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Top Online Master’s Programs in Arkansas (AR) for 2024

Explore the best online master’s programs in Arkansas and learn how to advance your career with a top-tier education from the comfort of your home.

Author: Shannon Daigle

Editor: Staff Editor

Search hundreds of schools for the master’s YOU want……

Considering an online master’s degree in Arkansas? You’re making a smart choice. The state’s remarkably affordable cost of living — 14% below the national average — makes AR an increasingly attractive destination. And with a steadily growing population comes a burgeoning job market, ripe with opportunities for those with advanced skills.

Whether you’re a busy professional in Little Rock looking to level up your career or living in a rural area and seeking out flexible learning options, Arkansas’ best online master’s programs offer a blend of quality, convenience, and affordability. You can choose between full- and part-time programs, accelerated degrees, and hybrid programs that combine online and campus learning. Read our guide for insights on the top online master’s degrees in Arkansas, your master’s program options, and what you can expect to see in the job market after graduation.

2024’s Best Programs for Online Master’s Degrees in Arkansas

Arkansas universities offer a variety of online master’s programs, accommodating diverse academic interests. Many of these programs operate entirely online, though some schools provide hybrid class formats for the best combination of online convenience and in-person connection.

In terms of delivery, online master’s programs in Arkansas are often asynchronous in format, though a few programs opt for synchronous learning sessions. This means that, in many cases, you’ll be completing program requirements on your schedule. If you’re earning a degree with practical aspects, like nursing or teaching, you’ll likely need to fulfill mandatory hands-on experiences. Fortunately, these can often be arranged locally to minimize travel. On-campus visits are rarely required, but without the accountability of the classroom, you’ll need to rise to the challenges of self-discipline and mastering virtual communication.

Below, we’ve profiled three of Arkansas’ finest universities for online master’s degrees. While defining the “best” school depends on the student, these schools set a high standard of what you should expect in your academic journey.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University offers over 50 online master’s programs, all of which can be completed in one to two years. These programs span fields like business, education, engineering, healthcare, media and communication, social work, and technology, catering to various professional interests and career goals.

ASU sticks to a streamlined admissions policy for prospective master’s students. All it takes to apply for most programs is a bachelor’s degree, a 2.5 GPA, and a completed online application. While tuition varies depending on the program, most masters are priced at an affordable $340 per credit. Some programs, like the MBA, have a slightly higher price of $514 per credit.

At ASU, all online master’s degrees come in an accelerated format, making this school an ideal choice for those who want to fast-track their education and advancement.

The University of Arkansas

At the University of Arkansas, online master’s students enjoy the advantage of in-state tuition rates across varied programs. The university offers 27 online master’s degrees, covering a spectrum of disciplines from healthcare to business to social work. At U of A, students will also find niche degree offerings in fields like agricultural and food law, environmental resiliency, and construction management.

U of A’s online master’s degrees are developed and delivered by the same faculty as on-campus programs, and students have access to comprehensive support through online tutoring, library access, and virtual coaching services. The school also offers the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship exclusively to online students, which covers up to $2000 of tuition-related benefits.

The University of Central Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas features 17 fully online master’s degrees in various fields, including business, education, health, sports, and more. Many of the online master’s program courses follow an efficient, eight-week course format, allowing students to progress quickly toward graduation day.

UCA’s online programs uphold the same rigorous standards as their on-campus equivalents, guaranteeing a high-quality education to all students. Most graduate-level programs at the school don’t require standardized test scores, making the admissions process accessible to professionals and students alike.

The university takes a streamlined and accessible approach to online master’s education, offering a flat-rate tuition of $336 per credit hour for most programs. The school’s website has a comprehensive list of programs excepted from the flat-rate tuition policy.

Types of Online Master’s Programs Available in Arkansas

When searching for online master’s programs in Arkansas, you’ll find formats for every type of learner. Whether you prefer full-time study, part-time flexibility, a fast-paced accelerated course, or a stress-free, no-GRE application process, there’s an online master’s degree in Arkansas for you. Let’s explore the online master’s program options in AR.

Full-time Online Master’s Programs in AR

Full-time master’s programs in Arkansas offer a faster-paced educational experience ideal for those who want to graduate quickly. These programs provide a comprehensive and continuous learning journey and mirror the intensity of full-time on-campus study while offering the convenience and flexibility of online learning. A full-time courseload is an option at many schools. You’ll commonly see this option in MBA programs, like the traditional MBA at Southern Arkansas University and the 14-month online management MBA at Henderson State University.

Part-time Online Master’s Programs in AR

Need to balance your career and personal commitments alongside studies? Part-time online master’s programs in Arkansas are for you. These slower-paced programs offer a flexible schedule and a more manageable pace. Because you’re spreading courses over a more extended period, part-time study reduces the immediate intensity of graduate-level work while delivering a top-tier education. At Harding University, students have up to seven years to graduate. Meanwhile, John Brown University’s MS in Cybersecurity lays out a more defined course of study for students.

No-GRE Online Master’s Programs in AR

Arkansas has a variety of no-GRE online master’s programs, removing the barrier of standardized testing from the admissions process. Instead, applicants present proof of practical experience and academic merit, providing a more holistic picture of their ability and potential. You’ll find GRE-free programs in several schools and disciplines, like the Master of Arts in History at Arkansas Tech University or the Master of Education in Educational Leadership at the University of Arkansas.

Accelerated Online Master’s Programs in AR

Accelerated online master’s programs in Arkansas are for students seeking a swift path to degree completion. These intensive programs compress the same amount of academic material into a drastically reduced timeline, allowing students to earn credits faster and graduate in as little as one year.

A standard accelerated course format is just eight weeks long, half of the usual 16-week-long semester you’d have on campus. The MS in Criminal Justice at the University of Alabama Little Rock and the MS in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management are examples of accelerated online master’s degrees in Arkansas.

In-demand Master’s Degrees for Arkansas Grads

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

An MBA is the master’s degree for aspiring business leaders in Arkansas’ growing economy. In an MBA program, students learn everything from strategic management to entrepreneurial skills or choose a specialization that suits their career goals. In Arkansas’ diverse business landscape, MBA graduates face many opportunities in corporations, startups, and nonprofits.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

Master of Science (MS) in Engineering

Engineering master’s programs accommodate students aiming to specialize in civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering or to become managers in these industries. With Arkansas’ ever-expanding infrastructure and manufacturing sectors, graduates are well-positioned to take on advanced technical roles or advance into leadership positions in the field.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

Master of Education (MEd)

Online education master’s degrees are for current and aspiring educators and future academic administrators. These degrees are widely available in Arkansas and prepare graduates to meet the state’s goals and objectives for educational reforms and advancements, lead in academic settings, and influence future educational policy.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)

Online MHA degree programs are designed for professionals who want to take on management roles in healthcare facilities. With demand for quality healthcare on the rise in Arkansas, this degree is increasingly sought after. Graduates are qualified for administrative positions in hospitals, clinics, and healthcare agencies.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

MS in Sports Management

Sports management master’s degrees appeal to those interested in the business and administrative aspects of sports. In these programs, students learn organizational leadership and event management skills. Graduates take on professional roles in Arkansas’ vibrant sports culture, supporting growing commercial and community programs in the state.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

How Much Does It Cost to Earn an Online Master’s in Arkansas?

Before you enroll in online master’s programs in Arkansas, it’s crucial to understand the total financial commitment you’ll face. Planning your finances, exploring financial aid options, and having a payment strategy are all essential steps to getting your master’s degree in AR. Being financially prepared ensures that you can focus on your studies without stressing out about unforeseen expenses or how you’ll pay the next tuition bill.

While there are many expenses to consider, including technology, educational fees, and occasional travel, tuition is the most significant expense online master’s students face. To help you understand the potential costs and plan accordingly, we’ve listed tuition data for three online master’s degrees in Arkansas below.

School Name No. of Credits Resident Cost/Credit Est. Tuition










Arkansas Graduate Program Funding Options

Master’s students in Arkansas have several financial aid options to help manage the costs of their degree. Scholarships and grants are a primary source, with many universities offering specific awards. For instance, UA Grantham’s Heroes program provides discounts for military service members and veterans.

Fellowships and work-study programs are also available. Universities like Arkansas Tech offer graduate assistantships, which cover tuition for a set number of hours per semester and include an additional stipend. Similarly, the University of Arkansas Little Rock provides assistantships supporting academic and living expenses for qualifying students.

Check with your school of choice to see if they offer scholarships for online graduate students. You can also apply for a broad selection of scholarships at once through the Arkansas Community Foundation website.

Top-Paying Careers for AK Master’s Degree Holders

Earning a degree from online master’s programs in Arkansas can significantly enhance your earning potential. The Arkansas State Legislature reports that, on average, individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn about $31,800 annually, while those with a master’s degree see a substantial increase, averaging around $48,800 per year.

This notable pay bump is no coincidence. A master’s degree provides graduates with advanced skills, specialized knowledge, and elevated qualifications, leading to better job opportunities with more responsibility and higher salaries.

The table below shows potential earnings for popular careers in Arkansas that typically require an advanced degree. Take a look to see how online master’s degrees in Arkansas can be a game changer for your career.

Marriage and Family Therapist

A master’s degree in marriage and family therapy equips professionals with advanced therapeutic techniques and the credentials they need to offer services in AR. After graduation and licensing, marriage and family therapists utilize their deep understanding of family and relational dynamics to help people tackle complex relationship issues.

AR Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$67,042 15% MS in Psychology or
Marriage & Family Therapy

Source: ZipRecruiter, 2024; Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Nurse Practitioner

Earning a master’s degree in nursing, particularly in a nurse practitioner program, provides the essential clinical skills and advanced medical knowledge required for this role. It can also open doors to employment in specialized practice areas, enhanced patient care responsibilities, and leadership roles in healthcare settings.

AR Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$107,110 38% MS in Advanced Practice
Registered Nursing

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022


A master’s degree in business or economics gives economists an in-depth understanding of economic theories and quantitative analysis skills. This advanced knowledge is vital as economists analyze market trends, influence monetary policy, and provide strategic insights, significantly boosting their credibility and career prospects.

AR Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$78,390 6% MBA or MS in Economics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022


A master’s degree prepares archivists to enter the field by boosting their knowledge and skills in document preservation, digital archiving, and historical research. An advanced degree is vital for understanding how to manage complex archival systems, accurately identify and preserve historical artifacts, and advance to leadership positions in museums, libraries, or academic institutions.

AR Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$60,490 10% MA in History; MS in Library Studies
or Archival Studies

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Occupational Therapist

For occupational therapists, a master’s degree provides advanced clinical training and a thorough understanding of modern therapeutic strategies. This education is essential for those who wish to design and implement rehabilitation programs, enhance patient outcomes, and pave the way to higher-level positions or specialized practice areas of OT.

AR Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$82,021 12% MS in Occupational Therapy

Source: Economic Research Institute, 2023