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Today’s Best South Carolina (SC) Online Master’s Programs

Students in the Palmetto State looking to earn a graduate degree from the comfort of their home have plenty of online options. Keep reading to discover some of the best online master’s programs in South Carolina.

Author: Ellery Weil

Editor: Staff Editor

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A panoramic view of a row of elegant, multistory houses along a waterfront, with calm waters in the foreground and a clear blue sky above.

From the state’s beautiful coastline to the history and foodie culture of cities such as Charleston, South Carolinians have a lot to love in their state — which is one reason aspiring grad students may want to study at one of the 35 institutions in the state that grant graduate degrees. But what about working students or those who don’t want to move?

Enter online master’s programs in South Carolina. A variety of schools offer online graduate programs in SC for disciplines ranging from the sciences and tech to arts and humanities. And when studying in an online or hybrid program, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of relocating — saving you precious time and money. Take a look to see if there’s an online graduate program in SC that’s a fit for you.

Preview South Carolina’s Top Online Master’s Programs

If you’re curious about online master’s programs in South Carolina, the first thing to do is consider how online learning works. In online graduate programs in SC, students typically take classes via video conferencing, such as on Zoom, in either an asynchronous or synchronous format. They take exams and other evaluations remotely. Depending on the subject you’re studying, you may be required to complete labs or supervised work experience, which may be on campus or at a site in your community.

While there are plenty of online master’s programs in SC to choose from, a few institutions stand out in terms of course and degree option offerings, academic rigor, student support, and more. The school that is the right fit varies for everyone, however we’ve vetted the following programs based on quality and affordability. As you start researching potential online master’s programs in SC, consider these standout schools.

University of South Carolina

One of the state’s flagship universities, the University of South Carolina (USC) offers a wide range of online master’s programs in fields as diverse as education, nursing, engineering, library science, and more. At USC, online master’s degree students can choose from synchronous or asynchronous classes, fully online or hybrid learning, or other forms of blended or distance learning — meaning there’s a distance learning format to suit every set of circumstances.

As a state school, USC has always offered in-state tuition for South Carolina residents, but some of the fully online programs are also billed at the in-state tuition rate for all students, regardless of residency.

Clemson University

One of the most prestigious schools in the state, Clemson University offers a variety of career-focused online master’s programs. With 20 degrees to choose from in topics ranging from construction science management to educational leadership, Clemson’s online master’s programs are aimed at helping students advance on a specialized career track. Degree offerings include MS, MEd, and specialized master’s qualifications such as MPA and MTSA.

Clemson offers both online and blended programs, both of which aim to provide flexible course schedules to meet each student’s needs and preexisting obligations. Which format is the best fit for you will depend on what subject you’re looking to study, as not all degrees are available in all formats. Some are offered exclusively online, and others are offered only in blended form.

The Citadel

Logo of The Citadel, featuring stylized text "The Citadel" in dark blue with a castle tower above the letter "i" that includes a lit torch.

A unique and highly respected institution of higher learning, The Citadel in Charleston is a U.S. military college, although students come from all walks of life and do not need a military background. The Citadel offers a variety of graduate programs in SC, including online master’s degrees. Graduate students at The Citadel can choose from MBA, MEd, MA, and MS programs offered online and on campus.

As an institution affiliated with the United States military, The Citadel has particularly strong programs for both current members of the military and veterans. The Citadel’s online programs are specifically designed with the kind of flexibility that’s compatible with an active military career.

Explore the Different Ways to Earn an Online Master’s in SC

Not all online master’s programs in South Carolina are the same in terms of time commitment and format, so the one that’s right for you will depend on personal factors. Here are a few formats for online graduate programs in SC and insights on how each one might be a match for you:

Full-Time Online Master’s Programs in South Carolina

When you’re applying for an online graduate program in South Carolina, many of the options you’ll see will be full-time programs, such as The Citadel’s MA in Intelligence and Security Studies or Clemson’s MS in Science Education. These programs require a similar time commitment as an in-person master’s degree but are in an online format. While your schedule may have more flexibility than an in-person program, expect a full-time commitment to your studies.

Part-Time Online Master’s Programs in South Carolina

For students with professional or family responsibilities that make demands on their time, a part-time master’s can be a great way to earn a graduate degree without sacrificing your commitments. Part-time or highly flexible online graduate programs in South Carolina, such as Clemson’s online MBA, are designed to have a lower time commitment per week but take longer to complete, making these programs more feasible for students to work or care for family while they study.

No-GRE Online Master’s Programs in South Carolina

If standardized tests aren’t your strong suit, don’t worry — no-GRE online master’s programs in SC allow you to apply without submitting standardized test scores. These programs, such as the MEd in Teaching or MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner at the University of South Carolina, are accredited, high-quality master’s degrees that can be full-time, part-time, fully online, or hybrid and don’t require the GRE or other standardized tests for admission.

Accelerated Online Master’s Programs in South Carolina

Want to earn your degree as quickly as possible? Some online master’s programs in SC are offered in an accelerated format, such as Coastal Carolina University’s MS in Information Systems Technology or Clemson’s Master’s in Secondary Education, meaning they’re designed to be completed in under the typical two years required by most in-person master’s programs. These programs require intensive study and a serious time commitment but will help you earn your degree as fast as possible.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Students looking to advance in the corporate world should consider an online MBA. This degree is especially popular among those who have worked in business for several years, making it an ideal choice for online students. The flexibility of online study is a good fit with a full-time job.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

MS in Data Science

A fast-growing field with applications in everything from healthcare to education, data science is an ideal online master’s program in SC for STEM students looking to work with data and its applications in tech and beyond. With the rise of remote work in tech, SC students can also plan on exploring job opportunities from far and wide while living in South Carolina after graduation.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

Master of Education (MEd)

For students looking to become teachers, a master’s in education can be a crucial step toward working in a middle or high school in South Carolina. With teachers in high demand all over the country and master’s holders especially competitive as candidates, this online graduate program in SC will pay dividends in your teaching career.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

MS in Nursing (MSN)

Nursing is the backbone of the healthcare system, and nurses are in high demand in South Carolina and across the country. A master’s in nursing is an online graduate program in South Carolina that allows you to change careers or gain specialized nursing qualifications, such as in anesthesiology or midwifery, to advance in a particular nursing role and qualify for more advanced jobs.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

Master of Sports Management

South Carolinians are well-known for their love of football and other athletic pastimes — so working in sports management can be a very appealing online master’s program in SC. This is a field that can lead to a career in coaching, sports education, or even the corporate and business side of college and professional sports.

Quality Examples of Online Programs

Determine The Average Cost of an Online Master’s in South Carolina

Before you begin your online master’s program in SC, it’s important to have a sense of what it will cost you and how you’ll pay for it. Online graduate school tends to be less costly than an in-person program. Between the differences in in-state or out-of-state tuition at some schools, differences in costs depending on your field of study, and the fact that no two schools charge the same, costs for your online master’s in South Carolina will vary. Take a look at a few of the programs below to get an idea of cost differences between several South Carolina online master’s programs:

School Name No. of Credits Resident
Est. Tuition










South Carolina Graduate Program Funding Options

As you’re planning how to fund your online graduate program in South Carolina, be sure to explore all possible opportunities for financial aid, including not only student loans but also fellowships, scholarships, or graduate research assistantships and teaching opportunities.

As a graduate student, you’ll be eligible for federal loans if you fill out your FAFSA on time, but you should also consider private and state-specific scholarships. In South Carolina, these include school-specific opportunities, such as these offered through the Graduate School at the University of South Carolina, as well as smaller grants and awards offered by private foundations. Do your research and apply to as many scholarships as you possibly can to improve your odds of receiving an award.

Prepare to Earn Top Dollar in South Carolina with These Careers

It’s well-known that in addition to personal and intellectual fulfillment, an online graduate program in SC can lead to an increase in your salary. According to popular job site ZipRecruiter, this is true in South Carolina and in the rest of the country, with master’s graduates in the Palmetto State averaging over $16 an hour, which is significantly higher than state averages. That salary goes far in a state with lower cost-of-living areas. While there are many well-paying fields for those with a master’s, consider some of these in-demand professions and how a masters might help you get in the door and start earning:

Guidance Counselor

School guidance counselors mix a knowledge of psychology with an understanding of education and child and adolescent development. This specialized role in the education system requires a master’s to ensure you’re equipped to handle sensitive student needs.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$49,050 5% MEd in School Counseling

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

Physician Assistant

An increasingly important role in medicine, physician assistants, or PAs, use their graduate-level training to fulfill many of the same roles as traditional doctors, particularly when it comes to primary care, pediatrics, and family medicine. PAs are increasingly in demand at hospitals and clinics across the country.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$104,260 27% MPA in Physician Assistant

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


Many state and local libraries, as well as university libraries and archives, require their librarians to hold master’s degrees. This ensures that librarians on the job have the organizational knowledge and curatorial skills to keep the collection well-organized and accounted for.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$59,830 3% MLS in Library Science

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

Nurse Anesthetist

A nurse anesthetist is a highly trained nurse who is certified to administer anesthesia to patients. As this is an advanced technical process, it requires the specialized training of a master’s program to obtain proper certification.

Oregon Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$192,080 38% MSN – Nurse Practitioner

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


Economics can be a complex and highly technical subject, merging STEM and the social sciences. As such, many economists find that a master’s is crucial if they hope to advance in their career to roles with more responsibility and upper-level research and analysis.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$69,890 6% MS in Economics

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