The internet has given us a great many amazing things, but the revolution it has created in higher education may be the greatest. Working professionals who want to increase their education and credentials for promotion don’t have to spend years of their lives attending evening classes anymore. The quickest master’s degree online can be finished in less than a year, and there are even more accelerated online master’s programs that take just 15 or 18 months. They can even keep working while getting their master’s.
In fact, there are 1 year master’s programs online in just about every field, from accredited, reputable colleges and universities. From project management and finance to healthcare and nursing, education to social work and public administration, working adults and career-changing professionals looking for the shortest master’s degree programs in their field don’t have to look far or long. Best Master’s Programs has ranked the very best 1 year master’s degree programs from a variety of private and public colleges and universities.
Methodology: Ranking the Best 1 Year Master’s Programs Online
To rank the Top 15 One-Year Online Master’s Programs, BestMastersPrograms.org did a wide-ranging search for accredited colleges and universities offering fully online master’s degrees that could be completed in as little as a year, and no more than 18 months. From our initial pool, editors narrowed down to the top 15, ranking programs by three metrics:
- Cost (IPEDS data)
- Reputation (NICHE review score)
- Alumni Salary (College Scorecard data)
With these criteria, Best Master’s Programs has determined the quickest master’s degree online programs that also have the power to provide a real return on investment and a long-term career. For another way of looking at value, see BMP’s ranking of the Most Affordable Master’s Programs.
1. CSU-Global Campus
Colorado State University Global Campus’ one-year online master’s program gives students the opportunity to earn an MS in Organizational Leadership. The program is designed for mid-level executives and prepares students for dynamic leadership roles in the varied disciplines of the business world. The coursework synthesizes student experiences with conventional theories and verified strategies to assess organizational challenges, and to propose effective solutions. CSU’s executive fast track program is one of the shortest master’s degree programs with courses in communication, ethics and social responsibility.
Colorado State University is a public, non-profit school that is a members of the Colorado State University system. CSU-Global launched in 2007, designed to offer students convenient, cost-effective distance-learning degrees without the need to follow a fixed course schedule. Colorado State University’s – Global Campus online programs offer the same tuition for in-state and out-of-state students. CSU offers a tuition (currently unchanged for the past seven years) guarantee that locks the initial tuition rate as long as a student remains enrolled in the school. Classes begin every four weeks, which allows students to start immediately on one of the quickest master’s degree online programs possible.
Degrees: MS in Organizational Leadership
How Fast?: 15 months
2. University of North Texas – Online.UNT
The University of North Texas’s accelerated online Master’s degree programs include 9 exceptional degree programs. One-year online master’s programs are available in: Advanced Data Analytics (MS), Early Childhood Education (M.Ed.), Digital Communication Analytics (MS), Learning Technologies (MS), Education Leadership (M.Ed.), Health Services Administration (MS), Marketing (MBA), Supply Chain (MBA) and Business Management (MBA). Online programs offered by the University of North Texas can be completed entirely online. UNT offers some of the quickest master’s degree online programs in Texas.
The University of North Texas is among the largest universities in the country. Originally a private teacher’s college, UNT was bought by the state in order to fill the need for affordable public higher education in North Texas. Todaty the Carnegie Classification categorizes the University of North Texas as a Tier-1 public research university. UNT’s class of 2022’s total enrollment exceeds 38,000 students. U.S. News & World Report has ranked UNT the 4th best online graduate program in the nation. Tuition rates are based upon a student’s state of residence.
- Master of Education
- Master of Learning Technologies
- MBA Strategic Management
How Fast?: 12-14 months
3. University of Texas of the Permian Basin
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s 1-year master’s programs online provide students with a comprehensive range of online degrees by collaborating with the University of Texas Online Consortium. UTPB offers ten graduate programs; seven of which are considered accelerated online master’s programs. These accelerated distance-learning degrees include: Educational Leadership (MA), Special Ed, Autism (MA), Public Administration (MA), Bilingual/ESL (MA), Special Ed (MA), Business Administration (MBA) and Business Administration – Finance. UTPB classes run seven-and-one-half weeks. They are accessible anywhere, at any time.
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin was founded in 1973 as a degree-completion school for adult students. Today, UTPB’s accelerated online master’s programs offer flexible schedules for busy working professionals. The online faculty at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin is the same talented educators found in their brick and mortar classrooms. U.S. News & World Report has designated UTPB’s online graduate programs 6thin the nation for Student Services and Technology. Program requirements differ based upon the selected degree program, but tuition costs remain the same for each online graduate degree.
- Bilingual / ESL (MA in Education)
- Educational Leadership (MA in Education)
- Special Education (MA in Education)
- Special Education, Autism (MA in Education)
- Business Administration (MBA)
- Master of Business Administration – Finance (MBA)
- Public Administration (MA)
How Fast?: 12-18 months
4. University of Miami
The University of Miami (U of M) Online’s 16-month Master of Science degree in Finance is one of the shortest master’s degree programs available in Southern Florida. The MS Finance degree requires the completion of 32-credits to graduate. Students attending classes online are taught by the same preeminent faculty teaching on-campus. AACSB International has accredited U of M’s online business degrees. Students earning their MS of Finance attend one 7-week online course at a time. The MS of Finance degree includes eight graduate level courses.
The University of Miami was established in 1925 as a private research school just south of Magic City, aka Miami. U of M receives over $300 million in research grants annually, which facilitates its cutting-edge research objectives. Forbes has ranked the University of Miami among the top 53 research-oriented schools in the country. Tuition remains the same for in-state and out-of-state students. U of M participates in the Yellow Ribbon military scholarship program. The University of Miami offers many scholarships, some of which reduce tuition by as much as 30%, and Florida’s quickest master’s degree online.
- MS in Finance
How Fast?: 16 months
5. California State University East Bay
California State University, East Bay’s accelerated online Master’s degree programs are many and varied. The MS in Education degree is a 15-month program that consists of 10 seven-week courses, while CSEB’s Master in Education Leadership degree prepares graduates to apply management and leadership skills to improve the field of education. The Master of Science in Health Care Administration is designed for working professionals who want to develop their administrative skills. CSEB’s Master of Science in Recreation and Tourism, on the other hand, explores the many and varied concepts defining the tourism industry.
Cal State East Bay is a public university that was established in 1957. The Princeton Review has acknowledged CSUEB as a Best in the West college, and East Bay has been named the most diverse university in California. The online curriculum for each master’s degree is comprehensive and challenging. Communication between faculty members and students includes videoconferencing, virtual chat rooms, email and the telephone. The master’s degree programs allow students to advance at their own pace for some of the shortest master’s degree programs online.
- MS Education
- MS Educational Leadership
- MS Recreation and Tourism
- MS in Health Care Administration
How Fast?: 15 months
6. Benedictine University Online
Benedictine University Online’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) can be finished in just 18 months by following an accelerated online master’s program. BUO’s MBA degree prepares graduates for leadership roles; ready to face the 21st century business challenges. The MBA degree offered by Benedictine University Online can be earned by completing one course each semester or by completing two courses each semester, for those students who wish to fast track their degree. The MBA program permits course waivers for previous earned credits.
Benedictine University was established in 1887. The university maintains locations in Illinois, Arizona, Vietnam, China, and cyberspace. Approximately 85% of online students continue to work full-time. Benedictine University Online maintains an accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission, and its online programs have been widely cited among the best in the US. MBA online graduates are prepared to succeed in a variety of industries across the globe. The master’s degree program selected determines the tuition costs, and a student’s level of preparation determines the quickest master’s degree online.
- Accelerated MBA
How Fast?: 18 months
7. University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley
The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley’s One-Year Online Master’s Programs include a variety of online master’s degrees. These accelerated online master’s programs include: Education, Business, Health Science, Public Affairs, Social Work and Nursing degrees. The MBA program offers specialties in Finance, and International Online Trade, among others. The education degree options include Leadership, Technology and Special Education, and still more. Nursing degree candidates can opt for Administration or Online Education concentrations. Social work programs offer an Advanced Standing degree. Health care graduate degrees include Nutrition, Informatics, Administration or Laboratory Sciences.
UTRGV, located at Texas’ most southerly tip, was established in 2013 (through the consolidation of several area schools) as a public university. Both the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Public Health programs have been nationally recognized for quality and affordability. Their fast track degree programs are affordable, flexible and convenient. The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley serves one of the largest Hispanic student bodies in the nation.
- Health Sciences
- Public Affairs
- Social Work
How Fast?: 12 months
8. Campbell University
Campbell University’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree comes from their acclaimed Lundy-Fetterman School of Business. The online learning platform allows degree candidates to study at their own pace, anywhere, at any time. The same distinguished Campbell University faculty teaches students in both traditional classrooms, and online. The coursework is divided into eight-week asynchronous classes, with a rolling schedule of admissions that includes six start-dates each year. Campbell University MBA graduates lead with purpose and are prepared for the ever-changing business landscape.
Campbell University currently enrolls more North Carolina residents than other private school located in NC. CU’s distance learning coursework began through a pilot program in 1999, with the Lundy-Fetterman school leading the charge for more online degree programs, including 1 year master’s degree programs like the accelerated MBA. Tuition rates for Campbell University’s MBA program apply to in-state and out-of-state students. The MBA program requires students to complete a comprehensive field test before graduation.
- Online MBA
How Fast?: 12 months
9. California Baptist University
California Baptist University’s accelerated online master’s programs include eleven fields of study: Accounting, Communication, Counseling, Psychology, Education (Teaching, Leadership and Early Childhood), Information Technology Management,Kinesiology, MBA (Accounting and General Management), Organizational Leadership, Public Administration, Public Health, and Public Relations. Online coursework can be completed as a full-time or a part-time student.
California Baptist University was established as a private liberal arts school in 1950; fully chartered by the state of California several years later. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked CBU’s MBA online programs #1 with regards to MBA Faculty Credentials and Training and Graduate Education Faculty Credentials and Training. Online master degrees save time and money; tuition rates vary and are based upon the program selected, but the number of 1 year master’s programs online is impressive.
- Counseling Psychology
- Education – Early Childhood
- Education – Leadership
- Education – Teaching
- Information Technology Management
- MBA – Accounting
- MBA – General Management
- Organizational Leadership
- Public Administration
- Public Health
- Public Relations
How Fast?: 12 months
10. Concordia University-Portland
Concordia University Portland’s online MA in Teaching (MAT) degree in Elementary Education or Secondary Education can be earned on a full-time basis that follows an 11-month format or on a part-time basis that follows a 22-month evening format (MAT-E) – a speed that puts one-year online master’s programs to shame. CU-P’s coursework and student teaching experiences are applied to both degree requirements, and an Oregon teaching license. Each program’s curriculum varies based upon the grade-level candidates wish to teach. Additionally, Concordia University offers MAT degree candidates the opportunity to apply for the Madison Scholars program, if eligible.
Concordia University was established 1905 as a private prep school. Today, CU is a nonprofit Lutheran liberal arts school. CU maintains several campuses in Oregon, with a law school in Boise, ID. A regional commission on universities has accredited Concordia University programs. There are numerous scholarships, endorsement scholarships, and certificates available to offset tuition costs. Those beginning their MAT at Concordia by December 3, 2019, will receive free textbooks.
- MA in Teaching (MAT)
How Fast?: 11 months
11. Lamar University
Lamar University’s online MS in Criminal Justice degree program is a 30 credit-hour online program is designed for law enforcement professionals who wish to further their career while they continue to work. Graduates of the 1 year master’s program online in Criminal Justice will be prepared to enter the criminal justice specialties of constitutional law, correctional facilities, ethics and assessment. Criminal Justice coursework includes the exploration of the criminal justice system and the application of the various theoretical approaches to crime.
Lamar University, a member school with the Texas State University System, is located in Beaumont, TX. LU began as a junior college with students attending classes in a local high school. The online MS in Criminal Justice degree offers a variety start-dates throughout the year. Tuition rates are the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. The Carnegie Foundation has recognized Lamar University as a Doctoral Research University. Lamar University’s online degrees are consistently recognized as some of the most affordable degrees in the nation, along with one of the best one-year online master’s programs in the nation.
- MS in Criminal Justice
How Fast?: 12 months
12. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers more than 100 master degree programs that can be completed in as little as 15 months. A partial list includes an Accelerated MBA (several concentrations), Human Resources, Sports Management, Accounting, Finance, Criminal Justice, Cyber Security, Curriculum and Instruction, Data Analytics, English, Health Care, Marketing, Fine Arts, Public Health, Nursing, Project Management, Patient Safety and Psychology. Experts in their field of study teach online graduate programs. Coursework is affordable and available online, every hour of every day.
Southern New Hampshire University was founded in 1932 as a private, for-profit business school. Today SNHU is a private, nonprofit school with two satellite campuses located in Brunswick, ME and Salem, NH. As an early adopter of online education, SNHU has become one of the most recognizable and reliable names in the field. The quality of SNHU’s programs is nationally recognized and is considered the source of the best accelerated online master’s degree programs in the nation. SNHU’s graduate degree tuition remains the same for in-state and out-of-state students.
- Accelerated MBA -several concentrations
- MS in Human Resource Management
- Master’s in Sports Management
- MS Accounting
- Accounting Finance (MS)
- MS Criminal Justice
- Cyber Security (MS)
- Curriculum & Instruction (MEd)
- Data Analytics (MS)
- English & Creative Writing (MA)
- English (MA)
- Finance (MS)
- Health Information Management (MS)
- Healthcare Administration (MS)
- Higher Education Administration (MS)
- History (MA)
- Human Resource Management (MS)
- Information Technology (MS)
- Management (MS)
- Marketing (MS)
- Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA)
- Master of Public Health (MPH)
- Nurse Educator (MSN)
- Nursing (MSN)
- Operations & Project Management (MS)
- Organizational Leadership (MS)
- Patient Safety & Quality (MSN)
- Psychology (MS)
How Fast?: 15 months
13. Trine University
Trine University’s five accelerated online master’s programs are offered in the areas of Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Engineering Management, Information Studies and Leadership. Trine University’s one-year online master’s programs are affordable, convenient and available every day, all day. Online students can access tutors for assistance 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Graduate degrees can be completed online or, or within a hybrid-structured (online and on-campus) learning platform. Master’s degrees require 30-36 credit hours, depending on the selected degree.
Trine University was founded in 1884 and is currently the fastest growing private university in the state of Indiana. Its original name (Tri-State College) references the school’s location, which is close to the state borders of Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Graduate tuition rates are the same for students from the U.S.; however, international students have different tuition costs. TU’s online learning platform offers start dates every eight weeks, making their 1 year master’s programs online convenient.
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Master of Science in Engineering Management
- Master of Science in Information Studies
- Master of Science in Leadership
How Fast?: 12 months
14. UNC Pembroke
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s online Master of Business Administration degree options represent four of the best accelerated online master’s programs in the Carolinas. Students can graduate with a general MBA degree or an MBA with a specialty concentration in Supply Chain Management, Business Analytics and Financial Services. These degrees are available to students as 1 year master’s programs online.
UNC Pembroke began in a small two-story building with just 15 students. The school bestowed their first diplomas in 1905. The school was recognized as North Carolina’s Historically American Indian University. UNC-P is nationally recognized as a top military-friendly institute of higher learning in the nation. Tuition for the MBA degree program differs for in-state and out-of-state students. Online MBA programs require the completion of 36 credit hours.
- Online MBA – 4 concentrations
How Fast?: 12 months
15. Stevens-Henager College
Stevens-Henager College’s accelerated online master’s programs are offered in the fields of Health Care (Administration, Nursing Administration & Nursing Education), Business (MBA, MBA-Entrepreneurship), and Technology. SHC graduate degrees are considered some of the shortest master’s degree programs available on the market. Online coursework varies and is dependent upon the degree path chosen. Stevens-Henager College offers accelerated graduate degree programs that are convenient, flexible, and employment-centric.
Stevens-Henager College was established in 1891 and is located in Ogden, Utah, ten miles east of the Great Salt Lake. The school is a proud member of Utah’s Center for Excellence in Higher Education. SHC is one of the oldest institutes of higher learning in Utah. SHC offers a customized financial plan to facilitate the tuition costs.
- Healthcare Administration and Nursing (MS, MSN)
- Business (MBA)
- Technology (MS)
How Fast?: 15 months
Are Accelerated Online Master’s Programs Harder than Traditional Programs?
The best accelerated online master’s programs follow the exact same curriculum as their brick and mortar counterpart. While the speed and intensity may be a challenge to some students, in other ways, the 1 year master’s degree programs are actually easier to manage because they provide students with flexible scheduling and ‘round-the-clock access. 1 year master’s programs online work on a faster paced schedule – 8 or 16 week semesters – on a continuous loop year round. Distance-learning electronic platforms offer distance learners access to course materials and assistance, 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.
Note: Admission requirements for some of the shortest master’s degree programs may differ from the more traditional graduate degree program formats.
How Much Do 1 Year Master’s Programs Online Cost?
The costs associated with the quickest master’s degree online can, and often does, vary significantly depending on the school and the selected graduate degree program. As a general rule, the cost of a traditional graduate degree is less for an in-state student when compared to the tuition costs for an out-of-state student. However, the cost per credit hour for one-year online master’s programs are often the same for each student, regardless their state or country of residence.
Because students earn their graduate degree in less time (sometimes by even one-half), the total costs of tuition for the graduate degree is substantially less than the costs associated with a two year curriculum format.
Will I Make More Money Getting a One Year Master’s Degree Online?
Considering that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that master’s degree holders earn nearly 18% more than workers who hold a bachelor’s degree, it becomes fairly obvious to see why more and more professionals are choosing to earn their graduate degree as a way to further their careers, in no time flat. However, many working professionals cannot afford to forsake their salary to attend traditional classes during the day which is why online master’s degree options have become so popular.
A professional with an accelerated online master’s degree will find that 1 year master’s graduate programs open career paths that previously out of reach. For those vying to earn a doctoral degree, 1 year master’s degree programs are the first step to take on a path to earn this more advanced graduate degree.
Where Can I Find 1 Year Master’s Programs in Science?
Universities offering a master’s degree in the field of science are located in every state in the country and, across the globe. Just a few years ago it would have been deemed absurd to research an accelerated online master’s program with a science concentration that was located in California when the student resided in Maine. However, these once untouchable considerations are now available at your digital fingertips, on a distance-learning platform.
To find the 1-year master’s program in science that meets a student’s needs, simply open your favorite search engine and begin to explore for the quickest master’s degree online with a science concentration that meets your educational objectives, your budgetary constraints and your busy lifestyle.
Where Can I Find One Year MBA Programs Online?
Online Master of Business programs are available by most business schools in the country and, across the globe. Ivy League universities as well as local community colleges offer their version of an accelerated online master’s program. Online access to an MBA degree program offers convenience, flexibility which is a viable option for busy working professionals. Online degrees are easily searched online using your favorite browser, with just one click.