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2024’s Best Online Master’s Programs in Rhode Island (RI)

Author: Kyra Sutherland

Editor: Staff Editor

As a Rhode Island native, you’re uniquely positioned to earn your graduate degree against a backdrop of historic landmarks and vibrant coastal communities. Despite its picturesque surroundings, however, Rhode Island is a small state with limited universities.

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

The best way to overcome this hurdle and earn a degree on your timeline is by attending an online program. Fortunately, RI offers online master’s programs that cater to a diverse array of interests and career aspirations.

Pursuing online master’s degree in Rhode Island is a great way to improve your knowledge and skills in your field while gaining more experience and growing your network. Furthering your education is also a fantastic way to improve your salary potential or expand your career. The difficult part is choosing the best program for your needs. To help guide you, this page explores the intricacies of program duration, cost, flexibility, accreditation, and career outcomes. For online master’s programs in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island’s Premiere Online Master’s Degree Programs

Several major universities offer high-quality online master’s programs in Rhode Island. An online degree can be either fully online, which means no required campus visits, or a hybrid program with online and on-campus components.

Online courses often consist of videos, recorded lectures, reading materials, online assignments, papers (submitted electronically), quizzes, and exams. They may also include discussion boards and scheduled video lectures by the professor. Since they often can be completed at the student’s own pace, online courses are perfect for working students or those juggling family responsibilities.

Some online master’s degrees in RI have in-person elements, such as practicums or clinicals that require the student to be present for hands-on skills and assessments. Some hybrid classes are formatted to deliver in-person lectures and online assignments, allowing students to interact with professors and ask questions face-to-face.

To give you some idea of what to expect from online master’s programs in Rhode Island, we’ve highlighted several of the best colleges and universities in the state that are leading the way in terms of online graduate degrees. Even if these schools aren’t a perfect fit, you can still compare features as you evaluate other programs.

The University of Rhode Island (URI) is the fourth largest university in Rhode Island and offers 12 online graduate degree programs and 15 graduate certificate programs. Online students have unlimited access to lectures, class materials, class discussions, and assignments, and can receive individual feedback from course professors.

Online students will have access to the online library, student support services, financial aid, enrollment services, and academic support services. URI uses the Brightspace learning management system that allows students to submit assignments, contact professors, access material, and review grades all in one place.

URI is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and has a Gold Military Friendly School designation, providing specific flexibility and availability for veterans and military families. The tuition rate is $856/credit with several financial aid opportunities available for students.

Rhode Island College (RIC) was Rhode Island’s first public institution of higher education and offers over 50 graduate programs across five schools, many of which can be completed entirely online. RIC is known for having some of the most affordable higher education in the state, with resident tuition starting at $495 per credit. The university also offers several grant, work-study, and scholarship opportunities for graduate students, including its noteworthy Hope Scholarship, which allows students to obtain a four-year degree while only paying two years’ tuition.

RIC is NECHE-accredited and has individual program accreditation as well. Students will have access to several student resources including academic and IT support, financial services and aid, student involvement, student safety resources, and student wellness resources.

Roger Williams University (RWU) offers online and on-campus graduate degrees both full- and part-time. Roger Williams University features small classes, with a student-teacher ratio of 5:1. Students can also network via internships and community partnerships.

Tuition rates are $719-$1,091 per credit, depending on program choice. RWU is NECHE-accredited and offers over 70 different clubs and committees, academic advising, financial aid, an Intercultural Center, and a Trans and Queer Resource and Advocacy Center. Assistantships and scholarships are available to students in need of financial aid, as well as federal financial aid loans if students are taking at least two classes each semester.

Online Degree Program Formats Offered in RI

Within the umbrella of online masters’ degrees, you’ll find several different formats. Some programs offer fully online programs, and some are hybrid with a mix of online courses and in-person courses. As with traditional programs, online degrees can be taken on a part- or full-time basis.

Full-time Online Master’s Programs in Rhode Island

Attending graduate school full time means you are taking 9-12+ credits each semester. This is a significant time commitment, but you will be able to complete your degree faster. This option is great for students who don’t have other major obligations who can dedicate much of their time to completing their degree. The University of Rhode Island offers an M.S. in Biological and Environmental Sciences and Rhode Island College offers a graduate degree in community and social service programs that can both be taken full time.

Part-time Online Master’s Programs in Rhode Island

Attending school part-time means you are taking fewer credits each semester, typically anything under nine credits, which equates to one or two classes per term. While this format takes longer than attending full-time, it spreads out the time commitment which is appealing to many students with careers, families, or other schedule restraints. Bryant University offers several part-time graduate degrees, and the University of Rhode Island offers a part-time master of science degree with a family nurse practitioner concentration.

No-GRE Online Master’s Programs in Rhode Island

The GRE is a graduate school entrance exam that often influences admission decisions. Many graduate schools require it, but many others, especially after the Coronavirus pandemic, have waived their GRE test score requirement.

In our research of online master’s programs in Rhode Island, we found that if not explicitly required, sometimes faculty may still request admission test scores as an addendum to your graduate application. Examples of no-GRE online master’s degrees in RI include the Master of Environmental Management from the University of Rhode Island and the MS/MA in Cybersecurity from Roger Williams University.

Accelerated Online Master’s Programs in Rhode Island

If you want to fast-track your degree, there are some accelerated online master’s programs available, allowing you to obtain your degree in a shorter amount of time. These are usually done in several ways, from taking shorter, condensed classes, such as Rhode Island College’s Accelerated BSW to MSW program, to combining degrees like The University of Rhode Island’s 5-year Bachelor’s to Master’s programs. You may even be able to find some online master’s degrees in RI that allow you to complete a master’s degree in a single year.

Fields of Study for Rhode Island Master’s Students

Business Administration

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a two-year graduate degree for students who want to expand their business management skills and become a leader in the business world. Students can expect to study topics such as accounting, marketing strategies, finance, organizational leadership, principles of management, nonprofit management, and business ethics. MBA programs are perfect for those with careers in marketing, finance, human resources, management, consulting, and healthcare. Look for MBA programs that are accredited by the AACSB.

Quality Examples of Online MBA Programs


This degree is for computer science students looking to specialize in cybersecurity. This degree will teach students to prevent and detect cyberattacks and recover data and will help students gain advanced knowledge and strategies in forensics and network architecture.

There are often concentrations available within the degree program, such as forensics or security. This degree is perfect for students seeking or with current careers in information security, information security crime investigators, software security engineering, or information security officers.

Quality Examples of Online Cybersecurity Programs

Criminal Justice

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree prepares students to work in the justice system, often in a management position. Students will study the criminal justice system and criminology to provide a foundation in theory and practice.

This degree will cover topics in crime and public policy, legal issues in the justice system, criminological theory, criminal procedure, and analysis of criminal justice data. This is a flexible degree and is useful to anyone in the justice system.

Quality Examples of Online Criminal Justice Programs

Healthcare Management

This degree gives healthcare providers a solid business foundation, allowing them to pursue careers in management and leadership roles across the healthcare sector. With healthcare needs on the rise across the nation, having the healthcare management credential provides a wonderful opportunity for healthcare professionals to make a difference.

Admission to these programs. usually requires transcripts, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and a GRE/GMAT score. Some universities may require an active license/certification (such as a CPA or CFP) in order to waive the GRE/GMAT score requirement as part of the admission process into their healthcare management online master’s programs.

Quality Examples of Online Healthcare Management Programs


This unique degree focuses on creative writing and the fine arts, specifically theatrical playwriting. Students may study theater, art history, creative writing, composition, acting, and literature. This degree is great for those pursuing a career as a director, producer, stage manager, teacher, performer, or writer. Even if you are not interested in theater, there are other master of arts programs available online that may better fit your ambitions.

Quality Example of an Online Playwriting Program

How Much Will I Pay for an Online RI Master’s Degree?

While each university and program may have varying tuition, it’s important to recognize that pursuing online master’s programs in Rhode Island requires a significant financial commitment. Not only do you have to pay tuition, but you’ll also have to account for fees, proper materials such as laptops and textbooks, and even the opportunity cost if you have to cut some of your regular work hours to focus on your studies.

Before you apply for a graduate program, you must have a plan to pay for it, so you won’t create undue stress. You might also want to check out financial aid opportunities that are specific to graduate students to lessen the financial burden. Below we’ll provide three online master’s degree programs in Rhode Island with their estimated tuition rate to give you an idea of the expected cost. Then we’ll discuss several graduate financing options for Rhode Island students.

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










Rhode Island Financial Aid Options

Though tuition costs in RI may seem intimidating, you rarely have to pay full price. There are several different kinds of financial aid opportunities available to master’s students in Rhode Island to help offset the cost of your degree. These include scholarships/grants, like the tuition scholarships offered to graduate students at the University of Rhode Island.

You may be able to find fellowships, work-study programs, and graduate research assistantships. The Rhode Island Foundation offers Rhode Island residents special scholarships up through post-graduate levels that award between $1,000 and $20,000. You can also apply for federal grants, scholarships, or graduate loans by filling out FAFSA to aid you with your tuition payments.

Career Options for Rhode Island Master’s Students

Now that you’ve seen the potential cost of a master’s degree, you probably want to know if you will get a decent return on your investment. A graduate degree will increase your salary potential in almost any career, allowing you to grow and reach your financial goals.

Many careers offer pay bumps just for obtaining a graduate degree without a promotion. While we don’t have room for information on every career, we’ve compiled a short list of those that require a master’s degree and what you can expect the salary to be in Rhode Island.


While a library clerk doesn’t necessarily need a master’s degree, an official librarian or a media collections specialist does require a master’s degree in library science. This degree will prepare you for referencing and organization, and you’ll familiarize yourself with the infinite selection of literature available, including books, journals, and databases.

RI Median Salary National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$70,190 3.1% Master of Library Science

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022


Epidemiologists typically have a master’s degree in public health which focuses on epidemics, pandemics, and illness patterns in different populations. A master’s in epidemiology teaches epidemiologists how to prevent, prepare for, recognize, and react to dangerous illnesses in the population. They also gather and analyze pathological data and study the origins of disease.

RI Median Salary National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$92,300 22.4% Master of Public Health (MPH)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists need a master’s degree to work with ill, injured, and disabled patients. The degree prepares therapists to plan interventions, create goals and plans, help patients recover or maintain skills essential to their lifestyles, adapt to their environment, and improve their lives. The job outlook for occupational therapists is higher than average.

RI Median Salary National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$92,110 9.2% MS in Occupational Therapy

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Post-Secondary Teacher

To teach at a secondary or college level, you’ll need a master’s degree in education. This expands upon the bachelor’s degree by providing teaching strategies, effective research, classroom management techniques, data analysis, the psychology of learning, and more. Some universities require their professors to have a PhD.

RI Median Salary National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$88,400 2.5% Master of Education (MEd)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Mental Health Counselor

To obtain a therapy license, you’ll need a master’s degree in one of the various therapy specialties. These master’s degrees will cover deep psychological issues such as grief and addiction, as well as effective strategies and research for how to help clients with these issues. This degree may cover the physiology of substance abuse, family systems and dynamics, the stages of grief, and abnormal psychology.

RI Median Salary National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$68,950 20.3% MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022