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Top Online Master’s Programs in Hawaii (HI): 2024 Edition

Those who call Hawaii home don’t just have the beautiful backdrop of the Pacific Ocean surrounding them. They’re also surrounded by several reputable universities that provide graduate programs to those living on and off the island.

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

Public schools, lodging, and health insurance are the largest industries by revenue in Hawaii, and those industries need professionals with graduate degrees to fill leadership roles at the businesses and organizations within those sectors and more. Whether you’re contemplating a career change or are aspiring to leadership roles, online master’s programs in Hawaii provide specialized knowledge and career-building potential. Our guide offers insights into some of Hawaii’s best master’s degree programs.

Hawaii’s Best Online Master’s Degree Programs for 2024

Embarking on an online master’s degree in Hawaii offers more than just academic and career growth. It presents an opportunity to take advantage of the serene beauty of the islands. In-state students can take advantage of substantial degree discounts, but with online-only options readily available, even out-of-state students can find programs that truly fit their busy schedules.

Both asynchronous and synchronous learning formats offered by online master’s programs in Hawaii at top universities create a versatile environment, enabling students to balance professional commitments, family life, and coursework seamlessly. Asynchronous learning allows students to engage with course materials at their own pace without real-time interaction, while synchronous learning involves scheduled, real-time classwork.

Below, we dive into three of Hawaii’s premier universities, the master’s programs they offer, and the type of student they’re best for.

Hawai’i Pacific University

Based in Honolulu, Hawai’i Pacific University offers 20 different master’s programs, 13 of which have fully online options. Nearly all HPU’s master’s degrees have on-campus, hybrid, or online-only options, making them an accessible choice for all kinds of students.

With its vast array of program options comes a vast array of costs associated with those programs. The price you’ll pay for your degree largely depends on whether you live in Honolulu or off the island, as residents earn a discount. For example, HPU’s master’s in education or criminal justice costs $40,120 in tuition if you live off campus outside of Honolulu, but $37,720 for island residents.

For undergraduate and graduate students alike, Hawai’i Pacific provides a well-established career center that prepares students for jobs in their chosen industries. It also maintains HPU’s extensive alumni network.

Chaminade University of Honolulu

Also based in Honolulu, Chaminade University is a smaller university, providing master’s degrees in just six specialties. Some of these areas of study are more traditional, with master’s options in teaching, business, and psychology. Others are more unique, such as its master’s in pastoral theory or criminal justice.

Chaminade University offers online, hybrid, and on-campus courses. Its MA in teaching and MS in counseling are completely online, while its Master of Pastoral Theology is a hybrid option. Other programs, like the Master of Criminal Justice, let you choose the format that works best for your study needs.

Many of Chaminade’s master’s degrees can be completed quickly in an accelerated format, helping business professionals advance quickly in their careers. To help you complete the program of your choice, Chaminade University offers a $5,000 scholarship program to its graduate students.

University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Based in Honolulu’s Mānoa neighborhood, the University of Hawaii provides a long list of master’s programs ranging in subjects from kinesiology to special education to nursing. Every degree path you choose can be completed either completely online or mostly online. This is no surprise since UH is an outreach college, meaning it understands the complex schedules and education needs of the local community.

Since UH is a state school, it pays to be a resident versus a nonresident. When it comes to tuition, most graduate-level courses cost $650 per credit if you live in the state, compared to the $1,402 per credit for out-of-state residents.

UH at Mānoa provides an especially unique experience for its veteran students. With flexible class options and an office dedicated specifically to helping veterans and active-duty military members get through school, UH provides valuable education services to a community that needs it.

Discover Different Online Master’s Degrees in Hawaii

Hawaii is a small state, so its university presence simply isn’t as large as those you’ll find in other states. Still, the universities on the islands comprise an impressive array of schools with numerous master’s programs to choose from. Even students who live in the continental United States can take advantage of the many online master’s programs in Hawaii.

Full-time Online Master’s Programs in Hawaii

Hawaii universities often provide full-time master’s programs that are more traditional, taking about two years to complete. Many of these programs are still entirely online, but some are also either hybrid options where you must attend some courses or completely online based. A few full-time online master’s programs include Hawai’i Pacific University’s MSN for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners and Hawai’i Pacific University’s MS in Criminal Justice.

Part-time Online Master’s Programs in Hawaii

Many Hawaii universities allow students to pursue degrees part time. These programs are typically online or hybrid programs. Since you’re taking courses part time, these degrees are often longer in nature and built for people who can’t commit to being full-time students due to work, family, or other obligations. Some part-time master’s programs in Hawaii include University of Hawai’i’s hybrid MEd in Early Childhood Education and online MS in Nursing programs.

No-GRE Online Master’s Programs in Hawaii

The Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, is required by certain graduate-level degree programs. It’s a standardized exam you typically must score a specific number on to meet acceptance requirements. While often reserved for business schools, other programs may choose to require the exam as well.

Thankfully, many schools have opted to forgo GREs, looking at other elements of potential students’ applications. Currently, Hawai’i Pacific University offers some programs that don’t require the GRE for admission, such as its MS in Marine Science and Master of Medical Science – Physician Assistant programs.

Accelerated Online Master’s Programs in Hawaii

Accelerated programs provide students with a fast track to their degree. Often taking a year or a bit longer, accelerated programs are full time and typically online only. Online learning allows students to maintain a steady learning pace while avoiding the distractions of campus life. A couple examples of accelerated online master’s programs include the University of Hawai’i’s 15-month online MS in Product Management and Chaminade University’s 20-month hybrid Master of Pastoral Theology.

Master’s Degrees Worth Considering in Hawaii

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

A master’s in business or business administration prepares you for numerous business tracks. You may want to be a business owner or work in management within someone else’s business or in the public sector. MBAs help you understand the financial side of businesses and teach you the responsibilities of running a business. Honolulu is an important business hub as a gateway to Asian-Pacific commerce and a vital recruiting base for several Fortune 500 companies, according to HPU.

Quality Examples of Online MBA Programs

Master of Science (MS) in Engineering

Students pursuing a master’s in engineering are typically seeking advanced expertise, specialization, and a deeper understanding of their field. This advanced degree helps expand your analytical and problem-solving skills and opens doors to leadership roles. Degree holders often get opportunities to research new technology and contribute to cutting-edge developments in the engineering industry.

Quality Example of an Online Engineering Program

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Social workers often need a master’s in social work (MSW) to meet eligibility requirements for employment. These degrees prepare students for the reality of their jobs as a social worker. This means working with the diverse communities in Hawaii, including children and their parents, recovering addicts, veterans, and medical patients to ensure they get the government help they need.

Quality Examples of Online MSW Programs

Master of Public Health (MPH)

A master’s in public health helps students understand the skills they need to address health and wellness issues on a global level. For certain healthcare practitioners, policymakers, and community advocates, a degree in public health is necessary to qualify for high-level positions.

Quality Examples of Online MPH Programs

Master of Education (MEd)

With an MEd, you can advance your teaching career by gaining skills to inspire learners and educate students. Online MEd students will explore teaching methods and approaches by developing lessons and learning assessments for implementation in educational environments, while learning the skills needed to become an impactful educator.

Quality Examples of Online MEd Programs

How Much Will I Pay to Earn a Master’s Degree in Hawaii?

Pursuing a master’s is no small feat, even though it traditionally takes less time than a bachelor’s or doctoral degree. You’re still going to pay a pretty penny to specialize in your field and get the extra skills necessary to advance in your career.

Looking at the total cost involved means assessing tuition, living expenses, and other necessary costs like books. Having a comprehensive financial plan ensures you have a clear strategy for meeting these expenses and helps you potentially minimize student debt. Securing financial aid, such as scholarships, grants, or work-study opportunities, can significantly alleviate the financial burden of getting your master’s.

To compare popular online master’s programs in Hawaii, we’ve included a table below with a few specific degrees, the credits required to graduate, and the total tuition cost you’ll pay.

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










Hawaii Graduate Program Funding Options

All Hawaii master’s students have access to financial aid options that help them afford their degrees. Universities such as Chaminade University and Hawai’i Pacific University offer scholarships and grants based on students’ academic standing, financial need, or fields of study.

Students can also take advantage of fellowships and assistantships. These arrangements involve providing financial support in exchange for assisting in research or teaching. Work-study programs also provide on-campus employment, often providing a major source of funding for many graduate students.

Lucrative Hawaiian Careers for Master’s Graduates

Master’s degrees provide a clear-cut way to advance in your field. With master’s, students learn more advanced skills they can apply to real-life situations. In return, they often earn more, on average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly earnings of someone with a master’s goes from $1,432 (for those who hold a bachelor’s) to $1,661.

Certain degree holders earn more than others simply because they have more difficult, specialized, or necessary skills. Below are a few career options and their corresponding job outlook for Hawaii residents seeking a master’s degree.


A master’s degree in nursing equips you with advanced clinical and leadership skills. This sets you up for a career in a more complex healthcare setting. It opens avenues for specialized roles, head nursing positions, and research opportunities. Overall, a master’s in nursing elevates the impact nurses have in patient care and healthcare systems in Hawaii.

HI Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$99,739 6% MS in Nursing Practice

Source: ZipRecruiter, 2023; Bureau of Labor Statistics

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants obtain a master’s to hone their clinical skills, critical thinking abilities, and specialized knowledge in their field. This prepares them for elevated responsibilities in healthcare. PAs with master’s are more prepared to contribute effectively to patient care teams and dive head-first into evolving medical practices.

HI Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$137,781 27% MS in Medical Science, PA track

Source: ZipRecruiter, 2023; Bureau of Labor Statistics

School Counselors

School counselors seek out master’s degrees to learn advanced skills in mental health support, student guidance, and crisis intervention. This qualification prepares school counselors to address diverse student needs, facilitate academic and personal development among students, and contribute to creating a positive and supportive school environment.

HI Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$54,741 5% MS in Education or MS in Psychology

Source: ZipRecruiter, 2023; Bureau of Labor Statistics


A master’s degree in history allows you to spend more time learning to research and analyze historical events and artifacts. You learn advanced interpretation skills and gain a deeper understanding of historical contexts. This helps you contribute original insights to academia, education, and archival work.

HI Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$76,192 3% MA in History

Source: ZipRecruiter, 2023; Bureau of Labor Statistics

Farm Manager/Owner

A master’s degree in business management, sustainability, or horticulture helps farm managers take on greater leadership roles. With this expanded expertise, they can navigate the complexities of modern agriculture, enhance productivity, and contribute to the long-term sustainability and profitability of farming operations.

HI Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$64,724 -5% MBA or MS in Sustainability

Source: ZipRecruiter, 2023; Bureau of Labor Statistics