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2024’s Best Online Master’s Programs in Iowa (IA)

For Iowans who want to earn a graduate degree from the comfort and convenience of home, read about today’s top online master’s degrees available in Iowa.

Author: Ellery Weil

Editor: Staff Editor

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

You have a subject you’re passionate about and career goals in mind. So what’s your next step? It’s time to explore the abundance of outstanding online master’s programs available in Iowa. Just 25.7% of state residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher (compared with the U.S. average of 28.8%), so you’ll be joining a select group of Iowans committed to higher education.

Ready to get started? Read on to learn about online master’s programs in Iowa that are convenient, affordable, and exciting.

Iowa’s Top Online Master’s Degrees in 2024

Online master’s programs in Iowa come in many shapes and sizes. Universities across the state offer online master’s degrees in fields like STEM, the arts , and social sciences. When you’re choosing your online graduate program in Iowa, be sure to consider your own personal goals and circumstances as well as the overall reputation of the school. Are you looking for fully online programs or hybrid programs with some in-person courses? Do you want to study full time or part time? How long are you prepared to spend in school?

Answers to these questions differ for every student, so there’s no single “best” school or program. With that in mind, though, here are some particularly strong schools offering online master’s degrees in Iowa through programs that combine academic rigor, student support, and a variety of degrees for you to consider.

University of Iowa

As one of the largest state universities, the University of Iowa offers a wide range of online master’s degrees. If you become a distance-learning student, you’ll choose subjects ranging from professional fields such as business administration, library science, and educational leadership, to specialized scientific graduate degrees, such as programs in nursing and STEM education.

Whichever program you choose, the University of Iowa offers a variety of advantages. As one of the most prestigious state universities, it offers academic rigor and a reputation you can use to your advantage. Moreover, although it’s a state school, students in the University of Iowa’s online master’s programs generally pay a flat tuition rate regardless of residency status — meaning your education will remain affordable no matter where you live.

Iowa State University

Whether you’re a rising STEM expert, a future healthcare professional, or an aspiring business leader, consider an online master’s degree from Iowa State University. A large state school, Iowa State offers a wide range of career-focused master’s degrees, including unique programs in fields such as agronomy, which is especially important to the economy of Iowa.

If you choose to attend an online master’s program at Iowa State University, expect an extensive array of student resources. Take advantage of career support after graduation, financial aid and scholarships, and mental health support and wellness resources.

University of Northern Iowa

With a small but mighty collection of online master’s degree options, the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) designs its online master’s programs for flexibility and convenience. The school features over 25 online graduate degrees largely designed for working professionals, including a master of business administration (MBA), master of public policy, master of social work, and a variety of specialized education programs that focus on teaching literacy, early childhood education, educational and instructional technology, and more.

UNI has both online and hybrid programs; the format will depend on your degree and the necessity of hands-on/experiential learning. For example, fields like nursing and social work often require students to complete a certain number of supervised field hours. UNI prides itself on affordable tuition: All online master’s students are charged the same per-credit rate, with scholarships and aid available.

Available Formats for IA Online Master’s Programs

For students pursuing online master’s degrees in Iowa, it’s important to think about the best program format for you. Below, we’ve outlined the most popular formats to consider.

Full-time Online Master’s Programs in Iowa

Full-time online master’s programs in Iowa, which are offered in subjects ranging from strategic communication to clinical nursing, mimic traditional master’s programs, except you’ll be taking classes from the comfort of your own home. These programs require the same weekly time commitment as an in-person, on-campus master’s degree. If you choose this type of program, expect a rigorous time commitment and scheduled, synchronous classes.

Part-time Online Master’s Programs in Iowa

From the University of Iowa’s online MBA and online MSW, part-time online master’s degrees in Iowa are designed to fit into the busy schedules of working professionals. These programs require lower time commitments per week than full-time programs but also take longer from the beginning of your degree until graduation. Part-time online master’s degrees typically offer highly flexible class formats.

No-GRE Online Master’s Programs in Iowa

If standardized tests have never been your strong suit, a no-GRE online master’s degree in Iowa may be the best option for you. No-GRE master’s programs, like the ones in Event Management and Plant Breeding at Iowa State University, allow you to be considered for admission without taking or submitting the GRE. Instead, these programs assess admissions holistically. No-GRE online master’s programs in Iowa and elsewhere are often highly competitive.

Accelerated Online Master’s Programs in Iowa

Looking to earn your online master’s degree in Iowa as quickly as possible? An accelerated master’s degree, such as the University of Northern Iowa’s programs in Communication and Media or English and Literary Studies, provide paths to earning a master’s in as little as one year. These programs, which are often paired with the senior year of a bachelor’s program, require intensive study over a shorter period of time, allowing you to graduate faster.

Fields of Study for Iowa Master’s Degree Students

Business Administration

Students earing a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) programs are preparing themselves for leadership positions in the corporate world. In this online master’s program in Iowa, you’ll learn the foundations of management, business ethics, accounting, and more. Many MBA students gain several years of corporate work experience before taking on the program.

Quality Examples of Online MBA Programs

Analytics and Operations

For students who want to take a STEM-forward approach to business, consider an online master’s degree in Iowa focused on analytics and operations. These programs teach you to apply data and statistics to the running of a business. Some programs focus on healthcare organizations, which involve public health study along with foundations of analytics.

Quality Examples of Online Analytics & Operations Programs

Educational Leadership

Education is a complex field and requires a variety of skilled professionals in different roles. An online master’s degree in educational leadership typically is geared toward seasoned professionals who are looking to take on more advanced roles, including becoming a school principal or taking on a role related to education policy.

Quality Examples of Online Educational Leadership Programs

Nursing and Specialized Healthcare

Nursing and other healthcare roles that require specialized training are becoming more and more important as the healthcare system advances and grows. An online master’s degree in nursing or healthcare can be a key to a healthcare career in midwifery, gerontology, and more.

Quality Examples of Online Nursing & Healthcare Programs

Library Science

For students with a love of books and literature and a desire to make these accessible to people from all walks of life, an online master’s in library science (MLS) can be a great step toward a career serving a vital resource — a library. Most libraries require an MLS for work as a librarian, making this degree a crucial career move.

Quality Examples of Online Library Science Programs

Don’t Break the Bank: The Cost of Earning an Online Master’s in IA

You may be thinking about how earning your online master’s degree in Iowa will affect your finances — and with good reason. Master’s degrees can be expensive, although studying online often costs less than an in-person degree.

Before you enroll, be sure you have a plan to pay for your degree, including lining up financial aid where you can. Check the price differences between programs, which can vary significantly from school to school and may impact where you plan to apply. See the table below for some price comparisons among leading online master’s programs in Iowa:

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










Iowa Graduate Program Funding Options

Students in online master’s programs in Iowa have a variety of opportunities to fund their degrees through financial aid. Be sure to fill out your FAFSA on time to be eligible for federally sponsored (and often highly subsidized) loans and grants. Check the websites for schools such as the University of Iowa and Iowa state government, which provide information on school-specific and private funding opportunities and scholarships.

Finally, check if your program offers fellowship, internship, or research assistantship opportunities to help fund your education and help you earn work experience while you study. While the funding you secure may not be enough to cover your entire graduate degree, every bit will help.

Land a Top-Paying Career with a Master’s Degree in Iowa

There are many reasons, including career ambitions and personal fulfillment, which may inspire you to look into an Iowa online master’s degree. But what about money? Well, there’s good news: Earning your master’s degree isn’t just for learning new things and increasing your responsibilities — it can also increase your salary.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, master’s degree holders earn, on average, over $200 more per week than those with only a bachelor’s — and are less likely to be unemployed. Check out some well-paying careers your online master’s program in Iowa can prepare you for:

Art, Drama, and Music Teachers — Postsecondary

Arts education, including education in music and drama, is crucial to many students’ creativity and well-being. An effective arts educator should not only be well-versed in the art they teach, but also in pedagogy as learned in a relevant master’s degree program.

IA Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$67,550 8% MEd in Arts Education

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022; CareerOneStop, 2022


Libraries are an important resource for academics, scholars, and the general public to access literature and information. A library’s resources need to be carefully maintained, which is why the vast majority of libraries require their librarians to hold a relevant master’s degree.

IA Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$49,820 3% MLS

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022; CareerOneStop, 2022

Nurse Midwife

Nurse midwives play a vital role at one of the most important moments of a person’s life — birth. Due to all the complications possible in childbirth, this is a highly specialized healthcare role that requires master’s-level training to perform the job safely and effectively.

IA Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$112,420 38% MSN in Nurse Midwifery

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022; CareerOneStop, 2022


For mathematicians to work at the highest-level in corporate and government contexts, a graduate degree is important to teach the relevant skills. Moreover, your master’s will assure your employer that you can handle upper-level math on a day-to-day basis.

IA Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$99,960 30% MS in Mathematics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Political Scientist

Political scientists’ study and analyze the political process. In Iowa, home to the famous national caucus, political scientists observe a key portion of the electoral process close up — and their graduate studies qualify them to analyze and advise at the highest levels.

IA Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$128,020 7% MA in Political Science

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022