepares its students for the competitive field of communication in the public or private sector.
There are three concentrations offered:
- Media and Arts Management and Promotion
- Strategic Communication
- Political Communication
All concentrations, nonetheless, involve the completion of 33 credit hours. Students gain world-class skills in communications that can be applied in every setting, from business to politics. Graduates are known to land leadership positions and increase their earning potential.
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Regent provides its students with an outstanding Christian-centric higher education that few other universities can match as a nationally-ranked university.
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, Ohio 43403-0001
BGSU’s 4+1 program in Media and Communication Program Policy has stringent admission requirements. Applicants to the online master’s degree component must have earned either 75 or 90 credit hours with a minimum overall GPA of 3.2 and 3.0, respectively. An essay and a recommendation letter from a full-time faculty member are also a must.
Students who want to finish the B.A. to M.A. program in five years are advised to take Option 2 instead of Option 1. The coursework during graduate school includes:
- Introduction to Media & Communication
- Humanistic Research Methods
- Social Science Research Methods
The number of elective courses differs depending on the term. The fall semester, for example, involves one elective, but the spring and summer terms have two elective courses. In addition, there’s a capstone project with the choice between an M.A. project and a comprehensive final exam.
The U.S. News & World Report considers BGSU a top-ranking university for its reasonable tuition, high academic standards, and active student participation.
With the demand for software developers, computer and information scientists, and information security analysts on the rise, holders of a master’s in computer science degree can anticipate competitive salaries and job security. Moreover, these benefits can be enjoyed in a short period, too, thanks to accelerated programs.
The required number of credits varies from 30 to 50 credits, including a capstone project like a thesis or a comprehensive final exam. The courses include a wide range of topics, including:
- Information management and analytics
- Computer and network security
- Machine learning
- Real-world computing
Students must have a solid background in computing and programming to succeed in these advanced programs. While work experience may not be required for admission, it can come in handy during coursework. Being updated about the trends in computer science is also useful.
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo MI 49008-5200
This accelerated degree program accepts undergraduate students to earn their online Master of Science in Computer Science degree at an accelerated pace. Their 5000-level courses can be credited toward the graduate degree; up to 12 credits, but no fewer than six credits can be counted.
Students can select between the thesis and non-thesis track depending on their career goals and preference. Both tracks, however, involve the completion of 140 combined credits in the undergraduate and graduate phases.
Application to the program involves submitting GRE scores, a plan of graduate work, and an application with an application fee.
The U.S. News & World Report and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognize WMU for its top-notch degree programs. Students are equipped to make a difference in their community or industry as they enjoy the high-tech WMU facilities.
University of Oklahoma
Jacobson Hall, 550 Parrington Oval, Norman, Oklahoma 73019
UO’s School of Computer Science offers its online Bachelor of Science and online Master of Science in Computer Science to high-achieving undergraduate students on the fast track to a successful career.
Students can transfer up to 12 credit hours or four courses for both degrees, and these courses should be upper-level to be considered.
Students are well-advised to apply to the BS-MS program during their undergraduate junior or senior year, or two to three semesters before their B.S. completion. The admission requirements include a minimum of 3.5 GPA.
Check out the B.S. in Computer Engineering and M.S. in Computer Science program, too. This is in partnership with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The program’s sequential nature makes it easier for undergraduate students to cope with, even thrive in, the rigorous academic environment.
Students in a master’s in cybersecurity program gain valuable technical expertise in detecting, preventing, and managing threats to networks, computer systems, and databases.
Due to the complicated nature of cybersecurity, courses also include machine learning, cryptography, distributed decision-making, and multisensor data fusion.
There’s also a rigorous academic curriculum due to the advanced principles and practices involved in the ever-evolving cybersecurity industry. Students must apply themselves to the academic coursework and, thus, a full-time focus is recommended, especially for students in accelerated programs.
Aside from technical skills, students also learn professional skills, including decision-making, critical thinking, analytical thinking, and people skills.
The payoff comes in the form of job security, six-figure salaries, and plenty of career opportunities.
1000 Galvin Road South, Bellevue, Nebraska 68005
Bellevue’s M.S. in Cybersecurity program is a cohort-based program designed for students who thrive in an instructor-led environment. Most students are already working professionals in cybersecurity or related fields but want to enjoy career advancement and gain advanced skills.
Since it’s a cohort program, students only need to register at the start of the program. Their class schedules will be determined at the start of each term, a convenient method for working professionals and adult learners.
There’s no GMAT or GRE score necessary for admission, but only candidates with at least three years of experience in information technology will be considered. Most students have five years of work experience.
Bellevue has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. Students are provided with relevant knowledge and skills within a supportive and robust online learning platform.
3020 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Students gain both a robust theoretical foundation and advanced technical competence in cybersecurity. The combination results in high chances of getting plum leadership positions in diverse industries. Career opportunities abound for graduates of Drexel’s M.S. in Cybersecurity program in the government, finance, healthcare, and military sectors.
The theoretical foundation covers various topics, including computer networking, cybersecurity principles and practices, and related policies.
The technical competency skills are complemented by robust business skills, which are valuable in many occupations. Both skillsets are taught by Drexel’s credentialed faculty members, who also teach the on-campus courses.
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education or MSCHE
Offered at the College of Engineering and College of Computing and Informatics, it’s a program specifically designed for students with educational backgrounds and work experience in computer science and other related fields. In addition, the National Security Agency designates Drexel as a Center of Academic Excellence.
Master’s in Education (MEd) programs are intended for individuals who want to make a difference in education and shape the industry’s future.
Students are usually a mix of thought leaders who wish to add to the existing knowledge and practical doers whose passion lies in management. Many students also want to become better teachers, and the advanced knowledge learned becomes their solid foundation.
The chosen concentration will largely determine where a student can put his/her MEd to good use. Career opportunities abound in school districts, in classrooms at the K-12 level, and even in non-profit organizations. The options in concentrations include:
- Special Education
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Educational Technology
- English Language Learners
- Visual Impairment
There are commonalities between concentrations, such as emphasizing the best practices in education and its theories of learning and instruction. In addition, students typically engage in practicum sessions where their classroom management and teaching strategies are put to the test.
Students choose between an MEd or a master’s in teaching degree, which are different in many respects. An MEd is the best choice for individuals interested in the general educational system. The master’s in teaching degree is a better fit for individuals who want to become better teachers.
Seattle Pacific University
3307 3rd Ave West, Seattle WA 98119-1997
SPU’s M.A. in Teaching is aimed at experienced teachers who want to gain more skills in classroom management and teaching strategies.
This is a 12-month program with a cohort model and with the academic coursework delivered 100% online. But the student teaching practicum must be conducted face-to-face, preferably in a local school district.
Students should complete 60 credits to earn the graduate degree. Keep in mind that it isn’t just about complying with the academic requirements, as rigorous as these may be. Earning your M.A. in Teaching at SPU also means developing your character as well as your sense of service and leadership skills!
While the degree itself is best suited for school teachers, it can also be applied in related occupations like school counselors, educational leadership, and superintendents.
Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities or NWCCU
Graduates are highly valued professionals in the education community because of their credibility, competence, and character. Thus, becoming effective teachers comes naturally to SPU graduates, too.
Gwynedd Mercy University
1325 Sumneytown Pike, Gwynedd Valley, PA 19437
The MS in Education program involves completing 30-36 credits, which can be achieved in a year. The first courses are chosen based on your preferred teacher certification.
The succeeding courses, which can only be taken after passing the first courses and required certification exams, will complete the degree requirements.
Students prepare for one of these two certification levels:
- PreK–4 Education Certification
- Secondary Education Certification (Biology, Mathematics, and Social Studies)
Courses are offered one at a time but in shorter seven-week sessions. The condensed form means the classes are fast-paced and rigorous.
Your theoretical knowledge will be expanded even as your practical skills in education-related matters become better. As a result, you will teach better at the elementary and secondary levels and become well-versed in public education matters.
Educational psychology focuses on human development and learning as these relate to the field of psychology. While it’s a fairly young sub-specialization developed by psychologists in the early 20th century, it has evolved into a popular field.
Students in master’s in educational psychology programs learn about the history, breakthroughs, and current trends in children’s biological and psychological developments.
There are also discussions on how these natural developments interact with environmental factors and their combined effects on learning. Students also gain advanced research, analysis, and writing skills, which are vital professional skills.
Upon earning the degree, you can apply for licensure as an educational psychologist and work as a school psychologist or counselor. You may also apply for non-clinical jobs in the academe or research institutions, such as post-secondary teachers or social workers.
Eastern Michigan University
900 Oakwood St. Ypsilanti, MI, USA 48197
Students in EMU’s M.A. in Education Psychology program complete an average of 30 credit hours to earn the degree. The average completion time is two years, but it can be shortened with more courses and summer term enrolment. Students must discuss their options with academic advisors.
The diverse student body includes practicing P-12 teachers, individuals with a passion for human development, and professionals seeking more knowledge of the subject. Such diversity contributes to the dynamic student-faculty interactions and evolving rigorous curriculum.
The courses cover the principles and practices of modern educational psychology through courses like:
- Basic Concepts in Educational Psychology
- Principles of Educational Research
- Seminar in Educational Psychology
If you’re a certified teacher, you can use the degree for career advancement, improve your practice, become a thought leader, or pursue a doctorate. This is also an affordable program with a high quality of instruction.
Ball State University
David Letterman Communication and Media Building, Room 131, Muncie, IN 47306
With its research-based curriculum, BSU’s M.A. in Educational Psychology program is a convenient, affordable, and accessible venue open for working professionals.
This is designed for completion within 18 months, provided that a student takes on a full load every term, including the summer term. The research-based curriculum prepares students for a research career, too.
The 30-credit program equips students with a solid foundation in educational psychology: research methodology, tests and measurements, learning, and statistics. The online classes are also taught by the same on-campus professors known for their credentials and competence.
The master’s degree programs at BSU are among the best in Indiana due to their excellent quality of instruction combined with a challenging curriculum. Veterans also find these programs suitable for their personal and professional goals.
Bringing together the best of engineering and management is a great way to describe engineering management.
Engineering managers have the unique combo of an engineer’s problem-solving ability using technology and a manager’s administrative, organizational, project management, and leadership abilities. Many work in complicated engineering-driven projects that demand both engineering and management mindsets.
The ideal candidates are professionals with an engineering degree and work background. Students learn crucial management skills in leading a team of engineers and deepening their technical engineering skills. Indeed, a master’s in engineering management will test both your technical and managerial skills in surprising ways!
An accelerated online master’s program provides career opportunities such as computer and I.T. manager, construction manager, and engineering manager. Many earn six-figure salaries with their extensive work experience.
University of Louisville
2301 S. 3rd St. Belknap Campus, Louisville, KY 40292
Thanks to their robust foundational skills, engineers with extensive experience in diverse projects will likely thrive in the MEEM program at UofL.
Students also appreciate the opportunity to acquire superior skills in managing engineering products, projects, and services. Such superior skills contribute to the achievement of on-point, if not better, results.
The courses are delivered 100% online and in accelerated 8-week terms, a delivery method that provides students with a certain level of flexibility. Completion time is 1-2 years, depending on the number of courses enrolled in every term. The program itself is administered by the university’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering.
There are no GMAT/GRE scores required. Candidates can request a transfer of credits – up to six credit hours – from another UofL graduate engineering program or another accredited school. Applicants can choose from six start dates every year.
You will also earn the highly regarded Six Sigma Black Belt certification while also earning your master’s degree. Plus, you can establish networks with other engineers, particularly as the program has a peer-to-peer learning modality.
Arkansas State University
2105 East, Aggie Rd, Jonesboro, AR 72401
AState’s MEM program can be finished in 12 months with just 30 semester credit hours for completion. Suitable candidates include:
- Engineers with management roles in engineering, technology, and manufacturing organizations
- Engineers seeking professional licensure in states where requirements include 30 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree in engineering
- Engineers wanting to improve their chances at management positions
The program is offered via AState’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. There are ten fully online courses, with each course lasting about seven weeks.
These courses include Engineering Statistics, Project Management for Engineers, and Quality Control and Improvement. While this is a non-thesis program, an engineering capstone is required for completion.
You will become a better engineer with a solid foundation in effective and efficient management skills. Your training is a preparation for leadership roles in increasingly complex engineering projects.
Why get a master’s degree in entrepreneurship when you can just go out there and start a business? For starters, students learn the best practices in launching and maintaining a business, as well as pursuing a management-level job. But, of course, some lessons can also be learned faster inside a classroom too.
Graduates use their master’s degree in finding gainful employment across diverse industries, including technology, manufacturing, and construction. In addition, sales and retail, advertising, and sales engineering are also excellent options.
Students not only learn about the best practices in entrepreneurship but also about people and technology skills. Indeed, the result is a well-rounded professional whose understanding of business is valuable in any occupation.
University of Southern California
3670 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Individuals with a passion for entrepreneurial ventures will thrive in USC’s graduate program because of the conducive environment.
The 12-month program will test students’ dedication and determination to their studies, but the rewards are worth the effort. Graduates have valuable skill sets that will set them apart from the rest, whether they start new businesses or seek employment.
Students acquire marketable skills and customize their program of study through elective courses. There are only 27 units for completion, and courses include Introductions to New Ventures, Cases in Feasibility Analysis, and Venture Initiation.
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges or WASC
Marshall School of Business has established a reputation for being a “breakthrough educator in entrepreneurship.” As a result, many graduates have founded well-known companies like Tinder, Kinko’s, and Trader Joe’s.
University of Florida
Bryan Hall 100, P.O. Box 117150, Gainesville, FL 32611-7150
Offered at the famous Warrington College of Business, the M.S. in Entrepreneurship program emphasizes bold ideas that break the glass ceiling.
Students learn the fundamental principles and best practices of entrepreneurship in a conducive environment characterized by peer-to-peer learning. This is a one-year program with 32 credit hours in the curriculum, among the fastest master’s degrees.
While academic coursework has its place, it isn’t the center of learning in this program. Students learn from experience, too, through innovative learning programs that encourage their entrepreneurial spirit. These include GatorNest, Integrated Technology Venture Program, and the Lean Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program.
You will have a fully immersive experience in entrepreneurship with the hands-on, innovative learning programs. You can choose to become either an innovator or a launcher, and you can gain the skillset needed for either one.
Individuals who want to move up the proverbial ladder in corporate finance, private wealth management, and investment banking will benefit from a master’s of finance degree.
Aspiring CPAs can also earn the 150 semester hours necessary to practice as a licensed CPA through the graduate degree. Of course, every individual hungry for advanced knowledge about finance will thrive in the program!
The required coursework emphasizes math, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills necessary for statistical analysis, financial reporting, and business leadership. Programs typically have capstone requirements, which can be a project or a thesis. Electives are available to customize your degree based on your professional goals.
Career opportunities are aplenty with a master’s of finance degree and, thus, sticking to it despite the difficulties is recommended. Many of these occupations, such as financial analysts, budget analysts, and accountants, earn six-figure salaries with extensive work experience.
Southern Utah University
351 W. University Blvd. Cedar City, UT 84720
SUU’s MBA Finance track provides students with advanced expertise in finance, particularly in the management of investments across diverse settings. Employment opportunities abound in traditional investment firms, companies engaged in mergers and acquisitions, and early-stage companies.
This is a 100% online program with 33 credit hours, including a capstone strategy course for completion. Students take as few as 12 months to complete it on a full-time status. The courses last for seven weeks, and there are multiple start dates.
Students learn through project-based courses in business fundamentals, statistical analysis, and investment banking.
Accreditation: NWCCU and AACSB
You will be more than prepared for leadership roles in finance, such as a chief financial officer or treasurer. However, your real-world education starts in the virtual classroom where professors have impressive credentials.
Colorado State University
585 Salida Way, Aurora, CO 80011
Students at CSU Global’s M.S. in Finance program prepare for their future roles as financial services experts and effective leaders in their industries.
Such a lofty goal becomes possible with the challenging curriculum consisting of core courses and degree specialization courses. Nothing is left to chance since a financial career has too much at stake!
The 30-credit program features two specializations:
- Organizational Leadership and Change Management
- Project Management
While there are differences in their specialization courses, both tracks feature courses designed to develop your advanced finance skillsets.
Accreditation: HLC and ACBSP
You have one step in the door into the financial industry’s topmost positions, thanks to CSU’s prestigious reputation. While your knowledge and skills are important, many employers also consider your educational background.
Candidates for a master in healthcare administration (MHA) program should ideally have sufficient background in healthcare and have aspirations for leadership roles. Such an aspect is vital since the advanced courses will be too confusing for greenhorns in healthcare, particularly where service delivery is concerned.
Beyond the advanced education, students in a healthcare administration master’s degree program must also take advantage of their advisers’ mentorship opportunities and networking opportunities among their peers. Both are important in the upward trajectory of a successful healthcare administration career.
Healthcare administration graduates assume various leadership roles in diverse settings, including hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. There are plenty of specializations, too, including information technology and patient management.
Healthcare administration occupations include director of managed care, medical and health services management, and health information manager. With a projected increase of 20% through 2026 for medical and health services managers, job security is a possibility, too.
Missouri State University
901 S. National Ave. Springfield, MO 65897
Undergraduates in MO State’s College of Business can apply to the Master of Healthcare Administration program and take graduate-level courses in their senior year; admission requirements apply. Up to six credit hours will be counted toward both degrees, a fast-track way of getting your master’s degree.
The graduate program itself requires at least 36 credit hours of graduate coursework aside from the prerequisite courses. Students must comply with the requirements of quantitative and qualitative research projects, too. These are supervised by their professors and involve significant effort to complete.
A capstone project is necessary for the conferment of the Master of Healthcare Administration degree. Students may also be required to undergo a 3-hour internship or present proof of one-year professional experience, whichever applies.
If you’re the overachieving type or you simply want to hit two birds with one stone, this is the best-fit program for you! You can earn both an MHA and MPH degree simultaneously. In addition, up to 12 credit hours can be applied to both graduate degrees.
Louisiana State University Shreveport
One University Place, Shreveport, LA 71115
The ten courses in LSU’s MHA program make it seem easy but keep in mind that nothing comes easy with a graduate degree. These healthcare-centric courses include:
- Organizational Behavior
- Human Resource Management
- Healthcare Systems
- Law and Ethics
Courses are offered in the fall, spring, and summer terms, and courses are delivered via the Moodle system.
Each course has a seven-week duration, meaning the classes are fast-paced so being a quick learner is advantageous. Students are well-advised to spend at least 24 hours per week on each class to keep up. The recommended course load per term to finish in 12 months is four classes per semester.
Accreditation: SACSCOC and AACSB
Your MHA degree represents the advanced skill set that employers look for in candidates applying for leadership positions. Therefore, you will have ample opportunities to demonstrate your above-par competency.
Due to the complex concepts involved in a master’s in an information technology program, the ideal candidates are individuals with a solid foundation in the field. This ideally includes a bachelor’s degree in information technology or a related field and work experience.
The intensive coursework can be made even more difficult with fast-paced classes in accelerated programs. Courses include information technology and security, web design, and software development. Hands-on activities are common but can be performed at home or in the office, thanks to digital technology.
Networking among fellow students, instructors and alumni is a must since it can result in internship and employment opportunities. Common occupations include computer and information research scientists, information security analysts, and computer network architects.
1 Washington Park, Newark, NJ 07102
The 4+1 accelerated program is challenging, to say the least, because students must juggle their undergraduate and graduate studies. Eligible undergraduate students must be enrolled in either the Management Information Systems (MIS) or the Business Analytics and Information Technology (BAIT) program.
They may apply for admission into the Master of Information Technology and Analytics (MITA) program and earn two degrees in five years. The admission requirements include at least 75 credit hours in the undergraduate program and a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA.
Undergraduates start their graduate coursework during their senior year.
Accreditation: MSCHE and AACSB
Earning your MIS or BAIT degree along with your MITA degree from Rutgers is a testament to your uncommon determination, hard work, and dedication. These are values that employers look for in their employees, not to mention that the Rutgers name is well-respected in the country.
American Military University
111 W. Congress Street, Charles Town, WV 25414
AMU students in the M.S. in Information Technology program learn about advanced information technology and systems, from their design to implementation and evaluation. Students choose from three tracks, with each track consisting of 15 semester hours:
- I.T. Project Management
- Digital Forensics
- Information Assurance and Security
Students must also choose either an information technology capstone or a creative project capstone as a culminating requirement. Courses include database systems, I.T. project management, and I.S. architectures, which will add up to 36 credits. Students may request for transfer of up to 15 credits for faster completion.
If you’re in the public service sector or the military, you may find AMU a great fit for your goals. AMU offers relevant, affordable, and accessible higher education along with excellent student support services.
Instructional Design and Technology
Professionals in instructional design and technology are in the business of creating, integrating, and evaluating diverse learning systems, materials, and resources. According to intensive applied research regarding how people learn, these systems are designed – the how and why of learning. These aren’t just designed for academic settings either – government and non-profit organizations also need them.
Students in a master’s of instructional design and technology programs learn advanced principles and practices that make learning better. In addition, there’s an emphasis on the use of applied research and technology in creating innovative learning systems and materials.
Career options abound in the public and private sectors, including government agencies, for-profit companies, and non-profit organizations. Possible occupations include instructional designer, corporate trainer, learning and development director, and curriculum designer.
Old Dominion University
Gornto Hall, Norfolk, VA 23529
Students must complete 30-36 credit hours to earn the M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology degree. Aside from instructional design courses, the coursework also includes topics on:
- Distance education
- Applied cognition
- Quantitative and qualitative research
- Evaluation and assessment of instructional systems and materials
Professors ensure that students learn the underlying principles and best instructional design practices and technology in the virtual classroom. As a result, students are prepared to either pursue advanced careers or a doctorate in the field.
You can become part of a vibrant learning community where academics and community engagement intersect. You can also choose to earn a Modeling and Simulation certificate. Most graduates also get rewarding employment or pursue higher education within six months after completion.
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110
The 30-unit M.S. in Learning Design and Technology features 100% online learning and seven-week long courses. Students can finish it in 20 months, or five semesters, by taking two courses every semester.
The coursework includes a capstone course that allows students to demonstrate their acquired skillset, and it’s a chance for fellow students to give their input. The peer evaluation of each student’s portfolio project can be as nerve-wracking as the professor evaluations, too.
Students must use their higher thinking faculties to examine learning theories, technologies, and pedagogies. In addition, the curriculum includes courses on learning experience design, leadership skills, and digital literacy skills.
While the online delivery is convenient, the challenging curriculum is anything but. You have the assurance that you will gain basic mastery of the advanced concepts in instructional design and technology.
Individuals with the ambition to become marketing managers, even chief marketing officers, should consider earning a master’s in marketing. Students learn about the principles and practices of marketing and the best strategies to implement an effective marketing program. The coursework also emphasizes the role of social media, analytics, and technology in the ever-evolving marketing field.
For this reason, the common courses include:
- Marketing strategy
- Market research
- Consumer behavior
- Digital media
Beyond academics, students must take advantage of the abundance of networking opportunities with their fellow students, alumni, and professors. Real-world connections are beneficial when looking for jobs, particularly for leadership roles. Plus, skills in communications, research and analytics can also be learned through peer-to-peer methods.
73 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108
Suffolk’s Master’s in Marketing program is among the fastest we’ve seen so part-time students can earn the degree in just 21 months! But if you want to make it even shorter, enroll as a full-time student and earn it in just nine months.
The accelerated pace is due to the liberal transfer policies, such as the waiver of prerequisite courses with B or better grades. Students can also choose from concentrations including:
- Global Marketing
- Product Management
- Market Research and Customer Insights
The best students also qualify for merit-based fellowship awards, which will make their higher education more affordable.
Accreditation: NECHE and Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business ( AACSB)
You should be able to compete for plum positions in marketing in just nine months! Your career can be started on a high note, too, since Suffolk is a prestigious university recognized by employers nationwide.
401 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203
Vanderbilt’s Master of Marketing program combines the best of academics and immersion experiences. Students benefit from the comprehensive curriculum with MBA-level courses, which are as rigorous as they are informative. There are also personalized immersions that open their eyes to the real world of marketing.
This is a 10-month program that involves the completion of 31 credit hours for graduation. Students learn via modules or mods, and each one lasts for seven weeks. Students take two mods every semester.
The coursework includes big data analytics, advertising and promotion, web-based marketing and social media, and consumer behavior. Peer-to-peer learning is encouraged, as is active participation in the two immersion experiences.
Accreditation: SACSCOC and AACSB
You can take classes that aren’t in the standard curriculum, meaning you can enjoy the benefits of customized education. Examples include Marketing Analytics, Spreadsheets for Business Analytics, and Negotiation.
Many programs offering a master’s in organizational leadership are offered in business schools and, in most cases, a concentration within an MBA program. Regardless of the format, these programs equip students with the skillset for effective and efficient leadership in all organizations. These skills include increasing team performance and individual productivity, boosting their morale, and training employees.
Candidates are typically required to present proof of leadership-related experience for admission, as well as GRE/GMAT scores and a bachelor’s degree. As students, their coursework includes topics on:
- Leadership fundamentals
- Leadership psychology
- Organizational leadership
- Human resources management
- Crisis communication
Graduates are prepared for mid-level and upper-level leadership positions in human resources, labor management and training, and general leadership. Examples of occupational titles include human resource director and compensation analyst, and even consultants with extensive work experience.
4513 Manhattan College Parkway, Riverdale, NY 10471
The MS in Organizational Leadership is designed for working professionals who want to pursue leadership roles and whose leadership plans are tailored specifically for their needs. Students and instructors work together to ensure that, indeed, the learning outcomes are achieved.
There are several tracks to choose from:
- Organizational Leadership
- Human Resources
- E-learning and Training
- Public Service
The specialization is necessary for students to focus their energy on the principles and practices relevant to their professional goals. The curriculum itself is highly structured, with some leeway through electives. Students learn as a cohort, meaning that peer-to-peer learning is a significant experience, in addition to the capstone project.
You will establish your brand of leadership in the graduate program that, in turn, can be translated into your professional career. Your skills in collaborative project management will be stronger, too, and these are marketable skills.
8667 E. Hartford Drive, Suite 100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Candidates for the M.S. in Organizational Leadership can choose the 12-month accelerated scheduling option for a faster completion time. This isn’t for everybody, though, as it’s a fast-paced, intense, and challenging program that demands 101% commitment and focus. Even extracurricular activities will have adverse effects on your ability to keep up with the demanding coursework.
Students choose from six specializations:
- Criminal Justice
- Health Services
- Management of Virtual Organizations
- Non-profit Management
- Human Resources Management
- Project Management
Every specialization, nonetheless, involves the completion of 30 credit hours or ten courses. The recommended completion time is 16 months, but, as mentioned, students can choose the accelerated scheduling option.
Accreditation: The WASC – Senior College and University Commission or WSCUC and ACBSP
Your specialization will be your advantage since it combines general organizational skills and advanced skills in your area of expertise. Your career will get a boost from being associated with the National name, too.
A master’s in public health (MPH) degree enables students to gain advanced knowledge about public health’s five core disciplines: epidemiology, biostatistics, social and behavioral sciences, health policy and administration, and environmental health. Students also have opportunities to learn advanced knowledge in their respective specializations and add to their existing body of knowledge.
Keep in mind that public health goes beyond provider-to-patient care, and it’s so broad that it can cover international health issues, too. The rewards come in solving public health issues that have affected entire communities, probably for several generations. The MPH degree can also be standalone and can be paired with another graduate degree.
Most programs have two components – an academic phase where diverse topics are discussed and a practicum phase. The latter usually involves the conduct of original research and an internship.
George Washington University
2121 I St NW, Washington, DC 20052
Offered at Milken Institute, the MPH program seeks to develop competent and compassionate professionals with a mission to protect, enhance and optimize public health. Students learn the principles and practices that improve public health on the local, national and international levels.
The program is available in three formats:
- The 12-month accelerated MPH program demands full-time commitment and an average of 11.5 credits per quarter. Students aren’t allowed to have any type of employment during the year-long program.
- The 18-month accelerated MPH program involves the completion of 7.5 credits per quarter. Students may be able to work part-time but not full-time due to the grueling sessions.
- The customizable MPH program can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis. Students are allowed to finish it for a longer period, from two to five years.
These three programs have the same curriculum, with the difference being the number of courses per term.
Accreditation: MSCHE and Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
Your time at GWU will be marked with personalized support services, networking opportunities through its extensive alumni network, and classes led by the best faculty.
500 W. Monroe St, Suite 28, Chicago, IL 60661
Being admitted into Chamberlain’s MPH program is easier than most since no GRE scores and entrance exams are required. But that doesn’t make it easier as a graduate program! Students will be challenged to perform their best every session due to the advanced courses and the pressure to provide innovative proposals to public health issues. Indeed, the setting may be academic, but the demands are real-world in nature.
Students must earn 43 credit hours to earn the degree. In addition, students must be on full-time status for the accelerated option and enroll in two courses (the equivalent of six credit hours) for every eight-week session. Since there are seven sessions throughout the year, the program can be completed in 3.5 semesters.
The capstone requirement is a two-part applied practice experience or practicum, wherein students work in public health settings.
The program is known for its engaged, responsive, and credentialed faculty and 24/7 student support services. You may find the curriculum challenging, perhaps exhausting due to its fast pace, but you can rely on the university’s support.
Individuals interested in earning a master’s in nursing (MSN) degree are well-advised to earn a B.S. in Nursing (BSN) degree first. The BSN degree will provide a strong foundation for your ability to keep your head above water during your MSN studies.
Many programs in collegiate nursing education, however, allow students to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing simultaneously. But these are for extremely organized, dedicated, and determined students with little to no professional responsibility. The curriculum isn’t just challenging – the pace can be grueling, and good physical and mental health is a must.
MSN programs are, after all, intended for people who want a successful career in advanced nursing and, in many cases, become specialists. Graduates can also apply their degrees in non-nursing positions, such as in education and administration.
Southern New Hampshire University
2500 North River Road Manchester, NH 03106
SNHU’s R.N. to MSN program is, indeed, the fastest way to earn your degrees, save on tuition, and earn the credits necessary to sit for the R.N. licensure exam. Plus, candidates can transfer up to 90 credits to the program, meaning a faster completion time. Candidates with an unencumbered R.N. license can transfer 45 credits more, too!
Students learn the best theory and practices of advanced nursing that can be applied in their workplaces. The coursework includes safe nursing practice, health promotion and disease prevention, and quality patient outcomes.
Accreditation: NECHE and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
The flexible delivery means no set meeting times, 24/7 access to learning materials, and other benefits of asynchronous learning. SNHU is also a nationally recognized non-profit university with alumni across the nation.
W140N8917 Lilly Road, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Candidates with an R.N. license can apply to Herzing’s R.N. to MSN program regardless of their undergraduate degrees, such as ASN, ADN, or AASN. Registered nurses will agree that it’s also among the shortest route to a graduate degree and, thus, to desirable leadership positions in the nursing profession.
There are several specializations offered:
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
- Nursing Leadership and Administration (NLA)
- Nursing Education (N.E.)
With the accelerated format, students can earn their BSN and MSN in 20 months.
Accreditation: HLC and CCNE
You have one less concern on your hands as Herzing assures its students of their clinical placement. Herzing is also known for high-quality nursing instruction.
The benefits of earning a master of social work (MSW) degree outweigh the costs in time, effort, and money. These include more job opportunities, many of which are in leadership roles, and better chances at being a licensed clinical social worker (CSW).
Accelerated programs with a one-year completion time are available, but these aren’t easy to enter and retain. The comprehensive coursework includes:
- Social policy
- Clinical practice
- Human behavior
- Research methods
Graduates work in diverse fields, including healthcare facilities, mental health care institutions, and the academe. Occupations aren’t limited to the social worker title but also include therapists and educators.
Specializations are also common, including children and youth, families and groups, and older adults. The second half of the program is usually dedicated to practicum.
300 The Fenway Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5898
The admission requirements to the Simmons MSW program don’t include a bachelor’s degree in social work, but it’s an advantage for the candidate. The undergraduate understanding of social work will serve you well during your graduate studies. But the more important thing is your full-time commitment to the program, a must if you want to earn the degree in just 16 months.
But even the standard full-time program is accelerated in a way – students can earn the degree in 23 months, or one month shy of the traditional 24-month programs. There’s even a 32-month extended program!
All programs, however, have 65 credit hours and require 1,000 hours of fieldwork.
The combination of foundational knowledge in advanced social work and rigorous fieldwork prepares students for the challenging profession. In addition, you will gain cultural sensitivity along with technical skills in dealing with a broad range of people and situations.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
1201 W University Dr, Edinburg, TX 78539
UTRGV’s MSW with a specialization in Administration and Community Practice welcomes candidates with a passion for serving the Latino community. Leaders with advanced skillsets in social work are bred here, and their passion lies in the improvement of human services for underserved and at-risk Latino communities.
This accelerated degree program allows students to learn effective ways of working with diverse cohorts in identified at-risk communities and gain crucial social advocacy and community organizing skills. The 500-hour practicum develops these skills through real-world applications.
Graduates can sit for the MSW license and apply for management-level jobs.
UTRGV has received many accolades, including the best and most affordable MSW programs from reputable social work ranking sites.
A master’s in strategic leadership can be part of a larger program, such as an MBA or a standalone degree. In both instances, the graduate degree can bring significant financial rewards, often in the six figures. For example, in a Payscale study, it’s among the top five graduate degrees with the highest earning potential.
The core courses develop crucial competencies in implementing organizational systems, change management, and conflict resolution. Electives allow for a certain degree of customization according to each student’s professional aspirations.
Graduates have the competencies required for leadership roles in consulting companies, investment organizations, and government agencies.
University of Charleston
2300 MacCorkle Ave SE, Charleston, WV 25304
Full-time students complete the M.S. in Strategic Leadership program in just 16 months. The cohort-based setup allows students to learn alongside the same set of classmates for the entire program. Candidates must have a minimum of 2.0 college GPA to be considered for direct admission.
There are four specializations:
- Crisis Leadership
- Business Management
- Strategy as Practice
- Healthcare Management
Students learn and develop effective leadership skills that allow them to steer companies in the right direction amidst the challenges of globalization.
Your training will include dealing with organizational change, becoming an effective motivator, and being a good strategic leader. Lifelong connections can be made, too, partly due to the small class sizes and the familiarity.
Clayton State University
2000 Clayton State Boulevard, Morrow, GA 30260
Candidates with business and non-business degrees are equally welcome to apply to CSU’s graduate program! The ideal candidate has a passionate desire to become a successful strategic leader in diverse industries. The program trains future strategic leaders in the public and private sectors, including for-profit and non-profit organizations.
Full-time students are able to complete the degree in 12 months and gain robust skills in strategic leadership along the way. Every course is taught in 8-week sessions, meaning students can go through the curriculum faster. In addition, students are well-advised to exercise exceptional time management skills to thrive in the fast-paced program.
Accreditation: SACSCOC and AACSB
Your education isn’t just about being a good strategic leader but also about being inclusive and inspiring while taking on the role of a change manager. As a result, your skill set will not only be expanded but also be better.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the basic facts about master’s degrees?
Most online master’s degree programs have a two-year duration and 40 credit hours consisting of general courses, core courses and electives, and a capstone project. The two-year duration presupposes full-time enrollment in the fall, spring, and summer terms. Part-time students, however, may take as long as six years.
Accelerated online master’s degree programs, which are the subject of this listing, take far fewer months to complete. But these are more challenging with their full-time enrollment status, faster-paced courses, and shorter terms. Be sure to consider whether you are, indeed, cut out for the challenges that lie ahead.
The typical capstone project is a dissertation or thesis with original research, but many programs also require a comprehensive exam and externship for graduation. Students in online master’s degree programs may also be required to maintain a minimum grade, such as a 3.0 on a 5.0 scale or a B.
Both typical and accelerated online master’s degree programs offer the following types of master’s degrees:
- Master of Arts (M.A.) programs emphasize liberal arts and social sciences. These are fairly easy in the sense that there’s less focus on math and science, but it doesn’t mean that slackers will succeed either.
- Master of Science (M.S. or MSc) programs equip students with technical skills that prepare them for specialized work.
- Master of Business Administration or MBA programs are among the most popular because of their excellent career-boosting potential. This is true for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in business administration or management, finance, or economics.
- Master of Education (MEd) programs attract teachers with work experience who want mastery of a specific field and a career boost.
Many programs have other designations, too. Examples include Master of Laws (LLM), Master of Public Administration (MPA), and Master of Social Work (MSW).
Unlike with Ph.D. and doctoral degrees, the abbreviations for bachelor’s and master’s degrees shouldn’t be listed after your name! This is because these first-cycle and second-cycle degrees don’t rise to the level, so to speak, of Ph.D. and doctoral degrees.
Emphasis must also be made that postgraduate diplomas and certificates aren’t considered full master’s degrees. But these three qualifications are at the same level of study. Postgraduate diplomas and certificates, however, have a shorter duration and don’t have a dissertation component.
What are the notable differences between bachelor’s and master’s degrees?
In terms of academic challenge, master’s degree programs are significantly more challenging than bachelor’s degree programs because of the advanced study.
With the former, the emphasis is on a deeper exploration and understanding of a specific subject and adding original research. With the latter, it’s about learning and reviewing the existing body of knowledge on a basic level.
Graduate students tend to study and engage in research, among other academic activities, year-round. Most serve as teaching assistants or research assistants during their downtime and in the summer terms, too. With smaller class sizes, students must also be actively engaged in classroom activities, including discussions.
Professors aren’t as generous with lifelines, such as deadline extensions and extra work to make up for sloppy submissions. Students either sink or swim in a master’s degree program!
There’s also a greater emphasis on research work and its originality. This can be challenging because professors can withdraw approval of research topics until they are satisfied that these are original and viable.
Many graduate students also assert that being social with their classmates isn’t as easy as in their undergraduate years. This isn’t a surprise considering that most students juggle work, family, and academic responsibilities.
What benefits can be enjoyed with a master’s degree?
Don’t be discouraged by responsibilities and challenges! The rewards that come after the blood, sweat, and tears will make the difficult months seem like nothing.
A master’s degree can mean the difference between an entry-level job and a managerial position in contemporary society. Most well-paying jobs require it, such as public policy analysts, school counselors, and occupational health and safety officers.
Other benefits associated with a master’s degree are:
- Increased earnings. You can earn about $1,661 per week instead of the $1,305 per week wage with just a bachelor’s degree. Of course, you also have a better shot at management positions.
- Decreased risk of unemployment. You have better job security because of your higher education credential, and it applies even in uncertain times like a pandemic.
- Specialized knowledge. Your value as a person and member of society is enhanced with the specialized knowledge stored in your brain. Your contributions to your company and industry include original research and the ability to propose creative solutions to issues.
- Wider and better professional network. You will meet plenty of people from diverse backgrounds, even when it’s initially online only. Your network of friends and contacts will be better for it.
How do accelerated master’s degree programs work?
These come in two different forms – the standalone programs and the combined bachelor’s-to-master’s degree programs. Both results in a master’s degree but their overall format and duration are different.
The standalone programs are designed for individuals with a bachelor’s degree, which may or may not be related to the master’s degree being pursued. Their accelerated format may be due to several things, including demonstrated competence or advanced knowledge in advanced topics. This means credits earned for some of the introductory coursework.
The accelerated aspect can also be due to the shorter terms, credit load per term, and liberal transfer credit policy mentioned above. However, the result is the same: Students’ examples include MBA, MPA, and MSW.
The accelerated combined bachelor’s-to-master’s degree programs have a five-year completion rate. The first four years are spent on undergraduate work while the fifth year is dedicated to graduate work; these are also called 4+1 programs for this reason.
Students enter their graduate phase either during their undergraduate junior or senior year. Such is the academic rigor of 4+1 programs that only high-achiever students can survive. Students must have the exceptional ability to balance undergraduate and graduate studies, particularly research-intensive work.
The accelerated pace means complying with the academic requirements of more courses in a shorter time. But this also means earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree within a shorter time, about 6-7 years faster than with the traditional route.
Many fields of study can be taken up with 4+1 programs, including computer science, nursing, and political science. In addition, some programs allow different fields for the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree. But the coursework, including electives taken in the former, must be aligned with the latter’s curriculum.
What are the realistic expectations with online accelerated master’s degree programs?
These accelerated online master’s degree programs can:
- Provide significant financial savings due to their shorter duration
- Appeal to highly motivated individuals who have the discipline and determination for academic success
- Attract students who thrive in a focused learning environment
- Allow students to learn with others as a group (cohort system) and on their own (asynchronous)
- Open doors of opportunities for career advancement faster than ever since employers appreciate the extra effort required
But these accelerated online master’s degree programs aren’t:
- Suitable for people who want the full college experience
- Fit for individuals with multiple personal and professional commitments due to the rigorous coursework
- Conducive for people with disorganized habits or who tend to procrastinate
Before you decide on an online accelerated master’s degree program, you must be 100% sure that, indeed, you have the resources to succeed in such a pressure cooker environment! In some cases, traditional programs may benefit you more; although online classes are still available for those who would like to take their time instead of learning at such a fast pace.
Key Points to Ponder
- Accelerated online master’s degrees are great options for those who want to earn their additional accolades quickly!
- A typical master’s degree program will take two years or more to complete; however, accelerated online programs take less time but can be more rigorous and demand more of your time to meet deadlines.
- Online master’s degree programs provide a flexible and convenient way to earn your degree while maintaining full-time employment.
- As you can see above, the fastest online master’s programs provide many opportunities to broaden your skillset with minimum time spent, perhaps saving you tuition costs as well.
- An accelerated online master’s degree prepares students to earn a higher salary quicker than traditional programs.
- Online master’s degrees prepare students with critical thinking skills, creative writing, strategic management, human development, organizational leadership, and decision-making skills.
- Accelerated online master’s degrees are not suitable for all online students. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons!
- Realize your career aspirations today and get started! Accelerated learning programs are a great way to begin!
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